Thursday, June 30, 2016

la trahison des clercs (The Treason of the Intellectuals) Part II

When hatred of culture becomes itself part of culture, the life of the mind loses all meaning.
 -- Alain Finkielkraut, The Undoing of Thought
Today we are trying to spread knowledge everywhere.  Who knows if in centuries to come there will not be universities established to establish our former ignorance.
-- Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742 - 1799)

Benda May Have Been Too Optimisitic

The Bear is an intellectual.  So are all of his ephemerists friends.  This is not a boast, it is simply the correct name for people who pursue the rewards of a life of the mind, as opposed to "realism," as our friend Julien Benda (la trahison des clercs) uses the word.

Although Benda was remarkably prescient in Treason of the Intellectuals, he did not get everything right.  The great evil that Benda saw was intellectuals abandoning their age-old calling of insisting upon the universal when it came to mankind.  In Benda's mind, the danger was that intellectuals were building philosophies based upon national differences. The German Völk, Italian Art, French elan, the English Empire.  They got their hands dirty, and became "realists," not as opposed to "realism," but concerned with practical outcomes.

It is true that we passed through that stage - disastrously.  It is just as true that patriotism seems to be a spent force in the West.  One would be embarrassed to express patriotism in the United States.  No longer do children perform the ceremony of innocence before the schoolroom flag, hand over heart.

How Benda Was Right

However, Benda turned out to be right, after all.  Intellectuals of today support ever-smaller divisions of humanity.  As  Benda specifically predicted: people wish even to be distinguished by their vices.  There is no eccentricity so rare as it does not have an intellectual spokesman -- or, spokesperson -- and political lobby.

Benda also observed that politics had become the concern of everyone, and that neighbors would wage an unending political war against one another.  This has come to pass.  It is a fairly recent historical development, although we can scarcely imagine it.  People have been concerned with politics all throughout history, but in fits and starts.  Never before has the vast majority of the West identified themselves by their political views, and never stopped banging the drum.

Humanity has been shattered into a thousand pieces by the treason of the intellectuals.  Yet the fragments tend to gravitate toward one of two poles: the Right and the Left.  Political people - almost everyone, that is - are comforted because they can look up and see one or the other of the great umbrellas that loosely unites and protects them.

Intellectuals Right and Left

In general, the Right is the philosophy of true conservatism.  True intellectuals of the Right preach a centripetal philosophy.  They are the true champions of mankind, because they advocate for man in general.  They do not feel compelled to tinker with history, to stick a name on part of mankind and champion The Worker, The Homosexual, The Refugee.  The intellectuals of the Right are mostly true and faithful, if few.  They know that when an intellectual is tempted to "realism," i.e. results, he will inevitably chose sides, and thereby lose the legitimacy of the universal.  He will, in other words, commit treason.

It is precisely by engaging in special pleading, that the intellectual of the Left commits treason.  "I raise this man up, and put all other men down."  They have a pact with one another that they will not step on each others' toes.  The intellectual of the Left is always modern.  "I celebrate today only; I erase the past."  There is always that fatal choice.  We come down to arguing with a straight face whether a man should use the ladies' room, because such practical absurdities are the inevitable tragicomical end of Leftist intellectualism.

By the way, the Left has won everywhere, if you have not noticed.  The Right, who are not "realists," in Benda's sense of the word (practical) cannot match the passionate intensity of a thousand people fighting for a thousand special recognitions.  Mankind has been more thoroughly fragmented than at Babel, and the past is forgotten.

When Facebook has 71 genders, you have to admit you're fighting a desperate rear-guard action for civilization, if not sanity.

Benda Wrong by 196, but Right by 7 Billion

But what would Benda say about the great supranational movements, where the old states of the West are giving up their independence and identity?  Does this not disprove Benda's thesis?  No.  First of all, this is a new development, and we do not know if it will last, or if national particularism will will reassert itself. But Benda might well point out that a mere 196 nations without nationalism are nothing compared to 71 genders,  1000 religions, 25,000 parties, 250,000 blogs, and people who shell out over a billion-and-a-half dollars for tattoos per year, in the U.S. alone.  Anybody can be a constituency.

So maybe Benda missed by 196 nations.  He still wins by 7 billion people, if everyone has their own individual party.


  1. This is a most wonderful article. The more we disconnect from the universal principles, the more we each lose our individuality in the insane 'special interests'. Your words are to be pondered and appreciated. Thank you for this piece.

