Logos and Leviathan: Leonine Perspectives on Democracy

Must the political order be derived from a cosmic model (or, at any rate, from an external, transcendent reference point), or are there valid and effective substitutes? Can unaided humanity, through the mobilization of its faculties, create a sacred, or at least a myth, powerful enough to convey a model? If the answer to these questions is no, we must ask then: Can a community exist without the sacred component, by the mere power of rational decisions and intellectual discourse?

            –Thomas Molnar, Twin Powers: Politics and the Sacred


In the ancient world, legitimate political forms ranged across a wide spectrum in which “rule of the people” was only one of many political forms conducive to the common good—and a very unfavorable one at that. But today, “democracy has become almost a synonym for legitimate government, for the rule of law.”[1] Pundits declaim that democracy ensures freedom and fair government, while a new colonialism seeks to spread “democratic values” to every corner of the world. If we are clued in to the reductive tendencies of modern thought, we should be wary of such absolute claims. In fact, with a little digging, we discover that the democratic ideology of modernity is built upon a novel philosophy and cosmology. Early moderns like Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau sought to replace the worldview of Christian religion with their own, and in the process created new philosophies and myths that still legitimize modern political forms. A democracy bedizened with the false hopes of Enlightenment scripture becomes a Leviathan irreconcilable with church teachings; if it is disengaged from this unfruitful union, however, and defended under the aegis of Catholic Logos theology, it may be the political form most well adapted for securing the common good of modern nations.

We will first explain the nature of government according to the classical and Catholic understanding. Then, we will trace the discarding of this image in the early modern period. Finally, we will suggest how democracy might be disengaged from its current anti-Logos framework and put to good use in a Catholic political order.

I. THE DISCARDED IMAGE: A Logos-Oriented Politics

A. The Classical Cosmos

Edmund Waldstein succinctly explains the classical understanding of law, that discarded image of the cosmos upon which the Catholic Church has largely built its social teaching. Classical Greek thought, as found in Plato and Aristotle, presupposes that there is an “objective good that is knowable by human reason.”[2] Today the term “objective good” seems to denote a rather vague notion of reason, but it was rather more colorful for the Greeks. In broad terms, it meant nothing less than the total harmonious order of the universe. They saw the “cosmos” as a marvelous hierarchy of things each tending towards the perfection of a unique principle called nature. Nature is the essence of a thing, its ordering principle, the plan or purpose of its birth, unfolding, and consummation. Nature uses its powers to perfect itself in fruitful interaction with other natures. A horse, for example, is born from its mother, grows to maturity by eating grass, propagates its species, and dies: it has fulfilled its nature in the grand scheme of the cosmos.

Man too has a nature struggling to work itself out, and it is a rational nature. Man’s unique identity consists in his ability to know his own objective good and also comprehend something of the order of the cosmos. But there is a problem:

The problem is that there are different powers in the human soul; there are the senses (touch, taste and so one) and then there is reason. The senses know a limited kind of goodness, and from this kind of knowledge come certain passions such as hunger and thirst and lust. Only reason knows the complete good, wherein happiness really lies, and understands it as good.[3]

In other words, there are competing powers within man, and it is reason’s job to order those powers to man’s true good: man must be educated. Reason must “train the human soul…to help produce a harmony among its different parts….This harmony is called virtue.”[4]

But Greek virtue was not “moral” in the Kantian sense, a self-actualizing quest for self-mastery. Rather, it presupposed a real participation in the order of the cosmos, an order that not only gives man a static model from which to work out his own perfection. Plato’s world of forms did serve that exemplary function, but in a much more religious sense, the forms were the real source of perfective power. There was a “givenness” about Greek virtue, a sense of being drawn up into a mysterious cosmic dance. As Waldstein explains:

The order of the whole universe is what Charles De Koninck calls “the good of the universe” and “God’s manifestation outside Himself.” Man as the micro-cosmos can reflect this order in his own person through virtue. This is why virtue can be identified with happiness—because virtue is a participation in that order which is the greatest image of the divine beauty and goodness.[5]

