Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – Ferrara – “[T]he liberal scholar Francis Fukuyama in his book The End of History and the Last Man says, “The liberal state growing out of the tradition of Hobbes and Locke engages in a protracted struggle with its own people.” The government is at war against the people, because the government is erected on the basis of principles that are at war with what professing Christians, in particular, believe. The liberals recognize this. They glory in it. We still, so many of us, refuse to see the problem.” Check out today’s transcript for the rest….
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: Could the American Constitution work? Well, I believe that it could. And yes, I believe that if the oaths taken to it were faithfully executed, that we would have a far different cry from what we are today. The oath doesn’t mean anything if it’s not backed up to the obedient to the unenforceable. This is what makes an oath serious and what makes an oath an oath. Swearing an oath under God that you’re going to do something is a solemn act. Few people take that act as a solemn act. They take it as a civil act, meaning, like everything else civil, like jaywalking, you’re free, as long as no one is looking, to break it. You’re answering to no higher authority other than the next election if you break it. If the next election is the only thing that is stopping you from some of the sins created and committed in the name of the Constitution and of the government, Chris, isn’t that the real problem?
Christopher Ferrara: Well, I think the concept of the oath that you just mentioned is illustrative of the problem. We take an oath to uphold the Constitution. We’re taking an oath to God, the Supreme Being, whose law governs all nations and all constitutions. If the oath means anything, it means that you take an oath to uphold the Constitution, as rightly understood, and limited by God’s law. What I say in the book is really, in the end, nothing very controversial. It’s a statement of the obvious. It really shouldn’t be controversial.
It’s so obvious that, at the very beginning of the book, I quote the liberal scholar Francis Fukuyama in his book The End of History and the Last Man. He looks at the emergence of the democratic nation-state as the end of history, a great triumph. He’s favorable toward it. Here is what he says, and this is an honest liberal — too often you have to go to the liberals to get honest assessments of what has happened to our civilization. Here’s what he says, “The liberal state growing out of the tradition of Hobbes and Locke engages in a protracted struggle with its own people.” The government is at war against the people because the government, because the government is erected on the basis of principles that are at war with what professing Christians, in particular, believe. The liberals recognize this. They glory in it. We still, so many of us, refuse to see the problem.
What are these principles? What is this tradition of Hobbes and Locke that results in a government that is at war, in a protracted struggle with its own people? The tradition is very simple as far as it pertains to what you’ve been talking about in the last few days, including that case of the Christian couple that was fined $13,000 because they wouldn’t let their farm be used for a gay marriage.
Mike: In New York, Schaghticoke, New York.
Ferrara: The principle is this: both Hobbes and Locke, with their fiction of the state of nature, envision a situation in which people are born perfectly free. They are masters of everything. They are law unto themselves. They are judge, jury and executioner in this state of nature, which never existed. It’s a fiction. But they come out of the state of nature and they agree to give all of their power in the state of nature to a sovereign. For Hobbes, the sovereign is the absolute monarch. For Locke, who’s far more cautious and clever, he arrived at the same destination by saying that the absolute sovereign is elected; the absolute sovereign is the supreme legislature. You also have an executive power. For him, the supreme legislature is the highest authority on earth, and even has the power to contravene — he says this explicitly — the law of God if the commonwealth, as he understands it, requires this.
So what has happened to the couple in New York State? The supreme legislature has spoken. The supreme legislature has said — and this is what the majority wants — you cannot discriminate, in public accommodations open to the general public, against so-called gays, even if it’s private property. If you make that property available to the public and a couple of gays show up and want to have a wedding there and you say nothing doing, I’m a Christian, I can’t countenance this, then you’ve come up against the will of the supreme legislature. Under the principles which put our government at war with us, you have to succumb and submit to that law.
Now, you want proof of this? Who is the greatest conservative in America today, in the estimation of many people? It would be Justice Scalia on the United States Supreme Court. It was Justice Scalia who, in the case of Employment Division v. Smith, which involved people who used peyote and were fired for using peyote and couldn’t get unemployment benefits, Justice Scalia laid down a general principle. I’m going to quote that principle from the Smith decision: The right of free exercise does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a ‘valid and neutral law of general applicability on the ground that the law proscribes (or prescribes) conduct that his religion prescribes (or proscribes).’ In other words, if the law is adopted by the supreme legislature, and it’s of general applicability, and it’s not specifically targeting against Christians or Catholics or Jews or whatever, we all have to obey it, whether we like it or not.
