Thursday, February 19, 2015

The liar market, liberalism, and religion

  • A slight depression in the liar market.
  • Madonna: Catholicism feels like my alma mater. It’s the school I used to go to, and I can go back any time I want and take whatever I want from it. She hasn’t really been a pop star for 25 years. Anyway, sure, she’s a cultural Catholic; there are lots of those. They don’t follow the church’s teachings but they will never leave for another faith. (The Episcopalians will always be disappointed.) The door’s always open to them and we’re not a perfectionistic, micro-managing cult (ethnic Catholicism’s pretty easygoing), but remember what Jesus said about the lukewarm.
  • Obama's grand strategy: invite the world, invade the world, indoctrinate and interrogate the citizenry. Because we're a culturally Christian nation, we're forgiving. (The modern left is a Christian heresy, examination of conscience, confession, and all.) We didn't drag Muslims into our streets and kill them after 9/11 like other countries historically would. (But we invaded Iraq, which I've been saying was idiotic since I started this blog over 12 years ago.)
  • Meanwhile, pretty, earnest Marie Harf is getting a few laughs. Same problem as with liberalism in the '50s, as in The Quiet American; a denial of original sin, thinking that man is perfectible in this life by our own Pelagian efforts ("Progress!"). Just give ISIS jobs and all will be well. (They quit jobs in order to fight.) There are no Western nations anymore, just an international elite running things, but ISIS is very much a new nation. (Iraq is a made-up country from after World War I.)
  • Ken Myers via Rod Dreher on why they might not get it. According to classical liberal orthodoxy, “religion” is the label given to beliefs that are private, personal, and spiritual. Religion properly understood (according to this orthodoxy) is never public, communal, and political. It appears that the Obama administration is straining to be faithful to this orthodoxy. Which reminds me of the problem of Catholicism vs. Americanism: the old America was a great home for us and I'm fine not badgering Protestants as long as they don't bother us ("the faith is caught, not taught"). But, to give the paleo-conservatives and the Society of St. Pius X credit, does American religious liberty inevitably lead to a watered-down, Poor Richard's Almanac (thanks, Dr. Rao), "cleanliness is next to godliness" civic religion devoid of the supernatural, the latter being limited to private opinion, "how you choose to amuse yourself on Sunday morning"? Regular readers know I'm sold on the idea that Dreher's Benedict option is at least in effect trying to get conservative Christians to surrender to something like that. There's a difference between that and the honorable retreat underground of the Ukrainian Catholic Church under Soviet rule, for example. Dreher's ostensible refuge from the priestly underage gay sex scandal in American Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, lends itself to surrender: serve the state (emperor, sultan, Comrade First Secretary, or America since the Sixties, which is fine with cutesy ethnic religion that "knows its place"). By the way, conservative Catholics first noticed and tried to stop that priestly underage gay sex; the liberal bishops and priests told them to shut up.

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