Seen in this light, communion among men is a crucial part of this great order. Since personal virtue is not really individual, but a participation in a cosmic pageant, a virtuous community shows an even greater participation in the cosmic order. This is how Aristotle argues the point:

Even if the end is the same for a single man and for a state, that of the state seems at all events something greater and more complete whether to attain or to preserve; though it is worth while to attain the end merely for one man, it is finer and more godlike to attain it for a nation or for city-states.[6]

St. Thomas Aquinas took up the insights of Plato and Aristotle, and fashioned a Christian notion of the common good. He argued that:

order is what God principally intends in creation: every individual creature reflects some aspect of God’s glory, but it is the order, the harmony, the beauty of their unity, that most perfectly reflects the creator.[7]

Something in the sum total of perfected beings is also god-like. Waldstein continues:

It is good for man to realize the order of the universe in his own soul but it is more godlike for him to realize it in the state…the community of men reflects God more than an individual man, just as the universe reflects Him more perfectly than any one creature.[8]

We are finally ready to discuss the role of law. Since the goal of community is to manifest the divine order, law has the principal function of “producing this unity of order, both in the individual soul, and more especially in the community.”[9] In other words, all law aims at the perfection of man’s nature within the context of a community. It is illegitimate otherwise: “legitimacy on this view does not depend on the ‘consent of the governed’ given through democratic rituals, but rather it depends on the objective good.”[10]

B. Authority in the Catholic State According to Leo XIII

The discussion must inevitably pass to practical matters, to the forms of government in which this harmonious order can be instantiated. Pope Leo XIII’s social encyclicals provide a coherent Catholic teaching about the nature and forms of political authority, its relation to religious authority, as well as the proper relationship of the citizen to this authority.

It is first to be remarked that Leo is not opposed to any benign form of government in principle:

Catholics, like all other citizens, are free to prefer one form of government to another precisely because no one of these social forms is, in itself, opposed to the principles of sound reason nor to the maxims of Christian doctrine.[11]

In fact, Leo is largely indifferent to the form or the means by which authority is constituted, so long as the source of authority be rightly conceived:

There is no reason why the Church should not approve of the chief power being held by one man or by more, provided only it be just, and that it tend to the common advantage. Wherefore, so long as justice be respected, the people are not hindered from choosing for themselves that form of government which suits best either their own disposition, or the institutions and customs of their ancestors.[12]

Leo immediately goes on to explain this right conception of authority:

But, as regards political power, the Church rightly teaches that it comes from God, for it finds this clearly testified in the sacred Scriptures and in the monuments of antiquity; besides, no other doctrine can be conceived which is more agreeable to reason or more in accord with the safety of both princes and peoples.[13]

The pope does not go on to suggest some sort of divine right of political leadership; rather, he makes a metaphysical argument about the nature of political authority: Man cannot find perfection except in society; thus society is part of nature and willed by God. But every association of man needs a ruling authority, or else there will be mere anarchy. No man has in himself the authority to constrain the will of others; that power resides only in God. Thus, all political power comes from heaven, and “it is necessary that those who exercise it should do it as having received it from God.”[14] In other words, society is one of the instruments God has ordained for the perfection of man’s nature; over and above individual reason, God constitutes social authority as a necessary means for man’s perfection. Authority, in this view, most emphatically does not arise from the will of the people, even if they are the efficient cause of its peculiar shape. Rather, it is from God and for Him.

From this metaphysical principle, it follows that the social organism must acknowledge its source by offering public worship to the true God:

For men living together in society are under the power of God no less than individuals are, and society, no less than individuals, owes gratitude to God who gave it being and maintains it and whose ever-bounteous goodness enriches it with countless blessings.[15]

In fact, Leo calls it a “public crime to act as though there were no God”; it is “one of [government’s] chief duties to favor religion, to protect it, to shield it under the credit and sanction of the laws.”[16]

Any wholly natural and metaphysically consistent society, therefore, must acknowledge its dependence on God and explicitly enforce the laws of the Church. To do otherwise is to undermine the very nature of human society. In fact, Leo argues that unless the state acknowledges God, its authority will lack any sure stability.[17] The doctrine of social contract is bound to lead to contempt for authority and an incessant revolutionary spirit. On the contrary, the Catholic doctrine will cause citizens to love and obey their rulers, and rulers to love and serve their citizens.

