Is Christianity holding the Right back?

Drieu raises a great discussion issue on my last “Principles of Catholic Morality” post.  Since these posts haven’t been very popular–heaven knows why–some of you may have missed it.  (You might want to check out that particular installment, by the way.  I’m back to my normal combative mode, and I think it gives a nice overview of the last two centuries of Catholic moral theology regarding the confrontation with liberalism.)

Drieu asked

Don’t you ever wonder why it was *so easy* for the Church and its intellectuals to capitulate to liberalism and democracy and multiculturalism? Maybe because there was never all that much fundamental difference between them?

I replied

A couple of points:
1) You and I both know that any survey of atheists and Catholics would find deviation from liberalism far more common among the latter. Liberalism is a really powerful force that every group has had trouble resisting. To the extent that there is any resistance at all, it is largely thanks to “fundamentalist” Catholics, Protestants, and Muslims.
2) If what you’re saying is true, why do liberals continue to regard the Catholic Church as their greatest enemy. This commonality you speak of isn’t apparent to any liberal.

So, while objectively, yes, the Church is doing a piss-poor job of fighting liberalism, she’s actually doing better than any other group or organization. This, of course, is nothing to be happy about.

To which he responded

“You and I both know that any survey of atheists and Catholics would find deviation from liberalism far more common among the latter.”

You confuse correlation with causation here. Just because many atheists nowadays tend towards liberalism does not mean that atheism inevitably leads towards liberalism. Furthermore, I think this tendency can be easily explained by 1) the fact that most people don’t think deeply about politics or philosophy and simply determine their positions from mainstream perceptions and 2) the prominent Christian component in the American Right and 3) the fact that many intelligent people are scared away by Christian lunacy and thus gravitate towards liberalism because they believe it’s the only alternative, as per 1) and 2).

I think if the Right managed to separate itself from Christian lunacy, we could recruit many of those intelligent people into our ranks, even if they were atheists. Unfortunately, most people only see things in black-and-white terms of Atheist/Agnostic Liberals vs. Christian Conservatives.

“If what you’re saying is true, why do liberals continue to regard the Catholic Church as their greatest enemy. ”

They don’t. They disagree with the Church on abortion and gay marriage and contraception, none of which are issues I feel strongly about. Liberals and the Church agree on just about everything else.

“the Church is doing a piss-poor job of fighting liberalism, she’s actually doing better than any other group or organization.”

Again, other than the issues I listed above, HOW is the Church fighting liberalism? None of those issues are even that important in the grand scheme of things.

We obviously disagree here.  He thinks Christianity is turning educated people away from the Right.  I think that these people are only turned off from Christianity because of its (relative) conservatism.  SWPL-types have no problem with New Age mysticism and scientology even though they are–how shall I put it?–not obviously less silly than Christian theology.  We also disagree about how important are the issues on which the Church has chosen to stand.  I can’t imagine what could be more central to our culture than the patriarchal family (including the public understanding of sex) and the majority cult.  Regardless, these are both fascinating things to think about:

  1. What do the elite primarily hate:  Christianity or conservatism?
  2. If a group were really serious about fighting the Left, what would be the core issue on which it would take its stand?

60 Responses

  1. It certainly was trivial for Christianity to be co-opted toward liberalism; an individualist, universalist proto-liberalism is present in most modern Christianity, although it’s disputed how far back it goes. Mencius Moldbug says it originated with the Quakers, and the European New Right says it was there from the beginning.

    Moldbug sees the left-right divide as essentially a continuation of the liberal-fundamentalist divide, with the liberal side gradually disposing of explicit religious references. The Catholic Church is not a liberal institution, so liberalism opposes it. (In fact, the Church has been an anti-liberal force for longer than one might suspect; it went after Meister Eckhart, who, if Moldbug is correct about the Quakers, could be pinned as the original source of Christian protoliberalism; he picked it up from the Stoics, and passed it on to the Puritans, who influenced the Quakers.)

    Anyway, considering the amounts of “Jesus was a socialist!!” rhetoric that I see floating around the more liberal bits of the internet, I would suggest that liberals have no problem with Christianity as long as they agree with it. (Even leftists can support it, in some cases. I once had a leftist professor who spent whole class periods going on about how great and wonderful liberation theology supposedly was.)

  2. The Enlightenment enabled science which doomed Christianity. Science explains many things which used to be explained by religion. This isn’t a problem for most religions because they aren’t primarily focused on belief. But since Christianity is the only religion focused on belief, it was doomed by science and the Enlightenment. As Christianity was forced to compromise with science on belief, it also compromised everything else. I do think that Christianity is holding the Right back.

