on the more serious problems facing it:noverpopulation, pollution, disease, extinction,nclimate change, and asteroidnimpact.n— Ronald C. CorbynnFredericksburg, “^DCnDr. Jones Replies:nMr. Corbyn faults me for failing to noticen”the Catholic Church’s conspiratorialnrole in inshgating” the Illuminati affair innBavaria in the 1780’s. I failed to noticenthis conspiracy because it didn’t exist.nThe Illuminati manuscripts were discoverednby accident. The campaign againstnthe Illuminati was conducted by thenBavarian government, not by the Church,nnot because Weisshaupt was a “buddingnheretic” but because he advocated thenoverthrow of throne and altar in Bavarianand ever)’ other country in Europe. ThenIlluminati were a threat to public ordernand were treated as such by the Bavarianngovernment. There is no dichotomy, asnfar as I can tell, between the actions of thenBavarian government and the public huenand cr)’ that accompanied those actions.nTo say that the government of Catholicnstates often had the support of the Catholicnpopulations of those states is not antenet of the Wliig theor’ of histor)’. Tonstate that such an agreement is a priori impossible,nhowever, is precisely that. Aftern200 years of bad fruit, Mr. Corbyn wantsnto rescue the Enlightenment’s respectabilitynby saying that, in spite of all the evilnit did, it at least had the good sense to oi>npose Catholicism. Shorn of value judgments,nthat thesis is my thesis as well. ThenEnlightenment is finally being seen fornwhat it was all along —not science, notnliberation, but rather an ideologically motivatednattack on Catholicism and, therefore,nan attack on social, moral, and politicalnorder in Europe.nMr. Corbyn tries to damn the Illuminatinwhile praising the Enlightenment,nbut the distinction will not stand up to seriousnscrutiny. Just about ever}’ figure ofnnote in the Cerman Enlightenment,nfrom Coethe to Pestalozzi, was a membernof the Illuminati. There was no Enlightenmentnorganization per ne, but thenMasons came close, and the Illuminatinwere successfully recruiting newly joinednMasons precisely because they were ablento deliver what the Masonic lodges onlynpromised. Karl Marx, a later devotee ofnEnlightenment thought, believed thatnman, at some point in the future, wouldnbe “no longer in need of government.”nSo it’s not odd to think that his less rigorousnUtopians might agree.nApologists for the Enlightenment arenalways faced with the unenviable task ofnexplaining how and where it went wrong.nI am spared such exercises in futility becausenI believe it went wrong from thenbeginning. As St. Augustine has stated,nand I restate in my book Libido Dominandi,nthere are only two options in thisnlife—the City of God, which is based onnlove and service, and the Cit)’ of Man,nwhich is based on the opposite of lovenand service—or, to use Augustine’s term,nlibido dominandi, the desire to dominate.nOnce a culture turns away from the Citynof Cod, there is only one other directionnit can take, and that is the direction thenEnlightenment took when it decided toncrush the Catholic Church. The historynof the Enlightenment is the histor)’ of increasinglynsophisticated forms of politicalncontrol, all of which had their source innthe Illuminati. Any ideology which proclaimsnits desire to liberate man from thenmoral law can only be an instrument thatnis designed to enslave him. Morals, ornpractical reason, are the only thing thatnmake a rational creature free.nMr. Corbyn is free to believe that anman can be moral without the assistancenof faith. This is theoretically possible:nThe moral law is a creation of God, not ancreation of religion; all men, simply becausenthey are men and must function asnrational creatures, have it engraved onntheir hearts. That does not mean, however,nthat they are free from the desire tondistort it. Let’s forget for a moment aboutnfragile individuals and their penchant tonrationalize their desires. Entire religionsnhave done the same thing. The Jews rationalizedndivorce and polygamy, as didnthe Muslims and the Mormons. If entirenreligions, men of faith laboring under thenthreat of divine sanction, can succumb tonthis temptation, what mere individualncan resist the same insistent urge to rationalizenhis own desires?nMr. Corbyn’s position is even more extreme:nHe believes that “a person cannhave a pure naturalist/materialist view ofnthe world and still be moral.” In a sense,nthis is also possible—just as it is possiblenthat a skeptic will suddenly jump up innthe middle of a conversation in which henis intent on showing that nothing is certainnand announce that he has to leavenbecause it is now 3:02 and he has to catchnthe train for Ealing, which departs atn3:14. He does so because he is a humannnnbeing, not because he is a deep thinker.nThe same thing is true of materialism,nwhich is a pseudoscientific justificationnfor gratifying illicit sexual desires. Thosenwho think it is something else shouldnread the writings of the Marquis de Sade,nthe only Enlightenment thinker who isnstill being c|uoted today, and the only onenHollywood thinks important enough tonmake films about. Aldous Huxley, an astutenreader of Sade, noticed the samenconnection between reason and appetitenin his essay Means and Ends. He mentionsnthere that Mettrie, Sade’s teacher innmaterialism, wrote his treatise on pleasurenas his follow-up to his explanation ofnhow man was a machine.nFinally, Mr. Corbyn refers to the “terrorntactics the Church has used in thenpast,” claiming that they are no “differentnfrom the means… used by the Jacobins,ncommunists, and fascists.” Where, Inwonder, does he find the Catholic Gulag,nwith its millions of victims? Wlierenwas the Catholic Auschwitz? In whatnpublic place did the Catholic Church setnup its guillotine until the streets ran rednwith the blood of her political opponents?nMr. Corbyn’s mind is haunted bynmyths that once flourished in Englishspeakingncountries but have now fallennon hard times —myths like the Whignview of history. Worse than that, he isnstill laboring under that most dangerousnof all illusions, the belief that, “if thenWestern world were rid of religion,nmankind would have more opportunitynto cooperate with one anoflier and to focusnon more serious problems”—thingsnlike “asteroid impact.” Mr. Corbyn failsnto understand that such phenomena asncommunism were the implementation ofnthe Enlightenment, not its antithesis.nThe late and unlamented 20th centurynwas riddled with attempts to rid the worldnof religion. That he can’t see this is a tributento die hold that these m)’ths can havenover the human mind. If anyone wants tonengage in body counts, I will gladly placenmy money on Catholic Bavaria over thenworkers’ paradise in the Soviet Union ornChina or Cambodia or any other genoeidalnheaven on earth that the Enlightenmentnhas bequeathed to us. A worldnwithout Cod, as Cardinal Ratzinger —na Bavarian and head of the office that isnthe successor to the Inquisition—recentlynsaid, is another word for Hell.n(vQCcJssnJUNE 2001/5n