To summarize traditional Catholic teaching on the nature of political authority: society is the normal means ordained by God for the perfection of men’s souls, and its right ordering puts it in consonance with the rest of the cosmic order. Thus, authority takes its legitimacy from its place in this divine plan. Legitimate authority acknowledges this dependence on God, and orders the state according to the laws of the true religion.

II. LEVIATHAN: Liberty and Authority in Modern Political Thought

What we have described is the Logos-oriented politics of the classical and Catholic tradition. Government is the art of moving men and communities toward their final end in God, who has instituted governments for this very purpose. For government to work, laws must be drawn in accordance with the objective good, citizens must respect legitimate authority, and the true religion must be enshrined.

Now we must consider modern political philosophy. Modernity prides itself on being objective, practical and this-worldly, but as we examine its roots in the early modern period, we will find that it too rests on hidden, theocratic foundations. Its cosmology is, of course, not so rich as the antique, but it nevertheless exists as an a priori, mythological backdrop to modern political thought. The modern predilection for democracy must be understood as the necessary corollary of an erroneous cosmology that divinizes man.

Continuing trends of late medieval nominalism and humanism, the early moderns developed a novel conception of human freedom that, as Waldstein argues, was “disengaged from the good.” This development had several aspects. The first was philosophical. Late medieval nominalists scorned the delicate synthesis by which Thomas and the ancients had knitted nature to the divine, and offered a radically simplified cosmic image: Essences became disconnected from ends, the symphonic cosmos a mundane world of individual objects moved by the arbitrary will of God. Humanism ushered in the next stage when, poring over rediscovered treasures of pagan literature, they imbibed the classical sensibility to the glories of human accomplishment. They began to exalt what they perceived to be the infinite indeterminacy of the human will, its capacity to achieve nearly anything.[18]

But if humanism retained some affinity with the old virtue tradition, early moderns who followed the Reformation radicalized the concept of freedom, stripping from it any connection to the good. In the emerging view, man’s dignity consists above all in being unimpeded. Freedom is no longer what is accomplished, but the condition of accomplishment: a radical autonomy, the absence of any restraint on the will.

Another aspect was political. As post-reformation nations were raked with internecine religious conflict, it became convenient to argue

that the objective good for man is too hard to know, too difficult to agree about, that in order to avoid the bloodshed of religious wars, it is necessary to limit politics to the care of a bare minimum of peace necessary to allow for the non-violent coexistence of persons with different views of what the true good is.[19]

This is the thrust of Locke’s Letter Concerning Toleration. [20] Whatever theoretical consensus remained to Europeans concerning some common objective good was destroyed in this final political development. From then on, politics decided not to concern itself with religion or any sort of claims about the objective good. Or so it thought. As Michael Hanby has argued in a recent article for First Things, the liberal state makes an implicit metaphysical claim: by denying God any role in the polity, it posits “that a thing’s relation to God, being a creature, makes no difference to its nature or intelligibility. Those are tacked on extrinsically through the free act of the agent.”[21] In this denial, modernity effects the apotheosis of man in a new mythology.

This apotheosis has a long history, including those steps discussed above, but took a great leap in the Scientific Revolution. Encouraged by pioneers like Francis Bacon and Galileo, early modern thinkers discarded Aristotelian conceptions of the universe for more empirical methods. Most importantly, they redefined motion, the concept underlying all classical cosmology. In classical physics, motion was a interior, teleological phenomenon directing natures toward their final ends; in modern physics, motion becomes a mere external happening, the blind action of material forces whirling objects around per inane quietum. This divorce from final causes leads to a new way of seeing and relating to the natural world. If the old world functioned organically, as a sort of garden of natures growing in participatory being towards fruition in God, the new world is a machine, a collection of empirical objects jostled here and there in space according to fixed laws of nature.[22] Man is no exception. His natural activity, deprived of a final end in God, becomes the autonomous working of his own nature. Thus, man “attains his end,” or in the new metaphor “functions most efficiently,” when he enjoys that power most characteristic to him, the law of reason.