  2. Oops I assumed you wrote "the great supernatural movements, where the old states of the West are giving up their independence and identity." I had to go back and read it twice. Well, whether it's the fragmentation of nationalistic patriotism, or the fragmentation of genders, religions, and blogs, either way the fragmentation serves dialectally to prepare for a totalitarian homogenization which apes the true unity of a Christendom or of the Universal Church. It's demonic.

    1. Yes. Nationalism is more physically destructive but identity politics is a more insidious version of the same thing.

  3. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

    Joshua 24:15

  4. Excellent Bear. It is all to be expected since the ideas of Truth and Reality have been rendered politically incorrect. Note pertinent article in the 'Deus Ex Machina blog:

    1. Yes. It is important to distinguish between reality, which I, too have argued is the essential failure of all liberalism, and the sine qua non of correctness and survival, and "realism" that Benda condemns in intellectuals.

      Benda means practicality. He argues that intellectuals commit treason when they apply their techniques and goals to politics, rather than maintain the universality that confers legitimacy. I just wanted to clear that up because of course Benda has no objection to the search for truth - universal truth - just special pleading.

      Liberalism will take the West and all its cargo of institutions (including the Church) to the icy floor of the North Atlantic. The West has struck the ice berg. It is 11:40 p.m. April 14, 1911. At this point only a few realize what it all means.

      But the Bear says: the show must go on. And it will, don't know how, don't know when. But you can take this to the bank: a mental construct, be it Communism, Peronism, Neoconservatism or NuKatholicism will not long survive a head-on collision with reality.

      Do not worry. All things fear time, but time fears the Bear. Good beasts shall serve as regents when flint is once more your high tech

    2. Excuse please Bear. Could you please enlighten us on the meaning of 11:40 p.m. April 14, 1911.

    3. Ruination Day April 14. "And the great barge sank, and the okies fled, and the Great Emancipator took a bullet in the back of the head."

      The Titanic struck the iceberg at 11:40 p.m. April 14, 1911, although it did not sink until early morning the next day. Western Civilization has already struck the iceberg. There is nothing to be done except find a place on a lifeboat. The Bear sees nothing but doom for now. But he survived the fall of Rome, so he plans on coming out the other side of this mess while liberals all starve to death or are eaten by natural beadts while arguing about who gets to use what bathroom. The problem is, the old barbarians, like the Lombards, respected Rome and wanted to be Romans. Liberals reject reality, reject the West.

    4. Perhaps the readers' confusion is because the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912. But one mistake in several centuries is not bad, O Great Bear!

  5. Wikipedia says the year of the sinking was 1912. The Visigoths respected Rome, too, even though they were Arians.

  6. I forgot the year. You live 1300 years and see if you and remember every little thing. But while the Titanic didn't sink until the 15th, she was doomed by the collision on the 14th. So the 14th of April is still Ruination Day, and the symbolic and of the West is 1912, not 1911.

  7. "In general, the Right is the philosophy of true conservatism. True intellectuals of the Right preach a centripetal philosophy. They are the true champions of mankind, because they advocate for man in general."

    I am dubious about this generalization, and in particular about the dichotomy of Left and Right [I give the Bear the benefit of the doubt of holding a more nuanced position]. That is, I'm not convinced Right is correct, but rather another error. This comes back to your piece on the "Catholic center". I was listening to a sermon where the priest points out that when the devil wishes to take man down, he does not give man one choice, but two. If the first doesn't attract, man can be driven to the other out of revulsion for the first. (sounds a bit like how our elections are decided).

    Let me elaborate a bit more. Jerry Pournelle examined this one dimensional model in his thesis for his Phd in political science titled "The American political continuum; an examination of the validity of the left-right model as an instrument for studying contemporary American political 'isms'". He produces a two dimensional model called the Pournelle chart

    I ran across this a couple of years ago, and the first thing that struck me was it is missing an axis for spirituality. Rather than trying to describe a plane with Divine truth missing, it should be 3 dimensional. The shape would depend on where you place Catholicism. If it’s placed at 0, you have a sphere of ideologies. But if you put atheism at 0, and Catholicism as defined as infinity, you’d have a cone tending toward perfection with the various political manifestations forming the outer shell of the cone.

    Left/Right is far too simplistic.

