America's Golden Calf Moment | Carl E. Olson | CWR Editorial
Led by the murky metaphysics of Judge Anthony Kennedy, the U.S. plunges ever deeper into the dictatorship of relativism
“There is no true liberty except the liberty of the happy who cleave to the eternal law.” — St. Augustine, On Freewill
“Conservative commentator, and Blaze contributor, S.E. Cupp broke down on-air Friday after the Supreme Court decided in favor of same-sex marriage. Cupp was overjoyed, and said Republicans have to accept gay marriage or risk becoming 'relics.'” — The Blaze, June 26, 2015
The great division in modern politics, argued Russell Kirk in The Politics of Prudence, “is not between totalitarians on the one hand and liberals (or libertarians) on the other; instead, it lies between all those who believe in a transcendent moral order, on the one side, and on the other side all those who mistake our ephemeral existence as individuals for the be-all and end-all.”
There is, however, a third possibility—although it is, in fact, just a devilish riff on the latter, liberal stance: the belief that the language of the transcendent moral order can be conveniently applied, like a sort of cheap and convenient paint, over the relativistic “order” that now, in so many ways, dominates the United States. It is a sort of metaphysics, but without any cohesive understanding of first things or vision of the transcendent order, something like an arrogant man awkwardly holding a hammer and saw and claiming to be “a carpenter,” but with little or no idea how to build—or even why to build.
Justice Anthony Kennedy is one such carpenter, having written the now infamous and risible line (in 1992, in “Planned Parenthood vs. Casey”): “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” In “Obergefell v. Hodges”, sent down yesterday from the enlightened mountaintops of the same blind but liberty-loving universe, Kennedy deigned to explain to us somnolent citizens the ways of the cosmos and, secondarily, the court:
It is demeaning to lock same-sex couples out of a central institution of the Nation’s society, for they too may aspire to the transcendent purposes of marriage. The limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples may long have seemed natural and just, but its inconsistency with the central meaning of the fundamental right to marry is now manifest.
This aspiration to transcendence via marriage is apparently important to Kennedy, for he repeats it: “Same-sex couples, too, may aspire to the transcendent purposes of marriage and seek fulfillment in its highest meaning.” This builds on his earlier assertion that “the annals of human history reveal the transcendent importance of marriage. … Marriage is sacred to those who live by their religions and offers unique fulfillment to those who find meaning in the secular realm. Its dynamic allows two people to find a life that could not be found alone, for a marriage becomes greater than just the two persons. Rising from the most basic human needs, marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations.”
And what are those hopes and aspirations?