March 2, 2013
WHICH IS WHERE FUSIONISM FAILS:
Law, Liberty, and Life Together (Jordan Ballor, 2/27/13, Acton)
The conservative defense of republican liberty can never be squared with the libertarian desire for freedom instead. And that divide is, indeed, predominantly religious. Posted by Orrin Judd at March 2, 2013 9:49 AMThe Christian vision of the human person also includes the reality of the fall, when Adam and Eve transgress this original limit. As many commentators have observed, the fall affects all three of the basic relationships: between God and human beings, between individual human beings themselves, and between people and the created order. At this point the reality of law comes to the fore. Where limit had been embedded in the natural order before the fall, some institutions of preservation and restraint become necessary given the sinful nature of post-lapsarian humanity.We see how the sinful nature of human beings comes to social expression right away. Cain's envy over his brother Abel's acceptance by God breaks out into murderous rage. [...]When sin is understood in its anti-social aspects we can better understand the positive use of law and political order. As James Madison puts it in Federalist #51, "If men were angels, no government would be necessary." Without sin, the coercive and punitive aspects of legal order would be superfluous. But since we live in a world marred by sin and evil, political order takes on an aspect of force, attempting to restrain the most destructive anti-social expressions of sin. Since we do not always govern ourselves as we ought to, in accord with the moral order, there must be some external checks and limits on our behavior.As Lord Acton said, "Liberty is the harmony between the will and the law." In this sense, then, law and legal constraint protect true liberty, and prevent our earthly existence from degenerating into a hellish existence, a libertinism in which our anti-social desires are given full rein.