April 24, 2009

Pro-Life Politics and the Several Catholicisms

One of the oddities of my career in the blogosphere is that, even though I’m a hard-boiled Protestant, my writings on cultural issues have earned me legions of Catholic admirers like Adrienne:

Stacy McCain, who heads up the wonderful blog “The Other McCain”, has one of the best posts on marriage and birth control I have read in ages.

What explains this trans-denominational appeal? Perhaps it has something to do with what John Zmirak calls “The Amazing Catholic Bullsh*t Generator,” which I interpret as rooted in the 19th-century “social justice” theme of Rerum Novarum.

Daring to think that perhaps Leo XIII could have been mistaken about political economy will, of course, get you denounced in a hurry by the same kind of devout Catholics who praise your writings on marriage, abortion and homosexuality. But the heresy of “liberation theology” didn’t spring up out of nowhere, did it? Perhaps the right-wingers at the Vatican (who no doubt read TakiMag every day) could convince Benedict XVI to produce a new encyclical that takes into consideration the Austrian economic enlightenment, with particular attention to Friedrich Hayek’s views on The Mirage of Social Justice.

As an outsider looking in on Catholicism, I’m fascinated by the way the church often presents the appearance of the blind men encountering the elephant, each one grabbing hold of the part nearest him and mistaking it for the whole. So you have those ooey-gooey Catholics who seem to think the whole of faith is do-gooder charity stuff, which also requires them to vote for “Catholic” Democrats like Patrick Leahy, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry. Then you have the neocon Catholics like Sean Hannity who want to nominate Donald Rumsfeld for sainthood. And, of course, there are the Old Right Catholics, who would eagerly support the excommunication of both Ted Kennedy and Sean Hannity.

Given my condemnation of the Contraceptive Culture, my blog buddy Dad29 predicts I’ll soon be writing for Ignatius Press, but this is to mistake me for a weak reed. My ancestors were Ulster Scots and Covenanters, and respect for the sacrifices they made to defend their independent faith requires me to stand firm in defiance like the Martyr of the Solway. Yet in our secularized society, when so many have been “conformed to this world,” I also stand firm with those of any faith who defy the Contraceptive Culture.

Since we are commanded not to put our trust in princes—which I take as applying equally to Senators, Congressmen and Presidents—it seems to me that the faithful should not expect salvation from Washington. Yet even if we share a belief in pro-life politics, what Steve Sailer explains about the “Baby Gap” tells us that pro-life politics is doomed to failure if we do not lead a pro-life life.

Perhaps now the reader understands why I keep trying to get Richard Spencer married off. Leadership by example is what we need.

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