Sunday, December 02, 2007

A nugget from Frank Sheed.

Nope, I' m still not really blogging again; too much real life, and too much reading to do.

But the reading is much more rewarding. Finally getting through Frank J. Sheed's Society and Sanity (1953), which I've had for over a year and just hadn't gotten through.

Here's a nuggest from pp. 181-82, which my prottie and flag-wavin' Neo-Catholic friends need to digest:

At the moment the sky is filled with the clang of battle between Totalitarianism and Democracy. In fact, there is no opposition between them. They are answers to two different questions.

Totalitarianism is an answer to the question, "What things are Ceasar's?"--the answer it gives being that all things whatsoever are Caesar's, that the State's right of control is unlimited, that the citizen has no rights against the State, no part of life that is simply his own.

Democracy is an answer to the question "Who is Caesar?"--the answer it gives being that Caesar is whomever the People elects.

Obviously there is no necessary opposition between them. One State might easily give both answers. It might decide that authority resides in the People, and that the People elects its government and can change its goverment. And it might also decide that there is no limit to the People's control, throught that elected and dismissible goverment, over the life of the individual, that, for what is conceived to be the good of the totality, the individualmay be totally regimented. There is no paradox here, no improbability even. A government which can claim to be doing what the majority of the people think best can interfere in the life of citizens as the most absolute tyrant could not: it was not an autocrat who in this century imposed Prohibition upon a great people: no autocrat would have dared. In fact control by government is spreading so fast in the democracies that the distinction already noted between the two main times of social authority has less meaning that of old, and Caesar is as good a symbol for one as the other.

Yes, one very clear explication that supports my view that I'd rather live under an autocrat like Franco that the current Spanish democracy, of for that matter, the current U.S. democracy. God bless Franco.

A friend from Montana has repeatedly recommended this book, and it's wonderful. A shame it's not in print, and you can count on Sheed & Ward, Frank's own publishing house, now run by leftists, be be sure it stays out of print.


Anonymous said...

If you're not careful you're gonna get frostbite on those tootsies.
Missed you at the Confirmations today... my oldest wanted to meet the man that is more curmudgeon-like than she is :-)
Nah, really though, it was a beautiful Mass.
Feisty Muse

Curmudgeon said...

Didn't make the confirmations; had Mass at my own parish to attend to(the second part of the year's end-of-the-world sermon and the annual altar and rosary society bakesale). I hear, though, that it went off very well.

Lynne said...

Regarding Sheed and Ward's being run by leftists, you've got that right! In organizing/cataloging the books in our parish library, I was amazed at the number of crappy books I had to throw out that were published by them...

Poor Frank and Maisey...

Anonymous said...

Actually, Ignatius Press has published this work recently. They also have published my favorite Frank Sheed book, "To Know Jesus Christ". And by the way, I love Franco more than you.

Sometimes, I feel like we have given up all our values as a democracy based on a republic. To me, it exist more in the welfare state that is in existence and the number of government programs. I feel like I am living under socialism. On the privacy front, what amazes me is how much people give up voluntarily. I am talking about the growth of facebook, my space and revealing blogs. What people won't say in the confessional, they will put on a face book. What they won't say in person, they will text message. Maybe, it is the inherent desire to confess.

Fortunately, I can dwell on the good things of this time, the great teachers I have had, the good friends, the wonderful priests and my own parents. Curmmie, I know you must sometimes sit in Mass on Sunday and hear your pastor and think that you wouldn't want to be anywhere else at any other time. I've seen pretty big conversions happen in modern time and I think they will happen again.

Curmudgeon said...

Alison, actually they reprinted Theology and Sanity, not Society and Sanity.

Actually, I sit in Mass and wrestle with the kids and hear my pastor and think "I can't wait to get a recording of this so I can listen to it without distractions."

Anonymous said...

You are right about Igantius Press. You may want to check out the IHM printing of the "Death of Christian Culture" or "the Restoration of Christion Culture" both by John Senior. I think a Curmudgeon would like the Death better. Maybe they will print the Sheed book.
I do get it about the children. They are precious gifts from God that we must continually keep an eye on every minute. In fact, I can't go back to the Latin Mass on the Kansas side. The last time I went I only had my youngest with me. He found a little car in my every so cute hand bag and hurled it two pews. The only saving grace was he has about the aim of a fourth or fifth grader and didn't hit anyone. When I got home I had an email from the parish administrator stating that Father had noticed my presence at Mass. That's pretty good when since he celebrates the Holy Mass ad orientem.
Maybe you'd want to move to Australia as I understand they have elected a monarchist to their parliament. And as Belloc once said, "Thank God we live in a world so easy to detach ourselves from."

Dust I Am said...

A long time ago, I heard someone say that he didn't fear Soviet communism because it was so inefficient and not supported by the people. Rather, he feared the totalitarianism of democracy, especially if supported by talented engineers and scientists.