All right, I'm sick of having to say, "No, they're not real Conservatives, they're Neocons, I'm the real thing." To which the response is, "Paleocon Nazi!" And if this is a matter of semantics, am I anti-Semantic?
One of the classic hallmarks of Neoconservatism, as represented by Leo Strauss, is the philosophy of religion -- that we, we "philosophers," should pretend to be believers so that the great unwashed multitude should not see through our scheming to its ultimate basis, when we are much too sophisticated for any such thing.
Far, far otherwise the true Conservatives, the T. S. Eliots, the Richard Weavers, the Russell Kirks.
Then a fellow named Taki had me take another look at Kirk. I picked up the annoying and pretentious autobiography I had avoided for years. The result was depressing. William Buckley's pet intellectual, who had flaunted his conversion to Catholicism for years as a sure sign of his superiority to the common herd, boasted that he had better things to do on Sunday mornings that go to Mass. Like sleep.
For those of you not raised in the Faith, let me lay it out for you. The man claimed that the Church has the right to command assent in faith and obedience in action, The Church commanded attendance at Mass on Sundays and other days of obligation. And Russell Kirk boasts he has better things to do.
It gets worse. The man claims to believe that the Son and Word of God has become incarnate in Jesus, and continues to manifest his sacred body and precious blood at the words of consecration every seven days a short drive from Kirk's mansion, and the Squire of Piety Hill can't be bothered to get out of bed, though he graciously sends the wife and kids. For all I know, the servants too.
Faith is for fools, obedience for servants.
I began to be aware of the sort of "Catholics" hanging around the Conservative movement, Catholics obsessed with their bitter hatred -- of the Catholic Church. I mean the one everybody else means when they say, "the Catholic Church." That Church is, for these people, a Jewish-Masonic conspiracy, even a Satanic conspiracy, though they now claim to see signs that Rome is turning back to their Truth. In a pig's eye.
Talk to enough of these guys and you will find that the real hot button with them is not the English Mass, or the exoneration of the Jews, but the Bishop's conspiracy to destroy America, white America, by tolerating and even welcoming immigration from Mexico. (A Jewish plot, they say, but the Church has sold out.)
You don't have to be Catholic, or even Jewish, to find this sort of thing amusing from a distance, but quite revolting up close. (Yes, this is a halfhearted apology for letting it get to me.)
And don't bring up the subject of Eric Voegelin, in his own way as paleocon as Strauss, Let's save him for another time. And Weaver. And even old Tom.