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A New Axiom

“Law increases as cultural consensus decreases.” I encountered this statement in a review of James Hunter’s recent book, “To Change the World,” found in the latest Touchstone Magazine (which is highly recommended by the way). This eerily echos David F. Wells, who in his book “Losing Our Virtue,” talks of a sliding scale of absolute freedom and absolute autocracy, with the lack of virtue leading to the latter. In other words, since we now live in a “low consensus society,” we are now held together by the secularist state and the increasing powers that belong to it, and little else. Since there is no longer any consensus, “every faction that seeks state power does so in order to impose its understanding of the good on the whole society.” (Hunter Baker, Touchstone)  This is why moral issues such as abortion and homosexuality have been increasingly politicized, as worldviews compete with each other.  Humans inherently desire some sort of order, and the lack of cultural consensus causes many to look to a top-down legal solution to provide some sort of order.

This also relates to a question I asked in a post quite awhile ago, relating to whether or not America is even a nation anymore, or a variety of nations held together by geographic accident and state control. If a nation or people is defined as those who share a common faith, heroes, history, holidays, festivals, language, the arts and the like, the U.S. and many countries of the West have ceased being nations long ago. Instead they are supposedly bound together by some sort of romantic, “progressive,” idealistic idea of egalitarian democracy as a sort of savior (based on an ever-increasing list of rights that come from “natural” sources).  While there may be pockets of what one might call consensus cultures, most large cities on the coasts and the states they reside in have abandoned any semblance of cultural unity for the sake of “diversity” as some sort of inherent value.

In summary, as the West increasingly abandons its own heritage, look for a great increase in the amount of litigation and legislation to try and either “preserve ” or “change” society, while individuals and communities become increasingly “tribal” in order to foster some sort of healthy, culture-sustaining community.  Those who try to do this, will of course be labeled “bigots,” “racists,” “______phobic,” etc…Perhaps we will see the rise of city-states/principalities again?

Any comments or solutions?

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1 Comment

  1. nandrosa says:

    Hayek: Planning and Democracy
    http://isoglossy.wordpress.com/2008/08/19/hayek-planning-and-democracy/

    “We can rely on voluntary agreement to guide the action of the state only so long as it is confined to sphere where agreement exists.”

    “Democratic control may prevent power from becoming arbitrary, but it does not do so by its mere existence. If democracy resolves on a task which necessarily involves the use of power which cannot be guided by fixed rules, it must become arbitary power.”

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