Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Shea's slippery slope arguments ...

Glad to see you're enjoying our posts, Mark. And since you asked, I'd like to explain what I meant when I said you no longer feel any obligation towards granting moral assent to either the current administration or the conservative establishment.

As a general rule, Christians tend to follow the example of both Jesus and St. Paul that the current legitimate government derives its authority and hence its moral legitimacy from God. Pilate gets his authority from above and St. Paul instructs Christians both to fear God and to honor the Emperor. But as the Catechism notes, there are exceptions to this rule as we can see in the Church's own stand against communism in our own century. As an aside, I would note that if the paleocons like Raimondo and Buchanan that Mark is now so fond of quoting seriously believed half of what they claimed regarding Israeli influence over US foreign policy I would like to hope that they'd be able to muster up a bit more moral courage to do more than rail against AIPAC from cyberspace. Same goes with much of the international anti-war movement (a misnomer IMO, as many of the groups involved do not seem to be terribly opposed to war per se so long as it is carried out towards objectives that they prefer if the postings at uruk or Collective Bellacio are anything to judge by), including Cindy Sheehan. And that includes Andrew Sullivan with that "thinly-veiled military dictatorship" lunacy quoted below. But that's another rant for another time.

What I was referring to was basically the argument that the entire US political system is so depraved and/or rigged that political activism does no good whatsoever - the United States has already lost all real legitimacy and is hardly worth defending, a claim that at best argues for moral equivalence with regard to the current conflict that I would argue is already present in Mark's Rome vs. Carthage model. Given that the Magisterium has yet to give up on Europe, a continent that is far more post-Christian than anything one wants to say about America, you'll forgive me about ceding the battlefield to post-Christianity before all is said and done.

Advocating a revival of Western and Christian (the two go hand in hand, how could they not when so much of Western history is defined by the term Christendom?) principles at home is not, as Mark sometimes seems as though he believes depending on the time of day, inconsistent with external defense. Nor for that matter is the promotion of democracy abroad that if successful would certainly provide a far more open environment for missionary activity than would the current dictatorships that Mark is so eager to preserve in Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, et al. that at best are willing to slightly curtail persecution in order to preserve their surviving Christian populations as museum showcases. Claims that democracy cannot be exported to Islamic societies because of Islam's view of God to man is master-slave (Mark's favored talking point on this one) is a sweeping generalization because there isn't an "Islamic view of God" anymore than there is a Christian view of God (see Protestantism, to say nothing of heresies). Islam is fairly diverse on this score and anyone who tells you otherwise is likely using an American fundamentalist reading of the Qu'ran that is as Western as baseball and apple pie. Whatever Mohammed may or may not have believed on the matter is irrelevant (at least to non-Muslims) because Islam for all practical current purposes is what it's followers believe it to be and there are quite a wide range of views on the subject. And democracy appears to have been successfully exported to pantheist/polytheist society that formerly maintained (and still does informally) a race-based caste system (India) to say nothing of the multitude of non-Christian societies in Southeast Asia. Democracy is also not synonymous with utopia, as anyone who has ever read the Melian Dialogues could tell you and as serious neocons recognize, as Mark Shea also might if he ever bothered to sit down and actually read Irving Kristol or Michael Novak."I'd be more than happy to send him both Neoconservatism and Universal Hunger completely free of charge for no other reason than that if he is going to continue to rail against neocons he might actually find out what it is they actually believe." (last sentence edited by author).

You find this among a lot of fringe groups with all manner of nutty beliefs and given that Mark has already basically claimed that there is nothing resembling a serious, legitimate pro-life constituency within the leadership of the Republican Party (to which he would do well to inform all of the lefties who are currently so terrified of an imminent theocracy), his completely warped caricature of neoconservative thought based on his apparent illiteracy of reading beyond the title of An End to Evil and wholehearted embrace of the paleocon view with regard to neoconservatism in general (actually I think this is being too charitable - Buchanan and Raimondo at least have to claim some understanding of what terms like creative destruction actually mean in order to attack them, whereas I suspect that Mark would be extremely hard-pressed to explain what the term actually means), his crazed derangement when discussing all matters concerning Michael Ledeen (whom Mark, judging from the combox remarks he once made and never retracted, apparently believes projects "evil influences" from his person, which I gather is something like the Dominate Mind Dark Side power; somewhat interestingly enough of all Ledeen's enemies on the right and the left, and he has a great many both in and outside of Washington, Mark appears to be the only one who ascribes that particular characteristic to him), and now his full-blown embrace of Bush Derangement Syndrome where he is now appears openly contemptuous of anyone even remotely inclined to defend the administration and its policies from his wild and increasingly unhinged hyperbolic attacks.

1 comment:

Steve Golay said...

From conversations (online and not) it's been my observation that those who are critical of neocons are not readers.

This illustrates a downside of the Internet (and blogging in particular), we tend to write (blog) more than we read. If one hardcopied everything they wrote in cyperspace, those pages (for many) would exceed those that one reads.

Think this is part of my appreciation of Blosser's "Fan Club". Based on Internet time, there are significant gaps between his postings. Taking day jobs into consideration, I think the man is reading. A habit he picked up from his father, most likely.