Art, Totalitarianism and Western Culture

Adapted from an article published in the Summer, 1991, issue of Communio, a journal of theology and culture.

As power extends its grasp into wider and wider rings of human life it becomes more hostile to everything outside of itself. As it becomes near absolute it grows increasingly negative, because by its very nature it must oppose what cannot be extinguished in men’s beings. Totalitarian power does not rest content with obedience and a passive populace. It must seek at some point to destroy the inner impulse to creativity which depends for its well-being on freedom from manipulation. It must find and erase all resistance, all spiritual autonomy, all dignity in its subjects.

The New Totalitarianism, “hate crime,” and same-sex “marriage”

A new totalitarianism? In Canada, the recent passage of a new “hate crime law” is a case in point, and the looming “same-sex marriage” bill now before Parliament is another. A number of aspects of the hate crimes law are especially disturbing. For one thing, previous to the passage of this law there already existed in Canadian law abundant protection of human rights, including protection against discrimination on grounds of “sexual orientation.” What is distinctive about the new law is its criminalization of negative criticism of homosexuality as such. While the bill was in formation in Parliament two crucial amendments proposed by the conservative opposition party were defeated. The first was to ensure that religious pastors and teachers would retain full freedom to teach traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs on these matters. The second was an attempt to make a distinction in law between homosexual persons and homosexual activities.

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