Friday, February 07, 2014

The American Catholic showdown, and more

  • The American Catholic showdown. Liberal Catholicism will die, and the indifferent masses will drift off to secular humanism. So this is a fight brewing among the Catholics who still go to Mass. American Catholicism won't disappear, because it used to be so big. But it will be a lot smaller, and sounder and higher-church along Pope Benedict's lines. (Francis is a flash in the pan for the libs.) It looks like the only choices American Catholic intellectuals are offering me are to be a neocon supporting the economic liberalism I believe in but reformed religion and the mainstream Republican Party, or to have my Tridentine religion along with fascism (just a description, not a dirty word) or monarchism, with well-meant leftism or third-wayism economically that just doesn't work. Zmirak really doesn't like trads. I have nothing against the man and agree with some of his points, as I am a well-meaning Catholic libertarian, but this line of writing reminds me of that tool who wrote how uncool and crazy Ron Paul supporters are so now he's on board with the people at Salon. Valid discussion point: was the golden era of American Catholicism around the '50s just a fluke - is America inherently anti-Catholic? I don't want to think so but it makes me think. Catholic Social Teaching seems to be a well-meant welfare state but anti-abortion and anti-unjust wars.
  • From Theden: How we helped the USSR win WWII. By betraying our mother country: Protestant but still our people (why America defending Australia made sense).
  • A reprint of William S. Lind’s 1995 article, “Militant Musings: From Nightmare 1995 to My Utopian 2050.”
  • Culture-wars shows:
    • Sochi-bashing. Russia has lots of embarrassing problems but of course our mainstream media are going after them with a vengeance for thoughtcrime; Google’s in on the rainbow-flag waving. Reminds me of Henny Youngman inventing Polack jokes.
    • That mild multiculti Coke commercial. I don’t watch the Super Bowl but don't write about it because it seems to bring out the kind of lefties who were envious of the jocks and try to tear them down. (Like the Episcopalian crusade against alleged sex trafficking at it.) So I saw this after the fact. Perfect bait for the understandable nativist backlash, a set-up for the SWPLs to make fun of it (idiots can't even write English, don't know the song isn't our anthem, etc.). I love foreign languages but Roissy's right. This lefty business isn't about helping the poor but sticking it to their own white kin whom they hate. Importing Islamists and dropping them in Kentucky. Social engineering, or trying to replace the white proles.


  1. Dr. Zmirak (whom I have met a few times and quite like) is definitely arguing partly against his former self there, which may account for the arguably too-harsh language; I suppose we're all more scrupulous about our own former errors. In another article, he described having long ago scandalized and repelled secular friends with his full-throated advocacy of a Salazar-style Catholic dictatorship for the United States. Exposure to Bastiat's "The Law" seems to have cured him of the habit. (Politics aside, he doesn't hesitate to defend the superiority of the old Mass).

    Obviously, I like religious liberty, but a basic prerequisite to functioning religious liberty is acknowledgement of a rationally comprehensible Natural Law; almost nobody in the modern world admits this, apart from traditional Christians. Likewise (as Zmirak himself has noted), a religiously neutral state must necessarily be a small and inactive one, lest its activism gradually displace religion from all of public life. Given that the federal goverment has for some time been aggressively pursuing the latter course, and given how little support exists for the idea of Natural Law, outside of the traditional churches, is it worth putting in the effort to defend religious liberty and the First Amendment? I can understand why a Catholic charged with the defense of religious liberty might feel like a soldier guarding a redoubt whose flanks have been totally overrun- "Maybe I should retreat to a more secure position, before I'm surrounded". The only rejoinder I can offer is that there probably IS no more secure position- America is not 1930s Spain, where Catholics had the numbers, cohesion, and organizational muscle to go toe-to-toe with their persecutors and prevail. If the First Amendment were repealed tomorrow, traditional Christians would be first to the Gulags. Classical liberalism has a long list of flaws, but right now, it's the only thing keeping guys like us out of prison.

