Here I defend the autonomy of our religious institutions against traditionalist establishmentarians. My Tocquevillian observations include with a brief comment on the film Philomena. If you read the book on which the film is based, you can see that the facts damn Irish clericalism well enough without the added polemics displayed in a made-up speech by a basically fictional bitterly anti-erotic nun. Certainly, in thinking about sexual ethics and all that, we Tocquevillians can see that things are getting better and worse. Better would be our appreciation of the invincible right of mothers wed and unwed to be mothers; the state (or church) has no right to break the natural bond between mother and child with misplaced moralism. The Irish church had become too Puritanical.
But our civilizing institutions also have to be defended against the creeping and creepy libertarianism of our time.
One reason independents are rising and parties are withering away (a fact Carl notes) is that so many people think that neither of our organized parties is good enough for ME.
In the same spirit, so many Americans now think that no organized religion is good enough for ME.
As Pete reports, the statesman Gates explains that Congress (where both parties are very well organized) really wasn’t good enough for him or any decent and civilized person. What to do about THAT?