The Thinking 

Uncommon Common Sense

January 29, 2013


SEE the outstanding comments that have been added to this entry on efforts by Poland and Russia to ban public promotion of homosexuality and to this discussion of the despicable decision by the Pentagon to allow women in combat.

In the entry on public homosexuality, Proph responds to a reader’s claim that bans on things such as “gay pride parades” are totalitarian:

First, I suspect [the reader] doesn’t know what “totalitarianism” means. We might usefully define it as the ideology which endeavors to subject all aspects of man’s social life to a single, organizing institution, typically the state. In other words, the state does not only do what the state normally does but also what the Church does, the family does, etc., and these things are typically abolished in the process if they can’t be made organs of the state. What the Russian state is doing is, essentially, aggressively acting to maintain the moral consensus of the Russian people. Yet this just is a duty of the state (c.f. the Catholic Church’s Dignitatis Humanae), which means it is, by definition, not totalitarianism but just social order. If this particular policy is unjust, then, it can only be because the means are disproportionate to the threat. But if that’s the case, we’re owed more than bleating platitudes about “totalitarianism,” we’re owed an actual argument, which isn’t on offer.

Complaining that this makes us “exactly like our enemies” is sort of besides the point. Do our enemies not also believe the sky is blue? Must we repudiate that belief to maintain our integrity? Of course not. More specifically, though, our objections to, say, leftist thugs imprisoning Christians and Russian police imprisoning homosexual activists are not equivalent. We don’t object to the state locking people in prison. We object to the state locking people in prison unjustly. When Christians are put in prison for their opposition to the leftist fantasy of an utterly autonomous superman totally liberated from all history, tradition, and morality, that’s unjust. When Russians imprison homosexual activists who go about scandalizing children and threatening to deform the sensibilities of an entire culture, that’s not unjust. People have the right not to be exposed to pernicious evil, after all.

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