Bookmark and Share
My Photo


    Opinions expressed on the Insight Scoop weblog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Ignatius Press. Links on this weblog to articles do not necessarily imply agreement by the author or by Ignatius Press with the contents of the articles. Links are provided to foster discussion of important issues. Readers should make their own evaluations of the contents of such articles.


« "Why Are the Media Fixated on Condoms?" | Main | Fr. Robert Barron comments on "Light of the World" »

Thursday, December 02, 2010


Todd Newbold

I love it, the New Politics is the age of 24 hour world wide "free" electronic communication. We are now witnessing a "permanent campaign" era. Oh, the whims of Democracy, why such little participation?

Robert Miller

As always, Neumayr is right on.

One of the things we have to deal with, however, is the reality that many US Catholics have a kind of "tribal" preferential option for the Democrats. And I don't think the tea party hijacking of the GOP will be helpful in weaning them away, over the long term.

When most of our ancestors first became aware of US politics, the Republicans were the "Liberal" party -- anti-clerical, freethinking, social Darwinian, hostile to tradition in any form. If someone had asked, in the 1950s, which party was more likely to become "aggressively tolerant" of abortion, gay rights, and the etc. of the sexual/social revolution of the next half-century, I wager that most folks would have placed their bet on the GOP. The tea party is trying to take us back to the GOP's libertarian roots -- and that should be deeply troubling to any Catholic who's looking for a pragmatic stance in contemporary US politics.

Don't get me wrong. I glory in the thrashing the Democrats took last month. I believe, now more than ever over my near 50 years of GOP activism, that Catholics cannot vote for candidates of a party that supports the agenda of the culture of death. But the victory of Nov. 2 was, in my opinion, just that: a (deserved) thrashing of Democrats, not a victory for Catholic social teaching or natural law principles. And you can expect most Catholic voters to gravitate back to their Democrat "tribal" home by 2012.

Sorry to be so pessimistic. Maybe I've been around too long.


Robert Miller,

I think your pessimism is rooted in a very great success of the progressives in America over the past 100 years or so.

The general sentiment remains throughout the electorate that it is indeed the responsibility of the federal government to solve the problems of the nation. Depending on what political persuasion that can mean everything right down to where an individual American's next meal is coming from.

I would suggest that it is only within the Tea Party movement that you will find anyone that wants to beak that paradigm. That is the home of those who say "a pox on all their houses" yet have not given up hope. The ones who have given up tend to run conspiracy web-casts and build moats around their homes.

As long as the GOP is dominated by those who agree with the strong central government ideal, the argument between the GOP and the Democrats will always be about the method, or the extent or the pace.

I think that as long as Catholics accept the ideology that it is the government who will fulfill their obligation to the poor, who will carry out the Church's Social Justice teaching, the battle for the Catholic vote will usually operate within that paradigm.

A sense of history, in particular early Church history, would be helpful I think. In the time of great persecution in the Roman Empire and at times of some respite and peace, Catholics carried out their obligation to the poor and social justice by acting independent of government, building hospitals, taking care of widows and orphans. Their best hope at the time was that the government would leave them alone.

I think that 2000 years of Church history and experience should bring us to the same conclusion. And was that not the conclusion that the American founders came to? The only rational political position in America for a Catholic whose first priority is the faith should really be the small government, constitutional originalist position of the Tea Party core.

There is a great fear of Libertarianism among some, but in a society that has broken down every moral barrier as it is, how could that kind of a government do worse? But then, you see, the Church would have the freedom to preach the gospel and live the gospel and depend upon the light of Christ to draw people to a moral life, and not depend upon the government to do it for them.

For any Catholic who truly wants the government to leave them alone to practice their faith in its fullest, including social justice, history gives only two real choices. The first is the Catholic monarchy, and the experience with King Henry of England shows us the weakness there, or the American Republic as it was founded, not as we find it in 2010.

Todd Newbold

Full immigration.

Robert Miller


I do sympathize with Catholics in the US who look to the "founders" for comfort. Too many are too young to remember that we (Catholics)once thought we had something better than the American thing.

The US was launched primarily as a protest against British recognition of the rights of the Catholic Church in Quebec, following the Seven Years War -- pace the pretensions of the tea partiers to some kind of spurious yeoman virtue. A bunch of New England Puritans, who felt threatened by Romish new British subjects on their borders, joined forces with a bunch of land-hungry, slaving, Indian-mugging Middle Atlantic cavaliers to throw off allegiance to a bastard English monarchy held hostage to its Whig rotten-borough Parliament. To this, the esteemed "founders" added a veneer of "enlightened" 18th century "natural law" theorizing. Sorry, I don't find much inspiring in any of that.

Catholics in the US have to recover their history and get past Americanism -- which is, after all, as Pope Leo XIII pointed out, a heresy.

For my money, I'll bet Tom Jefferson and Jim Madison would be in the forefront of the GLBTQ/abortion rights crew if they were here today. I will say, however, that I think Alexander Hamilton would remind us (and especially the tea partiers) that the only reason that justifies the modern state is its ability to float debt. That's what the US is all about: It's the debt, stupid.

Let's move on to the real issues: crushing the culture of death and facilitating immigration from Latin America -- whatever it takes, in the spirit of the Mexican Cristeros and the Spanish National Movement of 1936.