    To answer the questions:

    1. The elite hate conservatism but only ridicule Christianity. They know that Christianity is emasculated and isn’t a serious threat.

    2. Political issues should all be avoided. The most important issues relate to the internal behavior of members of the group. If I had to pick one, I would say that the separation of the sexes within the group is key. This is currently done by Anabaptists, Muslims, and Orthodox Jews.

    I agree with Drieu’s comments, but since I am Jewish, I wouldn’t be so happy about the Axis powers winning the war.

  3. I’m not entirely sure I follow what Drieu is saying.

    If Christianity is holding “the right” back, then the right is not worth defending.

    Liberalism is false and evil — the antidote to falseness and evil is truth and goodness — and these things are embodied in the Church.

    We’re not antiliberal for it’s own sake but because liberalism an intellectual snare of the devil. But if you don’t believe in the devil, why not become a utilitarian degenerate?

  4. The “devil” doesn’t exist. He’s a figment of your imagination. It’s like saying we oppose the Left because they want us to reject Santa Claus.

  5. “SWPL-types have no problem with New Age mysticism and scientology”

    Is that really true? Scientology? If you had said Buddhism and Taoism, I’d agree, but whatever you might think of them, they’re certainly not silly New Age mysticism. SWPL-types also seem to reject the more incredible aspects, such as belief in reincarnation.

    I forgot to mention in my original post that Catholicism in America is more like a part of one’s ethnic identity than an actual religion. Most Catholics go to Church on Sundays and then don’t think about it for rest of the week. This seems to apply in Europe too. Look at Catholic Italy. Do you hear Italians demanding that Silvio Berlusconi resign over his sexual escapades (which are more lewd than anything Clinton did). No, it’s a big joke to them! Like I said, sexual morality is not a big issue for me. I merely advocate that people practice safe sex, i.e. use contraceptives and test for diseases. But if it is, Catholicism isn’t even doing a good job there! It’s just there as an ornament.

    “If a group were really serious about fighting the Left, what would be the core issue on which it would take its stand?”

    This is easy. It is the one issue that has ALWAYS divided Left and Right: egalitarianism.

  6. Another problem is that Christianity relied on unquestioned authority and a lack of alternatives to its Weltanschauung. Once its authority could be questioned, and alternatives started appearing, people departed in droves.

    I’m sure Bonald and his ilk would like to reestablish that sort of unquestioned authority to some degree, but the only way this could feasibly be managed is by erasing both those alternatives from the public consciousness as well as many of the scientific advances of the last few centuries. In the Age of the Internet, such a plan cannot be seriously entertained.

  7. Another question: Why do you think the West proved so susceptible to the self-hatred that now infects it? I’d agree it’s at least partially a response to WWII, but keep in mind that Japan behaved just as badly as the Europeans did and yet they have proven largely immune to Western self-loathing. Japan still takes pride in its heritage and is unafraid to uphold numerous politically incorrect stances about their past and present culture that Westerners would never dare about their own.

    At the risk of sounding somewhat reductive, I think the answer is again the influence of Christianity on the Western psyche. Nietzsche could see this tendency even before the two World Wars. This is what he meant by the “free spirit” who rejected the Christian denial of life. He did not mean some 1960s hippie leftist. He meant someone who rejected the guilt and self-hatred that many of those 1960s leftists harbored toward their culture.

  8. Obviously you are not part of the “we” I’m referring to.

    And you didn’t answer my question: “But if you don’t believe in the devil, why not become a utilitarian degenerate?”

    In relation to what is liberalism false and evil?

  9. Why should one believe in the devil in the absence of all evidence? AND if you think one should believe in the devil because the alternative is becoming a utilitarian degenerate, then is one not still implicitly accepting the logic of the utilitarians?

  10. You’re seizing on the least relevant part of what I said and still ignoring the question I asked for.

    Let me rephrase if it makes you more comfortable: we Catholic reactionaries oppose leftism because it’s evil. It is evil in relation to Catholic teachings.

    If you don’t believe in Catholic teachings, in relation to what is leftism evil? That is, what is your basis for opposing it? What is your reason for not being a leftist?

    Of course I’m not saying you should believe in the devil because the only alternative is to become a leftist. I’m simply asking: what is the basis for your antiliberalism if not religious conservatism? What is the “third way”?

  11. What do you mean by “leftism”? How is equality before the law and taxing the rich and embracing multiculturalism and taking the side of “the oppressed” opposed to Catholic teachings?

    I reject leftism for the same reason I reject Christianity: because I find the idea of social equality repugnant and a revolt against all that is great in man.

    I dismiss “evil” as a juvenile concept.

  12. Who cares about what’s great in man? He is an accident, by your logic, doomed to die meaninglessly, and his works will go to dust in the end.

