Monday, December 12, 2016
Two very different people on my mind when thinking about this passage from Legutko's The Demon in Democracy this morning were Rod Dreher (whose online endorsements led me to read the book) and Ted Olson (whose comfort with judicialized social restructuring in the name of constitutional liberty is characteristic of one prominent strain in today's ruling class):
Today's mainstream, like the erstwhile communist ruling class, takes over the mechanisms for creating laws and regards it as its exclusive property to be used for its own goals. The modern state openly, even proudly carries out the policy of social engineering, intervening deeply in the lives of communities while enjoying total impunity, which is guaranteed by its control of lawmaking and law enforcement procedures. A markedly important function of the law, to act as a barrier to political hubris, was lost or significantly weakened. Instead, the law has become a sword against the unresponsiveness and sometimes resistance of society to the policy of aggressive social restructuring that is euphemistically called modernization. The law in liberal democracy--as under communism--is no longer blind. No longer can one envision it as a blindfolded goddess holding the scales to determine guilt and punishment. It is now, as it was under communism, one of the engines that transforms the present into the future and the backward into the progressive. The law is expected to be endowed with an accurate picture of what is going to happen in the future so that it can adjudicate today what will certainly happen tomorrow.
Source: Rysszard Legutko, The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies 96-97 (Encounter Books 2016, translated by Teresa Adelson) (emphases added).