Perhaps one of the more vivid ways to characterize the past three and half centuries in the history of Western culture is as multiple successive acts of metaphorical parricide. In several important ways, the political philosophy called liberalism is a child of Christianity, albeit a wayward or illegitimate child. By that I mean that many elements of liberalism were drawn and isolated from the ancient patrimony of Christian doctrine and culture. But liberalism attacked and killed its parent.

Perhaps one of the more vivid ways to characterize the past three and half centuries in the history of Western culture is as multiple successive acts of metaphorical parricide.


In several important ways, the political philosophy called liberalism is a child of Christianity, albeit a wayward or illegitimate child. By that I mean that many elements of liberalism were drawn and isolated from the ancient patrimony of Christian doctrine and culture. But liberalism attacked and killed its parent.


The first parricidal act was when liberalism attacked and destroyed the teachings and institutions of traditional Christian economic morality. However, classical economic liberalism in its turn gave birth to ideological children who have killed their parent. Thus, whereas liberals in the past promoted free markets and free trade, today’s liberals more usually oppose those things, and even among conservative politicians, ideological heirs of classical liberalism, they seem not infrequently to be regarded as more honored in the breach than in the observance.


The second parricidal act was liberalism’s destruction of the traditional Christian conception of the state as divinely instituted. Early on, liberalism could still acknowledge God and the existence of a higher law to which even the state was subject. However, by replacing the understanding that government is instituted by God with the opinion that government is a purely human construct, politics was reduced to a question of power, and thus liberalism, which advocated limited government, paved the way for the expansive and ever-expanding secular state. Once again the ideological child killed its parent.


Having overthrown Christian moral teachings in matters of economics and politics, liberalism — which holds individual liberty to be the foundational principle of human existence — next began to attack human nature itself.


The first liberals had inherited a knowledge of the natural moral law from the Catholic Church, and declared that the moral virtues were indispensable for a healthy civic life, but liberalism’s exaltation of the rights and liberty of the individual led in due course to the erosion of the moral sense. For if freedom is the highest good, then nothing — not the moral law, not even nature and human biological laws — can be permitted to take precedence. Yet again the ideological child has killed the parent.


And so, as Catholic political philosopher Thomas Storck has observed in “Liberalism’s Three Assaults,” beginning in the 1800s liberalism “first championed divorce; divorce was followed by contraception, contraception by abortion, abortion by euthanasia, euthanasia by homosexual conduct, homosexual conduct by the entire abolition of the two created human sexes.” Central to the attempt to abolish the natural sexual complementarity of the human race, Storck shows, are so-called “sex-change” operations. All along the same spectrum of moral deconstruction are pornography, sex clubs, anonymous sperm and egg donation, surrogacy, in vitro fertilization, human cloning, destroying embryonic human beings to acquire their stem cells, and the drive to equate homosexual unions with natural marriage.


These kinds of things are regularly promoted in various ways in our commerce, because the dismantling of the natural family and prolongation of adolescence depresses wages and encourages materialism and imprudent buying habits.


Hence the prominence of advertising, “which was illegal in Catholic nations during the Middle Ages and even into the eighteenth century,” Storck says. “Advertising has been one of the chief means by which sexual images and enticements have made their way very publicly into our culture. … It is natural that the free market exploits the sexual urge to sell its products, for both misuse of the economic process and of sex are aspects of the same liberalism. So in accomplishing its goal of luring consumers to buy goods they may well not need, advertising also very often works against chastity, thus nicely combining the first and third assault of liberalism into one.”


As the old saying goes, “Sex sells.” If that reduces the human person, human babies, and human sexuality to mere commodities, well, that’s just the price of “liberty.”


Jared Olar may be reached at jolar@pekintimes.com.