George Weigel—We Live Under a Dictatorship of Relativism

Posted by Kendall Harmon

During his homily at the Mass pro eligendo Romano Pontifice (for the election of the Roman Pontiff) on April 18, 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger cautioned his fellow-cardinals that John Paul II’s successor would have to deal with an emerging “dictatorship of relativism” throughout the western world: the use of coercive state power to impose an agenda of dramatic moral deconstruction on all of society.

Some Catholic commentators charged that Ratzinger’s warning was so over-the-top that he could never be elected pope. Others thought the formula “dictatorship of relativism” a neat summary of a grave threat to freedom and believed that a man with the courage to call things by their true names would make a fine pontiff.

Recent events throughout the western world have fully vindicated the latter.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPhilosophyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZCanadaEurope

5 Comments
Posted December 9, 2011 at 7:54 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. brian_in_brooklyn wrote:

Clearly, Mr. Weigel is ignorant of the role of party discipline in a parliamentary democracy.

December 9, 10:45 am | [comment link]
2. evan miller wrote:

In what way has he got it wrong, Brian?

December 9, 1:39 pm | [comment link]
3. David Fischler wrote:

Did you read the article? He described the role of party discipline in parliamentary systems, accurately I might add.

December 9, 2:40 pm | [comment link]
4. Terry Tee wrote:

I agree with George Weigel, but want to put in a word for Brian above at # 1.  In a Westminster style democracy the system depends on parties proposing a fairly detailed platform at election time.  People in theory vote for (among other things) the platform, and MPs might be said to owe a duty to their electing majority in their constituency to support the platform.  This raises the awkward question of public opinion.  Opinion polls in theory show a majority in favour of gay marriage.  However, where there has been sustained argument (Arizona, and, most interestingly, California) there has been a shift in opinion towards a more conservative view of marriage.  Finally:  even if a referendum were to approve the shift, we would expect our MPs to vote according to conscience in parliament.  If anyone decries this, tell them that in the UK opinion polls until recently showed a majority in favour of the death penalty:  but MPs, thankfully, voted with their conscience and abolished it in 1965 and steadfastly refused to change their minds.

December 9, 3:19 pm | [comment link]
5. brian_in_brooklyn wrote:

Thank you, Terry Tee, for taking the time to clarify my (too short) post. Party discipline is of vital importance to the functioning of a parliamentary system. I do think that a conscience vote is appropriate in this case, but I also believe that Senator Marshall’s objections to an extraordinary departure from the usual discipline are understandable and, on the whole, reasonable. They hardly constitute a “dictatorship of relativism.” Combined with his sarcastic comments about “defenseless, ‘individual parliamentarians,’” it seems that Mr Weigel’s main objection is that the Parliament of Australia does not—will not—function the way he expects it to function: like the United States Congress.
George needs to get out more.

December 9, 4:44 pm | [comment link]
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