When Political Order Breaks Down, No One Wins

When Political Order Breaks Down, No One Wins

When Political Order Breaks Down, No One Wins – How we need ordered liberty, not the chaos of a brawl.

The present political situation reminds one of a carnival. There is no other word to describe it. It is a carnival. The world has become a giant stage of political players and the media full of incomprehensible rage and fury.

The problem with carnivals is that everyone tends to play along. Each player responds to the other in a manner to keep the show going. Carnivals are chaotic affairs with no central plot. Rather, there are several sub-narratives without any resolution of the problems raised. Stage dramas are all be make-believe—which makes this one alarming, since this one is quite real.

Something should be done to stop the carnival but everyone adds to the spectacle. Everyone wants their moment of glory on this stage. And a certain sector of the audience seems to feed on ever more sensationalism.

A Jumble of Irrational and Chaotic Behavior

In normal times, cases like this might be resolved by a calm analysis of the facts. But in this particular case, the facts are tangled in a mess of e-mails and tweets, firings and hiring, declarations and denials that tend to become ever more disorienting.

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It is not so much the facts that are the problem, but how they are handled. A random tweet, for example, will needlessly generate a firestorm. A media uproar will suddenly develop around a completely legal act.

Even all of this confusion probably could be unraveled and explained logically. However, there is no time to decipher anything. People do not have the attention span to listen to a logical analysis amid so much chaotic behavior. In the frenetic intemperance of their daily lives, most people simply don’t understand what is going on—and really don’t want to make an effort to find out. They just follow the latest sound-bite or news headline that is all part of the hype of the carnival.

A Match Without Rules

The internal logic of a political carnival like this one is that if one side breaks the rules, the other is tempted to respond in kind—by throwing all caution to the wind.

The frightening thing is that when this happens, the brouhaha is not about the issues anymore. It is not about the President, Congress, the Democrats or the Republicans.

It is all about the creating an atmosphere of confusion that will later favor any one of the many participating parties. It is a climate of a political boxing match where there are no Marquess of Queensberry rules. Everything is permitted and no holds are barred.

And that is why the present situation is so alarming.

When there are no rules, it creates the dangerous situation in which the issues are forgotten and order itself becomes the target. Order becomes a restraint that keeps people from breaking the rules of the debate to gain a momentary advantage. This is the danger since, once order is gone, anything, even the unthinkable, is possible.

When People Abandon Order

When order is a target to be destroyed, people do anything to advance their cause and pander to the audience. They are willing to sacrifice the common good for their own; the interest of the nation for a slight advantage. People are even inclined to desire the failure of another for failure’s sake. They need not present solutions. Worse yet, they don’t want solutions. Their object is to facilitate change by making what remains of order ungovernable.

This is the stuff of which revolutions and upheavals are made. When people abandon order, they themselves initiate the process whereby freedom is lost—where economy comes unraveled and where society comes apart.

Alas, disorder brings out the worst in people. It turns them into cowards and opportunists. When things fall apart, wrote the poet William Butler Yeats, “the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

Refusing to Play the Carnival Game

That is why the answer to the present crisis cannot consist in entering into the unruly melee. There must be a refusal to play by the lack of rules of the carnival game, since chaos can never be used in defense of order.

Every care must be taken to leave nothing to misinterpretation. Everything must be clear and disciplined. Rules must be respected, and the other side must be boldly challenged when they break them. Order may seem the more difficult course, but real change can only be guaranteed when secured by such rules. Indeed, the rules of order are also the best defense against those who break them.

When Political Order Breaks Down, No One Wins

However, all this is essential to ordered liberty. It’s the only way to avoid the confusion of the present political carnival. Without ordered liberty, it’s hard for people to resist the temptation to throw up their hands in disgust and demand the overturning of all rules—launching the nation into a yet-to-be-defined alternative. Such “solutions” only create the conditions for further upheaval.

It’s time to stop the carnival and settle down to return America to order and dignity again. The sensationalism of the media must be constantly exposed, lest it degenerate into political bloodlust.

Order Is the First Need of the Soul

That is why a notion of order is so important. Order is found in the moral habits, constitutional framework and political forms that have long preserved the nation from danger. These time-honored institutions are the way in which Americans have always resolved their problems. This same American order can still play its role in stabilizing a nation in distress, but only if it is not abandoned. It must be embraced yet more.

This is imperative since there is no alternative to order. That is why Americans should also turn to a higher power at the present juncture. Those who grieve for the nation must implore God for a return to order.

There is too much at stake to see everything descend into a carnival. Russell Kirk said it best: “Order is the first need of the soul.” Without order, one cannot be free, continues Kirk. “Freedom, justice, law or virtue are all extremely important, but order is the first and most basic need.”


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  • Carlos Mesa

    A fantastic and insightful comment Mr. Horvat as usual. What we have at hand, in terms of the political climate in this country, is the rapid disintegration of the governing body in whole. For too long, the politicians have fooled the population and not served the people as its’ supposed to do when examining the heart and spirit of the U.S. Constitution. It is actually quite the reverse and the common man is becoming fed up, and unfortunately impatient, hence the rampant violence. Unfortunately the extreme is manifesting itself more and more these days with no end in sight.
    The current administration is attempting to implement procedures and policies in order to establish some “order”, unfortunately the rottenness and corruption of the politicians are hindering every possible effort. The bitter pill of correction is hard to swallow since it exposes their lack of moral standing. This makes it all the more difficult when including the one-sided opinions of the media just fueling the rage and confusion.
    At this stage man must fully head the advice of message of Fatima: prayer and penance with an unwavering faith at this juncture in the history of the country and the world at large.

