Don’t want to be the first one to stop clapping

A second day of the mandatory rainbow flag on my WordPress editor.  At first, the status signaling was mildly amusing; the longer it lasts, the more awkward and funny it will get.  Lots of companies are showing their gay pride, and no doubt feeling warmly sanctimonious about it.  But life goes on.  Still, you know the old joke about nobody wanting to be the first one to stop applauding at the end of one of Stalin’s speeches?

Listen up, WordPress.  If you really care about gay rights, I’d better see that rainbow flag tomorrow.  I mean, of course everybody expected it yesterday.  If you’d just had it for one day, people might have thought you were just doing the bare minimum to keep the SJWs off your back.  Which means that really having it up two days is the bare minimum to avoid people thinking you don’t really care about gay rights.  So if you really care about gay rights, you’ll go above the bare minimum and have it tomorrow.  But now that I’ve pointed this out to you, I think tomorrow is the bare minimum, and you’d better exceed that.  Most important of all, though, you’d better keep an eye on other companies’ websites and keep rainbowing at least as long as they do, because if you don’t, we’ll know that you don’t really care about gay rights as much as those other companies do, and you’ll be scheduled to be eaten.

Good statement from USCCB

I should give credit where it’s due.  The reference to Pope Francis’ “integral ecology” was very apt and will hopefully inspire other Catholics to see the interconnectedness of the Church’s moral teachings.  “The unique meaning of marriage…inscribed on our bodies” sounds like something I might have written here.  “rooted in immutable nature, confirmed by divine revelation” is exactly right; this is natural law we’re defending.  Even the plea to be tolerated at the end bases itself not on some general freedom of religion or conscience, but on our having the truth.

Here is the statement:

Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable. Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the question of marriage today. Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.

The unique meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is inscribed in our bodies as male and female. The protection of this meaning is a critical dimension of the “integral ecology” that Pope Francis has called us to promote. Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us, especially children. The law has a duty to support every child’s basic right to be raised, where possible, by his or her married mother and father in a stable home.

Jesus Christ, with great love, taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. As Catholic bishops, we follow our Lord and will continue to teach and to act according to this truth.

I encourage Catholics to move forward with faith, hope, and love: faith in the unchanging truth about marriage, rooted in the immutable nature of the human person and confirmed by divine revelation; hope that these truths will once again prevail in our society, not only by their logic, but by their great beauty and manifest service to the common good; and love for all our neighbors, even those who hate us or would punish us for our faith and moral convictions.

Lastly, I call upon all people of good will to join us in proclaiming the goodness, truth, and beauty of marriage as rightly understood for millennia, and I ask all in positions of power and authority to respect the God-given freedom to seek, live by, and bear witness to the truth.

Opposing gay marriage is already worse than illegal

Obergefell v. Hodges is ultimately less significant than the Eich affair.  Justice Kennedy might be sincere about freedom of religion being respected; it makes no difference if being known to disapprove of gay marriage will get you fired from your job and made unemployable thereafter.  There’s not much worse the government could do to you.  The First Amendment assumes a social context that makes its immunities from government coercion meaningful.  It was assumed that at least one of the following would be true:

  1. Most people would be self-employed.
  2. Employers wouldn’t care about employees’ beliefs.
  3. If they did care, there would be a diversity of beliefs among employers.
  4. At the very least, government and employers wouldn’t be taking orders from the same group.

The Church turned over heretics to the secular arm; she would not have claimed this constituted freedom for heresy on her part.  Now the media gives the orders.  Whether they’re executed by the Department of Justice or the Human Relations department of your company doesn’t make much practical difference for you.  The old distinctions are now artificial.  Government, NGOs, private corporations–it’s all the same group of people.  They went to the same schools, read the same papers, and often openly coordinate with each other.

I feel sorry for Christian bakers and florists, but that’s a small group of people.  I’m less afraid of churches being forced to perform gay weddings than I am of them not having to be forced.  The program for the upcoming Synod has just been released.  Kasperism is set up as an established consensus of the bishops.  The Church will approve adultery by the end of the year.  I give it two years after that before the Pope starts performing gay weddings in Saint Peters’.  He’ll be one of the last priests to do one.  If persecution of congregations comes, it will be to a small remnant of Evangelical and Mormon groups.  I’m hoping the persecution comes sooner rather than later, so that Catholicism can have the honor of getting in on it a bit before we cave.

Only two things affect most of us.  1) Being known to disapprove of sodomy will get you fired pretty much anywhere because “hostile work environment”.  2) Gay=good, sex=meaningless is official orthodoxy, so it is taught in schools.

