Christopher Ferrara takes us through this slideshow in Chapter 2 of his book, Liberty: The God That Failed. The number of citations and references in his book is enormous. We are fortunate to have such a mind as Ferrara who can bring so much research together and synthesize an overall mosaic, revealing the truth of "liberty" in the annals of Western History.
Citing William T. Cavanaugh, he explains that the so-called "religious wars" that preceded the age of democratic revolution were actually engineered conflicts by state-building elites. The wars of the Protestant Revolts in Europe were...
"...the birth pangs of the state, in which the overlapping jurisdictions, allegiances, and customs of the medieval order were flattened and circumscribed into the new creation of the sovereign state (not always yet nation-state), a centralizing power with a monopoly on violence within a defined territory."These bloody prologues for the glorious secular West facilitated the "transfer of the sacred from Christianity to the nation-state." As a result, nations were left with nationhood as their religion. Under such circumstances, since the citizens were now the laity of a secular religion--national liberty--the people would be expected to pay for this new religion with their own lives in a repeating cycle of endless wars.
Consider, for example, how the first phase of communism is supposed to involve revolution and war. As Marx said, it is "the period of the revolutionary transformation" from capitalism into communism. This deadly period, in which the new communist generation is supposed to cannibalize the old order, is a gestation period in which the people destroy the old capitalism (likely through violent revolution), gradually giving way to a new period of "full communism." It is along this line of thought that Stalin, Mao, and other genocidal communist dictators were able to rationalize the slaughter of millions of their own citizens.
"It is melancholy to contemplate the cruel wars, desolations of countries, and oceans of blood, which must occur before rational principles and rational systems of government can prevail and be established."Is there really a difference between this statement and Marx's statement? Both "rational systems" require blood sacrifices in the form of politicides--the murder of people by the government for political purposes. Christendom--requires conversion into a civic and practical Church, where the bloody sacrifice is made by Jesus Christ, rather than citizens. In Christendom, it was Christ who suffered so that the sins of the populace could be forgiven, and society could move on peacefully. But in our present modernist age, everyday average citizens have the privilege of experiencing moral, spiritual and cultural decline "at the point of a gun."
Many people on the Right, both non-Catholics and some ill-informed Catholics, argue that Christendom's monarchies were tyrannical. And, as we just read, John Adams would have argued that his bloody revolution was necessary for a rational system--thus, implying that Christendom was irrational. Chris Ferarra holds this stance in contempt:
"The charge is sustainable only upon a complete ignorance of European history and what the modern state system has wrought in terms of death, destruction and governmental impositions on the ordinary citizen. If anything, the monarchies of Christendom were characterized by a radical decentralization of political power in comparison with the massive centralized governments of the modern nation states."The rise of This New Thing that oppresses the world coincides with the propping up of unaccountable oligarchies and feral mobs. With all royalty out of the way, there is hardly anything that can stop the juggernaut of godless, dyscivic, societal breakdown.
And so, the door has been opened for a counter revolution against this five-century trend. Rulers are rightfully resisted when they transgress God's law, and as Saint Augustine says, "unjust law is not law." Christendom has a political tradition. The doctrine is rooted in revelation. We are obliged to obey civil authority, but there are also grounds for disobedience to immoral commands.
Modern nation-states abandoned that which allowed them to form. While liberals and neo-cons will rail on about what freedoms we possess, the reality is that the state has been struggling against its own citizens this entire time.
The old order has been upturned. From the French Revolution to the Bolshevik democides, we have the hindsight of hundreds of millions of slaughtered citizens throughout the world. John Adams has his oceans of blood. But we have yet to behold any kind of rationality from our current Western governments.
"Did you ever think how the world managed politically to get through the middle ages? It got through them without breakdown because it had the Roman Catholic Church to draw upon for native gifts, and by no other means that I can see. If you will look at the politics of the middle ages you will see that states depended for their guidance upon great ecclesiastics, and they depended upon them because the community itself was in strata, was in classes, and the Roman Catholic Church was a great democracy. Any peasant could become a priest, and any priest a chancellor."