The rout of Thomism from American Catholicism

Great article at Culture Wars.  I agree with all the major points.  Secularists were never interested in dialogue with us.  Jacques Maritain made a complete ass of himself trying to suck up to Paul Blanshard.  Catholic intellectuals betrayed their ethnic subcultures in the name of anti-racism.  They never realized the importance of the sexual revolution or how seriously our enemies take it.  The intolerance of the philosophical guild helped minor academics successfully purge Thomism from Catholic philosophy departments.  Here’s how far it’s gone:

While this is not in the book, if we turn to Notre Dame, in 2005, Edward Manier, much in the same way that Louis Wirth did at Chicago in the 1930s, led an effort to address what to his mind was cause for great concern: “there are four Thomist adjuncts teaching introduction to philosophy in the department.” The department initiated a year-long review of the syllabi of those Thomists, to make sure they were teaching philosophy in a way that was consistent with the standards of contemporary academic philo-sophism. In essence, Manier and his colleagues wanted to be sure that classical realism keep its place in the intellectual catacombs of the 21st Century.

American Catholics will recognize many of the names in this story:  Jacques Maritain, Etienne Gilson, Mortimer Adler, Yves Simon, Ralph McInerny,…  Our Catholic readers will definitely want to check it out.

What caused the sixties?

My theory that Vatican II caused “the Sixties” (see parts I, II, and III) has been aired on Steve Sailer’s blog here.  The reasoning is pretty much the same as mine:

And the big problem, or mystery, is that 1968 happened most everywhere. There was a ’68 in France, in Germany, in the U.S., in Mexico City, in Japan, and even—one could say—in Prague. There were smaller eruptions in England, in Canada, in Italy, etc. In each of these countries, the political narrative focuses on pretty much local concerns: In the U.S., it is a matter of racial justice and the Vietnam War. In Germany, it is a matter of the sons coming to realize the sins of the fathers during WWII. In France, it is a combination of Algerian decolonization and sexual freedom for students. And so on. The problem is that there are so many discreetly local “causes,” and yet there is a single, global “effect”—revolution by the young. For there to be so global an effect, there must be a global cause, I should think. What can it be?…

The only original speculation I could offer is that it might have had something to do with Vatican II. The thought would be that, ever since 1789, the West, broadly, had sought a happy medium between the poles of Revolution and Reaction, and the Catholic Church represented the latter pole. In Vatican II, the Church seemed suddenly to leave the field, or indeed, seemed to throw itself on to the other pole. This created a disorientation of the entire political spectrum—for where is the golden mean between the French Revolution and a no-less Revolutionary Church?

Conciliar apologists often excuse Vatican II for all of the bad effects that directly followed it by saying that the Council just had the bad luck (pure coincidence!) of immediately preceding an unrelated anti-Christian cultural movement.  If I’m right, the evil wrought by the Council extended even beyond the Church. The Church was (and, to an extent, still is) the only large institution pushing our civilization in a reactionary direction.  When the Church let up in the fight, the culture lurched Left.

It could always be worse

I feel somewhat foolish now for my earlier uncharitable ribbing of our shepherds in the Church, and bad enough that I took it to confession yesterday (and I offer my apologies to any readers scandalized by my gratuitous insults of the Lord’s anointed). Our bishops may often be silly, foolish old men, but we’re lucky to have them, especially in light of the alternative.

Speaking of which, check out Dr. Charlton’s remarks on the new head of the Church of England, Archbishop of Cantebury Justin Welby, the “inexperienced mediocrity” who looks like a state-sponsored therapist of questionable sexuality and sounds like a terminally anxious employer being threatened with a hostile work environment suit, whose duplicitous waffling will surely doom a Church that is already in decline and probably cannot survive a long reign by another pallid platitude-peddler.

Render unto Caesar: On the duty of (not) voting

After my last post on voting, I discovered that our friend Zippy Catholic has recently had an excellent series of very compelling posts on what he sees as the moral duty to refrain from voting. I give a brief overview of his arguments and a number of links below the break.

