The Personalist Project

It's been receding for some years now, but this is the first 4th of July when my faith in the American Experiment is completely extinguished. If I watch the fireworks tonight, it will be because fireworks are pretty, not because I'm celebrating. 

I used to love America. I had my concerns about its deficits and limits, but I loved the boldness, dignity and vitality of its propositions. I still think those proposition are great and true, but I see their utter impotence. John Adams said it in the beginning:

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

Maybe we will witness a great act of God and a religious revival, so that we become a moral and religious people again. But even if we do, things have gone so far, in my opinion, that we will need a re-founding and some fundamental fixes. For instance, we will have to make the judicial branch accountable somehow, and we will have to explicitly acknowledge both God and natural law. We will have to put away religious indifferentism.

Incrementalism won't avail, as I used to hope it would.

I feel as Newman must have felt, foreseeing the complete dissolution of the Anglican Church he had loved and served so long, and which he knew to the be the true source of England's greatness as a nation and Empire. Or as Dietrich von Hildebrand must have felt seeing Germany succumb to National Socialism. Or as Karol Wojtyla must have felt when Poland was overrun, first by Hitler, then by Stalin.

Thank God our hope is not in princes! It's not as if we can't go on living happy, fruitful lives— building a civilization of love. We may even find that the coming persecution will make for a much livelier, richer and more joyful life of faith. But the loss of America is a terrible one for the world. Today is a melancholy day for those who see it's come.

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