    1. Left and Right are indeed simplistic if you try to understand them outside of my application of Benda's thesis. Any other discussion of whether the Right is politically correct or the Left is politically wrong is irrelevant.

      Benda said that politics was now a part of the ordinary man's life in a way it had never been before. I agree, and I do observe that the two great umbrellas are, in general Right and Left. Note that I have not said one is better than the other. Benda would just as readily condemn an intellectual in the Catholic Center if that intellectual were trying to conform the world to his vision.

      I find that if you know A about someone, it is likely you know B, C, D, E, and F about him, too. I am sure there are pro-abortion, Latin-Mass-going, NRA members who's favorite blogger is Mark Shea, but I am sure you would agree they are few. So perhaps Right and Left are not useless in this rough-and-ready context of where people live.

      If a "traitor" is an intellectual who applies his mind to a philosophy that departs from the traditional role of the intellectual -- dealing in universal truths for the universal man -- then one on the political right may just as easily be a traitor as one on the political left.

      Remember, Benda's definition of a traitorous intellectual is one who applies his talents to "realism," or advancing particular real-world programs or themes: "the German Völk;" "100% Americanism;" "political Conservatism;" "political Liberalsm."

      If an intellectual is in the trenches providing ammunition for wide gun ownership, rolling back homosexual influence, promoting American exceptionalism, quashing the teaching of evolution in the classroom, muzzling the Russian Bear, restricting immigration, eliminating nudity on television, promoting larger families, etc. etc. etc. then he would be just as much a traitor - in the context of this continuing discussion, which should not be forgotten - as an intellectual of the Left.

      In general - and now this is the Bear, not Benda - the Left of our time is far more guilty of the sort of special pleading that is emblematic of "la trahison des clercs." A conservative will probably not object to a manger scene and a menorah in the public square. A liberal has a visceral horror of both, and will fanatically fight the natural, human expression of humanity's universal religious impulse and impose the narrow, momentary and inhuman fad of atheism.

      A conservative will likely simply accept the biological and time-honored convention of separate restrooms for men and women without a thought. It is the liberal who must slice humanity into as many slivers as possible - 71 Facebook "genders" - and each one must have its own philosophy and philosophers intent on "realism," e.g. making sure their constituency imposes its will on everyone else.

      Liberals admire the so-called "superior American Indian culture and spirituality" so much that they will go so far as to actually pretend to be an Indian. (Or black.) "Identity politics" is la trahison des clercs writ on a hillside as big as the "Hollywood" letters.

      Inasmuch as conservatism naturally reflects the less particular, rejects the fever of intellectual fads, and is oriented toward eternal truths, then conservatism is less disposed by nature to treason.

      Of course, once conservatives apply their talents to "realism," i.e. practical results, they are just as treasonous. See "neconservativism" and the gospel of militarily spreading democracy to people who have no use for it. Of course today, people can hardly conceive of a true intellectual, one who is not an advocate for the particular.

    2. Why was Pope Pius XII not a traitor to the Church, and the West, and what makes Pope Francis a traitor to the Church and the West? If you can answer that question in the most general terms possible, you will understand what Benda is saying.

      Pope Francis is not a universal thinker. To him, everything is a "case" he witnessed in Argentina, a "pastoral exception," a "cause." His is theology by anecdote. This is how Leftists think: they do not have a mind for universal scope that can derive fundamental truths. (It also appears he shares the Leftist's peculiar need of cultural approval and "relevance.")

      Pope Francis has never uttered a single word of unqualified application to everybody. He has never once said that, "Everybody needs the Catholic Church to attain Heaven and avoid Hell." It is telling how in Pope Video One, Francis's handlers have to divide people up into four religions, only one of which is even Christian. Division is the signature of the traitor.

      Now, one might argue that such a view is actually MORE universal, because it includes everyone in a single, overarching religious truth that recognizes their common humanity.

      And, yes. That would be correct. For an intellectual who was not Pope. An intellectual ceases to be one when he embraces "realism" (results). A Pope is a special case. The universality that gives him legitimacy as an intellectual is the universality of the Catholic religion. In his proper sphere, he is an advocate, even a chauvinist. It would be wrong for a German Catholic priest to give a homily in WWI about the colonial aspirations of Germany, and the martial excellence of the German people. But what if a German Catholic priest stood up and gave a homily that a German Catholic priest could have given 700 years ago? A timeless message of love of God, and repentance?

