Wednesday, September 13, 2017

September 13, 2017

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

Pope Francis, the Universality of Revolution, and the Corruption of Conservatism


Last night as I thought about composing this commentary, I decided to write briefly about the latest inanities that had come forth from the flailing lips of Pope Francis, specifically regarding President Trump’s action on Obama’s unconstitutional DACA Executive Order on illegals and on the president’s views of climate change. As a traditional Catholic, myself, I have stopped being surprised by the off the wall, utterly indefensible comments that the Pontiff makes, usually while speaking “informally” to reporters as he scoots about by plane from this country to that. His opinion that it is “not Christian” to oppose illegal immigration and to question climate change indicates a man of limited intelligence submerged in the defecated detritus of currently fashionable Leftist ideology. Divine assistance certainly hasn’t aided him in these matters!

More significant for me, however—and for any Catholic who takes his faith seriously—have been Francis’ “pastoral” implementations, his “declarations” and his patently obvious moves to cleverly “go around doctrine,” to achieve in “practice” what in “doctrine” would be considered clearly and openly denying the Church’s consistently taught faith of centuries.  By definition this is theological Modernism, that is, the praxis of undermining and denial not by a formal opposition to a defined doctrine—which would indicate to all that the denier had excluded himself from the Communion of the faithful—but  by a “practical” or pastoral application of heretical  and condemned precepts and views.

Pope St. Pius X, only a century ago, defined Modernism as the “summation of all previous heresies,” which is based on a lie, and that “lie” encompasses and subverts every aspect of the faith, from the destruction of the Church’s millennial liturgy to make it sound and seem more “progressive,” to appointing liberals and leftists to high clerical positions (including a whole slew of less-than-orthodox bishops), to a wink-and-a-nod to “situational ethics” (on everything from divorce to same sex marriage). Thus, after several generations of Modernism, it really won’t matter what the formal teachings of the Church are—from the pew to the pulpit to the halls of the Vatican those teachings will, at best, simply be ignored, or at worst, ambiguously redefined beyond recognition.

The revolution within the Catholic Church is not unique, it has occurred and is happening in all major denominations with varying degrees of success—from its near total victories in Anglicanism, and in mainstream Methodism and Presbyterianism, but with less success in Eastern Orthodoxy and among Southern Baptists. Still, like a virulent cancer, the madness of raging theological Modernism, “liberation theology,” and “social justice” liberalism, never stop, never slow down. Their entire reason for existence is wrapped up in and consumed by their relentless attempts to subvert, convert and pervert the traditional Faith of Christianity.  For they understand what the anti-Christian Rationalist Voltaire said of the historic Faith 250 years ago: “Le Christianisme! Ecrasez l’infame!”  “Christianity—Crush the loathsome thing!” And to achieve that goal no tactic, no subversive maneuver, no false face, no lie is off limits.

The “auto-destruction” of the Church mirrors an analogous subversion and transformation that has occurred in nearly every aspect of human life. Just as in our religious institutions which are at the base of our historic civilization, “cultural Marxism” has waged an unceasing and highly successful campaign to infiltrate and deform our cultural and educational institutions. In other words, the Revolution we behold is universal, it affects every facet of our existence and every field of human endeavor. And it is, let us be frank, “Evil.”

This universality of “Evil on the march” must be clearly understood and comprehended by those who resolve to oppose it. Collaborationism or averting one’s eyes from the contagion, from what is happening, is no excuse, as Holy Scripture makes certain. We are called, in grace, to face the Enemy and to do combat.

The greatest success, the most significant conquest, of our enemies has been to firmly implant in our thinking as an uncontestable truth the progressivist “Idea of Progress”—the belief in the unalterable and continuing march of humanity to greater “enlightenment” by throwing off the “chains and restraints” of traditional morality and  inherited custom and law, and the embrace of an increasingly expansive egalitarianism and “liberal democracy” (which in actuality is a mirage, a useful myth, leading to the loss of liberties and eventual enslavement). These are our “new truths,” dissent from which is not permitted.

Thus, our supposed champions in the political arena—most Republican leaders and most in the established “conservative movement”—implicitly accept that template, that mindset, if not agreeing to it explicitly. And when the leaders of the opposition accede to not only the terms of combat but the very objectives of the enemy, the outcome of the battle, of the war, would appear pretty much determined from the beginning.

