29 May 2013

Antidisestablishmentarianism

I wrote before, that while religion can be a force for reaction, Religion, or at any rate Christianity, should not be the primary basis of a reactionary state. There are too many factions (even within nominally hierarchical churches like the Catholic Church). If the mechanisms for resolving religious disagreement come to dictate government policy, that perverts religion and destabilises government.
The liberal approach to this problem is to separate church and state — to guarantee the church's independence from the state. This can be fairly workable, but it can reach absurd lengths: the currently dominant interpretation in the USA is that the state cannot act in any way out of religious motive. No genuinely religious person would willingly tolerate that, and it has only come about because the irreligious, or, more accurately, the adepts of a religion that has managed to classify itself as a non-religion, have taken all power in the state. (It also interprets a 220-year-old law in direct contradiction to the way it was understood and followed for the first 150 years of its existence, which is an insult to logic and to the concept of law, but that’s not important right now).
The problem with separation is that church and state become rivals. Bishops can become a dangerous example of the kind of over-mighty subject I wrote about two years ago — people with substantial real power that is not formalised within the state. My recommendation for other “mighty subjects” is to require them to accept a state position of honour which puts them under supervision by the sovereign. This is problematic in the case of a clergyman who can properly claim to be serving a higher power than the sovereign.
The solution that England found was to put the whole church under the nominal control of the state. That doesn’t mean that the Queen is the High Priestess, and she doesn’t routinely rule on doctrinal matters, but it does mean that in the case of a serious disagreement between church and state, state wins. If you don’t want an actual theocracy, that is what has to happen.
In order to work, the relationship between church and state has to go both ways. If the church is to survive under state control, the sovereign, and the large part of the leaders of the state, have to be supporters of the church.
There is still room for religious freedom, but that’s not the same as all religions being treated equally. If you want to be high in government, you should be a member of the established church, or else be very exceptional. If your dissenting religion involves human sacrifice, or advocates overthrowing the state or the established church, then it will be suppressed like any other criminal or seditious organisation.
It is in the interest of state and society for there to be an established religion in which the majority of the population participate. Normal behaviour should include regular religious observance.
There might even be a case for small fines for non-observance. Or maybe better, the state-backed social insurance / welfare system could be run through the church — dissenting churches can go and set up their own. There is great social value in giving the nation a venue of shared ritual, and atheists can put up with sitting through an hour of drivel once a week, particularly if they know they are not the only ones just going through the motions. Just think of all the other things you sit through for the sake of fitting in socially.
Note that, like many reactionary proposals, this one is targeted at a particular people in a particular place. The Church of England would probably not be appropriate for a small research/manufacturing-oriented colony on a seastead. It is appropriate for England. The principles underlying the argument are more broadly applicable, and even the seastead should have some established pattern of ritual.

2 comments:

raptros said...

Evola said much the same thing, really. One of his examples was the Pope crowning Kings, which broke the Traditional relation between the king and the priestly caste (i.e. the king being the head of that caste). he considered this a source of all sorts of spiritual troubles.

raptros said...

(unfortunately for Evola, his thoughts on the subject are really much harder to read)