On this basis of mechanistic physics, early moderns built an edifice of mechanistic politics. Throwing out the organic metaphors, early moderns conceived the state in terms of a vast mechanism of forces checked and balanced against one another. For example, Hobbes’s systematic political treatise Leviathan takes as its theoretical foundation a mechanistic epistemology. In his account, man is not even really free, but like a floundering ship, is carried this way and that by his passions, which are in turn merely determined responses to external stimuli. Like atoms in the void, men bump into each other constantly in a state of incessant war. The only way to peace is for an absolute sovereign to be invested with all power of coercion. Hobbes’ sovereign stands like a lid on a kettle, tasked with keeping the effervescent passions of his people from boiling over into civil war.

Locke’s views are more pertinent to the discussion of democracy. Like Hobbes, he begins by considering a state of nature. Before society, however, man is also in a state of war, (though endowed with a more respectable rational faculty than Hobbes allows). Society is joined not for moral improvement, but for physical protection against predatory raids, and a guarantee of more economic prosperity than was attainable in the state of nature. Locke’s ethos is that of a very reasonable gentleman, and he often seems to invoke some sort of natural law; but he too ultimately deploys mechanist metaphors to explain the working of his system. Explaining the necessity of majority rule, he quite bluntly appeals to the physical principle of inertia according to which the greater force must always yield to the lesser.[23] Locke’s state too is an engine, and human beings its cogs. And like an engine in a factory, its end is only the production of material prosperity.[24]

If Locke and Hobbes gave to modern political thought its theoretical matter, Rousseau composed modernity’s mythological form. Surprisingly, underlying the new rationalist philosophy about man’s nature, there stands a veritable myth: the state of nature. This myth, in its various forms, underlies and legitimizes the political project of each of these thinkers.[25]

According to Rousseau, men were born into a paradisical state of absolute self-sufficiency and contentment. Far from needing the help of other men, he wandered through warm forests eating plentiful food, hardly meeting other men. He was entirely sustained in a tranquil, dispassionate state by what Rousseau calls pity. This pity prevented him from harming other creatures or his fellow man. Only later, by a series of witless concessions of freedom, did mankind form families, cities, and states. Each step towards civilization further enslaved mankind.

But this makes of man a God, casting him in the form of entirely self-sufficient and undetermined rational agent. As James Kalb observes:

To refuse to talk about the transcendent, and view it as wholly out of our reach, seems very cautious and humble. In practice, however, it puts our own thoughts and desires at the center of things, and so puts man in the place of God. If you say we cannot know anything about God, but only our own experience, you will soon say that there is no God, at least for practical purposes, and that we are the ones who give order and meaning to the world. In short, you will say that we are God.[26]

In Pierre Manent’s analysis, this is the dark myth lurking behind the progress of the democratic spirit: yearning for the pseudo-divine state of our ancestors.

What would sum up in the same or a like way our society and its extraordinary or paradoxical character of dis-society? It would be the notion of the state of nature . . . . How can we be interested in the individual in the state of nature as Rousseau describes, eating acorns and quenching his thirst at the first stream? The animal nonetheless interests us since ultimately this individual is each one of us: he is what we want to be. To put it in a nutshell, the state of nature is defined as a state of independence, liberty, and equality. We want to live independent, free, and equal. In this sense, the state of nature forms our horizon.[27]

By seeking the ordering principle of society in the beginning, rather than in the end, the state of nature hypothesis inverts the traditional political order. For classical politics, it was not so much where man came from, or how he existed in an indeterminate past, but how he ought to be, and what he could be that mattered. Politics concerned itself about perfecting man’s nature by bringing it to some end. Under the new mythology of autonomous mechanism, man springs forth fully formed from the womb of nature, in need of nothing but safety and fuel to keep his machine going. Since man is born perfect, but unfortunately enslaved in society, modern politics strives to attain as much as possible for its citizens this original Edenic state of total autonomy. As a colleague put it, “Democracy is just the story of people trying to get as far away from each other as possible.”