This morning I pass on an excellent column by Dr. Jack Kerwick which examines the intellectual corruption of what passes for “establishment conservatism.” In a very real and practical sense, movement conservatism has become the “useful idiot” for the advancing progressivist Revolution; first, after only half-heartedly opposing the latest revolutionary change, it “begrudgingly accepts” it as inevitable, then it attempts to rationalize it, even prove that it can be seen as “conservative.” Thus, we observe the specter of the odious Jonah Goldberg or George Will, who once supposedly “opposed” same sex marriage, but who then “begrudgingly accepted it,” and now finally, justify it and claim that it is, after all, “conservative.” So, you see, “conservatism has actually won!” And they have done this repeatedly, most especially in sanctifying and confirming every latest barbarism that we are continually informed is a victory for us, when in fact, it represents the latest destruction of our historic culture and civilization.

Lastly, I resend several superb excerpts from the great Southern writer Robert Lewis Dabney penned 130 years ago; although these form part of a larger and very impressive critique of the campaign for women’s suffrage, they well apply to the intellectual dross emitted from the kind of establishment “conservatism” we see around us, on Fox, at The Weekly Standard and National Review, or coming from the less-schooled mouths of GOP congressional leaders.

Needy, Disavowing Conservatives

By Jack Kerwick  September 13, 2017

If ever there was any proof needed that the left long ago won the so-called “cultural wars,” it was supplied in spades this last month. And it was supplied by none other than self-styled “conservatives.”  Yet in proving that the left is victorious, these “conservatives” also proved the truth of another proposition by which some of us have been swearing for quite some time: They are not now, nor have they ever been, genuine conservatives.

In the wake of Charlottesville, “conservatives,” the men and women of the Fake Right, have been competing ferociously with one another in a “disavowing” contest.  They have their sights set on the same prize that “conservatives” covet more than any other: Acceptance by the left. Those “conservatives” who make their living in academia, Washington D.C., and, importantly, the media, ache to be embraced by their leftist counterparts.  Let’s call them “Needy Conservatives.”

You can always detect a Needy Conservative by the topics on which he (or she) chooses to focus; the terms in which the discussion of the topic is framed; and, perhaps most significantly of all, the topics that he chooses to avoid discussing.

But, specifically, by far and away the biggest give away that one has encountered a Needy Conservative is the latter’s readiness to disavow “white supremacy” or “white racism.”

Needy Conservatives are in a tough spot.  On the one hand, whether for votes or ratings, they need to convince their constituents that they are real conservatives, i.e. enemies of the left.  On the other hand, they need to convince the left that they are no less committed to the left’s ideals—namely, Equality—than are leftists themselves.

These needs on the part of Needy Conservatives account for why it is not uncommon to hear, say, “conservative” talk radio hosts defending police against another spurious charge of “racist” brutality vis-à-vis a criminal black suspect, while qualifying his defense with assurances that he’s sensitive to the “racism” to which blacks are supposedly subjected on a daily basis.

These needs explain the propensity of Needy Conservative politicians and media personalities to renounce Islamic regimes and Muslim terrorists for their violations of “human rights,” “gay rights,” and “women’s rights.” Islamic regimes and “Islamo-fascists” must be resisted because, in other words, they are insufficiently progressive, i.e. insufficiently committed to advancing the leftist understanding of Equality.

These needs account for why Needy Conservatives, when they do think to speak to the pathologies plaguing the black under and lower classes, scarcely ever, if at all, highlight the astronomical quantity and often barbaric quality of black-on-nonblack crime.  Nearly 90 percent of interracial crime involves black perpetrators and nonblack victims.  Yet Needy Conservatives, so as to avoid the risk of being cast from Respectable (leftist) Society, choose to focus instead on black-on-black crime.  This way, they can frame their critique so as to make it appear that it reflects, not any prejudice or anger on the part of Needy Conservatives, but his compassion for…blacks.

These needs make sense of why Needy Conservatives, rather than subject the indiscriminately applied term “racism” to the rational interrogation that it richly deserves, prefer instead to engage in the characteristically leftist tactic of charging others with it.  Hence, Needy Conservatives are forever reminding contemporary Democrats that, historically, it was their party that served as the first home of the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow, etc.  And they constantly blame Democrats for “racist” policies like high taxes, “affirmative action,” welfare, and teachers’ unions that, allegedly, account for why black areas in Democrat-controlled cities all over the country are economic wastelands and warzones.

These needs explain why it is that Needy Conservatives, while trying to sound tough on immigration, spare no occasion to signal to the left that they are all in favor of legal immigration.  And, to hear these Needy Conservatives tell it, there is no point at which they would oppose immigration—from anywhere—as long as it’s legal!

We could easily expand on this list of examples of the neediness of Needy Conservatives.

Most recently, though, as was mentioned, Needy Conservatives betrayed their twin needs when they expressly and repeatedly “disavowed” those who the leftist press calls “white supremacists.”  They exposed their neediness when they castigated President Trump for, supposedly, failing to do the same—or at least failing to “disavow” “white supremacists” with the same “moral clarity” possessed by Needy Conservatives.

Five comments are in order here.

First, the Needy Conservative’s need to be embraced by both his more conservative constituents and his counterparts on the left is undoubtedly psychological as much as it is professional: The Needy Conservative wants to genuinely be respected, or at least not looked down upon, by his leftist peers in Congress and/or the (predominantly leftist) media.

Second, because the Needy Conservative chooses the path of least resistance; because he favors profits (or votes) and social respectability over and above truth and real virtue—specifically, the virtue of courage, the courage to correct errors and combat evil, however unpopular and unpleasant these tasks may be—the Needy Conservative’s positions on the aforementioned issues amount to so much moral window-dressing. He has purchased virtue on the cheap.

Thirdly, it should be obvious that Needy Conservatives, in couching their positions in terms of the left’s ideological framework, strengthen the left’s hold over our politics and culture.  Less obvious, perhaps, is that Needy Conservatives are equally guilty on this score insofar as they continually “disavow” “white supremacy.”

Neither since Charlottesville nor at any time before then have I ever disavowed the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, or any other species of “white supremacy.”  I never disavowed these things for the same reason that I never disavowed ISIS; whale gutting in the Arctic; breast feeding; black, brown, yellow, and red “supremacy”; Hinduism; and a practically limitless number of other entities and activities.

I never disavowed such things because I never avowed them in the first place.

When Needy Conservatives disavow “white supremacy,” they imply that they—and, by extension, all conservatives—have cause to distance themselves from “white supremacists.” After all, white leftists are never called upon to disavow “white supremacy.”

Donald Trump has never been called upon to disavow any of the Democrats with whom he regularly buddied around before he ran for the presidency as a Republican. Nor has he been expected to disavow rape, say, because a convicted rapist, Mike Tyson, endorsed his presidential candidacy.  No, Trump has been called upon by his enemies in both parties to disavow only “white supremacy.”   This is because they know that his disavowal, like that of every Needy Conservative, conveys the tacit impression that there had existed a relationship that needed to be repudiated.

The disavowal, in this context, conjures the impression of a severing of ties.  Subtly, it comes dangerously close to an apology, an admission of guilt.

Fourthly, the Needy Conservative, as I already noted, through his adoption of leftist terms and tactics and his disavowals of “white supremacy,” further ensconces leftist ideology into the fabric of the culture.  Yet his disavowals also reinforce the leftist lie that conservatives are intrinsically “racist.”

Finally, all of this moral grandstanding and PC preening is for naught, for at the end of the day, when it suits the left’s purposes to declare it so, Needy Conservatives will once again become the “racist,” “sexist,” “homophobic,” “Islamophobic,” and “xenophobic” reprobates for which the left has always seen them.

Jack Kerwick [send him mail] received his doctoral degree in philosophy from Temple University. His area of specialization is ethics and political philosophy. He is a professor of philosophy at several colleges and universities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Jack blogs At the Intersection of Faith & Culture.

From Robert Lewis Dabney:

 "It may be inferred again that the present movement for women's rights, will certainly prevail from the history of its only opponent, Northern conservatism. This is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is to-day one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will to-morrow be forced upon its timidity, and will be succeeded by some third revolution, to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. This pretended salt hath utterly lost its savor: wherewith shall it he salted? Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious, for the sake of the truth, and has no idea of being guilty of the folly of martyrdom. It always—when about to enter a protest—very blandly informs the wild beast whose path it essays to stop, that its "bark is worse than its bite," and that it only means to save its manners by enacting its decent rôle of resistance. The only practical purpose which it now subserves in American politics is to give enough exercise to Radicalism to keep it "in wind," and to prevent its becoming pursy and lazy from having nothing to whip. No doubt, after a few years, when women's suffrage shall have become an accomplished fact, conservatism will tacitly admit it into its creed, and thenceforward plume itself upon its wise firmness in opposing with similar weapons the extreme of baby suffrage; and when that too shall have been won, it will be heard declaring that the integrity of the American Constitution requires at least the refusal of suffrage to asses. There it will assume, with great dignity, its final position."


"The very axioms of American politics now are, that "all men are by nature
equal," that all are inalienably "entitled to liberty and the
pursuit of happiness," and that "the only just foundation of
government is in the consent of the governed.'' There was a
sense in which our fathers propounded these statements; but
it is not the one in which they are now held by Americans. Our
recent doctors of political science have retained these formularies

of words as convenient masks under which to circulate a
set of totally different, and Indeed antagonistic notions; and
they have succeeded perfectly. The new meanings of which the
"Whigs" of 1776 never dreamed are now the current ones. Those
wise statesmen meant to teach that all men are morally equal
in the sense of the Golden Rule: that while individual traits,
rights, and duties vary widely in the different orders of political
society, these different rights all have some moral basis;
that the inferior has the same moral title (that of a common humanity
and common relation to a benignant Heavenly Father)
to have his rights—the rights of an inferior—duly respected,
which the superior has to claim that his very different rights
shall be respected.

The modern version is that there are no superiors
or inferiors in society; that there is a mechanical equality;
that all have specifically all the same rights; and that
any other constitution is against natural justice. Next: when
our wise fathers said that liberty is an inalienable, natural
right, they meant by each one's liberty the privilege to do such
things as he, with his particular relations, ought to have a moral

title to do; the particular things having righteous, natural
limitations in every case, and much narrower limits in some
cases than in others.

Radical America now means by natural liberty
each one's privilege to do what he chooses to do. By the
consent of the governed our forefathers meant each Sovereign
Commonwealth's consenting to the constitution under which it
should be governed: they meant that it was unjust for Britain
to govern America without America's consent. Which part of
the human beings living in a given American State should constitute

the State potentially, the populus whose franchise it was
to express the will of the commonwealth for all—that was in
their eyes wholly another question, to be wisely decided in
different States according to the structure which Providence had
given them. By "the consent of the governed" it would appeal
that Radicalism means it is entirely just for Yankeedom to govern
Virginia against Virginia's consent, and that it is not just
to govern any individual human being without letting him
vote for his governors. The utter inconsistency of the two parts
of this creed, is not ours to reconcile. It is certain that, both
parts (consistent or not) are firmly held as the American creed.
The version given to the maxim as to individual rights is universally
this: that natural justice requires that suffrage shall
be-coextensive with allegiance except where the right has been
forfeited by some crime (such as that which the men of 1861
committed in presuming to act on the principles of the men of
1776). To these errors the American people are too deeply committed
to evade any of their logical applications."


" must teach, with Moses, the Apostle Paul, John Hampden, Washington, George Mason, John C. Calhoun, and all that contemptible rabble of "old fogies," that political society is composed of "superiors, inferiors, and equals"; that while all these bear an equitable moral relation to each other, they have very different natural rights and duties; that just government is not founded on the consent of the individuals governed, but on the ordinance of God, and hence a share in the ruling franchise is not a natural right at all, but a privilege to be bestowed according to a wise discretion on a limited class having qualification to use it for the good of the whole; that the integers out of which the State is constituted are not individuals, but families represented in their parental heads; that every human being is born under authority (parental and civic) instead of being born "free" in the licentious sense that liberty is each one's privilege of doing what he chooses; that subordination, and not that license, is the natural state of all men; and that without such equitable distribution of different duties and rights among the classes naturally differing in condition, and subordination of some to others, and of all to the law, society is as impossible as is the existence of a house without distinction between the foundation stone and the cap-stones."

[From Dabney, "Womens' Rights Women" (from his Discussions, pp. 491-493)]

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