    Do you even believe in such an abstraction as human nature?

  13. Rejecting equality also entails rejecting:

    – Democracy
    – Equal rights
    – Universal education
    – Pop culture
    – The equality of the human races

    If your precious Christianity is assisting on any of these fronts, I sure missed it.

    Why does some silly fictional deity need to exist to justify my positions? What a juvenile mindset.

  14. Proph: “In relation to what is liberalism false and evil?”

    In relation to traditional Christianity, Islam, Orthodox Judaism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Ancient Greek beliefs, the views of the Roman Republic, and in relation to the views of every successful culture in history.

  15. Also, you still haven’t told me what you mean by “leftism” and how it’s all inherently “evil” from the Catholic viewpoint. I can see how revolutionary strands such as Communism that seek to violently suppress religion could be held as evil, but what about your average progressive liberal who merely wants the separation of Church and State, which is not incompatible with Christian doctrine and has been embraced by the Vatican?

  16. I think there is a lot of confusion about what liberalism actually means. Liberals themselves would say that liberalism is about liberty. We all know that is nonsense. Some claim that liberalism is about equality. That is also nonsense. One of the greatest advances in equality was monogamy because monogamy guarantees equality in the dating marketplace with everyone getting one partner, while promiscuity guarantees huge inequality in the dating marketplace. Yet liberals support promiscuity which proves that they don’t support equality.

    Liberalism is simply opposition to tradition. Liberals claim to replace tradition with reason, but since most people are incapable of reason, what liberalism actually does is to replace tradition with base human instincts.

  17. Do “liberals” seriously support promiscuity over monogamy though? Supporting contraception does not entail the rejection of monogamy. Preaching abstinence does not mean that people will actually remain abstinent. The most promiscuous areas in America, and the ones with the highest rates of STDs, are also the most religious. I recall reading somewhere that one is more likely to encounter a virgin on the Harvard University campus than in the average Baptist church.

    As for contraception, I think one needs to simply accept it as a done deal. What other realistic option is there? Outlawing it? If outlawing alcohol didn’t work, what makes you think outlawing contraception would work? Obviously items like condoms and pills are far more easily smuggled and sold on a black market than alcohol. And people would still likely have premarital sex, so what’s the point? A psychological salve?

    I will say that I believe that women to some extent gravitate towards a single partner while men, in general, don’t, and that this is rooted in their biological make-up. There is a certain strand of radical feminism that wants to deny this and convince women to behave just like men, but I think biology will ensure that this fails.

  18. Perhaps the Left hates Catholicism for the same reason Christians at one time hated the Jews: they are both break away heretical cults that took on a life of their own.

  19. Liberals absolutely support promiscuity. Contraception is irrelevant. The issues that matter are adultery (cheating wives) and female premarital chastity. These are the key issues for enabling monogamy. What monogamy means is stable pairing. Married men going to prostitutes to satisfy their urge for multiple partners is irrelevant because it poses no threat to the stability of marriage. But affairs are a threat and cheating wives almost guarantees divorce. Female premarital chastity is also key because it has been shown that the more partners women have before marriage, the more likely they are to divorce. The way chastity is preserved is by removing all government support of women which would make women greatly value marriage and a good provider. In this case women would compete for good husbands and one of the main things women can offer in this competition is their chastity. This is how it worked for most of history. Adultery (cheating wives) should be handled with extreme punishment for the wife and man who had her.

    Clearly liberalism is the opposite of all this. Feminism actually declares marriage to be slavery. Feminists hate marriage. Liberals support female premarital sex. Liberal divorce laws reward women for adultery. And liberal government support women, acting as the provider in place of the husband. One way to clearly see the effect of liberalism is in the skyrocketing illegitimacy rate.

  20. Hi Drieu,

    I expect Catholics and Nietzschian atheists would define “Leftism” differently, and that will be an interesting matter to iron out. For Catholics, the key point in all aspects of Leftism is that they reduce value entirely to human wills/preferences, and they imagine society as a sort of machine for satisfying human wills. The particular algorithm for optimal preference-satisfaction varies from Leftist to Leftist–some putting more emphasis on freedom of individuals to pursue their preferences, some on equality of satisfaction between individuals–but what’s always the same is a hostility to any sense of “given” meanings and values. Thus, the Leftist hates the idea of a natural law, i.e. that certain meanings and norms can be “read off” of human nature and are independent of our wills. The Leftist also hates the idea of the Sacred as something that provides an objective ordering to the world and makes claims to our recognition and allegiance independent of our desires. The Leftist insists on stripping the world of all meaning so that he can impose meanings from his own whims. He makes a desert and calls it “freedom”.