In light of this analysis, it is clear that modernity, for all its vaunted idealism and its supposed autonomy from history or tradition, is built on hidden theocratic foundations; it merely proposes a new mythology in place of an old one. In Thaddeus Kozinski’s words:

It is not that modern liberal democracy has successfully desacralized politics, but rather has changed the locus of sacralization from cosmic order, divine law, and the Church, to the human person, the sacred freedom of individuals to choose their own sacred allegiances.[28]

Catholics believe a story: the story about man’s original justice and original sin. The first moderns too believe a story: a new narrative of original justice, this time without original sin. In fact, the sin, in many cases, is precisely the entrance into society. Society itself becomes man’s original sin, the act that separates man from a mythical primeval state of innocence and integrity. For Catholics, man can be saved from his enslavement to sin, but only in the next life, and only if he follows the rule of divine and natural law. Modern politics too has a salvation narrative, but it is this-worldly: man can find “salvation” in the free satisfaction of all his (non-predatory) desires in the democratic state. Modern politics tries to guarantee its citizens as large a share of Original Autonomy as circumstances allow, with the ultimate goal of freeing men as entirely as possible.

In this new mythological account, democracy becomes an indispensible tool for the modern religion. All other forms of government in some way deprive individuals of autonomy, by privileging one class over another, or cleaving to accidental historical arrangements. This is why the first moderns worked hard to eradicate all obstacles to the ascent of democratic forms of government. In the French Revolution, for example, the monarchy, aristocracy, guilds, monasteries, in short all the traditional threads of the fabric of society were rent to make way for the novus ordo.

But the paradox of modern liberty is that man is not deified: he feels himself subsumed into a Leviathan. Since his own autonomous choice is his only claim to self-worth, he is faced with a paradox: either consent to association and lose autonomy, or refuse to consent to anything. As Manent argues:

The dilemma of modern liberty—the dilemma of modern liberty as experienced by the modern individual—could then be roughly formulated in the following way: Either I enter into a community, association, membership, and I transform myself into a part of a whole and lose my liberty, or I do not enter . . . and I do not exercise my freedom. In brief, this is the dilemma of modern liberty: either I am not free, or I am not free.[29]

Man in modern democracy feels himself swallowed in the unrestrained motion of a majority devoid of a rational end. Government looms as the ambivalent referee of an orgy of blind desires, over a nation “swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, where ignorant armies clash by night.”[30]

III. TAMING LEVIATHAN: Logos-oriented Democracy

If subsumed into such an anti-Logos modern religion, democracy cannot be reconciled in any way with the Catholic religion. Nevertheless, once these hidden religious foundations are exposed and repudiated, a Catholic is free to weigh democracy as one legitimate form among many others. The encyclicals of Pope Leo XIII clearly teach the conditions in which democracy is a possible form of government for the modern world.

Leo expressly affirms that democracy is a legitimate form of government: “Again, it is not of itself wrong to prefer a democratic form of government, if only the Catholic doctrine be maintained as to the origin and exercise of power.”[31] Under what conditions, then, would democracy be advantageous? I would argue that democracy is a form uniquely suited to the modern world, as long as it is not pure, and avoids the typical attitudes contrary to Catholic teaching. Leo suggests as much here:

Neither is it blameworthy in itself, in any manner, for the people to have a share, greater or less, in the government: for at certain times, and under certain laws, such participation may not only be of benefit to the citizens, but may even be of obligation.[32]