If the law prohibits you from discriminating against so-called gays, then you can’t discriminate against them, even on your private property. Where do we stand to oppose that? We can’t appeal to the founders because the founders don’t say anything about this in the Constitution. Justice Scalia says, according to the founders, this is perfectly acceptable.
Now, I said a few moments ago this arises from the tradition in which the nation was founded, the tradition of Hobbes and Locke. Let me quote another decision by Justice Scalia, after the Smith decision, in City of Boerne v. Flores. When Scalia announced the decision in the Smith case, that general laws that apply to everybody trump religious liberty, Congress acted. This is ironic, Congress acted to protect religious liberty by passing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This act supposedly would require states and political subdivisions to justify laws that infringe on religion with a compelling state interest. You can always get around “compelling state interest,” but at least it was an attempt to limit the power of the states to infringe on religious liberty. So Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
In the Flores case, the Archbishop of San Antonio wanted to enlarge a cathedral. The local zoning authority said: You can’t do that. It’s a landmark. We forbid it. We won’t give you the variance. He takes the case to the United States Supreme Court. In his opinion, Justice Scalia — this is a concurring opinion — says: Look, this zoning ordinance that forbids alteration of the cathedral is a law of general applicability passed by the supreme legislature. Here’s what he says about the impact on religion: “The affirmative protection of religion accorded by the early ‘free exercise’ enactments does not support the dissent’s view.” He goes on to say: “Religious exercise shall be permitted so long as it does not violate general laws governing conduct.”
What does he base that on? He’s an originalist. He looks back to the meaning of the Constitution as it was understood by the public at the time of ratification. Here’s where he finds the source for this statement, that we all have to obey these general laws despite our religion, “This limitation upon the scope of religious exercise would have been in accord with the background political philosophy of the age (associated most prominently with John Locke), which regarded freedom as the right ‘to do only as what was not lawfully prohibited’…” That is the greatest conservative we have in America today basically fastening the manacles upon us. What can you say?
Mike: This is the same concept that applies to yesterday’s case where a federal court said the State of Utah cannot prevent this man from engaging in polygamy if he can find someone to perform the ceremony. The State can’t stop him from obtaining as many marriage licenses to marry as many women as he wants. Same thing, right?
Ferrara: That’s because there is no ultimate standard other than what is not lawfully prohibited. The standard of law is, you can do only what is not lawfully prohibited. You can do anything that is not prohibited, but the flipside of that is that you cannot do what is prohibited. If the law prohibits you from discriminating against so-called gays, then you can’t discriminate against them, even on your private property. Where do we stand to oppose that? We can’t appeal to the founders because the founders don’t say anything about this in the Constitution. Justice Scalia says, according to the founders, this is perfectly acceptable. If a majority passes a law that says you can’t discriminate against gays, and that law doesn’t target you particularly, it applies to everybody, then you have to obey it. You have to have a gay wedding at your farm. You can flip it over the other way. If a law permits you to have 16 different marriages to 16 different women, then you have the right to do that. There is no ultimate standard. We’re all at the mercy of whatever the majority wants.
Mike: So if the majority wants polyamory where not only can you have three wives, but if you want to throw a husband in there and if any of the wives want to marry someone they can go ahead and do that, too, then we’ve entered an entirely new ballgame, right?
Ferrara: How do you stop it?
Mike: You can’t. That was my point.
Ferrara: The only thing lacking is the relevant vote by the relevant electoral majority. The great irony, Mike, is that these so-called electoral majorities are actually, objectively, tiny minorities of the population because most people don’t vote. Of the people that do vote, most of them are of a certain age and certain qualifications that don’t represent the majority of the population to begin with. You basically have a majority of the small plurality deciding the fate of all the rest of us.
End Mike Church Show Transcript