Paul Craig Roberts excellent piece brings to mind another central principle, embraced by only one civilization in history. Yes, only Christendom demands limits on political power.
Pagans throughout history — from Thrasymachus to Hitler, Mao, Stalin, and many of America’s neocons today — celebrate power for its own sake without limits (as long as they wield it, of course). Christianity roundly condemns their vulgar lust. The apostle John warns us against the lust of the flesh (slavery to pleasure), the lust of the eyes (desire for the possessions of others) and the “pride of life” — superbia vitae — which is the desire for fame and glory (I John 2:16), the companion of the libido dominandi, the lust for power that Augustine describes as the motivator of the enemies of the peaceful and just City of God on earth (City of God, Book I, Preface).
Those who lust for power over their equals (and all men are created equal), even to the point of world domination, succumb to the sin of Satan — envy of the omnipotent power of the Risen Lord. Powermongers in our own land and time, preening themselves as they proclaim their “Christianity,” brag that they will “rid the world of evil” — after they subject it by murderous force, of course.
Satan can sow his seeds of violence and falsehood only through the hands to those that serve him. And Christ, anticipating His own perfect sacrifice that would free the world from Satan, sin, and lust, told His apostles that such swaggering false prophets were mistaken: “In the world you will have trouble, but be of good cheer, for I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33)
Those are the words of the Prince of Peace. All other pretenders will bring only murder, mayhem, pestilence, and destruction — as we have seen in our own increasingly pagan land. In the land of the living lie, we recall Solzhenitsyn, and tremble: “The truth shall make you free, but falsehood only brings violence in its wake.”11:22 am on December 25, 2011 Email Christopher Manion