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A moment of honesty from a right-wing writer - Elf M. Sternberg
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A moment of honesty from a right-wing writer
Quite often, I'm amazed at how often the high-tier Christian right manages to obfuscate its true intentions and goals with a mealy-mouthed mixture of American expediency and an appeal to Jesus' "render unto Caesar" speech.

E. Michael Jones, as near as I can tell an arch-conservative Catholic of the pre-Vatican II stripe, has no qualms about telling it like it is, however. In his extraordinary article, Death at the Gazebo: Conservatism In Extremis at Hillsdale College, he lets slip some true feelings:
Conservatives--the best of them, at least: people like Burke and Adams--understand that religion is essential to preserving morals, and that morals are essential to preserving public order, but by making religion a matter of choice, they created an inversion which would prove a fatal weakness to their whole political and philosophical edifice. The net result of this betrayal of tradition in the name of tradition is the triumph of appetite, or, in O'Rourke's terms, the emergence of what he calls "the Republican Party Reptile": "We look like Republicans and think like conservatives, but we drive a lot faster and keep vibrators and baby oil and a video camera behind the stack of sweaters on the bedroom closet shelf."
Jones does not, sadly, elaborate on the problems with freedom of conscience. He chooses to take the evil of free will as something his audience understands intrinsically and instead tucks into a battle with the corpse of Ayn Rand, but I have to confess to feeling my jaw drop a moment. The cat was out of the bag. If you believe that the First Amendment gives one freedom of conscience, and you also believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus, then the First Amendment is not merely inconveniently permissive, it is a great evil, created by evil men for an evil purpose: the ultimate destruction of the world's political and philosophical edifice.

Here's my take on the matter: He's right. Oh, not about the destruction bit, but about the essential conflict between the freedom of conscience and the world of objective truth. Once you back someone into a corner and get them to admit that they stay in the belief system they currently inhabit because it's more comforting than changing, that choosing is discomfitting, then you've gotten them to admit that they're relativists under the skin after all.

Jones is remarkable in understanding that, all things considered, he too has chosen to remain an arch-Catholic, yet once there becomes steadfast in his contention that he is not a relativist, that he is completely and utterly at home in Objective Truth and nothing can sway him from this position, and that everyone else who is not with him is not merely relativist, but wrong.

We can only hope that Jones will take Christian teaching about death seriously and go gentle into that good night. Those of us who ignore the Pope's teachings about bioengineering will be partying on his grave ten centuries from now.

Current Mood: cynical cynical
Current Music: Art of Noise, A Time For Fear

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Comments
fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: October 5th, 2004 11:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Often times, I think he's also correct about the "destruction bit".

I'm not willing to give up the metaphilosophy of the 1A tho, but mainly for purely personal selfish reasons.
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