Sealed In Blood

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Many, many worse things. It rejects some current expressions of liberalism, where the only given, the only thing that is central, is the democratic process and peace, with peace considered primarily as not punching someone in the face because he is an Arian. One might call this anti-Santa liberalism. Constantine as avatar of liberalism because he put St. Deneen is at his core a virtue-Tocquevillian , a civic republican of the first water, who for that reason is uneasy with centralized power.

Centralized power is what men turn to when they feel shut out of real politics, when they are isolated. The solution is to refuse to be privatized, and instead to focus on smaller, more local versions of the public sphere: the little platoons which allow real political participation and which overcome isolation. He also radically prefers and should not you, too, prefer it, reader? Meanwhile Madison is grappling with the fact that not every issue can be settled by committee. The eighteenth century civic republican temperament wants every issue to be resolved by coffeehouse conversation; the Thomistic civic republican temperament wants every issue to be settled by the coffeehouse conversation of us dependent rational animals, with the help of the Holy Spirit.

I get this temperament; it is partly though only partly my own. And that is one root of politics: civic friendship, with the common good, the just and orderly regime of our common lives, as the magnet that draws us together. But Deneen got a lot of grief for that, from a number of directions. The first direction was the pure distilled proof integralists , like Pater Edmund Waldstein at The Josias , who point out to him several things:. First, he is not actually willing to say that the government should say that Christ is King, and that to deny this is inherently to base a nation on injustice, because giving Christ his due is a matter of justice, as justice is giving to each man his due.

All kings of the earth will one day bow to Christ as king, the integralists point out, and every day they put this off is a day too long, and that to pretend that it is somehow OK, or a workable real peace, for your ruler to not publicly acknowledge that Christ is his ruler, is silly. There is no peace without justice, and there is no peace without a common love of the Prince of Peace. There is at best detente. Second, he is not willing to say that it is appropriate for the government to publicly acknowledge and favor in its laws the Catholic Church as the Church which Christ founded, to be the channel of his life to the world.

Again, it is worse for us than it was for the Greeks if we do not do so, by their reckoning. And finally, not every virtue can be developed in a PTA meeting. The second strand of criticism of Deneen and a bit of the first, too, especially the final point was primarily articulated by Adrian Vermeule. Carl Schmitt is to Dr. Vermeule what Tocqueville is to Dr. Vermeule is not quite a normal integralist.

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Carl Schmitt wants to remind us that the peace of civic friendship and of mutual recognition and of philosophical contemplation and of busy exchange, and especially of the operation of legal norms— the peace of the coffeehouse conversation, of hierarchically ordered families, of courts of justice; the peace of the City— has, in reality, come at a price, and it may need once again to be bought at a price, and that that price is the establishment of rule by violence. And that that violence— that moment of exception, that moment when someone is willing to bring order, is the moment in which we see the face of sovereignty.

That is real, say the Schmittians. Without sovereignty, there is no order in which we can contemplate what law ought to be, in which we can count on the functioning of the courts, in which we can persuade each other. And to bring this order, one must be willing to kill. And to pretend that this moment never comes— never has come, and never will come— is the in their view not-quite-political existence of the Tocquevillians, of those who retreat to smaller incomplete communities, who the accusation goes can speak prophetically to power but who are never willing to take it.

And Deneen was responding to precisely this critique. One can read Schmitt to say exactly that one may use Machiavellian means for Aristotelian ends: unjust means, even, or… better… means before justice. The moment before any order is established is an inherently agonistic moment. You might, in that moment, use the populace as a weapon; you might use the bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to pave the way for that decade of factory jobs and social solidarity and the youth of the Boomers. One might say that Schmitt just hitched his wagon to the wrong Machiavellians.

And of course everyone does, with no caviling, say this. Is there a way to conceive of the exercise of power that grapples with the reality of the political, which does not count on debate societies as the origins of all order, but which rejects a Machiavellian account of politics? He, like so many others, is reminding us of what the tradition taught.

