Catholics must resist cosmopolitan universalism

First Things has published a truly dreadful article–Catholics Must Resist Ethno-Nationalism.  Excerpts:

Whatever else is said about the election of 2016, we will remember this campaign for the reemergence of explicit ethno-nationalism as a force in American politics. Rather than listing and litigating the well-publicized instances of pandering to white identity politics that have marked this campaign, let me make some personal observations that I believe are widely shared…

This neo-nativism is based on the myth of “white heritage” (about which Congressman Steve King of Iowa stupidly held forth during the Republican National Convention). It is, on the one hand, an understandable (if not excusable) reaction to the solidarity-starved society of secular liberalism. It is also, however, a peculiarly dangerous American tradition—the modern descendant of the laws and social codes once used to exclude everyone but northern European Protestants from full participation in American life.

It is a scandal for any Catholic to support such ideas and the political movements animated by them—not just because they violate Church teaching, but because they betray our history in this country. These Catholics would be exchanging the only social force that can provide a foundation for a healthy and humane solidarity—the Faith—for the emotional affirmation of a mythical cultural identity. They would become what they claim to hate: relativists who cling to a politically-useful identity rather than to enduring truth…

When we hear a black man describe police violence; when we hear an undocumented immigrant describe exploitative labor; when we hear a prisoner describe institutionalized brutalization; when we hear a young gay woman describe homelessness—our first response must not be to attempt to discredit, to rationalize, to explain away. Rather, we must give them the credit we would expect others to give to us, and try to understand experiences that differ substantially from our own. When white Catholics stand in distant, dispassionate judgment of the experiences of people outside our comfortable mainstream, we betray both the gospel and our forebears in this country.

This doesn’t mean credulously accepting every narrative or policy proposal that is accompanied by a claim of oppression; we still have to apply our rational faculties. It does mean treating every story with the solicitude we would reflexively grant to members of our own economic, social, racial, and religious tribes.

After all, every sign suggests the Catholic experience in America is reverting to the historic mean. As our politics accelerates its drift from Catholic teaching on marriage, family, and justice—and as the liberal norms that provided a hint of insulation from adverse political and economic power wither—we should expect to find ourselves marginalized and excluded from full participation in American life once again.

Some observations:

  • From the way commenters talk, one would never guess that it is the Democrats who have based their campaign on stoking racial strife while the Republicans have been pushing a nonracial nationalism.  I guess for some people it’s hatred when white people don’t agree with our demonization fast enough.
  • Steve King is supposedly stupid for claiming that Western Civilization is second to none.  One might have supposed that Catholics would take some pride as Catholics in Western civilization, a thing that was in no small part our creation.  Instead, the only history American Catholics are to remember is being poor and poorly regarded recent immigrants in America.
  • Yes, I know, everyone has a good reason to try to jump on the victim bandwagon.  “We Irish didn’t used to be white!”  Sure, when the rioting negroes come to your neighborhood, see how impressed they are with that.  Any straight Catholic with white skin had better understand right now that he will never be accepted into the victims club.
  • What is impressive is the ingratitude to the host population.  Even many generations later, Catholics are supposed to automatically take the side of mass importation from anywhere and despise any concern to preserve the current home culture, as a matter of loyalty to our own “history”.  What better proof could one want that 19th century nativists were right to oppose Catholic immigration?  What better proof could one want that they were right to regard the immigrants as being not of them?  (Note I am here acknowledging that they were right to want to keep out my own ancestors.) Presumably the next batch of immigrants, who look even less like the now-hated-in-their-own-homeland WASPs, will be no different.
  • Any kind of particular loyalty to a cultural or biological group is now to be regarded as a form of “relativism” and incompatible with Catholicism?
  • “the black man..police violence…an undocumented immigrant…exploitative labor…a young gay woman…”  Good God, First Things is going full Social Justice Warrior.  Rather than concern for everyone, this list clearly evidences conformity to what the media dictates should be the objects of our solicitude and uncritical affirmation.Of course, “this doesn’t mean credulously accepting” every demand from official victims, but we’re not allowed to judge their claims dispassionately either, so in fact it pretty much does mean credulously accepting whatever they say.
  • “It does mean treating every story with the solicitude we would reflexively grant to members of our own economic, social, racial, and religious tribes.”  There, there is where we disagree!  This moral principle, expounded as if self-evident, is in fact completely insane.  If I can’t show special solicitude to members of my own tribe, in what meaningful sense can I be said to have a tribe at all?  What could a tribe be, if it doesn’t involve a particular group of people to whom I owe particular concern?  Take the principle to its ultimate logical conclusion:  “I must show equal solicitude toward the needs of every human being on Earth as I do toward my own children.”  This principle, which seems to sound so lofty to so many, is in fact monstrous, tyrannical, and inhuman.  And the Church has never embraced it.
  • You notice how “religious tribes” was snuck in toward the end.  For most of the article, it seemed the point was to be true to our American Catholic identity rather than make common cause with the WASPs.  But this is insufficient for its ultimate purpose, because, whatever the case for issues of hispanic Catholic immigration, we Catholics surely do have good Catholic-tribal reason to make common cause with the WASPs against the Mohammedan hordes.  But a general principle of universalism won’t even allow that.
  • It’s true–Americans are becoming less tolerant of Catholic moral teaching.  Importing millions of Democrat voters won’t help with this problem.