    Leftism is clearly evil from a Catholic perspective because it

    1) denies God’s authority over men considered collectively (the “social kingship of Christ”) postulating instead the right of the majority to do whatever they want (limited, perhaps, only by consideration for minority human wills; neither natural law nor divine positive law being considered in any way authoritative). The “separation of Church and State” as it is generally understood–as expelling religion and nonutilitarian ethics from the public square–certainly does violate Catholic doctrine.
    2) upholds an alleged right of women to murder their children in utero
    3) not only allows but actively promotes extramarital sex, divorce, contraception, and perversion
    4) teaches contempt for tradition
    5) indoctrinates children to despise their ancestors, in grossest violation of the demands of piety
    6) preaches moral relativism (while practicing a perverse reversal of genuine morality)
    7) is implacably hostile to the sacred as a socially relevant category
    8) denies the authority of husbands over their wives

    You may think these are silly reasons to object to Leftism, but I don’t see how you can deny that they proceed from core Catholic concerns representing official Catholic teaching, or that they have motivated much of the resistance to liberalism that has occurred in the past two centuries.

  21. Hi fschmidt,

    I don’t see how science has compromised one letter of the Nicene Creed, but that’s an argument for another time. You make an interesting suggestion that orthopraxy-centered religions may be better able to weather the Enlightenment than orthodoxy-centered religions. However, doesn’t something have to take the place of religions belief? Don’t you have to have some reason for doing what you’re doing?

  22. Certainly everyone has beliefs. But the question of which is more important, belief or action, determines on what basis people ally themselves. Giving belief preference prevents people with shared values but different beliefs from working together. I call this Plato’s Curse.

  23. The Liberal holds an entirely different view of human nature.

    It was a fundamental principle of the Enlightenment that the nature of the human person can be adequately described without mention of social relationships. A person’s relations with others, even if important, are not essential and describe nothing that is, strictly speaking, necessary to ones being what one is. This principle underlies all their talk about the “state of nature” and the “social contract,” and from it is derived the notion that the only obligations are those voluntarily assumed.

    Bentham is very instructive here. For him, , the idea of “relation” is but a “fictitious entity,” though necessary for ‘convenience of discourse.’ And, more specifically, he remarks that “the community is a fictitious body,” and it is but “the sum of the interests of the several members who compose it.” Thus, the extension of the term ‘individual’ is, in the main, no greater and no less than the biological entity. Bentham’s view, then, is that the individual –the basic unit of the social sphere — is an “atom.”

    For the ancients, of course, like Plato and Aristotle, to consider the individual in isolation from the polis, or community, was like talking about a foot or an eye, without reference to the body, as a whole. In modern times, it was Hegel and his followers, notably Fichte who championed the ancient insight.

  24. I give Drieu credit for recognising that there is a genuine historical and organic link between modern liberal Western society and the Christian heritage – the idea of the inherent worth of the human person, the equality of all people before God, the sanctity of certain individual rights, the idea that certain areas of life are beyond the power of the state, and so on. In my experience, most atheists tend to get remarkably angry when you point this out.

    Speaking from my own cultural context, I would say that my educated atheist friends (most of whom are classical liberals) would be more likely to feel hatred for counterrevolutionary conservatism and more likely to feel contempt for Christianity. For me, the latter sentiment is the more ugly, but then I guess I would say that, wouldn’t I?

  25. “However, doesn’t something have to take the place of religions belief? Don’t you have to have some reason for doing what you’re doing?”

    I think that the only candidate for this on the right at the present time is nationalism.

    I agree with Mr Schmidt about this:

    “The elite hate conservatism but only ridicule Christianity. They know that Christianity is emasculated and isn’t a serious threat.”

  26. “Do “liberals” seriously support promiscuity over monogamy though?”

    I certainly don’t.

    I do, however, believe that trying to prescribe sexual behaviour is a fool’s errand.

    I remember seeing a table of US states arranged according to indices of traditional sexual morality (incidence of prostitution, subscriptions to porn websites, births outside marriage, etc). There was a disproportionate number of red states with the highest incidences of those things and a disproportionate number of blue states with the lowest incidences. So, a higher incidence of laws, elected representatives, church influence and social stigma appears to favour a lesser rather than a greater adherence to traditional morality. This is a piece of evidence that I tend to quote when faced wtih the claim that people can be forced to be virtuous on a collective basis.

    I am reliably informed that one can make similar comments about traditional Muslim societies.

