Thursday, March 05, 2009

Beyond paleocon games

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.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

A New Look

It's been a while again.
If I am to continue with my economic, social, political, cultural, religious, and spiritual commentaries, I shall do so independent of my former connections to parts of what calls itself the Conservative Movement, one of which dates back to the middle 1960s, in fact to the year after I joined Mensa.  Come to think of it, I cut my ties to Mensa a couple of years ago, in a passive sort of way  --  my annual renewal notice started to look like just another bill, and not a very urgent one at that.

Let me clear the air about a few things, if only to warn off former associates.
Jacques Maritain, Gabriel Marcel, Thomas Merton, Swami Abshiktananda (Dom Henri LeSaux, OSB), Dom Bede Griffiths, OSB (Swami Dayananda), and Dom John Main, OSB, are my heros.  If I am damned for this in the eyes of the Feeneyites in the Lefevre swamps of false traditionalism, so be it.
I petitioned for and obtained a Transfer of Ritual Church to one of Byzantine Rite and Slavonic usage, not because I reject Vatican II but lack the balls to curse the Pope in public, but because I fell in love with Berdyaev when I was sixteen or so  --  yes, for those of you who are keeping track, even before I joined Mensa.  Along with Quaker educator Rufus Jones (not to be confused with the jazz drummer of the same name), he is one of the stars by which I still steer.
And even before that my father taught me that racial hatred and contempt are among the worst sins of our country and our world.  I have never turned my back on that truth, though so many attempts to promote equality in the past few decades have turned out to be misconceived and disastrous.
Like the war.  Like every war I can think of;  even that between the States.
I remain active in Communion and Liberation because Don Gius got it.