We are living in the failure of the so-called Enlightenment. There, I said it. I declared it, just like those people declaring that men can get pregnant, just like Putin annexing parts of Ukraine, just like Biden asking for Representative Jackie Walorski. Except, I’m right. And maybe we should have known before now since we have been calling it the “Enlightenment.” What was going on before the “Enlightenment?” We don’t know, but apparently it was full of superstition and confusion: it was “the dark ages.” You know, when things like Christianity were the dominant philosophical and spiritual force in the West, when slavery and unjust wars were dying out, and scientific discovery, world exploration, industrial expansion, artistic ingenuity, and medical innovation were all on the rise. You know, darkness like that.
It was while all of these massive gifts were being given that some of the thinkers of really big and important thoughts began saying ridiculous things like, “look what we did all by ourself.” Look what our big brains did. Look what we thought up with our powerful reason. And, having pulled themselves all the way up to a standing position, they girded their pullups about their loins and stuck out their puffy little fingers, and began saying silly things like: religion is not reasonable, God is not reasonable, revelation is not reasonable, and therefore, religion must be kept in an important, but out of the way closet in the back of the house, like a friendly but slightly crazy uncle. We will acknowledge his existence in vague and salutatory ways, but we won’t invite him to any of our very important conversations or discussions. Religion causes wars. Religion makes people think they really know things, and having come to believe that they really know things, they will think that other people are wrong. And when some people think they are really right, and other people think they are really wrong, that makes for conflict, and conflict turns into wars.
The Need for a Dictionary
I’m a simple man, but since the advent of the secular, materialistic state, I do have some questions about this peaceful utopia of “shut up you, bigot” camaraderie and brotherhood. Which, in turn, is breaking out into smash-and-grab looting and pillaging of department stores and convenience stores in the cities most committed to this secular golden age. Of course, what I’m pointing out is that the secular liberal state has not banished religion or morality or strong opinions or conflict or wars. If anything, the rise of secular states has only increased the strong opinions and conflict and wars. Secularism is a religion, even if they keep denying it. They call on their gods of climate change, and we call on the God who made heaven and earth. So maybe we should call them truth-deniers, religion-deniers, morality-deniers, whatever. Atheism is a religion. Materialism is a religion. Secular statism is a religion. They are all faith-commitments in a worldview that informs their versions of what is good, true, beautiful, just, and free.
The point is that every community, every nation, every business, every family must have a dictionary and rule book. We must have agreed upon definitions of words, terms, and agreed upon rules of engagement. This is essential to every human enterprise. And whoever comes along and insists that there is no need for dictionaries or rule books is not thereby actually banishing definitions and rules, they are in fact insisting on their own definitions and rules, but now they are not fixed and can change and morph and evolve at whim. The secular liberal/libertarian state is that guy. He’s the Ref who shows up at the football game and insists that rules are unnecessary: lines and endzones are meanspirited and superstitious. He’s the English teacher who insists that definitions only make people surly and fussy. What we need, he says, is neutrality, not taking any sides on definitions or rules, and this will create, he insists, maximum freedom for all. But he’s lying. He’s lying his head off.
And we know this because we ought to immediately ask the question: what is neutrality and what is freedom? And when he says something like “neutrality is objective and not taking sides,” we should say, great, and where’d you get that definition? And if he says, Oh, that’s just self-evident. You should squint and say, “Oh you mean like the resurrection of Jesus from the dead?” And when they look at you like you’ve sprouted a third eye on your forehead, you should smile and say, “Or that life begins at conception or that drag queens are doing blackface for women?” Completely self-evident?
You can’t use words and then insist that definitions are self-evident. Try that with someone who doesn’t speak the language. You can say the words “neutral” and “freedom” all day long till you’re as blue-faced as Braveheart, and a non-English speaker from China will still not know what you’re talking about. And vice versa.
