Saturday, January 5, 2013

Benjamin Disraeli's 1872 condemnation of Liberalism

"The tone and tendency of Liberalism cannot be long concealed. It is to attack the institutions of the country under the name of Reform, and to make war on the manners and customs of the people of this country under the pretext of Progress." - Benjamin Disraeli

I was reminded recently of the 1872 "Demands of Liberalism", which in turn reminded me of what I had seen in Disraeli's writings. You wouldn't believe the stuff I read sometimes. Heck, I don't believe it often times. Anyways, here are those demands:


"1. We demand that churches and other ecclesiastical property shall no longer be exempt from just taxation.

"2. We demand that the employment of chaplains in Congress, in State legislatures, in the navy and militia, and in prisons, asylums, and all other institutions supported by public money, shall be discontinued.

"3. We demand that all public appropriations for educational and charitable institutions of a sectarian character shall cease.

"4. We demand that all religious services now sustained by the Government shall be abolished; and especially that the use of the Bible in the public schools, whether ostensibly as a text-book or avowedly as a book of religious worship, shall be prohibited.

"5. We demand that the appointment, by the President of the United States, or by the Governors of the various States, of all religious festivals and fasts shall wholly cease.

"6. We demand that the judicial oath in the courts and in all other departments of the Government shall be abolished, and that simple affirmation under the pains and penalties of perjury shall be established in its stead.

"7. We demand that all laws directly or indirectly enforcing the observance of Sunday as the Sabbath shall be repealed.

"8. We demand that all laws looking to the enforcement of "Christian" morality shall be abrogated, and that all laws shall be conformed to the requirements of natural morality, equal rights, and impartial liberty.

"9. We demand that not only in the Constitutions of the United States, and of the several States, but also in the practical administration of the same, no privilege or advantage shall be conceded to Christianity or any other special religion; that our entire political system shall be founded and administered on a purely secular basis; and that whatever changes shall prove necessary to this end shall be consistently, unflinchingly, and promptly made."

It's important to understand that this list of Liberal demands comes from America, not Britain. Why that's important is it highlights that Liberalism was becoming corrupt on both sides of the pond at about the same rate.

As I usually do, here is the original source for Benjamin Disraeli's discourse on "Conservative and Liberal principles" from June, 1872. It's a 12 and 1/2 page long speech, so I've transcribed it in a separate post. This is easier to deal with than the Google Books interface.

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