  27. “Liberals absolutely support promiscuity”

    I just don’t think that’s true. I unashamedly believe in monogamy and fidelity. I also unashamedly believe in people’s inalienable freedom to choose what they get up to in their bedrooms. This isn’t a disagreement about sexual ethics, it’s a disagreement about the proper role of government and institutional religion in coercing people. If people use their freedom in ways that I would disapprove of, that’s between them and God. They’re adults, and they’re responsible for their own behaviour.

    With respect, your vision of society seems to be based on a utilitarian attempt to maximise men’s sexual self-interest at the expense of women’s freedom. Correct me if I’m wrong about that, but I don’t find it easy to reconcile with what I know of Jewish morality, or indeed with a proper respect for women.

  28. Bonald,
    Here are answers to your questions.

    1) The elite primarily hates Christian conservatism. It has no problem with liberal Christians, who are just liberals who do something other than golf on Sunday morning. It has no problem with most non-Christian conservatives, since they are libertarians. Most libertarians are little men, and liberalism has no problem with the little liberties demanded by little men. What the elite hates about Christian conservatives is that they believe, however intermittently, in a power above the elite.

    2) The core issue for any group serious about fighting the left is defense of the idea of the rightly ordered will, which is to say a will ordered to standards set by the power above the elite. It has to oppose, philosophically and in satire, the modern dogmas of autonomy and humanism. It must ask people if they really feel like accidental “meat sacks” whose only business is to sweeten the time between switching on and off.

    With respect to the more general question, is Christianity holding conservatism back, the answer is certainly no. If one magically broke the association between Christianity and conservatism in the US, a great many Christians would become liberals (or at least start voting Democrat), but very few non-Christians would become conservative (or at least start voting Republican). Ask yourself these questions. How many people oppose divorce because they are Christian? How many people support divorce because it is opposed by Christians? If Christians suddenly favored divorce (I know, I know), how many erstwhile divorce supporters would switch sides? I’d say it is obvious that, far from holding conservatism back, Christianity is one of the few things holding it up.

  29. Auguste Comte argued that positivism would not hold society together without a religious aura; mankind, he argued must feel for its scientific directors the same awe once inspired by its confessors – a veritable « culte de la Raison » in the full French sense of « culte »

    He claimed that “Religion has two functions, according to the point of view from which one considers existence: in its moral function, religion should govern each individual; in its political function, it should unite all individuals.” Humanity is to be known, loved and served.

    Ominously, “Humanity” consisted of all those and only those who have “co-operated in the great human task.”

  30. There is probably only one political flavour that has never ruled anywhere and never will: and that is the libertarian flavour of non-religious ‘conservatism’.

    The religious right is the default mode of government, was historically universal, and still dominates vast swathes of the globe; militaristic and nationalist conservatives have held power for periods of a generation or a few here and there.

    But libertarian style conservatives never can and never will rule any political entity – libertarian individuals who wield power invariably sell-out – and almost-invariably in a Left-ward direction.

  31. “The “separation of Church and State” as it is generally understood–as expelling religion and nonutilitarian ethics from the public square–certainly does violate Catholic doctrine.”

    Only if used as a weapon to expel religion entirely. But on a generic level, it doesn’t contradict Christian doctrine.

    “2) upholds an alleged right of women to murder their children in utero”

    Who cares? Besides, blacks get more abortions on average than whites. It keeps down their numbers. If Christian conservatives had their way, we’d be stuck with even more sociopathic black criminals roaming the streets. No thanks. Bring on the abortions!

    “3) not only allows but actively promotes extramarital sex, divorce, contraception, and perversion”

    I’ve noticed that sex is often only considered sinful by people who don’t have much access to it. Likewise, the people who have rosy and idealistic images of marriage are people who aren’t married. Contraception is here to stay, deal with it. Perversion? Well, I don’t approve of the more twisted fetishes some people have, but in the main, I don’t consider overt sexuality perversion. Also, see my and Reggie Perrin’s replies on the issue below. Your methods suck as a means to promote the things you claim to wish to promote.

    “5) indoctrinates children to despise their ancestors, in grossest violation of the demands of piety”
    “6) preaches moral relativism (while practicing a perverse reversal of genuine morality)”

    I live in NYC and I have NEVER and I mean NEVER encountered a genuine moral relativist. The “liberal moral relativist” seems to be another one of those imaginary creatures that only exists in the minds of Christian conservatives. If anything, most liberals suffer from extended bouts of moral hypertrophy. They simply pontificate on different issues and don’t have an unhealthy preoccupation with sexual matters. But, as I pointed out, their core ethical system is not very different from that of your Jesus as found in the Gospels. At least I hate liberals for stuff liberals *actually believe and do*, whereas Christian conservatives hate some bizarre caricature that doesn’t exist in the real world.