One may— and if one is a ruler, one must— use the sword. Not every issue can be settled by committee. There will be men who are wolves to men, and if one is a ruler, it is neglectful to fail to protect. Such a society may be ordered, with order established by one who rose to the occasion of the moment of decision; the courts may — technically, procedurally — function. Food distribution in a church in lower Manhattan, after Hurricane Sandy. Another horizon on which political authority disappears is precisely a lack of power to protect or to carry out judgements. If power without right has no political authority— if an unjust king is no better than a pirate— then right without power is also not properly political.

It cannot command the authority to require action of us. Ousted regimes may at best have the status of a worthy opposition, which does not entitle them to command disobedience to government since it is the duty of a subject to ensure that they are actually governed… In the moment of conflict, of course, when possession is contested, the matter may be different: a revolution acquires power as it acts, recruiting the power it needs as we respond to its summons.

But in this case, too, authority lays its obligation on us by what it can effectively achieve for justice. If it cannot achieve anything, it lays no obligation on us, and therefore is not an authority. The peace that is the end of any struggle, if it is a legitimate struggle, is, as Jose Mena writes ,. The authentic peace in which God has ordained for His creation to live. Peace is not founded on mutual antagonism or a truce between warring parties.

Those images that we see after natural disasters of ordinary men and women looking out for each other in community? Peace should govern every level of our political life: this is what it means to promote the common good. These images of a government of peace highlight the fact that government itself, and hierarchy within at least some aspects of society, were not things that were added because of transgression, or something that are the result of the Fall.

God is a King, and the natural law is his cosmic order written in our hearts. This order is ethical and aesthetic and political, as well as natural in the contemporary sense— there is no sharp line between natural philosophy and the rest of all of this. And all of these things take government: a good house party is not organized by a mechanistic invisible hand, although the gracious hand of Providence is involved in true conviviality, and in the invention of new cocktails based purely on the mixers and spirits that are available, according to what the guests, by happenstance, bring.

It must grow, mature, just as an individual person will. However, one may not forget that at the beginning of every civilization, a prototype of the form of government existed. The State represents an analogy of the divine order. The distinct role is not punishing wrongdoing, but rather doing justice in a role of command, and governing, with authority, the building more and more fruitful order. What our task was, and is, is to join God in building a just city that is a temple. Building cities is what animals who are political animals do.

Because they live in them. We are naturally gregarious, we are not isolated, but are born into miniature polities that are families, with mother and father as king and queen, and we reach our telos when we are active participants in the political economy, the cooperative orderly work of a complete community. The political common good is, precisely, the kind of complete, active, fruitful, ordered peace , that one experiences in a just polity.

You have your bit to do, everyone does: there are elements of hierarchy in this and elements of peer-friendship, because both hierarchy and peer friendship are good expressions of human love. Both are needed, both are real. The desire for equality as an end in itself, an ontological condition, will coincide with a tendency to detach from, disregard, or eliminate the significance of reality as it actually is.

This is the place where Thomas finds Aristotle, and he notices that this is sort of the bottom up, secular version of what Genesis is taking about from a top-down perspective: they fit together as heaven and earth do. It begins with domestic life, and it ends in a wedding: We can thus say that the proper genre to associate with the common good is the comedy.

How all this nets out is that rulership, and politics properly speaking, are not extrinsic to the cosmic order, but are baked right in. We can pretend that politics are an emergency backup measure, as liberalism does, and that they are primarily about a monopoly on violence, and that they are not anything to do with rulership properly speaking, but only with alienated self-sovereignty. But we would only be pretending.

And none of these exist because of the Fall. They are human things, and humans are creatures made in the image of God, and this is all an image of how it will be when the High King returns and we all take our places under his rule, as Adam and Eve ought to have done, and as he incarnated as the second Adam finally did, and will do. Justice and peace must come to such a society through both the populace and the elites beginning to tell the truth.

And for the ruler of such a society, it would be neglectful to fail to execute justice— proportional justice— because to do justice is to tell the truth. The ruler does not bear the sword in vain. Not all force is the same. To think that it is is to find oneself caught in the claws of liberalism, because liberalism precisely cannot see the distinction between ends.


