Thus the history of nations teaches us the necessity of the Union with Christ.
To be sure, even when we study the history of the individual and the nature of man, we always see a divine spark in his breast, an enthusiasm for the Good, a striving for perception, a longing for truth-but the sparks of the eternal are smothered by the flame of lust. The enthusiasm for virtue is stifled by the tempting voice of sin, which is made ridiculous when the full power of life is felt. The striving for perception is replaced by the inferior striving for worldly goods; the longing for truth is extinguished by the sweet-smiling power of the lie; and so man stands, the only creature that does not fulfill its goal, the only member in all Creation not worthy of the God that created him. But the benevolent Creator does not hate his handiwork; he wanted to elevate it to his own level and He sent us his Son, through whom He calls to us: “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you [John 15:3-4].
Anyone want to guess who wrote those words? It was a youthful Karl Marx, writing for a pre-university religion class. A mere 13 years later, he would publish The Communist Manifesto, the work that would make him one of the most famous and influential atheists of all time.
It is uncommon for an individual’s views not to change between the end of his or her education and establishment in the world. Formal education offers a chance to try on a number of ideas, write about them, and evaluate how truly they represent your own perspective.
That’s why Bob McDonnell should be given a pass for the graduate thesis he wrote over two decades ago. Some of the conservative ideologies he expressed were extreme; some less so. His career since then has shown good judgment in discerning which ideas to embrace as policy, and which to leave alone. But if this attack on McDonnell from the Washington Post is unwarranted, it serves at least as a helpful reminder: unearth your old college term papers and destroy them.