Hattip to cartoonist Michael Ramirez for his brilliant Statue of Bigotry cartoon. A guest post by commenter John By Any Other Name:
Father Robert Barron, who no one could credibly call a firebrand, had a post at National Review Online that caught my attention:
“In the course of a radio interview, Governor Andrew Cuomo blithely declared that anyone who is pro-life on the issue of abortion or who is opposed to gay marriage is “not welcome” in his state of New York. Mind you, the governor did not simply say that such people are wrong-headed or misguided; he didn’t say that they should be opposed politically or that good arguments against their position should be mounted; he said they should be actively excluded from civil society!”
The good guv’ner somewhat walked back his comments, trying to spin it that it wasn’t that people who were pro-life, pro-“assault weapons” and “anti-gay” (these were the other two descriptors Cuomo used) weren’t welcome, just that they would have a hard time winning office in the state. Yet, Father Barron properly captures the evil of this in his observation: “they should be actively excluded from civil society!”
This is precisely what Alexis de Tocqueville was discussing in the below quote. I stumbled across this one while looking for another quote from Democracy in America. I confess I haven’t actually read the book, though it’s on my reading list after I finish the Knox translation of the Bible and a few other important books. Emphasis is mine.
“Tyranny in democratic republics does not proceed in the same way, however. It ignores the body and goes straight for the soul. The master no longer says: You will think as I do or die. He says: You are free not to think as I do. You may keep your life, your property, and everything else. But from this day forth you shall be as a stranger among us. You will retain your civic privileges, but they will be of no use to you. For if you seek the votes of your fellow citizens, they will withhold them, and if you seek only their esteem, they will feign to refuse even that. You will remain among men, but you will forfeit your rights to humanity. When you approach your fellow creatures, they will shun you as one who is impure. And even those who believe in your innocence will abandon you, lest they, too, be shunned in turn. Go in peace, I will not take your life, but the life I leave you with is worse than death.”
Father Barron concludes saying that what ought to bother us is that once one group (Catholics) are excluded from civil society, the tactic will be re-applied as necessary to any who aren’t in line with the establishment.