From the perspective of the common sense of human ethics, we not only can see the leftist thinkers’ massive flaws and craziness of the rational and universal ideas of the state. And in real life, we can also see that this secular state is turbulent in fate, which is constructed by a theory similar to rational and universal ideas. There is a society in human history closest to the pursuit of leftist thinkers in the United States. This is the eastern secular society. In these countries, religion is reclusive and secluded. Its main religions, Buddhism and Taoism, paid attention to cultivating vital energy and non-action and tried to avoid contact with secular society, leaving a huge space for the secular government. The secular government had tremendous power and had a decisive influence on life. Isn’t this the society that leftist thinkers are pursuing? Do the secluded religions like Buddha and Dao give rise to the eastern secular society? Or does the powerful secular government suppressing religion result in the Buddha and Dao having to retreat from the world? This is a question of the chicken and the egg; no one can Answer. I can only say that they may complement each other. However, in the history of the eastern secular society for thousands of years, the country has almost disordered in development, peaks, and collapse, struggling in the cycle of changing dynasties. No one of the secular countries is immortal, and there has never been a country that can remain prosperous. It can only show that leftist thinkers’ universal and abstract concept of the state is problematic.
Why? We have discussed countless times that human nature is not perfect, good, and rational. Humans yearn for good and rationality but are selfish, love pleasure, covet life, and fear death. Humans cannot resist the temptation of greed and depravity and are often in a state of sin. This is why no ideal country envisioned by secular thinkers can maintain for a long time. The individuals who make up a society are usually in a state of sin; how can the community they constitute remain in an ideal state? If people are not restricted, they will inevitably go to depravity and greed. Similarly, any country without restrictions will go to its opposite. According to Aquinas’s reinterpretation of the famous category of six regimes, namely, monarchy, aristocracy, democracy, tyranny, oligarchy, and majority tyranny, they are actually three regimes and their opposite. He believed that in the absence of the restriction of the church, human society would inevitably generate tyrants under the monarchy, oligarchs under the aristocracy, and majority tyranny under the democratic. This is a damn right idea. In reality, these are common phenomena in non-Christian societies. In Israel’s dynasties, in the autocratic monarchy of the eastern secular society, each dynasty appears some tyrants, which conducts to the change of dynasties. Ancient Greek democracy also ended with majority tyranny. Aquinas was a man of the 13th century. I can’t conceive how he had such a sharp understanding of democracy, which often shames me as an oriental. I really don’t know how far our eastern society distances from westerns’ in the constitution. Many people always think that the modern American political system, the separation of powers, the mutual checks and balances, etc., can last forever. However, Aquinas pointed out so sharply hundreds of years ago that without the restriction of the church, any democracy, including the democratic system of the United States, will inevitably slide into majority tyranny. And the current situation proves this true. In a Christian society, whether it is a monarchy or a democracy, there will inevitably be some bumps in development due to the selfishness and greed of human nature. However, because of the church’s constraints, the stability of the regime is different from non-Christians.
France has more than a thousand years between the Capet dynasty and the Bourbon dynasty. Although it experienced the Valois dynasty during the period, the Valois, the Capet, and the Bourbon dynasty were all cousins; They completed the smooth transition of the dynasty without any bloodshed. All British kings have blood relations from William I to the current Queen Elizabeth. And the regime has lasted for more than a thousand years. Although they have also experienced several battles for the throne, except the red and white rose battle of the Canary Dynasty, which was relatively fierce, the others were local wars, which basically did not cause damage to society. From the perspective of democracy, the British constitutional system lasted for more than 300 years after the Glorious Revolution. The United States has established a constitution for more than 200 years. Only today has there been a fatal crisis, which is just caused by non-Christianization and secularization. Ancient Greek democracy can’t compare with them, whose golden years only sustained forty years. So you have to admire the penetrating power of Aquinas’ thoughts and compliment the greatness of real thinkers
From these historical experiences, we can also see that the two-headed style social structure of the state and the church can well lead to social stability. Its essential reason lies in what we have discussed. The dualism of human nature in Christian ethics can well resolve the contradiction between selfish human nature and traditional virtues. The separation of state and religion of the Christian states based on this dualism of human nature is also extremely reasonable. Christianity believes that human nature is greedy and depravity. Humans come to this world with original sin and are naturally inclined to crime, licentiousness, and material enjoyment. These are true and credible. They are the same as the conclusions of empiricism and in accord with real life. At the same time, Christianity, like rationalism, believes that humans can get virtues and believe that these virtues are the sweet memories of the Garden of Eden, the impression of heaven left in the heart of humans. Humans only lost the inner power to obtain these virtues because of the original sin. Humans have been unable to obtain the virtues through their own efforts. At that same time, Christian ethics believe that virtue should be regained only through the grace of God and faith in God. In this regard, Christian ethics is completely different from any secular moral philosophy. Empiricism tries to base virtue on interests, while rationalism tries to obtain virtue through reasoned pursuit, but this does not exist. From the comparison with empiricism and rationalism, we can see that the most significant difference between Christian ethics and secular moral philosophy is that Christian ethics has an additional factor of faith and believes that humans obtain virtue only through faith. Christian ethics believes in the existence of God and the mysterious forces of the universe and trusts that humans can come to an ultimate world that is immortal, eternal, sacred, and beautiful, transcending death. It assumes that virtues are the sacred order of the ultimate world. Humans can only get salvation and access to heaven by practicing these virtues of the ultimate world based on faith. Therefore, faith becomes the driving force for humans to eliminate the temptation of interest, material enjoyment, honor, and vanity, leading to morality. Faith is the only driving force. As a result, faith drives people to move towards morality, and faith becomes the glue between selfish human nature and traditional virtues. This also shows the magical power of religious faith and its substantial positive effect on society.
According to this state theory based on the duality of human nature, the Christian society believes that the secular government and the Christian church should exist separately and simultaneously. The secular government exists for the greedy and degraded human nature. It is material, hedonistic, realistic, and holds God’s material sword. And the Christian church exists for faith; it is spiritual, transcendent, moral, and holds the spiritual sword of God. They think that the two swords are inseparable and indispensable in a normal society. Their relationship is like a two-headed snake, helping and supporting each other. Christian ethics considers the two contradictory human natures, namely, the pursuit of material pleasure and the pursuit of moral nobility. It separates them to form two different systems, the state, and the church, so they can supervise each other and avoid their own flaws. Therefore, the country in the Christian society is very stable and orderly.
Moreover, the history of the United States has also proven that the church representing faith and spirit should dominate society as much as possible. This kind of society is the strongest and most prosperous; that is to say, the state must not interfere in church affairs, but the church can intervene in state affairs. A society with a more advanced view of separation of state and church is the most reasonable. The secular philosophers’ state theory does not recognize that human nature is greedy and depraved. They believe that humans are rational and can reach the perfect state through themselves, and humans can shape an ideal country. Therefore, there is no church representing faith and spiritual power in their state theory, so they can not restrict human nature. Thus, an ideal country conceived by Plato and others in history has never appeared. The country closest to the ideal country created by Plato and others is the eastern secular society, but they are always in turmoil, far away from their ideals.
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