From a point where Dr. Charlton could understandably assert its death, The Orthosphere has bounced back and is now at its highest quality yet. Professor Bertonneau has begun posting much more regularly. Professor Smith (who contributes a lot of the best material at Throne and Altar, if you read the comments) and Professor Cocks are onboard and contributing. Kristor is still plugging away. I plan to keep my writings here for the foreseeable future. My colleagues are doing a much better job expounding on metaphysics and theology than I could do. It frees me up to keep amusing myself writing about sex and Disney princesses. (Actually, the princess theme is exhausted now. I just had to work that out of my system.) The state of the Church is so discouraging, I’m surprised more bloggers aren’t retreating into other subjects.
One wish I had for the Orthosphere has come true. It’s now pretty much dominated by humanities and social sciences university faculty. I’m an unashamed snob about these things, and it seems to me that those are the people who should be overseeing a theological-political movement. The amateur phase is to be gotten over as quickly as possible.
The biggest wish I had for the Orthosphere has not come true. I was hoping to see us being attacked in First Things. You see, a frustrating thing about the Right is insufficient connectivity between its various degrees. For whatever reason, each person seems to have an inclination to occupy his own particular spot in the ideological spectrum. He will drift only until he finds it. Many of us had the experience of spending years on the rightmost edge of liberalism, even though we found it unsatisfactory, because we weren’t aware of any genuinely illiberal alternative. There are stops in the ideological spectrum where right-going personalities tend to clog up. A stop is a point on the spectrum that refuses to acknowledge alternatives to its right. Stop points dialog only with positions to their left and thus present themselves to their followers as the rightmost end of the viable ideological spectrum. By refusing to seriously engage perspectives to their right, they impede the flow of readers to their natural ideological destinations.
Acknowledgement of other positions usually can’t mean agreement–they are other positions after all. It can mean attack, so long as the position being attacked is accurately described. George Weigel throwing insults at the SSPX is not acknowledgement. I suspect that if First Things–the highest quality magazine that represents the rightmost end of religious conservatism that nevertheless insists on bending the knee to Americanist liberalism–were to properly attack us, meaning explain Jim Kalb’s case against liberalism and then give their reasons for disagreeing with it, they’d lose half their readers to us. Many of us were stuck at the Neuhaus halfway house for too long and would have happily defected once we heard even a negative description of a viable rightward alternative.
My biggest misgiving with religious conservatism, Orthosphere and otherwise, is the emerging consensus in favor of Girardism. Everybody but me seems to be sold on this idea that culture and organized religion are giant scams for people to redirect their homicidal envy at innocent victims, and the point of Christianity is that these victims society is always teaming up on are innocent. That’s certainly not what I thought our beliefs were, but then again what do I know?
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