, , , , , , , , ,

Carl Schmitt was right to say that all modern concepts of the state are secularized theological concepts if by ‘secularized’ one means ‘covert.’ The story of the death of the sovereign God and his rebirth in the sovereign state is not a story of the progressive stripping of the sacred from some secular remainder. It is instead the transfer of care for the holy from the church to state. We not only expect the state to provide technical solutions to market imbalances. In a deeper sense, we want the state to absorb the risk involved in living a mortal human life. We want the state to defer the consequences of our actions to some undefined future. In other words, we want the state to help us cheat death.

– William T. Cavanaugh, Migrations of the Holy, 2011