The functions of the family and church, says Douglas Farrow, are being replaced by the state :

When I speak of the audacity of the state, the kind of state I have in mind is what we may call the savior state. The main characteristic of the savior state is that it presents itself as the people’s guardian, as the guarantor of the citizen’s well-being. The savior state is the paternal state, which not only sees to the security of its territory and the enforcement of its laws but also promises to feed, clothe, house, educate, monitor, medicate, and in general to care for its people. Some prefer to call it the nanny state, but that label fails to reckon with its inherently religious character. The savior state does have a religious character, precisely in its paternalism, and may even be comfortable with religious rhetoric.

We are familiar with such rhetoric from ancient times. Was Caesar not soter? Did his coinage not mark him out as divi filius and pontifex maximus? “This, this is he,” says Anchises in Virgil’s Aeneid, the one you’ve been waiting for—“the man you have heard promised to you so often, Augustus Caesar, son of a god, who will once again establish the Golden Age in Latium, in the region once ruled by Saturn.”

We are familiar with it from modern times too. The savior state is the kind of state that Hobbes envisioned, or that Louis Du Moulin had in mind when he said that “the Commonwealth is a visible church.” It is the kind of state that emerges when it is assumed, as Herbert Thorndike pointed out in objection to both “Hobbism and Independency,” that “a man may be heir to Christ’s kingdom and endowed with Christ’s Spirit without being, or before he be, a member of God’s church.” It is the kind of state that Obama had in mind when, during the presidential campaign, he invited a Christian audience in South Carolina to see him as “an instrument of God” and to help him “create a Kingdom right here on Earth.”


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(Via: Acton Institute Power Blog )

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