The Future of Freedom, 1938
By Douglas Jerrold
“Even if mankind had no soul to save, it would still be true that the Christian civilization had saved his body. The Christian society is not merely a free society, it is the only free society which has ever endured...”
"It is not a coincidence but a consequence that, wherever the basic Christian institutions have been destroyed, so the powers and responsibilities of governments, even in Christian countries, have had to be increased until today the tasks of government, and the funds required to discharge them, are alike so great as to tax their utmost limits the resources of the richest peoples in the world."
Preface: Douglas Jerrold was a Catholic-political author from England. He maintained liberty is a stern discipline. For that reason, when liberty turns to license, when there is no check to our quests for pleasure, it is then that the political powers will be is poised to grow while true liberty diminishes. He warned long before the Sexual Revolution that preaching unbridled promiscuity is quite effective in ushering in a totalitarian state. After all, who else but a State vested with power can clean up the social debris?
Excerpt: Future of Freedom
The first point, therefore, for Christians to remember about politics is that the Christian civilization, now openly challenged all over the world, is founded on two revolutionary assertions, which have had as their secular consequence a unique series of political experiments. Our civilization is rooted in the teachings of Christ and thus, for practicing Christians, it enjoys peculiar authority, but even if it were not so, we should still be wise to spend a little time in thinking about those characteristics which distinguish the Christian civilization from all other civilizations, in asking ourselves whether we should be doing wisely to change it so as to deprive it of these characteristics. It has changed the face of the world. It is responsible for material progress on a scale unknown to any previous civilization. It has created possibilities of happiness unknown to any previous civilization.
The bases of Christian civilization are the freedom of man within a closed moral order, and the autonomy of secular power, subject to the prior rights of the family. This balance of institutions derives neither from human wisdom nor from the mysteries of religious contemplation, but from specific dogmas of Christianity. The primacy of the spiritual in the world order derives from the teaching that all men are equal before God. Man’s claim to freedom rests, not on his intelligence, as fools believe, nor his claims on the good nature of those more intelligent than himself, as knaves pretend, but on his first duty to serve God with his heart, mind and soul. The doctrine that the rights of the family are absolute as against the rights of the State derives from the second commandment of the Christian dispensation, which imposes on man, as the price of salvation, the fulfillment of social obligations. These obligations cannot be freely fulfilled in a society which places the State above the family, and so removes from man his direct and personal responsibility for the preseveration and well-being, from generation to generation, of the society to which he belongs...
Even if mankind had no soul to save, it would still be true that the Christian civilization had saved his body. The Christian society is not merely a free society, it is the only free society which has ever endured. It is not a coincidence but a consequence that, wherever the basic Christian institutions have been destroyed, so the powers and responsibilities of governments, even in Christian countries, have had to be increased until today the tasks of government, and the funds required to discharge them, are alike so great as to tax their utmost limits the resources of the richest peoples in the world. The end of this process is seen in the final necessity imposed upon Governments which have destroyed all the institutions of a free society, to appropriate all the resources of their country to maintain their organization, and destroy all the rights of personality in order to maintain their authority…
Christian civilization is based on freedom and responsibilities, and having been so based for thousand years, there is, in every heir to that civilization, the urge to express himself in freedom of action. A man free to know, love and serve God; a man taught that he has an immortal soul and is only a little lower than the angels; that it is God’s will that, when he has worked out his salvation, he shall be crowned with honor and glory, such a man will not be content with a political regime which does not allow him say “Bo” to a goose, or even to a Commissar. If we go too far along the road to slavery, one of two things must happen. Either man’s political master must seek to cure him of the belief in his divine destiny, and to reduce him spiritually as well as politically to the animal level, or man will demand from his political mentors a field for the free expression of his personality in action.
The attack on the Church and the free family, on the Church sovereign in its own sphere and the family with rights antecedent to those of the State, is necessary to the positive state, because it is built on the denial of those rights of the human personality which the Christian state holds sacred…
I only wish in this chapter to emphasize that our historic Christian civilization is different in kind, by reason of its obedience to certain commands of Christ, from all the civilizations which have preceded it, and that the challenge of the new, twentieth-century conception of the State must be resisted if this civilization is to be preserved.