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Open thread: The Last Psychiatrist

The Last Psychiatrist is (probably) not one of us (hint: he describes himself as a “misanthropic rummie” who “looks like a mugshot”), but he is a brilliant mind with many flashes of insight into the pathology of modern living. Recurring themes include the pervasiveness of narcissism and the evils of establishment science and mainstream media. Check him out (but be wary, there’s some vulgarity).

Who do you trust?

Two excellent essays:

  1. Alan Roebuck’s Why do people believe what they believe?  Because of the authorities.  Yes, it’s absolutely true:  people believe what they’re told to believe.  Liberalism’s uncontested hegemony itself disproves the liberal belief that people naturally rebel against established orthodoxy.  Even what passes for rebellion in the Western world (e.g. teenagers) is in fact people doing what they are told is expected of them.
  2. Lydia McGrew’s Picking our models carefully.  It’s not that Wendell Berry is wrong about something that makes him an unfit guide; it’s that he’s wrong about the most important things, and wrong in not even realizing that they are the most important.  See also the comments where Lydia ably defends herself from the usual “but commercialism is bad too” objections and convinces me to add Thomas Fleming to my list of “Worthless Pseudoconservatives”.

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Miscellaneous: worth reading

Justin asks “Can a Christian support Game?

Whose banner are you flying?  Let’s put it this way, are [you Game-promoting Christians] spending more time trying to convince Christians to adopt Game, or Gamers to adopt Christianity?   Yeah, thought so.   When the sheep are being separated from the goats (and the true Christians know what I am talking about), I think we will find that “Gospel talks, Psuedo-Christian bullshit walks”.

Yes!  This question “which do you spend more time promoting?” deserves wider application, to “Christian libertarians” for example.

More on the evil of the Allied forces of the Evil War, as I call that conflict of 70 years ago over whether Europe should be Nazi or communist.  Murder by freezing, starvation, and slave labor apparently don’t count as crimes when the victims are Germans. (H/T Pittsford Perennialist)

The 21st century is here, so where are the flying cars, dammit!?  Putting aside Graeber’s silly “capitalist conspiracy to keep the workers down by suppressing the Star Trek technology” speculations, he does make some solid observations about the ways American corporate capitalist (and government) bureaucracies stifle innovation.  As he points out, great discoveries stopped about the time America took the lead from England, and those countries do things quite differently.

We’ve known for a long time that the Andromeda galaxy is headed towards our own; more precise measurements of the proper motion confirm that, yes, it is a collision course.

I feel less ideologically lonely than I did when I started Throne and Altar.  Nowadays, I find myself bumping into arguments similar to those I used to make there.  I doubt the ideological climate has really improved, much less that I’ve personally improved it; I have, though, gotten better at finding worthwhile writers.

Exhibit A (H/T WWWTW) is Douglas Wilson on tradition and gender roles, and why “X is a cultural construct” does not mean “X is unnatural and should be ignored”:

There are certain creational differences between the sexes, which God intended to be operative from the begining of the world to the end of it. Women bearing and nurturing children would be something in that category. Men protecting and providing for their families would be another one. But these creational differences have a deep need to find, discover, and apply a wider vocabulary. They want to express themselves further. That is why there are other differences that do not fall into this category of creational difference, but which are roles assigned to the two sexes by societal expectation

When I am told in the Scriptures to love my wife, I am told nothing about what I must do on our anniversary. But the anniversary gives me an opportunity to do what the Holy Spirit commanded me to do. And recovering male sinners should never waste such opportunities. I am told that I must do something, and a great deal of the raw material for obeying Scripture is given to me by my culture. That’s the way it is supposed to work.