So what we are insisting on is reality, and we are opposed to secular make believe, Enlightenment fairyland, and rationalist irrationalism. We are insisting on a dictionary and a basic rule book, and we are insisting that the foundational dictionary and rule book be the Bible, the Old and New Testaments, the 66 books agreed upon by all Christians everywhere that are the Word of Triune God. We are insisting that the Bible be the basis for all society, Christians, Muslims, atheists, Republicans, libertarians, and smug secularists.
Of course then the cries go up of “theocracy!” and “Sharia law!” and “fascism!” and the claim comes that if you privilege the Christian Scriptures as authoritative you’ve just demolished the whole list above. Nice try, you Christian Nationalists – you, you just want everyone to convert to your religion. But not so fast. Isn’t that what secular liberals want? I mean, if secular liberals say that we must all play by their rules, would you make the same claim about them? Are they fascists? Why not? The secular liberals want their assumptions, definitions, and standards to rule the playing field for everyone else, right? Why is it safer for society to submit to a religion without a book than to submit to a religion with a book? Why do you prefer the make-it-up-as-we-go-along morality to the settled-in-stone-for-2,000 years morality of Christian Scripture?
Theocracy in America?
Now, do I want a theocracy in America? By the common definition of that term, which is subject to the whims of the lust mob scrubbing and re-writing definitions on Wikipedia, no. What is commonly meant by “theocracy” is “ecclesiocracy,” with pastors and elders and church councils running a country, essentially like it is in Muslim nations. No, I don’t want that at all. I am a very happy supporter of the First Amendment. I actually believe in the institutional separation of church and state, and I think you should too. But what I don’t believe in is the separation between God and state, the separation between reality and state, or the separation between gravity and state. Which is just several ways of saying the same thing.
At the very least, we must not believe in the separation of dictionaries and the Constitution. We must insist that we be able to look up words like “justice” and “general welfare” and “liberty” and “domestic tranquility.” What do those words actually mean? And when we find those fixed definitions, that will mean that certain high priests of the secular cult must be fired and told that they were very, very wrong. The secularists moved in and insisted that these things are all so very, very “self-evident” and now we have FBI agents raiding the homes of pro-life Catholics because they stood on a sidewalk to plead for the lives of the unborn. The secularists insisted that these things are “self-evident,” and now some are insisting that this means Drag Queens – which, let us not forget are dudes dressed up like gaudy clown-women – must be allowed access to library story hours and young children. The secularists insisted that these things are “self-evident,” and we have minors having their breasts cut off and given hormones and hormone blockers to chemically castrate them. And all of this in the name of “liberty” and “justice” and “general welfare.” Forgive me while I laugh in your face.
At the very least, let us agree to disagree. Liberalism and libertarianism have utterly failed. Burning down police stations, looting department stores, chopping up little babies and selling their body parts, buying and selling eggs, renting wombs, castrating teenage boys and girls, and demanding that sexually provocative clowns be given access to children – all of these things in the name of liberty and justice – yeah, we’re going to need a dictionary. We need a rule book. Let us stop with this childish nonsense that says words simply have self-evident meanings. That’s about as coherent as the “Knights Who Say Ni!” I’ve a mind to start my own club, called the Knights Who Say No.
Before anyone else gets elected, let us insist that they tell us the foundation for their understanding of truth, morality, goodness, justice, and liberty. Of course just because they say “the Bible” doesn’t mean they have the foggiest notion of what it’s in that book, but at least we can hold them accountable. If they say the Quran, that’s helpful too. And if they say Scripture as interpreted by Catholic dogma, that’s helpful too. Of course Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi have insisted that their Catholic religion is very dear to them, while supporting monstrous policies of theft by taxation and inflation and murder by abortion, but let us begin by a simple return to sanity and simply insist on a dictionary. What will our definitions be? This is required for basic human communication. But a refusal to have a dictionary is fundamentally a refusal to communicate. It is a refusal to have a conversation. And that is how we have arrived at this “shut up, you bigot” moment of harmony and brotherhood.