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To recover a politics of ends , with the primary end being peace, we must not lose track of the distinction between different applications of power. The exception is decisionist, not arbitrary; those are different things. The substantive nature of the decision must be based on precisely on the end. To put it in the simplest terms, the violence with which a would-be murderer attacks a two year old, and the violence with which her mother repels that attack, are not parallel things.

Lord God it was a work of Thine, And how might I refrain? But Kansas, bleeding Kansas, I hear her in her pain. Her corn is rustling in the ground, An arrow in my flesh. And all night long I staunch a wound That ever bleeds afresh. And if we live, we free the slave, And if we die, we die…. If you make the common good the center of politics, you will always end up with the state enforcing one version of the common good against all the others. Some are ready to go quite far in jettisoning any agreement and thus any real peace. What they are willing to get behind— and the only things they are— are the deliberative democratic process, on one hand, and peace as in not being physically violent towards those you disagree with because you disagree with on the other.

Who are the humans who matter to the state, humans against whom injustice can , but must not , be committed? How do you recognize a human being, and against what do you measure the outcome of a debate? The debate over abortion is a debate over the recognition of those who are human beings, or human beings who really matter, as opposed to human beings who only kind of matter. In this formulation, it is a mother who gets to define whether or not that creature inside her is a human, claiming our regard; her liberty to do this, to come down on one side or another based on her will, is the sine qua non of contemporary freedom.

Law is purely, here, the tool of the will. Abortion is defended, as Hadley Arkes has never ceased from pointing out, precisely as Stephen Douglas defended slavery during his debates with Abraham Lincoln. Douglas, the perfect liberal, argued for a principle of neutrality with regard to slavery. I deny their right to force a free State upon an unwilling people.

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I deny their right to force a good thing upon a people who are unwilling to receive it. The great principle is the right of every community to judge and decide for itself whether a thing is right or wrong, whether it would be good or evil for them to adopt it; and the right of free action, the right of free judgment upon the question is dearer to every true American than any other under a free government. And it immediately betrays the central lie of liberalism.

Liberalism claims to not make a judgment on substantive questions. But of course to refuse to judge is to judge. And why? Again, for only one reason. Several rounds earlier, on August 21, , he had spelled it out. The purported neutrality of liberalism, in that case, only worked if one firmly and completely rejected the reality of the humanity of black people, if one definitively rejected human brotherhood.

And Lincoln, on October 7 of that same year , responded:. All [his] arguments, if you will consider them, will be seen to exclude the thought that there is any thing whatever wrong in slavery. Judge Douglas declares that if any community want slavery they have a right to have it. He can say that logically, if he says that there is no wrong in slavery; but if you admit that there is a wrong in it, he cannot logically say that any body has a right to do wrong.

He insists that, upon the score of equality, the owners of slaves and owners of property-of horses and every other sort of property-should be alike and hold them alike in a new Territory. That is perfectly logical, if the two species of property are alike and are equally founded in right. But if you admit that one of them is wrong, you cannot institute any equality between right and wrong.

And from this difference… arises the real difference between Judge Douglas and his friends on the one hand, and the Republicans on the other. The peace that Douglas wanted to hold, Lincoln saw, was a peace that was a cold war. By pressing Douglas to admit that his politics of means concealed a politics of ends, he revealed the truth. This revelation was, as all unveilings are, a kind of apocalypse. And they were such despite the real bonds of love and brotherhood across the Mason-Dixon line.

They were not at peace. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other. But it did fall. The nation that could not endure half slave and half free, did not endure: the regime which Lincoln refounded was a different regime.

Something like this shift in regime is what we may hope for from this illiberal moment. It is not impossible. What would it take? When pack meets with pack in the jungle, and neither will go from the trail, Lie down till the leaders have spoken; it may be fair words shall prevail.

The only thing to do, if a wolf decides to attack you, is to kill it. He only forgets himself, and acts like a wolf to his fellowman. He too, if he is attacking your child, may be killed, but there is a self to which he may be recalled; there is a primordial peace and a shared nature of which he may be reminded.

