Our on-going development of the Légitimiste model in the positive requires as an important supplement a statement in the negative. It is as important to know what we must reject as it is to know what we must accept. We must know what path to follow but nevertheless need to be aware of those we must not. We are unapologetic in our revival of the honest dialectic (using the strict Aristotelian definition of “honest dialectic”) and our non-negotiable paradigm that all is relative to truth, rather than truth sophistically being relative to all. In this spirit we will identify and briefly outline the authors of some of the most pernicious errors of our age, those that are purposefully veiling truth and légitimité, i.e., the divine order in personal, cultural, and political affairs. Bad philosophy spreads like poison in water even if we know not the source, which is precisely why we must provide the antidote through Légitimité.
A handful on our syllabus of errors:
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel – We find Hegel’s greatest influence in the notion that the new supercedes the old, simply because it is the new. Tradition means nothing. The old must make way for the new. “The Church must get with the times,” “What was true yesterday is not necessarily what is true today,” and “Whatever is progressive must be right – those opposed are close-minded,” nicely sum up Hegelianism. Many found, rightly so, Hegelianism at the core of the “spirit of Vatican II” that so afflicts the Church today. GK Chesterton had the Hegelian spirit in mind when he quipped, “Thursday is not superior to Wednesday just because it comes later in the week.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau – Rousseau has a wide influence on modern society and often in contradictory and ambiguous ways. He influenced the Founding Fathers and is responsible for the notion of the “General Will of the People” and that in itself, the General Will can never be wrong so long as it is well-informed (which is a contradiction to scripture, logic, and Légitimité). While this all is quite “American,” we must note that Rousseau also had a deep influence on communism with his equally obscure idea that all must submit to the General Will as instituted by those who govern and that the state has the duty to banish or even execute the offenders of the General Will.
Yet, one Rousseauian influence often overlooked and the one with which we are most concerned here is that of the natural goodness and virtuousness of the “savage man,” or man in his most primitive state. For Rousseau man is corrupted not through sin but by society. Without the negative influence of society, such as the harsh imposition of western Christian religion and culture on their otherwise “pure” and “good” primitive beliefs, the natives would have remained innocent. When others point out how western civilization (with its Christianity, of course) has corrupted the pureness of the natives and their noble religions, we are being confronted by Rousseau. In movies, when we see the hero saved by tossing aside his rigid traditional western beliefs, opening his mind, and experiencing the wisdom of the pre-Christian native religion or non-Christian eastern spiritualism, we are being confronted by Rousseau. The idea that cultural Christianity has had a devastating effect on the pureness and inherent goodness of the natives it colonized is Rousseau. That ancient pagan religions are superior (or at least equal) to and more pure than cultural, institutional Christianity is Rousseau.
Friedrich Nietzsche – Nietzsche’s impact on our day-to-day world can be summed up more succinctly than Hegel or Rousseau’s. Nietzsche taught us to see religion, and Christianity in particular, as foolish and only for the weak-minded, those who are destined to serve the “Übermensch,” or more developed “Superman” who is their superior. Nietzsche is probably the most popular influence on our modern cinematic idea of a “hero,” one who has no regard for society’s religion and believes only in his own moral code. He is strong, self-sufficient, and contemptuous of traditional, notably Christian, society. He has a strong morality, but it is his own.
Karl Marx – Marx needs little in the way of introduction in our modern world. He is probably the one on our list most familiar to the mainstream. There is no need here to explain his impact; however, we might note that the main reason he is so difficult to put down is that the mainstream does such a poor job of answering his objections to the modern post-industrial world. New thinking is required to answer Marx. Légitimité is the only force capable of conquering him. Truth conquers all.
Civil religion – State civil religion is the most seductive error of them all. Its most potent tool is the secular dogma of separation of church and state. While leading one to believe that separation is the backbone of freedom, it is, in reality, a deceptive tactic to subjugate the moral authority of the Church to the state and to do this by the cooperation of the very people who profess the Church’s faith. Civil religion establishes new sacred documents, new “fathers,” new sacred symbols, and new doctrines before which the Church must yield in the public square. Civil religion supplants the Church in the public debate, and the state becomes the final judge of what is good and evil. We may worship freely but only if we first burn incense on the altar of the state.
Awareness of these dark philosophies is the first step in calling them out and then defeating them. Too often, versions of these beliefs are presented subtly as “Christian” so as to subdue the true Christian spirit. We must identify, call out, and defeat these errors spiritually, culturally, and politically. That is the positive effect of Légitimité to these negative influences.