      Benda did not speak much about religious intellectuals. I think he would have thought it to be an oxymoron, since religious leaders should definitely have an objective in mind. He did talk about how religious thinking could become mired in politics.

      I think the difference between Pope Pius XII and Pope Francis can be understood in light of Benda. The former, for all his engagement with the evils of his day, did not ever commit the treason of substituting that for the truths of the Catholic Faith. So, in that sense, at least, he did not descend to "realism." I sense a qualitative difference in Pope Francis.

      He, unlike Pope Pius XII, is a realist par excellence, again as Benda used "realist." It is the truth of the Catholic Faith that must adapt to the "realism" of people having access to Communion, or the advancement of the "brotherhood of man." Pope Pius XII was a good Catholic doing good. Pope Francis might be thought of as a man using Catholicism to do good. We want a Catholic Pope on a throne, and we get the World's Most Popular Man who sees the Church as nothing more than a Bully Pulpit. This is why Pope Francis is a traitor, and if there is any animus from the Bear toward Pope Francis it is because, as everyone knows, Bears are 100% Loyal and True and can abide anyone before a traitor. But humans are not under the jurisdiction of Bears, or any animal. This is the First Law. Sometimes we wonder why humans are so tolerant of evil. But there are many things we do not understand.

    3. And one more thing. There are almost no intellectuals today. I cannot think of a single one now in the public sphere who qualifies as an intellectual according to Benda. (Not saying there are none, but it seems that everyone has one drum or another to beat.)

      Glenn Beck.

      Just kidding.

  8. @ The Bear: "A conservative will probably not object to a manger scene and a menorah in the public square. A liberal has a visceral horror of both, and will fanatically fight the natural, human expression of humanity's universal religious impulse and impose the narrow, momentary and inhuman fad of atheism."

    Say rather: The liberal has more respect for the division between the private and public spheres, and will fight the usurpation of the latter by the former to prevent another Tragedy of the Commons; there is, after all, only so much public square space to go around, and once the hundreds of religions in the world had equally staked their own particular symbols all over it, little room would be left to walk among them — and perhaps little inclination to do so would be felt by those who wish to shun "foreign gods"... in that case especially avoiding, say, the Santerian, Odinist, or Satanist displays. For this reason the liberal would impose not atheism (quite impossible to do, actually, since people's beliefs are their own), but secularism in the public space.

    Churches, temples, mosques, atheist meeting groups, etc., each have their own private spaces, and some are even in private persons' homes, precisely so that (a) no-one else can impose upon them, and (b) they will impose upon no unwilling participant.

    The latter part of that compact, (b), is violated any time a public secular-purpose, e.g. government-funded, meeting is usurped for a religious function like prayer.

    Imagine your own feelings if the public prayer on your behalf, following the words "Let us pray," was to "Dear Lord Satan" and concluded with "May we all join you in Hell. Amen."

    Would you not insist, vociferously, that your own First Amendment Freedom of Religion includes the right to be left the heck alone and not have other people's religions imposed upon you, even by implication?

    That is the same thing others insist too.

    1. I happen to not be impressed with the constitutional analysis that has prevailed. We are now reduced to a very strange place where, for the first time in history, public property cannot be used for expressions of our culture. Ask me how much I care for the supposed "constitutional rights" of publicity-seekers calling themselves Satanists. I'll save you the trouble. Zero. But the side for which you are arguing won. Congratulations. More make-believe that we are somehow a cultureless society, or a society that is so culture-full that the courthouse lawn can no longer accommodate all the religions. Unlike you, I have no problem with the concept of a national culture, or the exposition of symbols associated with the overwhelmingly dominant culture. Of course, chasing religion out of the public square serves to eliminate it's voice from discourse, and eventually eliminates religion itself. Not that Christianity isn't doing its best to eliminate itself.

    2. > “chasing religion out of the public square... eventually eliminates religion itself.”

      All those church buildings, meeting houses, temples, synagogues, mosques, etc., continue to exist in the ‘private sphere’ — however open and welcoming to visitors they may be — as they have all along. Likewise, people continue to hold their varied religious beliefs, and even to express them.

      Not also getting to usurp public property for private purposes is not a sign of the End Times.

    3. > “Unlike you, I have no problem with the concept of a national culture, or the exposition of symbols associated with the overwhelmingly dominant culture.”