We’ve got no one to be angry at.  Most gays would be happy to have us left in peace, but it only takes one couple willing to pretend they want your cake to sic the government on you, and it doesn’t take any gays at all to sic HR on you.  Most liberals and atheists would be like to leave us in peace, although they might feel vaguely guilty about their pro-civility unprincipled exceptions.  The Social Justice Warriors?  They’re just following what they’ve always been told is right and just. No one is abusing liberalism to harass us; the logic of liberalism allows no alternative.  We need assume no malice in the establishment–in fact, the argument against liberalism works better if we don’t.

Liberalism means tolerance.  Tolerance tolerates everything except intolerance.  Because tolerance is liberalism, everything but liberalism is intolerance.  Therefore, liberalism must tolerate nothing but itself.

Democracy is justified by principled opposition to hierarchy, that is by liberalism.  But if one accepts liberalism, then one must accept liberalism’s answers to all the fundamental political questions.  Thus, democracy is vindicated when the public cannot debate or vote on any fundamental issue.

Perhaps this is God’s judgment on Christians for jumping on the anti-racist bandwagon.  Liberals are always going on about how we’re just like racists, and we’re always fretting about what it will mean if most people start regarding us that way.  We never stopped to wonder if ostracizing people for racism, a sin no Doctor of the Church had ever heard of, was really something we wanted to play along with.  It’s true that sodomy and miscegenation are very different things.  One can argue against one without arguing against the other.  On the other hand, if ancestry doesn’t matter, then why not tinker with an institution designed to assure paternity?  If it does matter, then we shouldn’t be so quick to assume that all forms of race-consciousness are bad.  Anyway, there’s no point worrying about being lumped with racists.  It’s happened.  Now is the time to think calmly about how to live with it.  In fact, we should be reassured to find that ethnonationalists and identitarians still do exist.  This means that survival is possible, at least for a few decades.

Ours is the generation of anonymous blogging.  This may even be the golden age of anonymous blogging.  I can easily imagine that it won’t last long.  If some branch of the establishment decides we’re enough of a nuisance, it could make things much more dangerous for us.  Presumably this will eventually happen–the Cathedral can brook no dissent–and we will pass on to the generation of friends meeting privately to talk and complain.  No one will know when the golden age of that comes, because each group will be invisible to the others.  We might want to get started on this already.

Cross-post: Laudato Si

There’s a lot of stupid criticism of the new encyclical going around.  I’m happy to take what condemnations of the modern world I can get.

Rusty Reno at First Things, complaining that Pope Francis’s attitude to modernity reminds him of Pius IX’s, almost makes me a Francis fan.

In this encyclical, Francis expresses strikingly anti-scientific, anti-technological, and anti-progressive sentiments. In fact, this is perhaps the most anti-modern encyclical since the Syllabus of Errors, Pius IX’s haughty 1864 dismissal of the conceits of the modern era…

If Francis continues in this trajectory, Catholicism will circle back to its older, more adversarial relationship with modernity. In the nineteenth century, the Church regarded modernity’s failure to acknowledge God as damning. It led to usurpations of authority, disrespect for hierarchy, and other signs of anthropocentric self-regard. Francis’s concerns are different. He’s worried about the poor, environmental disasters, and the complacent rich indifferent to both. But his analysis is the same, and he shares a similar dire, global view of modernity as the epitome of godless sin.

He’s right.  Modernity is the epitome of godless sin.

I’m not opposed to the idea of an encyclical on the environment or even one on the ethical issues raised by climate change, but I fear the encyclical we’ve got will be a lost opportunity.  This is a shame, because it does make some important points mixed amid the tedious committee-speak.

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What the Church needs/How to keep your child Catholic

If I were a liberal, you’d expect me to say that the Church has a rosy future as soon as she drops her distinctive moral teachings, and that the way to keep the next generation in the Church is to make sure it’s full of warm fuzzy feelings.  As a conservative Catholic, you’re probably expecting me to say that the Church needs saints, holiness, and our prayers and fasting, and that children need to be taught to love Jesus and fear hell.  Those are our canned responses.  Maybe it’s just that I’m a fairly irreligious Catholic, but I’m going to say something different.  Holiness is great.  Prayer is great.  But what the Church is most missing is something much more basic and easy to manufacture.

What Catholicism lacks is tribalism, or, more specifically, the us-versus-them mentality.  This has two pieces.

  1. Identification with the Church.  Catholics must stop thinking that when our enemies criticize the Church, they’re talking about those other Catholics, the ones who are bringing our reputation down.  When they say that Catholics are a bunch of pedophiles, they’re talking about YOU.  When they say that Catholics are ignorant bigots, they’re talking about YOU.
  2. Characterization of outside critics as enemies.  Their criticism must not be taken helpful suggestions offered in good faith.  It must be recognized as the ATTACK that it is.  The default response to attacks from enemies should not be to give their claims credence and beg forgiveness.  The default response should be anger followed as soon as strategically practicable by retaliation in kind.