To see how this might be so, we must turn to Tocqueville. In the introduction to his Democracy in America, Tocqueville argues convincingly that the tendency toward democracy is “the most continuous, the oldest, and the most permanent fact known in history.”[33] As civilization increases prosperity,

all processes discovered, all needs that arise, all desires that demand satisfaction bring progress toward universal leveling . . . . When one runs through the pages of our history, one finds so to speak no great events in seven hundred years that have not turned to the profit of equality.[34]

In light of this “providential fact,”[35] the duty of those who direct modern society is “to instruct democracy,”[36] not to oppose it. Unfortunately, because traditional society resisted democratic tendencies, democracy erupted by revolution,[37] rather than after careful circumspection. I agree with this account, and believe that his trenchant comparison of aristocratic and democratic societies sheds light on several advantages of a democratic polity.

First, democratic society “will be less brilliant, less glorious, less strong, perhaps; but the majority of its citizens will enjoy a more prosperous lot.”[38] Democracy does not have the glorious potential of aristocracy, but it does improve the lot of the common man.

Second, democracy can enliven the individual citizen by giving him political obligations. In his description of American townships, Tocqueville marvels at the energy of townsmen working for the common good together[39] while remarking that the citizens of aristocratic countries often feels like a colonist in his own land, “indifferent to the destiny of the place that he inhabits.”[40]

Nevertheless, while bringing democracy into a Catholic state, several dangers must be avoided. Tocqueville envisions a future society that:

regarding the law as their work, would love and submit to it without trouble; in which the authority of government is respected as necessary, not divine and the love one would bear for a head of state would not be a passion, but a reasoned and tranquil sentiment.[41]

These observations point to the first difficulty in implementing democracy: the tendency it has to erode respect for authority. Frequent elections, for example, make people think authority does in fact reside in the general will, and does not make for stability and permanence in the legislative body. But this obstacle is not insurmountable, if it is balanced by a strong affirmation of the nature of authority: if the democratic state is ruled by a strong constitution that affirms authority’s origin in God, if it submits itself to the laws of his Church, provides for God’s public worship, and establishes the natural law as the foundation of all law.[42] Oaths of office must include similar elements. Under such a system of laws, there need be no difficulty in assigning a large share of self-government to the people. Instructed by their laws and the virtuous examples of their leaders, they will seek to build up the kingdom of God by the exercise of their rights. Also, reverence that in aristocracy is attributed to the aristocrat and his family can be transferred to the offices and assemblies themselves. A House or an Executive authority, through a solid history of illustrious leaders, can still command the sort of reverence proper for a God-given authority.

Another difficulty endemic to democracy, even if it establishes respect for its ruling political authority, is the maintenance of the authority of tradition. Care must be taken that the whims of the people do not destroy the religious and cultural foundations of society. There is a democracy of the dead, whose will must be taken into account in elections. Monuments of culture, traditional practices and lore, must not be allowed to be neglected. Of course, there are democratic ways to protect these things: guilds, cultural societies, churches, all can work to maintain tradition as democracy is implemented. In answer to Molnar’s open question, we must affirm with Leo XIII that no society can remain robust without traditional religious foundations.


We have shown how democracy, as it exists within the ideological framework given to it by early modern thinkers, cannot be reconciled with Catholic principles. The classical and Catholic worldview holds that no social fabric can be woven without respecting the divine origin of authority and public profession of the true religion. Disengaged from a mechanistic mythology, democracy can be seen in its true light, as a form offering many benefits not found in more aristocratic regimes. Nevertheless, it is prone to self-will, improvidence, and contempt for authority, which must be combated with strong legal and cultural supports to tradition and religion. In the final analysis, the Leonine perspective on democracy can save modern man from the Leviathan, and help him return to the Logos.


[1] Edmund Waldstein, “The Politics of Nostalgia,” Lecture at the Bratislavske Hanusove Dni, Pistori Palace, Bratislava, 25th April, 2014, 1.

[2] Ibid., 3.

[3] Ibid., 3.

[4] Ibid., 3.

[5] Ibid., 4.

[6] Nichomachean Ethics 1094b, emphasis added.

