A Ship that Reels Forward, Piloted by a Crew of Drunken Sailors


‘If the faculties of our soul, without being darkened with that cloud of ignorance, wherein that fatal transgression involved them, had continued free and incorrupted judges, no force would be requisite to captivate the judgements of men, no ecclesiastical censures would be needful to awe their consciences, true reason would have found more perfect obedience than passion could procure with all those compulsories. Whereas man’s depraved will is now so enslaved to his passions that he not only follows its suggestions, but as if he meant to continue the first  order established in the state of innocency, he still affects to depend on reason, yet such as he frames to justify his self-will and particular inclinations; and he conceives, that no mean can come amiss, which may assist him in attaining that end to which his passion directs him…And it is a convincing argument of the abundance of misery into which we are fallen by that rebellion of our first father that even our zeal of the propagation of the true worship of God may degenerate into  a reprovable passion, when it wants discretion, or is accompanied with interests of our own or pretensions that relate not to His service, and is contaminated with any thing which may deprive it of being a pure sacrifice to the searcher of all hearts.


We may gather how fond their pursuit is, who, without regard to that immutable, incorruptible happiness which is fastened with those adamantine grapples of eternity, do lose themselves in quest of an object, whose permanency depends on the good liking of others, and cannot in true judgement be thought real, since it is transitory.’

Richard Bellings, History of the Confederation and the War in Ireland.

‘For [Juan Donoso Cortes], man is a  disgusting and laughable creature, completely destroyed by his own sins and prone to error. Indeed, if God had not redeemed man, the latter would have been more despicable than the reptile one crushes underfoot. For Donoso, world history is a ship that reels forward, piloted by a crew of drunken sailors, who dance and howl until God decides to sink the ship so that silence can rule the sea once again.’

Carl Schmitt, ‘The Unkown Donoso Cortes’, Telos no. 125. Taken from here: https://opuspublicum.com/2014/09/14/schmitt-on-cortes/