Here’s what it comes down to.  If the Kasperites, the MSM, the “Founding Fathers”, and the sodomites are right, then the priest-killing Jacobins and Bolsheviks were basically right.  That proposition should be psychologically intolerable to anyone who truly identifies with Catholicism.  The idea of siding with the Church’s persecutors, to admit that Voltaire, Garibaldi, and Lenin were actually right all along, should be so hateful to a Catholic that he dismisses arguments for it out of hand.

But isn’t tribalism inferior to holiness?  Isn’t loving a people inferior to loving the Triune God?  To this, I say that grace perfects nature rather than overriding it.  Human attachment to the corporate body of Christ is a more fertile ground for supernatural attachment to that body than human alienation from it.  To the liberals going on about “We are Church”, I say, if that were really true, you would respond to attacks on Catholicism as attacks on yourselves, and you would recognize the Church’s enemies as your own.  If any liberal thinks that he’s just above tribal attachments of any kind, try gently criticizing the Democratic Party or the civil rights movement, and see how he responds.

Another worry one might have about us-versus-them is that it’s dangerous, because you miss out on valid criticism from outsiders.  People have gone so far with this that openness to criticism is now considered a strength.  Poppycock.  Natural selection proves it.  There are many associations in the world.  Would you say that openness to demotivational criticism from outsiders is common or uncommon among them?  Clearly such openness is maladaptive (something so obvious to me I have trouble arguing it), and the groups that survive and prosper teach their members not to give credence to enemies.  Again, if a liberal argues against this, try suggesting that an organization he truly cares about follow this advice.  No, once again it is only the Catholic Church that is expected to follow policies that guarantee her own destruction.

One shouldn’t imagine that a tribalist refuses to consider any criticism of the tribe.  If you’ve ever been around they, you know that’s not the case.  There are some types of criticism that come easily to the tribalist: that the tribe’s leaders are insufficiently chauvinist, that they compromise too readily. Liberal Catholics are open to this sort of criticism of the Democratic party and the civil rights racket, those groups for whom they genuinely care.  I am enraged by John Paul II’s apologies to outgroups.

The best part:  us-versus-them is easy to learn.  You’re never too young!  A mere choice of pronouns can make a world of difference.  When speaking of Americans, do you ever call them “we” or “us”?  Stop this immediately.  Abortion and sodomy are in the Constitution; its official interpreters say so.  Its elected officials insist there is “no place” in their realm for beliefs like ours.  Believe them.  Anyone who feels himself an American will feel psychologically compelled to follow the American herd like Jody Bottum.  We are not Americans.  Americans are Other.  Love them as your enemies, but recognize them as your enemies.  You don’t teach your children to hate Americans, just to fear them in a diffuse sort of way.  They’re mostly nice people, you say, but they don’t believe the Gospel or follow our ways, and when they find out someone does, sometimes they get angry.  We are Catholics.  Once we had countries, but now we are exiles.  Some among the Protestants are loyal to God over liberalism, and whether they know it or not, they are not Americans, but our allies.

Do I say that Catholics should be willing to die rather than betray the Church to the enemy?  That would be nice, but it’s more than is really necessary.  Courage is difficult and rare.  Identification is easy.  If a man would give in to the liberal establishment under pressure, but burn with shame and resentment, he is still ours.

No Italian should have supported the Risorgimento.  There is absolutely no excuse for that.  Loyalty to Church comes first, way before aspiration to being a cheap imitation of England and France via Piedmontese conquest.  I don’t care what you think about the temporal power of the Popes.

There’s talk among Catholics about conceding defeat in the Culture Wars.  There is a right and a wrong way to do this.  Bowing out of the culture wars means washing our hands of this country altogether.  What the Church must never do is what that rat Bottum wants her to do–agree to shut up about sex so that she can parrot establishment thinking on capital punishment or other secondary issues.  What message could that send but that the patriarchal family isn’t really important and that the secular state is a reliable advocate of the common good.  No, if the world will not hear what we have to say about the family, then we have nothing to say to it whatsoever.  Any other evils in the nation we will simply use as further evidence for its wickedness and illegitimacy.  Let us call other peoples out of their degradation into our completely different and utterly inimical way of life.

Our tribe has been brought low and humiliated.  If you’re a Catholic and don’t feel the sting of that, there’s something wrong with you.

Some lives mattering more than others

Steve Sailer finds an interesting contrast:

  • Ottawa to build Victims of Communism memorial.  Elite opinion:  What for?  It didn’t happen in Canada.  The thing’s too big.
  • Ottawa to build a National Holocaust Monument, with a 50% larger budget.  Elite opinion:  General silence.  No controversy.  Implication is–What took so long?  Canada is the only allied nation without a Holocaust monument in its capital.

Commenters note a further asymmetry between the two memorials.  The former commemorates all victims of communism, while the latter will certainly focus on a subset of the victims of Naziism.  Millions of dead Slavs don’t interest anyone, whether it was Stalin or Hitler who killed them.  They were only goyim.

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