Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I've been predicting this trend for some time ...

So I'm not terribly surprised to see Mark quoting an article from The American Conservative (written, somewhat bizarrely, by a physicist and evolutionary biologist) that basically argues that the threat from al-Qaeda, Iran, et al is completely overblown because neither al-Qaeda or Iran have yet achieved the level of existential threat that the USSR or China did during the Cold War.

There are a number of things that are wrong with this take ranging from the fact that the author has no understanding as to what Fourth Generation Warfare to the fact that you do not have to wait until a threat is existential before you deal with it no more than I am obligated to wait until a hoodlum pulls out a knife or a gun before I attempt to defend myself. Then there is also the fact that governments quite removed from the good graces of the current administration (France, Russia, Spain, Italy, etc.) are also quite worried about al-Qaeda.

For someone who has spent God-knows-how-many posts over the last several years writing about "Bronze Age Fanatics," one suspects that Mark is actually aware of this but that his all-pervasive desire to preserve the current Iranian theocracy from the possibility of US military intervention (which he believes is likely to occur why given the current American political situation following now-inevitable Democratic triumph this November) is superceding his better nature on this one.

The ongoing paleoconization of Mark Shea has been a rather sad state of affairs to witness for a variety of reasons that have little to do with the ideology that he has selected, though if he was going to select a new political ideology one would hope that he could do better than either paleoconservativism or the Constitution Party. I know full well that embracing the political left in its current form isn't anything resembling a "genuine option" (to borrow from William James) to him, but it strikes me as just a little hypocritical to hear that the Democrats and the Republicans are equally bad from a fringe political movement that strikes me as standing out through its embrace of conspiracy theories, isolationism, anti-Semitism, and more than a little racism towards Hispanics (not to be confused with a desire to secure the border, but I would challenge anyone to read Pat Buchanan's State of Emergency and attempt to defend the characterization of Hispanics in general), legal or otherwise.

I would argue that my predictions of Mark turning paleocon have almost completely panned out for a variety of reasons relating both to torture and the Iraq war. Opposition to either is not linked to paleoconservatism, but in Mark's case his rhetoric has left him little in the way of options. From his claims that neocons have seized control of the Republican Party without understanding exactly what they are beyond a few slogans, that all neocons are libertines without a serious concern for life issues, that the entire GOP leadership cares nothing for social conservatives, his view that Rush Limbaugh has "sold out" and become "a shill" for the GOP because he disagrees with Mark on the war, to his increasing embrace of conspiracy theories, all Mark needs to do is start waxing apocalyptic about La Reconquista and his transition to paleoconservatism should be complete. His increasing embrace of absurd conspiracy theories is indicative of this and I will continue to predict that if he continues at this rate he will come to the conclusion that the current administration is so depraved that he need not grant moral assent to it.

One wonders how Mark is likely to square his own view and that of his fellow travelers that Iraq is lost and that the US needs to pull out with the Vatican's recent statement that religious and political leaders should support the Iraqi reconstruction efforts, a view that would seem to be quite at odds with Mark's apparent view that we should be departing in great solemnity so that Shi'ites and Sunnis can slaughter one another in peace as some kind of sick penance for our having removed Saddam. Mark often likes to castigate the neocons for having supported the war in Iraq when the Vatican was calling for more time for negotiations, so I'll throw down the gauntlet here and ask him if he is willing to put his money where his mouth is.


Art Deco said...

from a fringe political movement that strikes me as standing out through its embrace of conspiracy theories, isolationism, anti-Semitism, and more than a little racism towards Hispanics

I am an occasional reader of Chronicles (as well as sites such as Caelum et Terra and Surfeited with Dainties) and do not find this characterization altogether fair. The majority of the contributors to Chronicles, some of whom are quite distinguished scholars and teachers (e.g. Philip Jenkins) are reasonably temperate. Perhaps I should read the publication with more care, but I cannot recall any conspiracy theories being advanced therein. Joseph Sobran has an animus towards the Jews (expressed in columns on his personal site, not the magazine) and the late Samuel Francis was an adherent of the remnants of white supremacist ideology, but neither is characteristic of the writings of other contributors. The editor Thomas Fleming has been fairly insouciant about the publication's reputation for all that and had himself a perverse affection for Serbian particularism. That having been said, arguments against specific public policies can be and have been stated in a manner that neither requires nor implicates the disagreeable features noted above.

Mark Shea has been manifesting character and personality [!] defects of late, phenomena which are but weakly associated with political ideology.

torquemada05 said...

I was referring far more to The American Conservative or Lew Rockwell than to Chronicles, as I am far more better acquainted with those two than with the latter.