Weekly CWNY: They Are Legion

 They Are Legion

The English historian Herbert Butterfield wrote that as the belief in original sin faded from politicians’ moral consciousness so did respect for their political opponents (The Englishman and His History, 1950). When both political parties (or the many political parties) were all competing for power within the framework of the Christian belief that all men, not just one’s opponents, were tainted with original sin, there was still some respect for the give and take of the political process and certain limits that politicians would not go to in order to win an election. But when the spiritual check on political cruelty is lost, when the “unbought grace of life,” which comes from Christ, is spent, politics becomes a war to the death. Butterfield was not optimistic about the future of English politics. His pessimism was quite justified.