Two Defenses of Michael Voris [Updated]
My co-blogger Sam Rocha offers a “hesitant defense” of Michael Voris’ now deleted (!) video in which the RealCatholicTV host argued for a “benevolent dictatorship” and for granting only virtuous Catholics the right to vote. Sam acknowledges that Voris is “very confused” and “wants an America that never was: a Catholic Nation.” He also rightly considers the frightening possibilities of how Voris might separate “the sheep from the goats” and radically transform our democracy. Sam, however, also wants to acknowledge some legitimacy to Voris’ position: namely, that political freedom divorced from love results in its own kind of dictatorship. “I feel that we can forget that democracy and freedom are empty—and dangerous—without Gospel love,” he writes.
I agree with Sam that freedom without love is empty and dangerous and that love ought to guide our political decisions. I disagree with him, however, when he says “we need a Catholic Government.” At least, on the surface we would seem to disagree, as I suspect our positions may not be as radically divergent as they appear at first glance. A government does not need to be confessional in order to be ordered to something higher than itself. Morality, after all, is knowable through unaided reason. So are the dictates of love. A secular state, therefore, can be ordered toward love just as much as a theocratic state, and perhaps even more so. Rather than say we need a Catholic Government, I would say we need a moral government guided by and directed toward love.
Michael Voris himself acknowledges that he could have been a little more precise in the video he has since deleted. Specifically, he says that it would have been better for him to use the term “Catholic Monarchy” rather than “benevolent dictatorship.” He then says that his previous video was not meant to provide a battle plan for overcoming our secular humanistic government, but to point out that we already live under a “dictatorship of relativism.” He then spends the rest of his defense on a long, distracting rant about all the vile responses he received from what he calls “boo-birds” and “angry atheists.” He doesn’t address their actual arguments, nor does he acknowledge arguments against his video that came from Catholics. Most notably, Voris ignores the fact that he had said this hogwash in his previous video:
The only way to prevent a democracy from committing suicide is to limit the vote to faithful Catholics. Only a true Catholic nation, in fact, will survive — can survive — because only truly Catholic people will be the ones looking at God and not staring in the mirror. When they cast their votes, they cast them with an eye to what God desires, not fallen human nature.
With his silence here, Voris remains a defender of the power necessary to radically and fundamentally restructure our entire political system—and to decide who qualifies as a virtuous Catholic and can therefore possess voting rights. He remains, therefore, despite his clarification, an apologist for dictatorial power.
Michael Voris has, since the publishing of this post, apologized and further clarified what he meant to say in his initial video, though his clarification seems more of a nearly complete change of story than a clarifying revision.