On Law and Love

Christianity is a religion of both Law and Love. This is my intuition as a fresh convert so take it for what it is worth. Corrections and clarifications are welcome.

God loves us and has given us His law to follow. These are not in contradiction. God loves both the saint and the sinner even as the consequences of their actions play out according to His law. Thus the phrase: “Love the sinner but hate the sin.” Both are necessary.

The Progressive ethos can be seen as a commitment to Love perverted by the rejection of Law. When you deny people guidance and declare them free to do whatever they wish, individuals react differently. Some choose to act in harmony with the Law, others choose to follow their baser instincts. Consequences still accrue according to the Law: virtue brings good fortune to oneself and one’s community, vice brings misery. When groups tend toward different choices and then reap the results, the Progressive is in a bind. How to keep denying the Law when its consequences are staring you in the face?

The answer is to double down. No consequence should be explained in terms of the choices that led to it. It must be due to unfavorable conditions or sabotage by some better-off Other, never personal responsibility. Then the Progressive shows her love by improving the conditions or adding protections against the Other. These “solutions” often end up shielding people from the consequences of their actions, enabling more vicious behavior. Outcomes stay bad or worsen so she must add more “solutions”, perpetuating the cycle.

There is only so much you can blame on unfavorable conditions before it starts to ring hollow. What if you’ve already heaped every material advantage on the disadvantaged and they still stay behind? If it is not the conditions then it must be the Other holding them down. You focus on the Other, imploring him to treat the disadvantaged better. You change the rules to stop the Other from benefiting himself unfairly. Yet no matter how hard you help the lagging, they stay behind. Is there no limit to the selfishness of the privileged?

This is where perversion really sets in. We are only human and our capacity for love and forgiveness is limited. Sooner or later, if we keep blaming the Other for the results of our denial of the Law, it gets exhausted. No amount of begging, demands or pressure has helped; the wickedness of this unrepentant Other must be limitless. How do you love someone so unabashedly evil? Most of us can’t.

So we arrive at the inevitable conclusion. Nothing helps against this sabotaging Other; he must be immensely powerful and irredeemably evil. If the downtrodden are to be helped, the Other must be stopped – destroyed if that’s what it takes. Unfortunately this only works if the Other really is to blame. If, instead, the Other is just a scapegoat for the Law, we end up punishing the virtuous for the sins of the wicked. This is not only a grave injustice, it’s utterly self-defeating. If the virtuous are sacrificed, there will be no one left to protect the wicked from themselves. Law reasserts itself, harshly, as the ones most able and willing to soften the blow are no longer there to help.

This is the ultimate irony of Progressivism. It promises to repeal the Law and usher in a Utopia of liberty and compassion. By denying the Law, it instead tears down the very things that protected the vulnerable.

The Law is eternal, whether set by God or accidents of biology and logic. The only way to deal with it is to understand it, accept it and act in harmony with it. Love is important, perhaps the most important thing, but it will only flourish in harmony with Law.

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