I stand accused this morning of embracing “democracy,” or even “populism” as another correspondent alleges. They refer to my delight in Brexit, mildly expressed in passing last week. But the charge is unreasonable. I would never do such a thing. I was simply stating my slight preference between two, typically modern, democratic sides, where there was no third option (such as, “Status quo ante 1532,” which would have allowed me to take a more Euro position). I did mention that, as advertised, both sides were repellent, did I not? Two jabbing arms of the same, seemingly invincible Power, whether it projects from London or Brussels.
As a man of the thirteenth century (now trying to read the Cursor Mundi to bring myself more up-to-date), I am suspicious of any profane ideology. My opinion of “the peeple” is low; it is securely founded in observations of myself. They have all the foibles of our current politicians, including our populist pope: low intelligence, poor education, overweening vanity. I recognize each of these qualities immediately; I suffer from all of them myself; everyone in Parkdale suffers from them, except a few graced souls who, I notice, avoid politics altogether. Permit us to make important decisions, and the world will be as you see around you, gentle reader! It will become “a mess,” that only Christ can fix.
This is because of the Secret Government; but bear with me for a moment.
Popular belief in conspiracies should be dismissed before we proceed. I hear them in every bar; they lie beneath the result of every election. Some of these beliefs are more entertaining than others, but none are sufficiently plausible to explain any public event. For here is another thing to say against “the peeple.” They, or more precisely, we, don’t think through our conspiracy theories well enough. For if we did, we would have to abandon them.
Take for instance the anti-Semitic theories. Have you ever sat down to table with a couple of real Jews? I have, many times, with two or more of them, and I can assure gentle reader that they don’t agree on anything. The notion that they could conspire is ludicrous.
And if you think the Muslims are conspiring, think again. Far from agreeing, they are blowing each other up. It is true they blow us up sometimes, too, but this is seldom personal. It is minor and incidental compared to what they are doing in their own countries. I do not undertand how people who cannot form a common front, can possibly mount a conspiracy. Even within the factions, there is reckless violence. (Though among the great majority, a more peaceful sleep of reason.)
Presbyterians have traditionally thought Catholics conspire against them, and vice versa. (There was some violence in Ulster, don’t ye know?) But again, plain experience does not support such beliefs, which cannot stand through any sustained religious conflict. Even the murderous Thirty Years’ War was a squalid double farce: neither party has ever been properly organized. For sure we get waves of deluded enthusiasm, for one silly topos or another; we get mobs. But a mob is hardly a conspiracy. It has the direction of a school of herrings, or a shoal of piranhas. For while given promising circumstances, one may conceivably plot to trigger a riot, the thing itself is too spontaneous. Conspiracies must be more thoughtfully planned.
And as for those secular humanoids, please, don’t try my patience. As some debater in the Brexit campaign observed, these are people who cannot organize a take-away curry, let alone the European Union. To accuse them of conspiracy, whether for or against the public will, is to endow them with magical powers for which they can provide no evidence. Clowns they may be, but neither skilled nor talented in that default vocation. Unhappy clowns, if the truth be told: all make-up and malice, with a defective script.
More generally, no conspiracy can work, beyond a small size and a very short period, given the human condition. As a species, we cannot keep secrets. We are endowed with a neurotic facility for communication — from words to body language to our shifty eyes. We downright broadcast what we are about, when tactics require methodical concealment. Even when formed into hunting packs, we cannot agree on our quarry — thanks to inherited ADD.
Otherwise, we behave as sheep, mindlessly “following the leader” who is himself cluelessly wandering away. And the shepherds too, distracted by a shepherdess, piping their Arcadian melodies and forgetting to give chase. But did the sheep conspire? Only in your dreams.
Nevertheless, there is a Secret Government.
This information was imparted by no less than the Founder of our Church. Too, it was known among the Hebrews, and perhaps some others, for millennia before. It is a permanent conspiracy. It works, more or less, because it does not depend on humans. Moreover, it is perfectly aware that it cannot depend on humans, who are so perverse, that sometimes they do good when they are intending evil. Not even the Devil can trust us.
And he, let me say, is the master conspirator. He is working with a very large cast of little subordinate devils, sneaky and diligent about their work. (As we might be, if we had no tomorrow.) Their chief has been identified as the Prince of This World, and he is in charge of the Secret Government. The Christian is instructed to revolt against him, openly by means of an ungovernable Love. To do so regardless of cost. But this revolt would appear to be still in its earliest stages, and moving backwards at the moment.
I know all this because I have myself a little devil, permanently installed on my left shoulder; and a guardian angel, balancing on the right; and a head in the middle, to complete this triumvirate. This last has the deciding vote, but wobbles.
The devil on my left has much more to say, and some of it is subtle. He has a certain infernal charm. I know perfectly well that he is an agent of the Secret Government. I’ve known it for decades. By now, he does not even bother to deny it; all he offers is the prospect of an easy life.
“Do as I say, and there will be pleasure. Do as that angel says, and we can make difficulties for you. Rather serious difficulties, if you want to know.”
From the infernal POV, of course, the angel is the rebel. It is the devil who is “dressed in a little brief authority,” and has the pride which comes with his appointive office. One may catch him on that, sometimes: he preens. He is cocky and self-confident as a tax collector, and insists that you must pay — with charm, if you are being cooperative, or without, if you try to dislodge him by getting your back up.
Whereas, all my angel ever says is, “No!” — and then only in extreme circumstances. And very loud, coarse, and sudden: entirely without that demonic finesse.
Now, the Secret Government is not very secret, when it comes to that. We all know it is there; we’re just in the habit of pretending it is not, in the vanity of an affected freedom. Nor is the tyranny of this government unknown. We only think it is easier to obey; that we will get along in this world if we are “good citizens” of the infernal commonwealth; that we’ll prosper and contribute to a rising GDP.
Whereas, if we resist, we are likely to be punished. We might succeed in overpowering the little devil on our left shoulder. But he has friends.
However, so have we. And there is an Even More Secret Government, that only appears to be out of power — that distant monarchy under Christ the King. And given, by the grace of God, a fuller view of Eternity, that looks beyond any superficial trouble, you want to be an agent of that EMSG.