      Perhaps because you don’t recall what the national culture, the overwhelmingly dominant culture, i.e. the Protestant culture, tried to do to Catholics the last time government was used to impose religious standards:

      “Protestant Christians and Catholic Christians fought each other in the courts — and in the streets — over the right of the State to compel Catholic school children to listen to readings from the King James Version of the Bible. In Massachusetts, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and other states the use of public schools for religious instruction, usually described as ‘non-sectarian’, was a bitter and divisive issue. In Maine a Jesuit priest was tarred and feathered. In Cincinnati the contending groups waged what came to be known as the ‘Cincinnati Bible War’.”

      This is, after all, the nation whose “national culture” historically includes the anti-Catholic Know-Nothing [“American”] Party with those spurious “convent horror stories”, and the anti-Catholic KKK (among Donald Trump's most vocal supporters).

      But you have no problem with that being expressed?

    4. Raven~

      There are two slight flaws to your above argument.

      1. Catholicism insists that it is not a private religion but a public religion. That which constitutes it's beliefs and practices are not for the consumption of the private individual but rather the public at large. There is a demand within the belief system and juridical canons that the Church, her preaching, her practices, and even her acts of worship, is a thing of the public. Thus the Catholic, as a matter of Faith, resists any notion that would reduce that which is Catholicism to a strictly private sphere.

      2. Secularism tends to be taken as "non-religious" not "anti-religious", even though often the latter is the practical effect. This thought is not the original understanding of the term and owes more so to Protestant's understanding of the polis as interpreted through the American Experiment than anything else. Secular, in it's original understanding, is the sphere that is "non-ecclesial", but it is not "non-religious" or non-partial towards religion. It is partial towards truth, including the truth that exists within religion. It should also be pointed out that the Secular Sphere was not something that was synonymous with the sphere of the Polis or State, rather those two existed as subspheres within the Secular Sphere. (For example, the sphere of commerce would exist outside of the Polis, though regulated to an extent by the Polis, but also within the secular sphere.)

      Therefor, for a Catholic, any moves to privatize Catholicism is directly against Catholicism because it is a matter of belief and practice that that which is Catholicism is a public thing and not a private thing.

      Let me put it this way -- Most Protestant's believe in having an individual private relationship with Jesus and the church is the collection of individuals getting together for private collective shared belief and worship. Catholics believe that an individual's private relationship with Jesus only comes about through public incorporation into the public beliefs and public practices of the Church. That which Catholics believe and do is a matter of the public. (As an aside, when Catholics talk about consciousness and it's formation, we mean a public activity not a private thing. It is a matter of the public forum not the internal forum...the public forum of the Church, her belief, her practice, her laws, forms the private consciousness of the individual. Which is why AL is heresy.)

  9. Tim--I agree with you. If you are going to ban religious expressions from the public square you are also banning all cultural expressions in public. These banned expressions would also include music, dancing, theater, etc. Only a totalitarian dictator would conceive of such a thing.

    1. Many cultural expressions (music, dancing, theater, etc.) remain which are not religious in nature — thus are “secular” — for instance singing “America the Beautiful” or “The Star-Spangled Banner” in patriotic fervour, or there’s lots of country music, folk music, rock music, et al, with non-religious lyrics. The historical-musical play 1776 has singing and dancing, and has been put on by public high school students without protest, as far as I know... save for some grousing about the “Dance of the Conservatives” (which actually was cut from the live performance at Nixon's White House, and the theatrical release of the film)... speaking of who might limit cultural expressions....

    2. Yes, one could consider these temporary exceptions. Among some Liberals patriotism is a negative idea.

  10. Of course I remember all that. It is a very different time. Catholicism is no longer ethnic Nobody except Jack Chick thinks the Pope is trying to destroy the world. (Um, let me rephrase that...) Christians are ecumenical when it comes to trying to maintain a toe-hold in the public square. Your historical examples are, with all due respect, misguided. What would we have? A generic Christianity for public consumption that I could easily live with, and I would happily kick everyone else out if I were able. Or eat them. Which I am able.

    1. > “Catholicism is no longer ethnic” — When our Virtual Reality President declared ‘Illegal immigrants are FLOODING over our borders!’, was he not referring to an ethnicity? with an associated religion? Wikipedia’s “Anti-Catholicism in the United States” notes: “Increasingly voices from what is sometimes called the ‘alt-Right’ have been highly critical of the Catholic support for immigration reform. It is sometimes claimed this is done to admit additional Catholics into the United States.” — and cites as source [alt-right] Pastor Ralph Ovadal’s article “Romanizing America through Illegal Immigration” from the Pilgrims Covenant Church in Monroe WI. So the prominent targeting of Hispanics/Latinos among immigrants, not only in the Southwest but now nationwide, has a religious motive as does the targeting of Muslims.