  32. Nationalism is a terrible choice because it will lead to war which, with our current weapons, would be a disaster. I agree that a religious aura is needed, but preferably from a orthopraxy-centered religion

  33. Your “traditional sexual morality” is actually very recent. Prostitution and porn were not considered immoral for most of history. Unfortunately Paul hated sex and this planted some bad ideas in Christianity which were finally implemented by empress Theodora of the Byzantine Empire who was a rampant slut and hated men and banned prostitution for the first time in the name of Christianity.

    Muslim societies have serious issues because they are polygamous, so there aren’t enough women to go around. This pretty much guarantees immorality.

    Every successful society in history has had harsh punishments for adultery (cheating wives). This can be done through the government, as suggested by the Old Testament. Or it can be done by allowing the husband to kill the man who slept with his wife, as it was in Ancient Athens, early America, and the Roman Republic. So the solution doesn’t require regulation, private punishment works too. But without some harsh punishment, society will disintegrate.

    “With respect, your vision of society seems to be based on a utilitarian attempt to maximise men’s sexual self-interest at the expense of women’s freedom. Correct me if I’m wrong about that, but I don’t find it easy to reconcile with what I know of Jewish morality, or indeed with a proper respect for women.”

    This is feminist thinking. The cure is to read the Old Testament which is in complete agreement with my position. Marriage is basically an agreement where the woman pledges her sexual fidelity in exchange for the man pledging his resources to the family. A man who wastes his resources outside the family is as guilty as a woman who is sexually unfaithful. This makes sense because a woman’s reproductive capacity is limited while a man’s isn’t. And a woman is sure of who her children are while a man isn’t. This asymmetry is the basis for the marriage contract.

  34. Proph: “what is the basis for your antiliberalism if not religious conservatism? What is the “third way”?”

    Current science does a rather good job of opposing liberalism. (see: Putnam’s diversity study, the Good Fences study linked over at F&H) Not to mention the clear negative effect of liberal policies on quality of life: alienation, collapse of the social fabric, etc. What use do we have for the devil when London fills that role so well already?

  35. I’ll have to take your word for what the Jewish view of marriage is, since I’m no expert on the subject.

    On a small factual point, very few Muslim men have more than one wife (unless they’re wealthy – wives and children are very expensive, as I’m sure you’re aware). This means that there are usually enough women to go around in Islamic societies.

  36. It’s more than opposition to tradition. Communists oppose tradition, but they’re not liberals. The key feature of liberalism is atomistic individualism. (It’s heavily diluted in left-liberalism, but left-liberalism is not so much an ideology as a strain of leftism co-opted by establishment forces. Atomistic individualism under left-liberalism is to be imposed on the majority and discouraged for minority groups.)

  37. “On a small factual point, very few Muslim men have more than one wife”

    Do you have a reference for this fact? I would be very interested to see it.

  38. The figure quoted on Wikipedia (which references The New Encyclopedia of Islam, 2002, page 477) is 1 to 3% of marriages in the Islamic world being polygamous. This is consistent with what I’ve heard from other sources and with my own knowledge of Muslims. To be fair, this is an average and the rate differs significantly between different countries.

  39. Christianity has no relevance to most people these days. The music, the false services, the women preachers, the never-ending special projects, et cetera, of modern “Christianity” are all as empty and as the Grand Canyon and as puerile as HeeHaw, though less entertaining. Churches are now the leaders in importing foreigners and busting up our communities and culture. The Pope advocates a world governing body and the Protestants are wild about giving everything they have, including their own children, to the brown peoples in order to bring all humanity together into one indistinguishable herd. The elders are comatose or AWOL and the ministers recite anecdotes based on last night’s episode of CSI and House. Today’s churches are the embodiment of Liberalism and have become one of the engines for our modern Marxist project.

    I live in a big city and have actively investigated all of the two dozen or so Protestant churches closest to me, and have visited other churches while on vacation, so don’t tell me this is not true — I have seen it. Every single one seems to have caught the multicult fever. Almost none have anything relevant to say about the difficult issues, and those that do do it in the crudest, self-defeating way. They drive true conservatives away with a club. And the Catholics? I see it on the TV and the interwebs, from the curb, and the people at work — same thing. Honestly, why would I worship with people who are actively working to destroy European peoples? I won’t. The folkish pagans have more appeal these days. At least their gods don’t want to destroy me.

  40. I remember seeing a table of US states arranged according to indices of traditional sexual morality (incidence of prostitution, subscriptions to porn websites, births outside marriage, etc). There was a disproportionate number of red states with the highest incidences of those things and a disproportionate number of blue states with the lowest incidences.

