Part II – Christopher Ferrara Interview
“Liberty, the God That Failed”
Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – I told you people you were not going to expect what Christopher Ferrara was going to share with us. His book is Liberty, the God That Failed. Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: That is really, I think, as I learn more and as I read more and try to educate myself more about the contemporary events around the time of the Revolution, you mentioned the Whiskey Rebellion. I have not studied that one, but I have read three or four that I could locate of the original stories written in contemporary times, meaning around 1786 or so, that were written about Shays’ Rebellion. The Whiskey Rebellion was an act of Congress. Shays’ Rebellion was prior to Congress under the Constitution.
It’s just unthinkable what the merchant class in Boston thought they could get away with doing to Daniel Shays and all those farmers from Pelham, Massachusetts west who had actually fought their revolution, who actually picked the guns up, who actually went to Saratoga and Ticonderoga and Monmouth and Brandywine and all those other places, had lost limbs and lost lives and what have you, to come home and find that they’re ruled by this guy named Governor Bowdoin. The merchant class in Boston’s grand idea is: Hey, we need tax money to pay our Revolutionary War debts. Let’s tax the guys that own the land out west. Oh, you mean the guys that were the minutemen?
Yeah, let’s go get them. They did and that’s what Shays’ Rebellion is all about. You don’t even have to look very far beyond the end of hostilities after the British left and went back to Great Britain and left us here to our own devices to see the early stages of what you just described.
Christopher Ferrara: That’s a very apt example. In fact, you find in the aftermath of Shays’ Rebellion none other than the ultimate radical rouser, Sam Adams, calling for the execution of Shays and his fellow rebels. This is so ironic. He said: Monarchies can be tolerant to this sort of thing but not republican governments. To heap irony upon irony, it was precisely the Shays’ Rebellion that allowed the federalist politicians to say: This is a condition of severe instability here in the new government. We need a strong central government at the national level to prevent these kinds of uprising and disturbances. It was that rebellion that led to the drive for what was ultimately the constitutional convention.
I show how the 55 delegates went into the closed-door session in Philadelphia and conducted what Professor Burgess rightly called a kind of coup d’état. They had a limited mandate to alter the Articles of Confederation, which were a mild arrangement compared to what we have today. They abandoned the Articles of Confederation completely and devised an entirely new government on paper. I take people on a tour through the provisions of the Constitution, especially the federal powers set forth in Article I. You combine those with the Necessary and Proper Clause and the Supreme Court and the Article III federal judiciary, and the ambiguities of the Tenth Amendment, which don’t really say much about what powers the states retain, combine those things and you have a prescription for what Brutus and the other opponents of the original form of the government rightly predicted. You have a prescription for unlimited federal power.
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I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I understand the sentiments behind those that say: Let’s secede. Let’s nullify this or that piece of federal legislation. That’s not going to get us out of this mess. That gets me to the prescription. The prescription is not so much this or that political remedy. We have to put the brakes on this trajectory that has led us to the Obama administration and, I must say, to the moral and spiritual decline of the West. We’re at the edge of an abyss right now. Anybody can see that. Even liberals are alarmed, some of them at least, about the moral and spiritual condition of this country.
In order to have a true American Revolution, which would be a bloodless revolution, people have to wake up and use the mechanism of democracy itself to bring about change in a peaceful way, just by force of numbers. It would also involve street activism, something along the lines of the civil rights movement in the 1960, but instead, a movement for a moral and spiritual regeneration of this country, beginning perhaps at the local level, on the basis of absolute, objectively true, moral principles. What good is nullification if we’re not going to nullify the legalization of abortion, for example, which has produced 55 million deaths of innocent human beings in this country since 1973? The slogan crafted for Clinton was “It’s the economy, stupid.” I propose a different slogan, “It’s the morality, stupid.” This is a moral issue fundamentally. Until we wake up to that reality and begin a moral revolution in this country, there really isn’t any hope for turning the situation around.
Mike: I told you people you were not going to expect what Christopher Ferrara was going to share with us. His book is Liberty, the God That Failed. What is the subtitle?
Ferrara: Policing the Sacred and Constructing the Myths of the Secular State, from Locke to Obama. By policing the sacred, there’s a whole section of the book dedicated to that subtheme. The modern State — and I cite scholar after scholar for this proposition — depends for its survival on the subordination of religion. Religion must be subordinated to political purposes. Everyone must agree, no matter what his religion, that religion is now a private opinion, and that churches are essentially private clubs. You can abide by the club rules if you wish and remain members of your various clubs, as long as you agree that at the level of the public, they’re absolutely irrelevant, that the truths of religion, the revealed truth in particular that we see in the divine law, which reflects the law that is written in our hearts, it’s just a matter of opinion. Keep it to yourself. Don’t dare disturb the political process with your private religious opinions. The modern State depends on that pact, if you will, that pact of silence that we’ve all somehow agreed to for its very survival.
Mike: I was just, not coincidentally, reading an essay by Edmund Opitz last night about a man that I have not studied very much but I think I’m going to, Albert Jay Nock. Nock’s prescription for what you just described for using the tools of democracy and street protests, if you will, to forge the catchphrase or slogan “It’s the morality, stupid” and actually do something about it, Nock conclude, and this was a century ago, that all this politics stuff is going to get you absolutely nowhere. We’re going to hell, but you may think you’re going somewhere with your progress. Here’s where you’re going, as you just said, we’re going over an abyss.
His prescription was something that I tried to reinforce and learn as much as I can so I can proselytize about it as efficiently and convincingly as possible. This is another old adage, and I don’t know if you cover it in the book because I haven’t gotten much past the third chapter thus far, but change can only begin with you. The only thing that you can really control is you. If you are a good, humble before your God Christian gentleman or gentle lady, and you practice that and then you let that inform your politics — you don’t politic as a Christian, you let it inform your politics — then you really have done all you can do. You can lead by example, but that’s really the extent of it. Do you cover this?
Ferrara: I do. The phrase that best captures what I say in the book is that the word has power, and by the word I mean the revealed truth. Then you begin, of course, with the Ten Commandments. If people just opened their mouths to speak these truths at the level of the public, the dialogue will change and society will begin to change. Politicians, first of all, and public figures, have to take the lead. I think of what happened to Phil Robertson. This is a perfect example. Here’s a man who, however crudely he put it, said that homosexual activity is wrong, it’s a sin. What happened to sin in this country? Have we lost any consciousness of immoral conduct, of the notion of sin? He said that.
The great thing is not so much that he said it — again, I would have said it a little more elegantly — but the great thing is that he refused to back down. This is the key. Other people have opened their mouths and tried to say some of these things in public discourse, and they end up with an abject apology: I’m very, very sorry. I didn’t mean to offend the gay and lesbian community. Not Phil Robertson. This guy said: I’m not backing down. A&E, after suspending him, was forced to reinstate him. If you multiply that by a thousand public figures, politicians as well — here I stress the role of the Catholic Church. The bishops have to take the lead with Catholics. If you bring this discourse into the public square and start talking about the will of God as opposed to the will of the majority, things will begin to change by themselves, within the existing structures, within the framework of democracy itself.
End Mike Church Show Transcript
Part III of this interview is Coming Soon!