[7] Waldstein, 4.

[8] Ibid., 4.

[9] Ibid., 5.

[10] Ibid., 5.

[11] Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter Au Milieu des Sollicitudes (1892), 14.

[12] Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter Diuturnum Illud (1881), 7.

[13] Ibid., 8

[14] Ibid., 11.

[15] Ibid., 6.

[16] Leo XII, Immortale Dei (1885), 6.

[17] See, for example, Immortale Dei, 32: “A State from which religion is banished can never be well regulated.”

[18] Concerning humanism, it is important to note that it began as a deeply Catholic movement. Its unofficial manifesto, Mirandola’s De Hominis Dignitate could seem an idolization of human will. But for Pico, man’s perfection is still deeply connected with God and grace.

[19] Waldstein, 7-8.

[20] For more on Locke, see “Lock’s Doctrine of Toleration: A Contract with Nothingness” on this site.

[21] Michael Hanby, “The Civic Project of American Christianity,” on First Things, Feb. 2015. http://www.firstthings.com/article/2015/02/the-civic-project-of-american-christianity

[22] It is also ripe for exploitation. Man is no longer the steward of the nature-garden, but a reaper whose powers give him unrestricted domination over the other machines.

[23] E.g., “For when any number of men have, by the consent of every individual, made a community, they have thereby made that community one body, with a power to act as one body, which is only by the will and determination of the majority. For that which acts any being only the consent of the individuals of it, and it begin necessary to that which is one body to more one way, it is necessary the body should move that way whither the greater force carries it, which is the consent of the majority; or else it is impossible it should act or continue one body…” (John Locke, The Second Treatise on Government, ed. Tom Crawford [New York: Dover Publications, 2002], 44.)

[24] Of course he gives lip service to the natural and divine laws, but just as he invokes these laws he limits them explicitly to practical measures ensuring preservation.

[25] There is no difficulty in the myth coming to light after its philosophical and political expressions. Some orthodox Biblical scholars explain the composition of the Genesis myth by later Hebrew prophets as a process of self-reflection projected back in history: “Because the human author was contemplating an object designed to reflect creation, and because he had a supernatural gift of insight into this object, he was able to offer an account of creation based on his reflections about Israel’s history—he gazed into Israel’s institutions and history and there saw mankind’s beginnings.”(Jeremy Holmes, Genesis 1-11 and Science, in SCI 402 Reading Packet, 84) We imagine Rousseau did the same for modernity.

[26] James Kalb, quoted in Thaddeus Kozinski, The Political Problem of Religious Pluralism: And Why Philosophers Can’t Solve It (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2013), 229.

[27] Pierre Manent, A World Beyond Politics?: A Defense of the Nation State (New Haven: Princeton University Press, 2006), 137.

[28] Private manuscript

[29] Manent, 119.

[30] From Matthew Arnold’s “Dover Beach.”

[31] Libertas Praestantissimum, 44

[32] Immortale Dei, 36.

[33] Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, ed. Harvey C. Mansfield and Delba Winthrop, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 3.

[34] Ibid., 5.

[35] Ibid., 6.

[36] “To instruct democracy, if possible to reanimate its beliefs, to purify its mores, to regulate its movements, to substitute little by little the science of affairs for its inexperience, and knowledge of its true interests for its blind instincts; to adapt its government to time and place; to modify it according to circumstances and men: such is the first duty imposed on those who direct society in our day.” (7)

[37] “Democracy has therefore been abandoned to its savage instincts; it has grown up like those children who, deprived of paternal care, rear themselves in the streets of our towns and know only society’s vices and miseries.” (7)

[38] Ibid., 9.

[39] “The inhabitant applies himself to each of the interests of his country as to his very own. He is glorified in the glory of the nation; in the success that it obtains he believes he recognizes his own work, and he is uplifted by it; he rejoices in the general prosperity from which he profits (90).”

[40] Ibid., 91.

[41] Ibid., 9.

[42] As in the constitution of the Republic of Ireland, so rudely violated of late.