But too often the freedom championed today is the freedom of the antinomian revolutionaries, a blanket “freedom from” with no concern for the ends to which it will be directed. The problem with this libertine conception of freedom is that it treats all men as radically individual, as bearers of ‘rights’ over and against the societies to which we belong…
…Legalism and antinomianism fatally pervert the truth about just authority, and both errors loom large as threats to our political well being: the former as a propagandist terror and the latter as a destructive overreaction to it. Les Misérables instructs us in the Aristotelian golden mean between these two: We should neither worship nor despise the law, but navigating between this Scylla and Charybdis, between Javert and Enjolras, we should love and respect the law always. It will not be our salvation, but it will be instrumental in instructing and guiding us toward that goal. Let us delight in the law and follow the witness of Jean Valjean, of whom Hugo wrote, “It seemed as though he had for a soul the book of the natural law.”
Now where’s that Fall ’53 Sears Catalog?