Our modern age is an age of pseudo-authenticity, one in which authenticity is achieved by not being like the rest. Authenticity is not being something, but being not something. It is a negative endeavor. So we seek to be different and, by being different, we consider ourselves above everyone else. We are called upon to conform to the principle of eschewing conformity. All of this undermines public order and decency, according to Augustine, Aquinas and Calvin. It undermines the affections we have for our laws and society. As Augustine hinted at and Aquinas and Calvin affirm (as Burke does later), social customs and manners serve as the basis for our cherishing of society. As Christians seek to rebuild our failing legal and political institutions, we must remember that social customs are essential to making “power gentle and obedience liberal.” Without them, the law has no recourse but the terror of punishment.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
The Importance of Social Customs in the Christian Tradition
"Decently and in order: The Importance of Social Customs in the Christian Tradition: