The universal hunger for Whiggery

The odious Michael Novak seems to have gotten it into his head that, having been a major player in the wrecking of Catholicism, he should now turn his demolition energies to Islam.  Islam, he says, is ready for a “development of doctrine”, by which he means what liberal Catholics always mean by that phrase–a capitulation to liberalism.

Here’s how this cretin thinks (my remarks in black):

I was very early at the center of the American Catholic argument on religious liberty. Reporting from Rome during the Second Vatican Council, I recorded the first passionate stirrings of the discussion of religious liberty at the Council, and followed the backstage private debates at individual episcopal conferences. That is where I first heard the name Karol Wojtyla, the new and youngest ever cardinal of Krakow, and his fresh insistence that the episcopal conferences of Central and Eastern Europe must have a declaration of religious liberty from the Council. Some say his cool intellectual passion did more than anything else to sway Paul VI to throw his weight in favor of bringing that issue to a vote, even though powerful forces (especially but not only) in the Latin world feared greatly that it would lead to relativism and religious indifferentism.  [And how’d that work out for us, Mike?  Didn’t it lead straight to relativism and indifferentism?  Weren’t the Latins completely vindicated?  Staggering that after seeing the Catholic Church follow his advice for half a century and experience nothing but unmitigated catastrophe, he still never thinks to reconsider.]

In a word, I saw firsthand how the Catholic Church needed a “development of doctrine”—and quickly—on religious liberty. As an American, I was acutely aware of how late it was in coming. [Note the Whig/Marxist invocation of the infallibility of “progress”.  If I may paraphrase:  “The Catholic Church needed to GET WITH IT.  We were so far behind those wonderful, brilliant deists and freemasons.  This was especially clear to Americans, who have a constitution written by God Almighty.  We’re so much better than those dirty Italians!  We have LIBERTY running through our veins!”  Am I right Mike?  You fucking twit.]  I could not help rejoicing, later, at the powerful similarities between key passages of the Council’s Declaration on Religious Liberty and central lines of argument in James Madison and Thomas Jefferson.    [What could be more gratifying than to have stopped thinking like Thomas Aquinas and Piux IX and started thinking like a bunch of deist, freemason, Jacobin traitors?]

Catholicism now a heap of rubble, Novak is turning his attention to the live prey of Islam.

Ever since 1991, a large number of shrewd Arab observers have noted that the progress of one partially successful election after another, and the quick and successful removal of Saddam Hussein, the megalomaniac and sadistic tyrant of Iraq, stimulated the publication of far more books and articles published in the Arab world on freedom, human rights, and democracy than during the preceding five hundred years. [Ready for freedom = has a weaker military than the United States]  It is as if millions, watching these events unfold on television, suddenly asked themselves, why can’t we govern ourselves by our own consent? [Right, I’m sure that’s just what they’re thinking.  “Those lucky Iraqis.  If only America would invade and conquer us!”]  Why can’t we reach our own constitutional accommodation between Islam and the state, each one preventing the other from totally dominating our societies?  [Dipshit.  “Islam” doesn’t mean what Christians mean by “the Church”.  It means “submission to God”.  Any believing Muslim will tell you that submission to God (Islam) should govern every aspect of our lives.]

Next Novak lists principles in Islamic theology that he thinks lead naturally to liberal democracy.  You really should read the whole thing just to see how bad reasoning can be, how utterly intellectually bankrupt is Whiggery.  Some highlights:

On the first characteristic: Allah is so great, so beyond measure, so beyond compare, that his greatness is a warning to any mere mortal spokesman about hisown shortsightedness and inadequacy in the face of Allah. The greatness of Allah relativizes all human pretensions. No matter how wealthy or powerful a human being is, in comparison with Allah, this is as nothing. “Allahu Akbar!” opens the mind to the possibility that only Allah knows all the paths that lead to him, and that women and men would do well to respect the freedom of religious conscience of all persons.  [And what if Allah tells us to conquer the infidels and set up an Islamic state?  How does epistemic humility excuse the believer from following plain divine commands?]

Islam speaks constantly of rewards and punishments not only after death but also in this life. Such assertions make no sense at all if Muslim theology does not assume personal choice, on which such rewards and punishments are meted out. The doctrine of personal liberty and responsibility may remain largely implicit, not nearly often enough explicit, in Muslim tradition and catechesis. But without it as a foundation, the central preaching of Islam about reward versus punishment makes no sense whatever.  [“Humans have free will; therefore, the state should let them do anything they want.”  I keep coming across this same moronic piece of pseudo-reasoning.  Why is it so popular?]

Bernard Lewis, for example, points to five features of the Muslim culture. First: “Islamic tradition strongly disapproves of arbitrary rule.” [As did the Romans, the scholastics, and the royal absolutists.  There’s nothing distinctly Whiggish or liberal about that.]  Lewis adds that in Islamic tradition, the exercise of political power is conceived of “as a contract, creating bonds of mutual obligation between the ruler and the ruled.” Other writers emphasize at this point the great efforts that Muslim rulers are expected to go through to achieve consensus among all branches of society.  [This is true to the extent that Islamic states since the end of the caliphate have had weak legitimacy in the eyes of their subjects–they’re nothing but contracts until the caliphate or the hidden Imam returns.  The tribe has real authority, because it rests on a more solid foundation.  Also, the Islamic state is weaker because its only job, for a pious Muslim, is to administer rather than to legislate.  The law is already given by God, and it would be sheer impiety to replace Sharia with man-made law.]

The second resource Lewis notes is the need for continuing consent: “The contract can be dissolved if the ruler fails to fulfill or ceases to be capable of fulfilling his obligations.”

The third is the Islamic notion of civil disobedience, namely, that “if the sovereign commands something that is sinful, the duty of obedience lapses.” One Hadith says, “Do not obey a creature against his Creator.” Another adds, “There is no duty to obedience in sin.”

The second resource Lewis notes is the need for continuing consent: “The contract can be dissolved if the ruler fails to fulfill or ceases to be capable of fulfilling his obligations.”

The third is the Islamic notion of civil disobedience, namely, that “if the sovereign commands something that is sinful, the duty of obedience lapses.” One Hadith says, “Do not obey a creature against his Creator.” Another adds, “There is no duty to obedience in sin.”  [Again, something people have always believed.  There’s nothing incipiently liberal about this.]

Here in the States, we’re teaching Muslim immigrant students to think like Michael Novak.  Consider this statement, quoted by Novak, from Dr.(!) Khaled Abou El Fadl of the UCLA School of Law:

My argument for democracy draws on six basic ideas: 1) Human beings are God’s vicegerents on earth; 2) this vicegerency is the basis of individual responsibility; 3) individual responsibility and vicegerency provide the basis for human rights and equality; 4) human beings in general, and Muslims specifically, have a fundamental obligation to foster justice (and more generally to command right and forbid wrong), and to preserve and promote God’s law; 5) divine law must be distinguished from fallible human interpretations; and 6) the state should not pretend to embody divine sovereignty and majesty.

I think this paragraph should be placed on Wikipedia, under the article “Non sequitur”.

5 Responses

  1. 100% correct. Novak and Cuomo deserve first ballot nominations to the Catholic Hall of Shame.

  2. 6) the state should not pretend to embody divine sovereignty and majesty. …

    LOL, nice of him to think so! So reassuring.

  3. You’re right, Novak is a Freemason. Allah is just one name for the Supreme Being, Islam just one road. It doesn’t matter what you believe, or to whom you pray, or how you order your life, so long as it expresses an authentic and deliberate choice and makes you a good, hard-working, tax-paying citizen of a twenty-first century democracy. John 14:6 has been mistranslated, and should read “I am one of the ways, part of the truth, and a lifestyle. Everyone goes to the Father (better known as Allah) by whatever way he or she chooses.”

  4. I’ve always thought it incredibly patronizing to pretend that, when properly understood, all religions actually support Western liberalism. Too bad all of those saviors, prophets, and theologians were too stupid to realize that the religions they created and promoted were actually all leading up to the ideals of the modern West!

    Also, I am not at all sure how Novak could end up thinking that the voluntarism of modern Islamic theology is a good thing. As Pope Benedict pointed out in his Regensburg address, this leads to a denial of reason in the face of the arbitrary and inscrutable Will of God. on the other hand, Christianity has always been much more optimistic about the ability of reason, aided by faith, to discover truth. Of course, this does not mean that Christians must accept the Enlightenment view of reason.

  5. Wow. This is my favorite:

    the Latin world feared greatly that it would lead to relativism and religious indifferentism. [And how’d that work out for us, Mike? Didn’t it lead straight to relativism and indifferentism?]

    Absolutely right. Just what is wrong with these people? Can they actually believe what they say?

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