  • Randal Agostini

    Always good articles, always good advice, but… Tranquility lies in the heart. There is no disorder when one trusts in God, but neither is there order, for God’s will is usually at odds with that of Man. Regretfully we are subject to the constant bombardment of a media in dire need of attention – so I give it little, sufficient, so that I need to ask God for his help and then to remind in Him in prayer that I trust in Him – completely. Therein I find Peace.

  • Johann du Toit

    John Horvat II you have once again hit the nail on the head. Order and purpose has been replaced by anger, bitterness and an unending desire to personally destroy the political opponent at all costs (and this I have observed on both sides of the political spectrum). The politics of anger, hate, and disorder is not Christian and not moral. It is the source of the chaos and anarchy found in almost every country in the world today.

  • Najib Nasr

    Brother John, I now have 141 of unread articles of yours. They are all very good articles, I am sure, and I should be reading them, but, I do not have the appetite anymore. I did not even finish the above article. I am worried about America and am trying to find a way to help matters in a decisive manner. I see you walking in a straight line with bullets flying from all over and not necessarily aimed at you. You are telling us about the situation and of the chaos we are all experiencing and about its consequence. However, concretely, I look at the situation and see that there is a man trying to establish order and those who were responsible for order trying to undermine his efforts because he will be exposing their wrongdoing and treachery and the plan he is spoiling for them. Only once did you write inconclusively about conspiracy and you washed your hands. When, in the United States of America you saw all TV stations were/are in support of one person and one political party, did you not conclude that you are living in a totalitarian country camouflaged by chaos? When it is possible to discern right from wrong and truth from lies in the Media and research and find out that the Media is giving out daily lies, would you not surmise that something underhanded is in progress? Would that not be a conspiracy? There is no conspiracy theory about this. This is the conspiracy itself and I need to know the details to know how to advise at least the lazy deluded Christians who are swallowing the lies so I can help the man of God who is trying to establish order and moral uprightness. Do we leave him to fight alone? Can we look to you to name things by their proper name? God bless.

    • Paul Sefranek

      Yes there is a conspiracy of evil vs good. The author .. the father of lies and his minions.

      • Najib Nasr

        Thanks, Brother Paul. That makes two of us. Hoping for more details from somewhere, someone. God bless.

        • Paul Sefranek

          This “conspiracy” is all about spiritual warfare. What do you hope to gain from knowledge about it?

          • Najib Nasr

            I know it is and I agree that it is spiritual warfare. Don’t you want to know who Satan’s accomplices are, what they are doing, what they call things, so you can advise those who are in their clutches and those could end up there? Aside from curiosity, as a Christian, I live for others, not for myself. I am not after you for details. I am just voicing concern. God bless.

        • Paul Sefranek

          Are you familiar with the St Michael prayer and Pope Leo XIII’s vision that caused him to compose it?

          • Najib Nasr

            Yes. But, the 100 years are well over. Lucifer lost. What’s next? There is a connection to the Fatima matter: 33 years to the day before the Miracle of the Sun. Also, it has been 33 years since Lucifer’s 100-year failure (1984-2017=33). And, this is the 100th Fatima Anniversary, and Our Lady mentioned that there is going to be a seventh revelation. Anyway, what’s on your mind?

          • Paul Sefranek

            Great… But in terms of contemporary events I don’t think you can say Satan has lost. He is a clever general, has many followers and is out to destroy the catholic Church. You can identify them by their actions in attacking the beliefs of the Catholic Church. In order to recognize the enemy, you must 1st know the faith!!! As to battling them, Mary has visited many times (Fatima, Akita, Garabandal, and Our Lady of Good success to name a few) offering warnings and making requests.

          • Najib Nasr

            I agree. I said Satan has lost, meaning he lost his bet with God. He wanted 100 years. He got them, but, could not destroy the Church in that period. He also did lose and his fate is sealed. He does not have much time left (Revelation 12:12). He is working overtime to down as many of us as he can before he gets God’s final slap. God bless.

  • Fatima

    The world need to recognize GOD IS GOD. From the beginning, in Eden Garden, God the Father cursed the Snake (Satan) that one day “She will crush your head.” Today is the day, Our Blessed Virgin Mary will crush the head of Satan and St. Michael will lock them up in Hell for one thousand year. PRAY THAT THE POPE AND ALL THE BISHOPS OBEY GOD’S ORDER THROUGH HIS MOTHER IN FATIMA MESSAGE. The “Russia must be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart” only by then, the world will have peace. NO OTHER WAY OUT. Why don’t you people see it. That’s the WILL OF GOD THAT HE HAD SET UP SINCE SATAN FAILED HUMAN RACE.

  • Patrick O’Brien

    Our society is in preparation for a Bagarre.