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By David Carlin, The Catholic Thing, Jan. 23, 2021

David Carlin is a retired professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island, and the author of The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America.


David CarlinRaison d’état is the doctrine that certain acts that are immoral or sinful when committed in private life (e.g., lies, theft, murder) are acceptable when done by political leaders (kings, presidents, prime ministers) to protect or advance important state interests.  The doctrine might also be called Machiavellianism, for it was Machiavelli in The Prince who gave the classic defense of this doctrine.

This was a justification of what might be called small-scale or limited or finite political wickedness.

But in the 20th century, perhaps the most wicked century in the history of the human race, a variant of this doctrine emerged, a monstrous variant.  Let us call it raison de révolution.  According to this new doctrine, enormous or gigantic wickedness is justified in order to protect or advance a great Revolution.  This doctrine was on full display in the Russian Bolshevik Revolution and in the German Nazi Revolution. …

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