Exhibit B:  J. Budziszewski in his new book on sex describes natural law in a way very similar to our Orthosphere series on nautral law:

After some well-laid-out arguments about function, purpose, and natural law, Budziszewski argues that our bodies and actions have natural purposes. This means that some actions, such as those necessary for sexual union, mean something, whether we want them to or not. To put it another way, they say something, even if that is not what we want them to say: “A bodily action is like a word; we mean things to each other no less by what we do than by what we say. . . . To crush your windpipe with my thumbs is to say to you, ‘Now die,’ even if I tell you with my mouth, ‘Be alive.’ To join in one flesh is to say, ‘I give myself to you in all that this act means,’ even if I tell you with my mouth, ‘This means nothing.’” What sex means is total gift, a union of selves instantiated through bodily union, and it cannot but help mean that. By acting against this nature, which we cannot change, we do damage to ourselves and others.

Encore performance of “Don Colacho’s Aphorisms”

I’ve just gotten good news from “Stephen”, whose wonderful translations of the aphorisms of the Colombian reactionary Nicolas Gomez Davila have brought such delight to Orthosphere readers and writers:

I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind posting an announcement at the Orthosphere blog that Don Colacho’s Aphorisms will be re-posted via a Twitter account.
Here’s a link to the account:!/DColacho/
If I am not mistaken, the proper Twitter tag (or whatever the hell you call these things) is @DColacho.
 I’m actually not sure what this “Twitter” thing is or how it works, but it it means expanding Stephen’s audience, I’m all for it.

Miscellaneous: around the web

Nerd Princesses and Babies

Did you know Alte is the “true Nerd Princess of the Orthosphere“?  Awesome!  I get all giddy just thinking about our “sphere” having a nerd princess.  I’m such a beta.

Speaking of which, Traditional Christianity had a post up (by Elspeth, who’s also an Orthosphere Princess) on co-sleeping a while ago.  Apparently the city of Milwaukee is on a jihad to stop mothers from sleeping with their babies.  They’re worried parents will roll over and squish the little ones, or something like that.  I have some experience in this matter–Julie having decided a little before her first birthday that it was time for her to move into bed with mommy and daddy, and the stronger will overpowering the weaker two–that cribs were not designed to protect babies; they were designed to protect fathers.  Trust me, little people are total bed hogs.  More mornings than not, I’ll wake to find myself holding onto the edge of the bed–where someone has pushed me–trying to keep from falling off.

Men and Women

Will S. at Patriactionary links to a brilliant set of posts F. Roger Devlin defending patriarchy.

Whither Jewry?

Justin helpfully summarizes the statistical data showing that American Jews remain overwhelmingly a Leftist bunch.  (The alleged tendency of Jews to disagree with each other doesn’t extend to the topic of abortion, for example.)  What happens, though, when we look to the future, or even to the present outside our own country?  Will the growth of Orthodoxy and the political experience of Israel (where Jews must take responsibility for preserving a nation with which they identify, and criticizing from the sidelines from a position of morally superior alienation is not an option) strain this love affair with the Left?  They already are.  Steve Sailer is already pointing to Israel for an example of how intelligent people deal with “illegal infiltrators”.  Also, the Tablet has a fascinating report on a recent academic conference on the death of the Jewish-Leftist alliance.  Since these are academics, they see the question as whether Jews shall be revolutionary Leftists or only liberals–as if those were the two extremes of the political spectrum.  Still, some of the statements made were notable.  Michael Walzer argues that Jewish Leftism’s invocation of the prophets is illegitimate.  The prophets had no interest in democracy or revolution; what they wanted was an end to idolatry and submission to God.  Other speakers spoke harshly of the Jewish Left’s dalliance with communism, properly treating communism as a genuine evil rather than an excusable excess of enthusiasm.  I noticed that English-speaking Jewish magazine articles like this one still write as if it were a proven fact that the Torah is not divinely inspired.  I suspect (and hope) that is will not be true a century from now, given which Jewish groups are most likely to still be around then.

Thinking about the Right

Summaries of conservative belief vary widely in quality, so throwing up a picture of Joseph de Maistre on top is a good way of signaling that you’re going to do a good job of it.  And Samuel Goldman does do a good job here of explaining to the Corey Robins of the world the differences between an extreme reactionary and a fascist.

See also R. J. Snell’s post on the Trinitarian grounding of the Right’s anti-individualism.