The God With Feet of Clay

Liberty: The God That Failed is Christopher Ferrara’s second 90-caliber salvo against liberalism, left and right.  His first, The Church and the Libertarian: A Defense of the Catholic Church’s Teaching on Man, Economy, and State, smashed the anti-Christian dogma of Austrian economics.  This 699-page tome goes further.  It will send the neocons into the corner to gnash teeth with their leftist cousins, and a few paleocons may join the brooding bunch.

It attacks, after all, the premise of this country’s Enlightenment political order.  Ferrara’s point is this: American and Western “liberty” is rooted in a false conception of man and the state and the relationship of one to the other.  The lurch toward “liberty”—for Ferrara’s purpose, beginning with Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, continuing into the late 18th century, and culminating in the American Revolution—continued the Protestant war against the Catholic Church and the Catholic conception of man, his political order, and the end to which they are ordained.  The pre-Hobbesian conception of government was this: Man has an eternal soul, and the role of the state is to help man toward his natural end, which is life with God in Heaven.  Hobbes and Locke, Ferrara writes, undermined that Greco-Catholic polity, supplanting it with a wholly new one: The only role for government...

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