  2. Classical liberalism has a long list of flaws, but right now, it's the only thing keeping guys like us out of prison.

    This is a little overstated in the sense that, while the Left has the bully pulpit, the megaphone, even the nuclear launch codes, it's a house of cards. The Soviets had all that as well. The secularist, demotist State does not exist absent classical liberals continuing to pay their taxes and opening businesses and showing up for work. When the net producers decide they've had enough and start withdrawing to their own enclaves and not filing tax returns, it is game over. I remain puzzled why the Catholic Church seems so intent on buttressing the secular demotist State when, frankly, she can start kicking it as it goes down.

  3. Maybe I overestimate the might of the secularists; I live in the urban Northeast, in a sea of left-wing intellectuals. Even here, though, the main problem is not the hostility of the Cathedral, but the virtual absence of internal discipline within my Church. If my diocese displayed even a fraction of the cohesion it had in the '40s and '50s, the solid loyalty of most of the police would make serious state persecution unthinkable. As it is now, nobody with a family to feed would dare risk a secure civil service job for the sake of unpopular Church doctrines that even most priests won't defend. I don't like how Catholic leaders slavishly bend to the demands of the secular democratic order, and I'd probably be more open to an aggressive, confrontational approach if we had our own house in order, but with the Catholic Church in its current state, most Catholics would show the same dedication and fighting spirit as the Iraqi tank crews in the Gulf War.

    On the negative side of the 1st Amendment, I've seen "Religious Liberty" used by Catholic bishops as an excuse to avoid speaking clearly on a host of moral issues- rather than arguing the intrinsic wrongness of things like contraception or same-sex unions, they waste their time begging for "conscience" exceptions, essentially saying "We don't really think any of these things are contrary to the Natural Law; but we must comply with some weird, nonsensical divine revelation that doesn't apply to any of you". From there, the battle is already over- why should some irrational bit of revelation stand in the way of a woman's "reproductive health", or the happiness of a "loving" homosexual couple? Unfortunately, when even most Catholics don't understand why these things are wrong, it's an uphill battle to convince anyone else that we mean business.

    In theory, these problems shouldn't be hard to fix at the diocesan level. Start by mandating that all candidates for first communion and confirmation pass age-appropriate written tests indicating basic familiarity with core dogmas (with proper exceptions for the retarded, etc.), "annulment-proof" marriages by clarifying the paperwork required of couples who marry in the Church so that they actually understand Church teaching (they have these forms now, but the language is so vague as to be almost useless), and use more tape-recorded sermons from the bishop, distributed to parishes on Sunday, so the laity get exposure to unpopular teachings that Father doesn't want to mention himself. After 10 years or so of that, any diocese should be back in fighting trim. There's no will to do this, though, as most bishops seem to prefer pretending that nothing's wrong.

  4. What's wrong with monarchism? And why has Zmirak (who used to extol the Habsburgs and deplore the French Revolution) apparently abandoned it?

    Contrary to Americanists' hysterical smears, most monarchists have no desire to burn heretics at the stake or anything like that. We just would rather have a king--and all that entails politically, culturally, and aesthetically--than a president.

    1. A monarch is the head of an ancestral, that is, a racial family. Good luck with that idea; Mark Shea is already calling Homeland Security.

      My opinion, and it's just an opinion, Catholic intellectuals like Zmirak realize that the great Catholic monarchs are gone and not coming back and if he wants to get paid to write, then he needs at least to keep those ideas to himself. If Catholic intellectuals want any shot at getting the Church near the levers of power again, then they'll have to become secular democrats, and most of them are falling all over themselves to do so. I've commented before that Catholics like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas seem to fancy themselves the Thomas Mores of their day to the secular Executive. Admirable maybe, but ironic considering the US Constitution was written by anti-Catholic Masons.

      Personally, I think it's a fool's errand. In the first place, the democratic state is on borrowed time, and the Church will apparently be as unprepared for that eventuality as she was for the end of the Roman Empire. In the second, if the Church wants to keep getting government money to resettle Muslims in the West and provide housing for single moms, then eventually the State will insist she follow her paymasters' tune. At that point, either Catholic charities and schools tell the government to keep its filthy money, or the Church bends over and takes it.

      The State in most times and places is the enemy of its people, but Church hierarchies everywhere follow the general human tendency of wanting to side with the winners. The secular, democratic State is ascendant at this point.

  5. OK - time for a new posting. Get writing (unless you are busy marrying your lovely girlfriend and having babies in which case all is forgiven).


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