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10/03/2016

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"No political movement is going to reverse deep cultural rot."

Alas, this seems to be one of the most difficult things for many Christian conservatives to get their heads around.

I find that a fair number will say it, but then go right on as if everything depended on politics.

More than a fair number.

AMDG

It's a temptation.

I know! Some of my best friends have succumbed to it.

AMDG

99 of our PHD students would sign that manifesto! I don't even know how to talk to them about politics.

Same day I read the manifesto I read this really interesting piece in First Things about whether liberalism is a heresy, and wondered how the two would mix. Not very well probably. ;-)

OT - I liked your story about St Mary of Egypt, Maclin. Also, Janet, I'm glad you liked the story about my mother.

I have basically given up on politics, except to protest here and there with a petition, or calling my Australian MP etc about this and that. I do this, because I feel morally obliged to at least register a protest etc. I don't feel right about just leaving society in the gutter, but I don't believe politics can really fix anything.

If society were more cohesive - one way or the other - it might make more sense to be involved.

One has to remember with young people that they are wholly absorbed in questions of whether ideas work in theory and whether they cohere with other ideas which they have absorbed. Between the ages of 22 and about 28 or 29 I used to worry about whether modern conservativism is nominalist. I kid you not.

And then there is the simple pure joy of moral superiority, the moral superiority of knowing, somewhere deep and inarticulate, that no one anywhere is ever going to be sufficiently noble to implement the political Idea to which I adhere.

I thought Mary of Egypt was an exceptionally good contribution to a good series.

Glad y'all liked that. I was concerned that it was on the crude or flippant side.

I don't mean, btw, that I don't think people should be active politically. If/when there's a chance to things for the better, by all means do it. It's the idea that we can force a Christian society into existence via politics that I think is mistaken.

"...whether conservatism is nominalist..." I can well believe that you gave that a lot of thought. After all, Richard Weaver... And yeah that's true about young people and theory. I have less patience for older people who seem to think that way.

I don't have patience with the older ones. Bbecause they do have experience of politics - office politics, neoghbourhood politics, academic department politics - they are quite capable of knowing better

Yep. "No fool like...."

It's natural and proper for young people to have a plan for solving the world's problems, and for old people to explain to them why it won't work.

And for young people not to listen?

AMDG

Yep. And sometimes they even make something better. Or sometimes worse, depending on what notions they start out with.

The purpose of political engagement by Christians is not to 'reverse deep cultural rot', it's to get the enemy off your back.

"One has to remember with young people that they are wholly absorbed in questions of whether ideas work in theory and whether they cohere with other ideas which they have absorbed. Between the ages of 22 and about 28 or 29 I used to worry about whether modern conservativism is nominalist. I kid you not."

And is it? I kind of want to know. :)

I must say that political theory still interests me.

One has to remember with young people that they are wholly absorbed in questions of whether ideas work in theory and whether they cohere with other ideas which they have absorbed. Between the ages of 22 and about 28 or 29 I used to worry about whether modern conservativism is nominalist. I kid you not.

The young people in my family, once they get over being absorbed with imbibing large quantities of liquor and taking pictures of themselves to post on social media, are concerned with training to earn a living.

"The purpose of political engagement by Christians is not to 'reverse deep cultural rot', it's to get the enemy off your back."

Doesn't make it any less true that many seem to think that cultural rot can be reversed by top-down measures.

I find myself being terribly tempted to join in Facebook conversations about the elections. These are conversations started by people I don't even know in which friends of mine have commented. So far, I'm resisting, but why do I even want to do it? Augh!

AMDG

I'm at most mildly tempted at this point. I really don't have anything much to say about the election itself. One or the other of these two disasters is going to be our next president, and a whole lot of people are going to be very angry.

"...to get the enemy off your back." Yeah, that's pretty true at the moment, but not always. I certainly don't mean to say that either political activity or political theorizing are bad things, just that the one can only help fend off disaster, and the other is mostly an intellectual exercise. Neither is going to renew civilization.

It's mostly wanting to explain why voting for neither is an option, or to defend my friends from ravening beasts, which they can do perfectly well themselves. I just need to quit reading this junk.

AMDG

I've made a few efforts to try to show my liberal friends & relatives that progressive over-reach and contempt for most of the people are a big part of the reason why Trump happened. They're having none of it.

Some wag once said that liberalism will never admit that it's wrong, only that there's not enough of it yet.

As Legutko said in that new book, liberalism as an ideology is homeopathic: the cure for the problems of liberalism is always more liberalism.

Makes one want to shun homeopathy.

AMDG

"More liberalism" increasingly seems to imply subjugating the people standing in its way.

Doesn't make it any less true that many seem to think that cultural rot can be reversed by top-down measures.

Who've you got in mind, Rob?

"Makes one want to shun homeopathy."

Rather than shunning it entirely, I prefer to take it in small doses, as being a more effective deterrent.

:-) An excellent plan.

I just saw a headline on an article I haven't read yet. Trump's offer to Christians is the same offer the devil made to Christ.

AMDG

Well, yeah, there's an analogy there. But Trump isn't even really offering much of anything definite. So in a way that makes the Christians look even worse.

"Who've you got in mind, Rob?"

Many of my conservative friends and relatives to start, not to mention practically the whole GOP/Fox/Limbaugh continuum. The political prescription still seems to be something along the lines of "pray hard and elect Republicans." Granted, many of them are not as gung-ho on the GOP as they used to be, but the idea still remains that if we can just get "our guys" in there we can turn this thing around.

Some of the evangelicals seem to have fallen hard for that line. I don't have any specific examples at hand but I see them quoted here and there. Pretty depressing.

A few days ago a big group of conservative pundits and intellectuals published an endorsement of Trump. I didn't read it--again, depressing--but I guess it would be interesting to see where it falls--hold your nose and try to stop Hillary, or, as you say, turn this thing around.

Just read this over at David Warren's website:

We, in the Church and in her proximity, face unprecedented circumstances, in a world of constantly increasing noise — and with it, ever bolder atheism. We cannot out-shout this world. Paradoxically, we must go by a way that is silent, even to hear our own hearts; before apprehending God in the silent centre of things."
I think part of my problem with the "Tradinista Manifesto" is that it seems very much into trying to "out-shout this world."

True, and could be said of all Catholics who get overly wrapped up in politics and expect something it can't give.

Trump's offer to Christians is the same offer the devil made to Christ.

I put it up on Facebook, might be where Janet saw it. Interesting to read, but more than my actually believing everything that is said in the article I put it there to annoy (mainly) members of my family that think Trump is really great. Many of them are Protestant evangelical types.

Most people will just read the byline and not delve into the article. I am guilty of this about 95% of the time too!

Many of my conservative friends and relatives to start, not to mention practically the whole GOP/Fox/Limbaugh continuum.

In other words, you've got no one in mind. Your continual shadow boxing with people you fancy are your intellectual and moral inferiors is a godawful bore.

Acting like a jerk is worse than boring. Comments that annoy me beyond a certain limit will be deleted.

A certain level of incivility, I should say.

I could name names, Art, but it's highly unlikely you'd be familiar with any of them, as they are people known to me personally -- friends, relatives, and coworkers. But they are quite representative of a certain type of conservative that I encounter fairly frequently. YMMV.

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