07 April 2011

Secularization & desacrilization

When we speak of equality what we really mean is equality in autonomy. 
Honor is the expression of that autonomy which comes of sharing in the group's abundance. Membership and strangership are measures of honor. The fellow shares in the honor circle’s honor values and the honor code; the stranger does not. Fellows are peers and hence equals in their honor, in the code of conduct that defines the values and regime of abundance; strangers cannot be presumed to share in that code nor in that abundance. 
A society that lacks honor can perhaps have particles of liberty but it cannot have equality. The American dictum of equality before the law is a worthy sentiment but it requires an honor-respecting class to implement the legal disinterestedness such a dictum requires. 
The history of America since, after the Civil War, it introduced equality alongside liberty has been a slow and largely continual process of dismantling the values of honor that would have established that equality. With periodic setbacks that came of wholesale national catastrophe the secular trend in American history since the Civil War has been to define away the values of honor that would have encompassed all Americans in the circle of peerage, thereby to weaken the bonds among Americans of membership and equality. 
The point of making a people that keeps Shabbos is to devise a nation that promotes the honor of membership in a people that every week demonstrates allegiance to the self-restraint that comes of interrupting the work week. Along with that membership and self-restraint comes a strategy of sharing in the society’s abundance. The strategy defines private property rights with an asterisk: private property is far from absolute. The rights of (let’s call it) sabbatical private property allow for the periodic reversal of power relationships so that the women and the servants and the animals can share equally with the authoritative rulers in the society, and so that the lower classes have their moment to rule over the upper classes. 
A Jewish society that does not keep Shabbos is susceptible to the incursions of the market into every sphere of social relationship. 
The secularization of society go hand in hand with its desacrilization. 

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