Bruce Logan: Thatcher, and God, are of another era

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Bruce Logan says the death of Baroness Thatcher comes as the state expands its power inexorably.

Maggie Thatcher's wish for faith, hope and love were lost on some people who vented their feelings about her policies after she died. Photo / AP
Maggie Thatcher's wish for faith, hope and love were lost on some people who vented their feelings about her policies after she died. Photo / AP

The death of Margaret Thatcher is symbolic as much as it is real. It's almost the last breath of a dying vision; the end of an era. The Iron Lady was a Christian and patriot who believed in personal responsibility and the freedom which flowed from the expression of that responsibility. In spite of her weaknesses, she really believed in the old virtues such as courage, justice, prudence and temperance.

One suspects she, like many of us, coveted faith, hope and love as well.

The replacement vision, which has been winking at us for some time, is really humanity's second oldest religion; the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is seductive and luscious. "We shall be as gods!"

Evolutionary rational intelligence will now liberate the human mind and redirect the future. God, we have discovered, with no new evidence, did not make man in his image after all. He did not give us our dignity. The freedom we once enjoyed and the demise of absolute government was a mere quirk of history.

The notion of dignity, it would seem, is founded on a mere tautology. We possess dignity because we are human: we are human because we possess dignity.

But just a minute, a tautology will not do. If we cannot appeal to God then there is only one alternative; the state. By nature men and women serve; it's simply a matter of who's the boss. Once it was God, now it has become the law embodied in the state. Without God in the wings the state will be absolute. That is inevitable; the lesson of the 20th century.

That lesson should have been clear in the failure of the great communist experiment. No doubt it was an exciting experiment that seemed practical to the worker and visionary to the academic.

Communism failed because, like its current acolytes, it misunderstood freedom. It did not understand that exterior freedom is a consequence of interior freedom. Freedom is the first need of the soul before it is a need for the body. Communism was reductionist; it reduced the human being to a body to be fed, kept warm and amused. It did not understand that without the soul there is no justification for freedom. It could never understand that God alone is the guarantor of freedom.

Few New Zealanders seem to understand but there are but only two visions possible in life, albeit many versions of each. There is the old Western vision of God and humanity and humanity's relationship to God. That is now passing away from us to be nurtured in more fertile soil. The vision of the God who is not there will soon be force-fed to us here in Aotearoa. Without God the human mind alone possesses the necessary creative intelligence to rule the world.

We are now experiencing the reverse of what happened in third-century Rome.

The absolute power of the state gave way to the new faith; Christianity and its declaration that the state is answerable to God. It's been a mixed bag and a bit of a mess from time to time but it's only in the past few decades that God has been banished from the public square.

The historical and theological irony should be obvious. Same-sex marriage is the consequence and symbol of that banishment because it is in harmony with the new religion. Marriage, an institution shaped by nature and reinforced by history, will become the product of social evolution as soon as same-sex marriage becomes law. Natural marriage once based on real sexual difference is to become a bastard child of the state. So we can make marriage what we like. No longer will it make us.

Marriage which was once a basic institution of civil society will become a contract between any two people for their assumed bliss and benefit. It will have very little to do with the protection of children or social order. Children will be trophies rather than the cement of inter-generational connection.

It is not that natural marriage is essentially a religious phenomenon. Marriage transcends religion and politics but not, it would seem human desire to manipulate to its own short-sighted end. And that's the problem. That desire which has become a demand makes it necessary for the state to legally redefine marriage. The state cannot resist. Having lost the foundation it discovered in the third century it has become an authority yielding to the demands of fashion and relevance.

Bruce Logan, formerly of the Maxim Institute, is a former Auckland school teacher who divides his time between Auckland and France.

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