    Red may mean = Fiscal conservative/Social liberal aka Libertarian
    Blue may mean = Fiscal liberal/Social conservative aka Populist

    It seems you’re using the quite common “hypocrite!” argument. By that logic liberals have lower divorce rates but hey liberals don’t ever marry and therefore low marriage rates = low divorce rates.

    Plus you forgot one more thing: the red states have the highest rates of minority population compared to the blue states since red states are cheap and affordable to minorities whereas blue states are very expensive and only European liberals and Jews can afford such prices.

    Anyhow the commenters here haven’t convinced me. Both “Christian” liberals and Secular, socially liberal “conservatives” scare me. It is not Christianity that is the problem but secularism and cultural liberalism.

  41. I’d say it is obvious that, far from holding conservatism back, Christianity is one of the few things holding it up.

    Agreed. Btw Rusty don’t give up. You’ll find a nice orthodox Christian group and Church somewhere along the line. I was hopeless too but then I found one. Until then we have the heresies to deal with -> http://www.alittleleaven.com/

    Conservatism isn’t just about biology or culture. We need to be together or we will fall apart. Reality is vast. There is culture, biology and spiritual matters.

  42. In case it’s of interest, I’ve posted a link to the tables below. I’m not an American, but I don’t believe that the red states in question (Mississippi, Utah and so on) are socially liberal. I’d rather not get into the debate about minorities.

    I should explain that my point wasn’t so much about hypocrisy – all human beings are guilty of that to some extent. It was more about the futility of trying to legislate morality. In the same vein, here is a brief passage written by the British writer Ed Husain (who is a practising Muslim) on life in Saudi Arabia:

    “In supermarkets I only had to be away from Faye [his wife] for five minutes and Saudi men would hiss or whisper obscenities as they walked past. ….
    We had heard stories of the abduction of women from taxis by sex-deprived Saudi youths. At a Saudi friend’s wedding at a luxurious hotel in Jeddah, women dared not step out of their hotel rooms and walk to the banqueting hall for fear of abduction by the bodyguards of a Saudi prince who also happened to be staying there. ….
    Why had the veil and segregation not prevented such behaviour?”

    Preach it, brother. If the people running the place put half as much effort into saving their own souls as they did obsessively trying to police what young men and women get up to in their bedrooms, their salvation would be assured.

    I find the proposition that “liberals don’t ever marry” very surprising, but perhaps it was satirical in intent.

  43. Mia,

    Thank you. Despair is a sin and I won’t. Orthodoxy might be an option, but it’s too strange to us yet. We’ll keep going, we have to.

    And you are right, but I want to emphasize something. The body is as important as the soul; Jesus came to heal both. What does it profit me if my religion lives on but I and my nation do not? Western culture will not live on without Western peoples, just as Chinese culture could not live on without Chinese people. This simple fact should be clear to anyone, yet most conservatives today cannot or will not see it. It’s both the body and the soul or nothing.

  44. “the futility of trying to legislate morality”

    But that is about as mistaken as a comment can be! And you have said it twice!

    On the contrary:

    1. *All* legislation ought to be moral.

    2. There are innumerable examples of societies which effectively legislate morality; indeed nearly all of them do – except the one we happen to live in.

    (And we manage to legislate im-morality effectively – and for the elites immorality – moral inversion – is their morality. So even we are legislating morality in a non-futile way.)

    Since the statement is normatively and empirically false – did you mean that in your personal opinion morality ought not to be legislated? That laws should not have any effect – positive or negative – on virtue and vice? Surely not?

  45. Your soul lives on – it is eternal – but your nation, culture, humankind and the earth itself are all ephemeral.

    They will all end: you will not end.

  46. I’d been intending to make quite a modest claim: virtue isn’t created by passing laws or imposing social stigma. What you will get is a greater degree of outward conformity (together with greater hypocrisy and dysfunctionality beneath the surface), but I wouldn’t confuse that with morality.

    On an empirical level, I could add other examples to those I cited. Late Franquist Spain was an increasingly de-Christianised society behind the official facade. My Iranian friend is scornful about the success of the Islamic Republic in making Iranians any less keen on drinking and sex.

    You’re right, though, there is an “ought” lurking here behind my empirical claim. I see morality as being fundamentally an individual matter. We are ultimately responsible for our own souls. I have to concede that this runs counter to traditional Catholic doctrine on what became known as the social kingship of Christ, but I submit that it is closer to what our Lord actually taught and what the early church practised. I have a difficulty of principle in seeing virtue and morality as collective matters (as per Bonald’s point (1) above). “There is no such thing as society…”

  47. We are each body and soul. Right liberals, “conservatives,” have bought the liberal arguments and have separated the two and believe that one can live without the other. This adoption of Marxist ideology, which by the way happened just within the past couple of decades, explains why “conservatives” are so ineffective against the liberals and the Left. They no longer conserve themselves. They are rootless because they are no longer concerned with physical reality or their ancestors or their heritage, and so are tossed around in the world of ideas like a cork in the sea.