This reminding is something not quite the same as argumentative persuasion. Look at this good that you already know, that you knew before that knowledge was drummed out of you: That is what it seems to me I have said when I have had these conversations. But as a matter of experience, it is the direction of the gaze, the mutual contemplation of the truth of human worth, the reality of justice, and of the good of gift as opposed to what is earned, which are most powerfully persuasive.

If there are those who do not regard humans as having worth, if someone averts his gaze from that truth to the point that he decides to kill, it is just to prevent him from doing so, and punish him if he does. The ethos of a hired assassin is not parallel with the ethos of Jean Vanier. One ethos directs its holder along the grain of reality, directs him in harmony with how things actually are.

The other, however firmly held, does not. Not all power is the same. Not all wills are the same. There is power that is not Machiavellian. The power with which you enforce the not-killing-two-year-olds principle is not the same as the power with which you might kill a two year old. One is just. And one is unjust. It is a Very Bad Thing to be a Niebuhrian.

Just war theory and martyrdom go together, because one thing that just war theory says is that there are things we may not do, not even to win. If you lose this, you have not kept hold of the center. The Good who is Christ is King , and so we must finally submit to his kingship. Not as a matter of being crushed, but as a matter of telling the good truth about ourselves, and him, and the world in which we live.

And we have got to do that by refusing to use Machiavellian means for Aristotelian ends. Plan A is to cleave whoever we are, in whatever role to the Good, to Christ. And there is no Plan B. Is this unrealistic? Am I, perhaps, illicitly mixing up the ethical with the political, confusing the fundamental ethical opposition of good and evil with the fundamental political one of friend and enemy?

For [the just] do not give their commands out of any desire for domination but rather out of dutiful concern for others, not out of any pride in ruling but rather out of compassion in providing for others. This is what the order of nature prescribes; this is the way God created man. Graham found a kindred spirit in Diane Zamora, the oldest of four children of Carlos Zamora, an electrician, and Gloria, a nurse. The two met four years ago while enrolled in search-and-rescue training in the Civil Air Patrol.

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Zamora, who wanted to be an astronaut, was a member of the junior varsity track team, the National Honor Society, the Key Club and the drill team. Yet at least one person felt her achievements stemmed more from career calculation than from genuine interest. In contrast, friends and relatives were struck by her nearly total involvement with Graham. Others say it was Graham who ruled the relationship. He persuaded Zamora to compete in track, despite the fact she had never enjoyed running.

Including, it appears, keep a secret. Detectives in Grand Prairie and Mansfield thought immediately of the Jones killing and sent investigators to Annapolis to interview Zamora. At first she insisted she had invented the story. Chuck Sager of the Grand Prairie police. On Aug.


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Only later did police learn that she then flew to Colorado Springs and met with Graham. When detectives interviewed Graham a few days later, he too insisted Zamora had invented her murder story. But on Sept.

Sealed in Blood: Aristopopulism and the City of Man | Mere Orthodoxy

Ever the overachiever, he reportedly grew so impatient with the police typist that he tapped out the last part of his statement himself. The same day, police arrested Zamora. Acting on a search warrant, authorities recovered barbell weights and a Russian-made 9-mm Makarov handgun, which was found hidden in the attic of the Graham home in Mansfield. But the most powerful—and chilling—evidence was the confessions, which told a tale of teenage love run amok.

That same evening he divulged his infidelity to Zamora.

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Shortly, though, she regained her composure sufficiently to demand an act of atonement. Graham insisted to police that he felt powerless to say no. A month passed. Then on Dec. Zamora reportedly told investigators that once they parked, she sat up and confronted Adrianne for having seduced her boyfriend. Then a fight broke out in the car. Fearing that Adrianne might hurt Graham, Zamora said. Stunned and presumably bleeding, Adrianne managed to climb out of the car and began trying to get away—with David in pursuit. Apparently, Graham returned to the car to report that Adrianne was dead.

But Zamora urged him to check again. This time, according to Graham, he stood over Adrianne and shot her in the face.

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In his confession, Graham said he wanted to drive away once Adrianne had fled from the car but decided he had no choice but to finish the job. I fired again and ran to the car. Back in the car, he and Zamora turned to each other. Graham and Zamora, now being held in the Tarrant County jail, have been charged with capital murder and could face the death penalty.