For a good part of my Seminary years, I had a landlord who repaired clocks and watches by way of making a living. Naturally, my curiosity brought me into his little shop more than once. I even offered my services to learn the craft though he turned me down realizing that my career path wouldn’t be worth the time he would have to invest to teach me. Still, his little clock shop was amazing with all the varied and sundry clocks hanging on the wall. It was wondrous to be in Mr. Dunn’s shop when at the top of the hour struck and all the varied clocks would begin a choir of exclamation pronouncing what time it was. Many of the clocks had their innards exposed as Mr. Dunn was working on getting them ship-shape. The intricacies of those clocks were fascinating. All those myriads of differentiated parts each have their unique responsibility but all work together to make the clock run.
There was a time when social orders, were like unto those clocks. Just to look at the face of a social order like looking at a face of a clock it just seems to be this indistinguishable reality. It’s just there. However, behind the face of the social order, like behind the face of the clock is a maze of differentiated pieces each fulfilling their assigned roles in order to make the social order run. Like Mr. Dunn’s clocks, our social order is meant to work by means of gears, pulleys, and dials each doing their distinct job in order to produce a marvelous whole.
In our social order once upon a time those gears, pulleys, and dials of Mr. Dunn’s clocks were reflected in the varied and sundry covenant communities that made up the social order as a whole. Distinctive families, churches, guilds, schools, differing respective law orders, volunteer organizations etc. all served as the stuffing behind the faces of the watches and clocks Mr. Dunn worked on. All were distinction and yet all worked together in an interdependent fashion in order to make the clock (social-order) work.
However, with the rise of Democracy our various gears, pulleys, and dials have been flattened out so that our social order is just one giant undifferentiated mess. The Federal State has stripped all the gears, pulleys, and dials from our social order clock so that it alone is seen as the social order. The state has pulled out all the stuffing of the clock and has deemed that it alone is the clock.
Did you know that once upon a time in the West social order existed as being guided by several law-orders at the same time working together simultaneously? In such a way no one law order could govern the whole social order. In the same way, different social institutions each had their own equal ultimacy depending on what the issue at hand was. There was a plurality in those social orders and that plurality worked to the end of unity.
Now, all we have because we have given in to the statist worldview, is uniformity. Like the Italian Fascists from almost 100 years ago, we have taken up the motto; “Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State.”