  48. Reggie, why not legalize murder. I mean if legislating morality doesn’t work and murder is banned because it is immoral, then why not legalize it?

  49. I deny the minor premise. There is an unavoidable practical, as distinct from ethical, necessity for outlawing murder. I suspect that you would argue that there is also a practical necessity for punishing adultery through severe criminal penalties, but we will have to agree to disagree about that.

  50. “Your soul lives on – it is eternal – but your nation, culture, humankind and the earth itself are all ephemeral. They will all end: you will not end.”

    You seem to be implying that because the Earth and all in it will eventually pass away, that we should not take care of it.

    Of course, no one would think it’s alright to destroy all the cat, dog, horse, &c. breeds by mixing them together, would they? Same with peoples/nations. Do you remember the story of the tower of Babel? Making a superstate is wrong. And if we allow the destruction of our nationalities, we will be powerless against global government. For why fight global government if we are a global people?

  51. @ Bonald: there was a lot of drivel in there – props to you for laying Catholic teaching out clearly (now how to explain away how “the Church” could be so liberal as Drieu pointed out…)

  52. Hi Drieu,

    You have never encountered a genuine moral relativist because such a position cannot be held self-consistently, at least without giving up having any moral or political opinions at all. That doesn’t mean that liberals don’t preach moral relativism. I’m sure they don’t preach it to you, but remember that Leftists show a different face when talking to you and when talking to me. When talking to me, it’s all “hey man, what’s right for you isn’t right for me”; when talking to you, it’s “how DAAAARRREE you”! Is it inconsistent for them to say that being judgmental is bad and then turn around and say that racists are evil? You bet, but don’t take that out on me. I’m not the one doing it.

  53. The charge I most commonly hear against Christianity from people on the Left is that it is anti-social. They have imbibed a caricature of Pietism, with Christians regarding society as a mere agglomerate, as fortuitous as it is transitory, in which the elect individual is solely concerned with working out his own salvation; his good works, “practising acts of charity to others,” being directed solely to this end, leaving the success or failure of his efforts to God.

    Like all caricatures, it works by isolating and exaggerating certain features of Christian teaching on detachment and contemptus mundi.

  54. The charge I most commonly hear against Christianity from people on the Left is that it is anti-social. They have imbibed a caricature of Pietism, with Christians regarding society as a mere agglomerate, as fortuitous as it is transitory, in which the elect individual is solely concerned with working out his own salvation; his good works, “practising acts of charity to others,” being directed solely to this end, leaving the success or failure of his efforts to God.
    Like all caricatures, it works by isolating and exaggerating certain features of Christian teaching on detachment and contemptus mundi.

  55. @MP-S – And of course we live in the only wholly-worldly society in history.

    The idea that Christianity might – somehow – step-in and transform everything, and suddenly make us too-*un*worldly is utterly bizarre: we are so very, very far away from that situation that this is not even a *straw man* argument, but more like a smoke man, a water vapour man…

  56. Oddly enough, “You can’t legislate morality” was a common refrain of conservative white Southerners who objected to the passage of federal civil rights laws during the early 60s. Liberals of the time said, “We legislate morality all the time, morality follows the law.”

  57. That’s a fair point. I think that the best response was that of MLK: “You can’t make a man love me, but you can make him not lynch me”. The first part of that quotation is as important as the second.

    As a British lawyer, I am reminded of a remark once made by the great 19th century judge Lord Cranworth. The context was the claim that sometimes used to be made that Christianity formed part of the law of England. “Were you ever instructed”, asked Cranworth, “to draft a bill of indictment against a man for not loving his neighbour as himself?”.

  58. Portalis, often described as the “philosopher” of the committee that drafted the Code of 1804 and a devout Catholic, drew an important distinction: Christianity, which speaks only to the conscience conducts the small number of the elect to salvation; the law restrains, by force, the unruly passions of bad men.

    In other words, for him, the law was not an instrument of moral improvement, but a means of ensuring « L’ordre publique » , a wider concept than “public order,” “public policy” is closer in meaning and Portalis certainly thought this had an ethical component.

    Thus, he thought civil divorce should be tolerated: the Mosaic law was the civil law of the Jewish polity, with coercive power and, therefore tolerated it; the Gospel, which teaches the way of salvation, through free grace, does not.

  59. Nevertheless, such a view can cite canonical authority – Marx’s “opium of the masses,” for example.

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