20 Responses

  1. I always thought the “gospel message” was that those who repent and place their trust in Christ will be saved. This strikes me as “good news.” Where is the “good news” in the demand that I spend my life listening to every sad sack on the planet? Jesus seems to have preferred stinging rebukes over “understanding experiences” other than his own.

  2. But did Brandon McGinley march with Martin Loofer King?

  3. First Things has published a truly dreadful article”

    How unusual.

  4. Ah, the new Social Justice Gospel. Hate yourself and your neighbor, but embrace and love the foreigner who has come to replace and destroy you.

    Where we embrace the curses of Deuteronomy, as a consequence of disobeying God, as blessings:

    ” But if you will not obey the Lord your God by diligently observing all his commandments and decrees, which I am commanding you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you:
    .
    Cursed shall be the fruit of your womb…

    …people whom you do not know shall eat up the fruit of your ground and of all your labors; you shall be continually abused and crushed

    The Lord will bring you, and the king whom you set over you, to a nation that neither you nor your ancestors have known…

    Aliens residing among you shall ascend above you higher and higher, while you shall descend lower and lower.”

  5. One might have supposed that Catholics would take some pride as Catholics in Western civilization, a thing that was in no small part our creation. Instead, the only history American Catholics are to remember is being poor and poorly regarded recent immigrants in America

    What most people (including conservatives) mean by Western Civilization is North-Western Europe post-1600. For them Western Civ is good because of technology and liberal political philosophy. The Catholic contribution is only celebrated to the extent that it helped set the conditions for the arrival of modernity (i.e. monasteries were great because they preserved pagan sources that would come to for in the Renaissance). I am sure in your case Bonald you think we all need to take a lot of “pride” in Luther, Calvin, Bacon, Locke, Smith et al. but I personally can’t. Maybe I am just not a good tribal Catholic? Perhaps instead of Western Civilization we should say Christendom so as to narrow things a bit? To hell with Western Civilization.

    we Catholics surely do have good Catholic-tribal reason to make common cause with the WASPs against the Mohammedan hordes. But a general principle of universalism won’t even allow that

    Are you sure about that? This implies we should make common cause with Israel. This is of course the situation we have now. How’s is that working out for us? Do you think maybe contemporary problems in Europe and the Middle East have something to do with a WASP inspired univeralism? The same type of univeralism that demands assimilation here at home?

    Also, one could go back 50 years and switch out Mohammedan for “Red.” The very logic you propose here is what got us fusionism and insured that traditionalist Catholicism would play no part not only in wider American culture but even on the insipid conservative movement

  6. It’s a reasonable worry, but I’d say that Protestants and Catholics banding together against communists was not a mistake. The problem was rallying together under classical liberalism.

  7. It’s a reasonable worry, but I’d say that Protestants and Catholics banding together against communists was not a mistake. The problem was rallying together under classical liberalism.

    Instead of alliances that inure to the detriment of the Faith why not just convert Protestants, convert the conservative movement, convert the pro-life movement…convert America? Make these explicitly Catholic and stop watering everything down? The Muslims do this. As you know some of the most reactionary American Catholics were Protestant converts. It was the immigrants (mainly Irish) who were obsessed with Americanization. Converting and ordering these institutions could have worked and it is the only way worth taking going forward.

    It’s true–Americans are becoming less tolerant of Catholic moral teaching. Importing millions of Democrat voters won’t help with this problem/

    Way to work in a quote of the despicable John Zmirak’s screed against anti-liberal Catholics. What are you arguing for here? Are you taking sides with the ” Brown immigrants are ruining muh Founding Fathers” people? The debate between you and the First Things people seems to be little more than who can better kowtow to Protestantism.

  8. […] can’t talk about Islam (like this). Peace propaganda. Catholics against ethno-nationalism (or not, plus). Citadel at the […]

  9. Brown immigrants are ruining the founding fathers people.

    Being a cuck is a sin.

  10. Brown immigrants are ruining the founding fathers people.

    Being a cuck is a sin

    But being a cuck for the ideology of Protestant liberals is okay though right?

  11. If you approve of brown people immigrants, you are in line with protestant liberal ideology.

  12. If you approve of brown people immigrants, you are in line with protestant liberal ideology.

    Yes, thanks for merely repeating my point made in my first comment above-

    Do you think maybe contemporary problems in Europe and the Middle East have something to do with a WASP inspired univeralism? The same type of univeralism that demands assimilation here at home?

    A Catholic who’s concerned with shoring up Americanism is by the Alt-Right’s own definition a cuck i.e. someone who works for the very thing that destroys his own heritage and legacy.

