Friday, May 18, 2007

Stringing up Nero's Violin ...

So how exactly do I read this other than as gloating that it doesn't matter if the country goes to hell so long as Mark can continue to feel self-righteous:
Every so-called Faithful Conservative Catholic who has labored to justify the wicked policies of torture and prisoner abuse of this Administration and to do everything in their power to ignore the Church's clear teaching on consequentialism in the name of "realism", every alleged Serious Catholic who has labeled critics of the Administration's policies a "Torture Pharisee", every chin-puller who has pretended to be unable to tell if waterboarding is torture and who has decried as "extremist" and "fundamentalist proof texters" those who point out the bleedin' obvious about their fake bafflement--all such Catholics richly deserve Catholic Rudy Giuliani for President. Sleep well.

So long as you willing to include Jimmy Akin, Dave Armstrong, and Father Neuhaus (all of whom have dared to take issue with Mark on torture) on that list, Mark. Maybe Mark can start drawing up proscription so that you can publicly identify and denounce these enemies of the faith for all to see. I won't be holding my breath for that to take place though.*

I'm honestly not seeing the connection between the issue of torture and support for Rudy Giuliani. I've been one of Mark's most vehement opponents on this issue and I'm supporting McCain, for instance. As I think the poll conducted during the debate made clear, support for what Mark would regard as torture is pretty widespread among the declared GOP candidates. If he cared a whit about actually stopping it, he would support a viable candidate who opposed it. But it seems that progress on an issue he claims to care so much about means nothing compared to the benefit of continuing to feel self-righteous on the matter. One might even draw on Our Lord's parable of the Pharisee and tax collector, the former of whom was all too happy to praise God all day in order to thank him that he was not like the other man.

One thing that I think is becoming clear here is that while Mark likes to go on and on about how he and his paleocon friends are the only ones who are Truly Faithful Catholics opposed to torture, he still has yet to grasp that if he actually cared about doing anything to change US policy in this regard rather than feeling self-righteous he would be supporting McCain under a simple cost-benefit analysis. But neither he or his buddies Sullivan or Larison apparently care enough about actually stopping something they regard as an intrinsic evil (torture) to give any ground on a matter explicitly stated in Catholicism as a matter of prudential judgement (war and peace). I am not making a pitch for McCain on this one, just calling Mark's self-righteous drivel for what it is. Politics is the art of the possible and if Mark was actually interested in stopping torture he would be supporting McCain, but he refuses to do so out of nothing more than fear of sullying his paleocon self-righteousness with ritually impure neoconservatism. To suggest otherwise is to confuse the sacred with the secular, something that more than a few readers have noted that Mark has been doing a lot lately.

* This is not a criticism of Mark's fellow apologists but rather one of his inability to grapple with the intellectual implications of his condemnations (much like his reading of Gaudium et Spes, actually). On one hand he uses language to denounce supporters of the war in Iraq with the same as that used in the Catechism to refer to the Antichrist and with the other he seeks the aid and recommendation of Father Neuhaus on matters of theology. Hypocrite indeed!


Anonymous said...

On the assumption (a fair one I think) that Torq and I are the quintessential Torture Apologists in Shea's befuddled mind ...

This is demented, fact-free conspiracy-mongering. It's the free association spouting of soundbites, like Dustin Hoffman in RAINMAN babbling about how safe Qantas is.

Torq backs McCain and I Brownback. Giuliani would rank 8th or 9th in my preference among the 10 declared GOP candidate, depending on what curing my ignorance about Tommy Thompson would do. The only one I'd definitely prefer to him is Ron Paul, as I'm an anti-libertarian (from long standing with the cites to prove it, in case you-know-who infers who-know what)

I have said exactly one thing in support of Giuliani ... that he would be acceptable in a general election against any of the leading Democrats (and any Democrat I can imagine winning their presidential primary), and I'd back him should it come to that. This I persist in believing. If an election were Hillary vs. Stalin, I'd vote for Mizz Rodham. So if that scenario makes me a Whore for Giuliani then I'm a Whore for Rodham too.

Anonymous said...

I'd definitely prefer to him


I's definitely prefer him (Giuliani) to ... is Ron Paul, etc.

Roger H. said...

I'm honestly not seeing the connection between the issue of torture and support for Rudy Giuliani.

I think the connection has to do with Shea's conflating of what the Church teaches on abortion with the issue of torture. In Shea's World, where he gets to be Pope McSnotty, those Catholics who don't think the Church holds torture to be an intrinsic evil are just as "cafeteria-like" as those Catholics who support legalized abortion, a la Rudy Giuliani.

torquemada05 said...

Except that in Mark's world, the number of people who support what he regards as torture includes a number of people that he (I assume) regards as good Catholics. Given this attitude, I suspect he might well throw Cardinal Dulles off the ship given his comments about slavery. He has never intellectually come to grips with this point, instead arguing that the only reason anyone could support torture is out of loyalty to the Bush administration.

Also, (one of) my other problem with him is that despite what he may think, he is not the Pope and has no doctrinal authority on this issue, yet that has not stopped him from making all kinds of statements on this issue that veer very, very close to that kind of presumption.

torquemada05 said...

Also, concerning Victor's hypothetical of a Giuliani vs. Hillary situation, I would have serious concerns about doing so if I thought that a Giuliani victory would mean either a schism in the GOP or the irrelevance of the pro-life movement. Better to lose an election than a party and movement, IMO, even if it is to Hillary.

Anonymous said...

Mark richly deserves Hillary Clinton for President. I hope he can sleep well.

Anonymous said...

Shea's irrationality on the "torture" issue is such that it is now contaminating all of his other political judgements. It's already pulled him closer to the radical libertarians, and to the soft left. Can CAIR be far behind?


Anonymous said...

if I thought that a Giuliani victory would mean either a schism in the GOP or the irrelevance of the pro-life movement.

Well, I certainly don't think it should, and it won't unless the pro-life movement should decide to take a walk and leave relevant politics. But that's little better than blackmail to outsiders -- "let us have our way or we go home." And from the inside, it feels more like cutting off our noses to spite our face (does anybody really think that withdrawing from politics or joining a quixotic third party would make the pro-life movement more relevant?)

Better to lose an election than a party and movement, IMO, even if it is to Hillary.

See, I will never agree with that kind of analysis -- losing an election is good, the better to win future ones. You don't just elect a president, you elect a party and all its fellow-travelers. Can anybody with a straight face say that four years of Hillary-approved judges, Hillary-approved administrative decisions and Hillary-approved law enforcement (i.e., clinic access and enforcing PBA ban, say) ... will not put the abortion culture in a better position than four years of Giuliani?

Plus the unforeseen events factor (e.g., who outside that family knew who Terri Schiavo was when Florida elected Jeb Bush) means that we never know what exactly will matter for the next four years. But we can know that it's always better to be in power than out of power when these events happen -- to back a winner upon whom one can have some influence than walk away and be able to influence nobody.