Liberty, the God That Failed
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Policing the Sacred and Constructing the Myths of the Secular State, from Locke to Obama
What has gone wrong with the grand American experiment in "ordered liberty"? The progressive answer is that America has failed to live up to its full promise of inclusiveness and equality--likely the result of corporate greed and white male ruling elites. The mainstream conservative or libertarian's reply points to the Warren Court, the 1960's, or a loss of Constitutional rectitude. Christopher Ferrara, in Liberty, the God That Failed, offers an entirely different answer. In a counter-narrative of unique power and scope, he unmasks the order promised as a sham; the liberty guaranteed, a chimera. In his telling, the false god of a new political order--Liberty--was born in thought long before America's founding, and gained increasing devotion as it slowly amassed power during the first century of the nation's existence. Today it reveals its full might, as we bear the weight of its oppressive decrees, and experience the emptiness of the secular order it imposes upon us.
Ferrara destroys multiple myths constructed by the secular state with a relentless uncovering of truths hidden by both liberal and conservative/libertarian accounts of what has gone wrong. In this brilliant retelling of American history and political life, the author asks us to open our eyes to harsh realities, but also to the possibilities for a rightly ordered society and the true liberty that can still be ours.
"Chris Ferrara's book most persuasively demonstrates that negative liberty is an idol and that liberalism is the last of the ideologies. Indeed he shows that it was the basic ideology hidden behind all the others." --John Milbank, University of Nottingham, author of Theology and Social Theory
"Highly readable and an intellectual landmark in Catholic ecclesiastical history. It should be read by everyone concerned with Christian theology and its political shaping of the society we live in." --Graham Ward, Regius Professor of Divinity, University of Oxford
"An absolutely epochal achievement--one of the finest historical studies I have ever read. Every true son of an America still waiting to be transformed in Christ owes the author a boundless debt of gratitude." --John Rao (D.Phil., Oxford); Associate Professor of History, St. John's University
"I've hardly been able to put it down since I opened it. The narrative is compelling from beginning to end and a pleasure to read. Rich in learning and insight, Liberty, the God That Failed is a tour de force--a marvelous achievement!" --Patrick McKinley Brennan, John F. Scarpa Chair in Catholic Legal Studies, Villanova University
"Ferrara is a one-man army against the juggernaut of secular Liberalism and the Leviathanian state, and in Liberty, the God That Failed, he has struck a decisive blow." --Thaddeus Kozinski, author of The Political Problem of Religious Pluralism