  13. itascriptaest:
    I am constantly struck by the irony of the “cuck” meme, since the vast majority of those who enthusiastically assert it are clueless “cucks” themselves in precisely the way you suggest: they embrace many of the very things which destroy the particularist heritage and legacy which they profess to love, or at least acknowledge to be essential.

    Left liberals are the closest to true believers. Right liberals are “cucks” because they love liberalism yet hate its perfectly predictable consequences, and see leftist true believers as “inauthentic” tyrants. But there is another layer of enablers who profess to despise the “cucks” and yet themselves embrace much of the same nominalism, consequentialism, etc — embrace the very things which give rise to “cucks” and true believers in the first place.

  14. There is nothing new under the sun; the inherent irony in the fact that if you wish for a ‘liberal and inclusive’ society you need to make it an exclusive whitopia has been commented on early and often.

    The libertarian impulse moreover is overwhelmingly a white conceit, and in particular it is an anglo-saxon conceit. ‘Conservative values’ do in fact stop south of the Rio Grande, which is full of marxist hellholes.

    >A Catholic who’s concerned with shoring up Americanism is by the Alt-Right’s own definition a cuck i.e. someone who works for the very thing that destroys his own heritage and legacy.

    So you would agree then that the moral thing for you to do would be to voluntarily self-deport and go your own ways with your own peoples in the lands of your ancestors. You would agree with Bonald above that the nativists were in fact right and would have been right to disbar you or your forefathers from their lands.

    All of this is just more complicated ways of saying ‘race matters’.

  15. So you would agree then that the moral thing for you to do would be to voluntarily self-deport and go your own ways with your own peoples in the lands of your ancestors.

    You don’t see the WASP universalism in that question?

  16. There is nothing new under the sun; the inherent irony in the fact that if you wish for a ‘liberal and inclusive’ society you need to make it an exclusive whitopia has been commented on early and often.

    Whats your point here? Your argument is that later ethnic groups were not sufficently loyal even if they were European. So is it only descendents from the British Isles that qualify? From even before the Civil War (when WASPs slaughtered each other in the hundreds of thousands) it was clear the US would have developed into what it is now, just like Scandinavia . Indeed, the US would be 50 states of Vermount or Utah- the highest concentrations of ethnic English. Last I checked those two states were big on immigration and socialism.

    The libertarian impulse moreover is overwhelmingly a white conceit, and in particular it is an anglo-saxon conceit.

    Yes liberalism primarily devloped in Anglo-Saxon countries. Those countries have propelled liberalism into world wide dominance.

    ‘Conservative values’ do in fact stop south of the Rio Grande, which is full of marxist hellholes

    Latins not accepting the confused analgam known as American conservatism is a virtue. Latin America produced better traditional thinkers than the US has-Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira and Don Colacho surpass most American conservatives. It is also noteworthy that American traditionalists like Fritz Wihelmson and Brent Bozell where Hispanophiles. We could even mention the Cristeros- Mexican peasants who took up arms against the socialist America-backed government there. Give me the Cristeros over Jefferson any day!

    You would agree with Bonald above that the nativists were in fact right and would have been right to disbar you or your forefathers from their lands.

    I agree in the sense that Catholicism is anti liberal and the Founders being liberals rightly saw this as a threat. The real shame is that Catholics, especially Catholics who should know better like Bonald, assimilated into a liberal ideology.

    As far as your comment about deportation I would love to expat to a place like Franco’s Spain (Bozell did this in the 60s) but alas thanks in large to the American founder’s vision no such places exist anymore.

  17. Ironically, Franco was backstabbed by the Church and its liberal agenda.

  18. >You don’t see the WASP universalism in that question?

    It doesn’t matter to me because I don’t subscribe to wasp universalism.

    >What’s your point here?

    My point is that your criticism is confused. The question of the matter here is quite simple: do you advocate the importation of mud creatures or not? If the practical effect of modern catholicism is the importation of mud creatures, then modern catholicism is possessed by demons.

    >I agree in the sense that Catholicism is anti liberal and the Founders being liberals rightly saw this as a threat.

    The founding fathers were masonic revolutionaries, outlaws against the rightful authority of the king, probably gnostic, and worst of all, believed in voting.

    Sanity is a series of unprincipled exceptions; I pick and choose my Americanisms.

  19. It doesn’t matter to me because I don’t subscribe to wasp universalism.

    It was your question. If you don’t take the premises of your own questions seriously, why should anyone else?

    The question of the matter here is quite simple: do you advocate the importation of mud creatures or not?

    Is it your impression that referring to human beings – cultural enemies – as ‘mud creatures’ somehow helps your case? Is a white leftist not a ‘mud creature’ in your political anthropology?

  20. Re-post with formatting fixed:

    It doesn’t matter to me because I don’t subscribe to wasp universalism.

    It was your question. If you don’t take the premises of your own questions seriously, why should anyone else?

    The question of the matter here is quite simple: do you advocate the importation of mud creatures or not?

    Is it your impression that referring to human beings – cultural enemies – as ‘mud creatures’ somehow helps your case? Is a white leftist not a ‘mud creature’ in your political anthropology?

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