Art, Totalitarianism and Western Culture

Adapted from an article published in the Summer, 1991, issue of Communio, a journal of theology and culture.

As power extends its grasp into wider and wider rings of human life it becomes more hostile to everything outside of itself. As it becomes near absolute it grows increasingly negative, because by its very nature it must oppose what cannot be extinguished in men’s beings. Totalitarian power does not rest content with obedience and a passive populace. It must seek at some point to destroy the inner impulse to creativity which depends for its well-being on freedom from manipulation. It must find and erase all resistance, all spiritual autonomy, all dignity in its subjects.

Globalization and the New World Order

Those who undertake the building of an ideal planetary society will find that it is a great deal less easy to accomplish than they anticipated. That will be their moment of testing. In the best-case scenario, they might come to admit that genuine diversity and a broad spectrum of independent sovereignties is, after all, a healthier system of governing the people of the world—imperfect as always, but the best means of maintaining freedom. Or, driven by a pride that approaches the level of satanic, they may push onward, imposing the new order regardless of the opposition, dismissing whatever valid arguments the resistance may put forward. And if the resistance is strong, a very big stick will be needed. There will be imprisonment for those who resist (or even dissent from) the perceived “common good.” The new rulers will justify the loss of freedoms by promoting everywhere the illusion that the successful realization of the dream is the highest good, worth any sacrifice. (“It is better that one man should die than the entire nation be destroyed,” said Caiaphas) Translated into modern terms: “It is better that nations should die, and some of their peoples die, than our window of opportunity for global control be lost.” Formed by and living by the deformed ethic of “the end justifies the means”, they will consider themselves to be the true visionaries, the saviours of the world. In a phrase, this is secular messianism. (see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 676)

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The New Totalitarianism, “hate crime,” and same-sex “marriage”

A new totalitarianism? In Canada, the recent passage of a new “hate crime law” is a case in point, and the looming “same-sex marriage” bill now before Parliament is another. A number of aspects of the hate crimes law are especially disturbing. For one thing, previous to the passage of this law there already existed in Canadian law abundant protection of human rights, including protection against discrimination on grounds of “sexual orientation.” What is distinctive about the new law is its criminalization of negative criticism of homosexuality as such. While the bill was in formation in Parliament two crucial amendments proposed by the conservative opposition party were defeated. The first was to ensure that religious pastors and teachers would retain full freedom to teach traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs on these matters. The second was an attempt to make a distinction in law between homosexual persons and homosexual activities.

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