This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

General remarks

Under this heading we intend to discuss liberty as a political ideal and not as a human reality. We have in mind the type of liberty exemplified by Enlightenment Liberalism, and the same which Pope Leo XIII was addressing when he said,

But many there are who follow in the footsteps of Lucifer, and adopt as their own his rebellious cry, ‘I will not serve’; and consequently substitute for true liberty what is sheer and most foolish license. Such, for instance, are the men belonging to that widely spread and powerful organization, who, usurping the name of liberty, style themselves Liberals.[1]

The distinction is important because what passes for ‘political liberty’ is mostly an illusion, while Pope Leo’s ‘true liberty’—liberty as a social or spiritual reality—is something quite different. The latter must be addressed in terms of self-knowledge, which we will deal with in a separate section. What, then, of the ideal of modern political liberty?

[1] Pope Leo XIII, Libertas.

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