The debt and deficit are non-issues. They'll only get us bogged down in intergenerational transfer nit-picking. Let the younger generations finance the passing (good riddance) of the Boomers. When and if push comes to shove down the road, our successors can renounce the debt -- and then the Chinese will foot the bill (which they richly deserve, and which their Malthusian policies will make it almost impossible for them to bear).

What the West needs now is a jefe, like Franco.


Robert Miller,

You do know how to turn a phrase. I think where I see the idealism of the founding is in the documents rather that in the base machinations of history that brought them to fruition. After all, it was darkest backroom deal in history that for thirty pieces of silver between an inside traitor and a power jealous religious establishment brought us the bloody execution of our Lord, and in the end our salvation. Judas had no idea.

But to the point. Your cynicism I will not participate in although I reiterate there is ground for your pessimism. As usual, as in the course of history, stepping back from the minutia, by the time the general populace sees the danger, the momentum is already too great.

In the end, if the Roddenberrys of the world were right, and humanity has the capacity through technology to bootstrap himself out of his moral cesspool of vice and dreck, politics would be a lot more interesting, even crucial. And that is the delusion that most of the population labors under, I am afraid, regardless of party. That is why politics is such an intense, take no prisoners, vicious sport in America.

I am still of the firm belief that the only political objective of any Catholic should be a government that leaves him alone to practice his faith. Ultimately, who cares what it is or what we call it, if that is what we can achieve.

But you and I know that human nature, despite the secular humanist dreamers, remains the same and there will always be those ready to seize power in whatever system we devise, and those who believe themselves on whatever elitist ground to be the proper governors of the lives of the rest of the people.

To take the cynical view, it could be argued that it was that recognition that drove the founders and nothing more, and they were trying to devise a system that accounted for base human power lust, and hold it in check or direct it in useful ways or simply diffuse it. Clearly those who wanted no part of centralizing it won the argument at the outset.

Is the Tea Party ideology based in anything remotely historical? They think so, and I think the argument can be made, but in the end, does it matter? The application has to be made now, and the ideology has to precede it in order to convince a working majority of Americans to put up with the pain of extricating America from its current morass. Is that, practically speaking, even possible?

Honestly, probably not. And some form of Franco would be the best result Americans could pray for. There are also many Hitlers, Stalins, Mussilinis, Pinochets, etc., etc. waiting in the wings. Tyranny seems inevitable most days. I usually have just a couple questions.

Will I live to see it, and if I do, as a Catholic how long will I live after I do see it?

David of Wales

This editorial is so typical of the self-righteous attitude of the new-right and Ignatius Insight in general: disrespectful, mean, dismissive and dishonest. What has shifted in the post-post-Vatican II years is the Gospel, out from under the self-anointed champions of their own orthodoxy, just as dangerous and misleading as the enemies they love to dismiss.

Robert Miller

I'm not sure where David of Wales is coming from -- but I'll take his sentiments under advisement. I apologize in advance for what, no doubt, will appear to him "disrespectful, mean, dismissive and dishonest" (not to mention, "dangerous and misleading") in what follows.

I can tell, LJ, that you are made of sterner stuff. But I think you mistake my innocence and hope for cynicism and pessimism (yes, I did use the latter term to describe my outlook).

Actually, I rather naively believe that Jesus meant what He said when He told his listeners to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's. I think He was referring specifically to a man who lived in Rome at the time -- and to that man's legitimate successors. I don't think he was referring to secular republics and other socio-political enterprises that have grown up in opposition to the Catholic thing.

The US founders entertained a spurious notion of man's natural warrant, i.e.: they evidently believed that individuals and communities have the "right" to overthrow governments established in God's Providence. Now certainly, at that time, it would have been perfectly justifiable to challenge George III and the English Whig establishment as illegitimate, and to rise in favor of the Stuarts. Our boys, of course, had no interest in going that route, because that road led back to Rome.

Then, of course, in the 20th century, the founders' legitimate descendants forced the issue that brought down the last of the Caesars in 1918.

I agree, LJ, that probably the best we can hope now is to keep the government off our backs. But we need to form a Catholic public thing that will distinguish us the rest of America. We also need to remember that history and our own lives are once, for all: a neo-pagan culture is not a pagan culture; it is an Anti-Christ culture. You can't go back again.

Todd Newbold

Aren't vacuums fun.


David could you give us some examples from the editorial and Ignatius Insight of disrespectful, mean, dismissive and dishonest writing.

Manuel G. Daugherty Razetto

I find in George Neumayr words a failing to reveal something new; his interpretation is not strong enough to show an unvarnished grasp of the so called Christian Left.

My dislike for the label comes from awareness that it is a misnomer. A Catholic that professes Marxism/Communism as part of his/her belief has implicitly abandoned the Church. Furthermore, such person has promptly begun to attack, infiltrate, proselytize, damage and rob the Church. Thus we have proof of an enemy within, about which we cannot simply drum our fingers and ignore it altogether.

The assumption that all readers can be rather callous to disregard the intrinsic, exact, truthful and formal meaning of what 'Catholic Leftists' deffend and propagate is a blatant error.

If we position ourselves as reasoning, imaginative beings, we can answer in substance thus: there is no limit to the number of flops and fiascos among the episcopate on this matter. Rome, as well, has not been in the clear. Finally, true Catholics have for the most part shown to be unassertive.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Ignatius Insight


Ignatius Press

Catholic World Report


Blogs & Sites We Like

June 2018

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Blog powered by Typepad