Today is Remembrance Day. It's a funny kind of day. How so - it commemorates the fallen dead, like Pericles' Funeral Oration of a latter day - a very sensible act, no?
It is a funny kind of day, unusual, in that it is a day that demands a common objective morality, which in the modern West is a funny thing, indeed. You cannot really sit on the fence today and there seems to be no easy way to dissent from the utter morality of "the cause." Sure, pacifists are want to register some kind of objection on this day, but they are lost in their rather silly incomprehension: they do not understand that Remembrance Day is not the glorification of war, but the lamentation of its necessity. I have never heard a veteran refer to the World Wars and Korea as "the good old days." Grimness and solemnity are such rare things in our culture. The one exposure we get of it no matter one's walk of life in Canada is November the 11th, especially on the faces of the veterans and the families of the fallen, on the faces of the comprehending. This is the day of objective morality. We shall not hesitate to string you up if you dishonour our honoured dead. And it is good to have a line in the sand, O society!
So, the Catholic, how does he fit in? All my friends and wider 'associates' are Catholic, nearly bar none. The importance they accord Remembrance Day is heartening. I think that they hold it in greater reverence than non-Catholics, and especially non-Christians. The honouring of our ancestors is innately Catholic and conservative. Liberal guilt is, on the contrary, innately uncomfortable with seeing any good in the past, a past, that is, that is other than Rousseau's fictitious fancy land of the state of nature. Under the misleading influence of their god's, Karl Marx's, hermeneutic of suspicion, they cannot believe other than that all that came forth from dead white men was bad.
How should our day of objective morality pay out today still? In many ways, of course. Not to take our freedoms for granted, to remember to honour and care for our veterans, to promote peace and freedom in the world at large, etc.
What kind of politics does it inspire? Libertarianism - isn't that the fullness of this cult of freedom, after all? No, not quite. I think a great many of the fallen fought for Christianity, or at least the Christian principles encased in our Canadian way of life, circa 1914 and 1939. They did not fight and die for freedom in the abstract. They fought for the type of life they loved - which was to a great extent Christian. They did not believe in a type of society where one should be fined or imprisoned for believing that, for instance, marriage was a sacred bond between a man and a woman, and that abortion was a horrendous crime. Our honoured dead wanted us to have the freedom to live the good life as they understood it. That excluded Hitler and that excluded Stalin, and that excluded the present war against Christianity of which those two were a part.
Remembrance Day is not freedom day. It is objective morality day for which one should be willing to die.