With the Corruption of Democracy, Liberty Becomes Tyranny and Equality Degenerates into Mechanical Leveling

May 20, 2013

Having defined true democracy [enter link to previous post], Pius XII then describes false democracy.

“Against this picture of the democratic ideal of liberty and equality in a people’s government by honest and far-seeing men, what a spectacle is that of a democratic state left to the whims of the masses!

One of the many people that formed Occupy Wall Street.

One of the many people that formed Occupy Wall Street.

“Liberty, from being a moral duty of the individual, becomes a tyrannous claim to give free rein to a man’s impulses and appetites to the detriment of others. Equality degenerates to a mechanical leveling, a colorless uniformity; the sense of true honor, of personal activity, of respect for tradition and dignity—in a word all that gives life its worth—gradually fades away and disappears. And the only survivors are, on one hand, the victims deluded by the specious mirage of democracy, naively taken for the genuine spirit of democracy, with its liberty and equality; and on the other, the more or less numerous exploiters, who have known how to use the power of money and of organization in order to secure a privileged position above the others, and have gained power.”  (Vincent A. Yzermans, ed., The Major Addresses of Pope Pius XII [St. Paul: North Central Publishing Co., 1961], Vol. 2, 81-82).

Monopoly Millionaires Dividing the Country. Depicted in this 1885 cartoon are William Henry Vanderbilt, Jay Gould, Cyrus West Field, Russell Sage.

Many of the teachings in Pius XII’s allocutions to the Roman Patriciate and Nobility, and in those to the Pontifical Noble Guard, are founded on these principles of the 1944 Christmas radio message.

From the perspective the Pontiff described so objectively, it is evident that even in our time, in any well-ordered state—be it monarchical, aristocratic, or even democratic—the nobility and the traditional elites are entrusted with an elevated and indispensable mission.

Blessed Cardinal Clemens August Graf von Galen

Blessed Cardinal Clemens August Graf von Galen, known as the Lion of Münster.

Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII: A Theme Illuminating American Social History (York, Penn.: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, 1993), 29.

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