Do the theocons really want a police state? Maybe I shouldn’t take it for granted that they don’t. ~Daniel McCarthy, The Tory Anarchist

What is interesting about Neuhaus’ “End of Democracy?” criticism of the government is that its justification of contemplating the overthrow of the regime rested on the consent of the governed and the right to revolt. (Yes, there is also an older justification of resistance to tyranny, but that is not the language Neuhaus was using.) This was Neuhaus at his least enthusiastic for intrusive and abusive government (he has apparently since regained his confidence in the moral goodness of the regime and its purposes abroad and does not talk about usurpation by any branch of government, least of all the executive), so I’m not quite sure what Mr. McCarthy thinks Neuhaus was proposing that suggests anything necessarily Robespierrean. (Jeffrey Hart has amusingly called Neuhaus a “Jacobinical priest,” contradiction in terms though that should be, but as much as I might like to agree with Mr. Hart I don’t think he was applying the term Jacobinical correctly.)

The occasion for the imagined revolt against the regime was the moral bankruptcy and moral evil of a regime that abets and supports mass murder (what else do you call legalised and state-subsidised abortion?) and that does so at the whim of judges who are neither accountable nor within their authority to grant such “rights,” but the rhetorical justification was entirely a liberal one. If a radical application of contractarian theory gives you Robespierre, as it certainly can and has, this is a flaw in something inherent in that theory and inherent in liberalism and not something that can be laid at the door of the theocratic bogeymen who dwell, for example, in the imaginations of the Brothers Wachowski.