      When speaking of “kicking everyone else out”, remember that Catholics are still counted among those “everyone else” by the alt-right.

    2. Ah, I see. Very well, carry on.

  11. Raven. A bird of Satan. It all becomes very clear now. Nevermore.

    1. A raven was Noah's first choice to search for land (before a dove), remember. Alas, it was apparently sent out too soon, and may have drowned.

      When Elijah was concealed by the brook Cherith, God commanded the ravens to bring him "bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening" (1 Kings 17:3-6).

      Nothing in the Bible mentions Satanic associations for ravens.

      If by the last word you mean to evoke Poe's poem, the narrator speculates — speculates — all sorts of origins for that particular bird. They were not suggested to apply to every member of the species.

    2. I admit to wronging ravens. A raven saved St. Benedict when his monks tried to poison him. Bears have the best noses of any creature, though, and I am getting a whiff of brimstone. I have experience with "service members' families cannot have a private prayer meeting on military property" thugs. But I don't know why you are exerting yourself. Your side has swept the field, won the day, smashed all opposition. Congratulations.

    3. Snuffle the motto “Good fences make good neighbors” for any whiff of brimstone.

      Rather, would not a neighbor who suggested removing the fence marking the property line ’twixt “thine” and “mine” merit some suspicion?

      That previous historical blockquote about the Bible War period demonstrates what actually happens when the wall between church and state is broken down. Was it a good experience for Catholics?

      There is another saying about “... doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”.

    4. > “... I don't know why you are exerting yourself. Your side has swept the field, won the day, smashed all opposition.” — Far from it:

      “Ralph Drollinger, a right-wing pastor with a long history of ties to [Energy Secretary Rick] Perry and other Trump Administration officials, claims on his web site to be running weekly Bible sessions specially for the Trump Cabinet. He has praised the new administration for its power to ‘change the course of America in ways that are biblical’.”

      I am sure this source of inspiration for the Administration would be encouraging for you, except... “Drollinger has... proclaimed that Catholicism is ‘the world’s largest false religion’....”

      But is it really surprising, given that before heading Trump’s campaign, Steve Bannon had boasted that his website was “the platform for the alt-right”, and we’ve already covered the alt-right attitude toward Catholics?

    5. Raven~

      The majority of humans are wingnuts. President Obama's Cabinet was filled with wing-nuts and people with connections to wing-nuts. How many people in Congress are complete loons?

      Because humans are fallen creatures, wingnuts abound and being a wingnut is normative condition of being a human. Pick any government at any time in history -- bag of nuts.

      Besides, Owl doesn't see what is nutty about people having a bible study. A group of people trying to figure out how to live morally and govern according to truth and justice is WAY LESS NUTTY than a group of people who are so narcissistic that they think that they have all the answers and don't need to study the writings of people wiser and holier than themselves.

  12. In the Golden Age of Movies the joke ran Hollywood was run by Jews who made movies to sell Catholicism to Protestants. That is the kind of win-win culture we can all applaud.

  13. Raven, don't worry about us Catholics. If Christians can retake the public square, Catholics can take care of themselves. As for politics, as a Bear, I am just not really that interested since no matter who is president humans still shoot at me.

    1. So you do “expect different results” next time around? Hmm.

      And by “don't worry about us Catholics” do you include the thousands of Hispanics/Latinos even currently under threat from this Administration? (Recall, their sin was “Romanizing America” according to the alt-right.)

      As a human being, I worry about human beings. An awful lot of them, of all descriptions, seem certain to get hurt in such a process, given past precedents.

    2. Owl, not being human, isn't terribly worried about humans, so long as they leave Owl alone.

      Owl does not see Hispanics/Latinos being under threat from the current US Administration simply because they are Hispanic/Latino. To suggest such, indicates being only being acquainted with the strawman argument of those so opposed.

      The greatest abuse of the illegal population in the US comes not from those who want to see them go back home, which is only a small % of those opposed to illegal immigration, but rather those who are manipulating those populations for personal gain, whether that be cheap labor, or political power.

  14. You have me at a disadvantage. I assume you have no objection to stating your own religious beliefs. Evidence relating to possible interest and bias is always relavent. I already know your political views. To repeat, a smart analyst realizes the present is a result of historical processes, not a mere repetion. I am supremely confident that the Christian right is not a threat, and also that it must be terrifying for many people that Donald Trump is president. Forget your anectodal scare stories and reverse zoom to see the realities of history. I don't know how old you are, but I have noticed that my life is pretty much the same no matter who is president. Your DU talking points and moral posturing are a dead give away that you do not have decent arguments. I am not being unkind; my professional career depended on knowing good arguments from bad. Oh, if you want to talk about who cares more, we could compare how many human beings we have each personally saved from the death penalty. Step up your game, Raven, or I don't see any reason to continue this discussion. And what were your religious beliefs again?

  15. Raven, you triggered me by his “private spaces” and “‘private sphere”. I know exactly what you are talking about. Public sphere needs to be kept completely secular e.g.:
    - any outward public expression of religious beliefs needs to be violently suppressed (jail)
    - all persons in public sphere – politicians, journalists, teachers, doctors, lawyers – need to be carefully screened for any religious belief, they might be required to sign a pledge that they are not religious in any way
    - occasional transgressions can be tolerated as long as the public person carefully hides their religious conviction
    - everybody else is required to keep their religious beliefs strictly private, showing any outward signs of religious believes need to be suppressed – loss of job, in more extreme cases jail
    - religious organization (churches, orders etc) need to be strictly controlled and their activities limited, this especially applies to any publications (books, journals) as these are, in fact, public in nature, liquidation of these is preferred, otherwise they must be control by carefully screened state friendly personnel
    - special attention needs to be paid to priests and their education – without state permit no priest can be allowed to practice, priest that are ready to collaborate with secular state will be organized in organization call “Pacem in Terris”
    - significant road-blocks need to be erected for becoming a priest

    Sounds like a country I grew up in - communist Czechoslovakia. Not kidding about any of the above (including Pacem in Terris - Sounds like the secular dream of yours? No, you say? That's what it takes to have "secular" public sphere and keep religion in "pricate sphere". Well, they (the communists) failed anyway.

    All this is, of course, just a prelude to complete suppression of religion. I will fight against this and not only in a spiritual sense. Viva Cristo Ray. (If I was in the USA I would add that is why 2nd Amendment exist, you know, tree of liberty getting refreshed, but as a subject of Her Majesty the Queen I was not afforded such option.)

  16. > "Evidence relating to possible interest and bias is always relavent." — Fair enough, but in that case not only my own beliefs are implicated, for my mother's family are Russian Orthodox*, I was raised in a university town (my parents were faculty) among families of other dissident denominations such as Quakers and Unitarians, and though I have always had Catholic friends (including my college roommate) I have also always also had friends of other labels as well... and my primary doctor is Hindu (Gujarati), my cardiologist Muslim (Pakistani), my pharmacist Sikh... and I feel protective toward all of them against religious bigotry. I live only a short drive from the Oak Creek WI Sikh Temple where a white-nationalist committed mass murder not long ago, and attended the memorial there. I believe, very strongly, that such events should no longer happen. I am willing to publicly evangelize the doctrine "Treat People Decently", which is my three-word formulation of the Golden Rule. I am not inclined to publicly harangue anyone (or be publicly harangued by anyone) about iotas of theology along the way; leave that within each church.

    * As might be deduced from the setting of the historical footnote of this poem, which I assure you was very much from my heart.

  17. But one tiny specific detail of religious doctrine drilled into me all those years ago (and retained and upheld) I will indeed voice, since you insisted. When Jesus was asked about the Law of "love God... and your neighbor...", specifically "Who is my neighbor?", he replied with the parable of the Good Samaritan. Samaritans were - and are to this day - neither Jewish nor Christian. Jesus was not saying that his followers were to love only "neighbors" of the same religion as themselves, still less giving any justification to "kick out" those of differing religions such as the Samaritans.

  18. Okay, thanks. Flex your Trump/white male/ paranoia - virtue signaling paranoia. I am not afraid to say plainly what I am: a Roman Catholic. If it is too hard for you to do the same, perhaps you have over-completing it. You've posted your last post on this topic at least, purely on the basis of quality control. Get back to me if you ever figure out religion you are/


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