Show liberals know mercy

April 2, 2017 § 31 Comments

Political theory on first brush seems to involve discussion of ideas as opposed to persons.  It is natural to leap to the conclusion that when we are talking about politics (while refraining from psychoanalysis), the objects of our discourse are ideas.

But this is not the case, since political liberalism is not merely an idea. Ideas are not ontic reality: they are a means by which we understand ontic reality.  Political liberalism is not a mere idea, but a very real force which operates in society: a pervasive influence as inescapable, for individuals and small communities, as gravity.  Political liberalism is a doctrine with vast numbers of adherents, riddled with factions and intramural conflicts: like a religion but with the nature of authority, as opposed to the nature of God and reality, as its primary subject matter.

Liberalism ostensibly prescinds from controversies of religion and applies itself to politics. It is a religion-of-authority rather than a religion-of-God: a Godless deontology and social being, with authority as its locus, in a post-Nietzchean world wherein for practical purposes God is dead.  Its central subject matter is the very thing the legitimacy of which it incoherently and inconsistently denies: the authority which some men naturally and unavoidably possess and exercise over other men.

Liberalism therefore transcends – is an ontic reality more than – a mere idea.  Liberalism is not reducible to the idiosyncracies, notions, unexamined assumptions, or cultural prejudices of individual liberals or groups of liberals, nor is it reducible to some mere abstraction or idea.

Liberalism is not reducible to an aggregate of liberals any more than you, dear reader, are reducible to an aggregate of mindless atoms.  Liberals themselves are of course human  beings with liberal commitments, just as (for example) Mohammedans are human beings with Islamic commitments.  Persons are distinct from the doctrines to which they are more or less committed and the social matter which incarnates those doctrines to form the body and soul of a religion or other social entity.

Because liberalism is so pervasive it is naturally the case that many liberals happen to be generally well adjusted ordinary human beings.  For that matter, some groups of liberals are clearly more well adjusted than others. This is true for social realities other than liberalism too, e.g. the religion of Mohammed.  As with Islam the more well adjusted groups tend to be those who take the central doctrines rather less seriously: less monotheistically, if you will.

Or, to invoke the proper object of liberal doctrine, less monoauthoritatively. Through the conceit that liberalism can politely remain merely one political author in a diverse pantheon of authorities, cafeteria liberals ensure that no defeat can permanently vanquish liberalism: it always has a welcome home and can rise again, emerge from its impregnable keep in the central holy of holies, to ravage the plains, mountains, and streams of real life.

Mercy follows from truth, always.  To observe that despite sometime appearances liberalism is a despicable horror is not to accuse some particular group among Earth’s billions of liberals of anything in particular, other than commitment to something they at best don’t really understand.  I have no special insight into the personal culpabilities of particular people; in fact I actively desire to avoid that particular kind of knowledge. Whether and to what extent folks accept the truth and what they do in response to it is up to them.  Knowledge and understanding can sometimes feel like a terrible blow, to be sure.

But it is better – ultimately – to really know and understand the object of your loyalties, than to not know.

§ 31 Responses to Show liberals know mercy

  • Fascinating. That last link, “ignorance as moral license” and the quote are wonderful.

    I struggle to understand this stuff we call liberalism too, but I just think of it as “faulty thinking.” In the context of faith it all boils down to this unwillingness or inability to recognize sin, the total depravity of man. No evil, no sin, no need for any authority, protection, or redemption either. So authority just ceases to exists as does something like people’s personal responsibility. They seek to rationalize away sin, rationalize also known as “rational lies.”

    So Zippy says, “show liberals know mercy” and I think, but they do not know grace! They have no actual concept of mercy because they have no actual concept of sin. So in the political world what this begins to look like is always seeking a rational explanation for human behavior that does not involve sin. We’re just perpetual victims of This Thing that Cannot Be Named. So terrorists just become “misunderstood brown people who need more job training.” And state authority that seeks to force its will on others, is not really “authority,” it is just “benevolence and rights.”

    So, I cannot “show liberals know mercy” because liberalism as a way of thinking is completely merciless. Without mercy. It is the very definition of evil, it is the worst kind of evil, the evil that does not even recognize the nature of itself. (“Evil” not to be confused with the actual people themselves, who often unwittingly just suffer from this affliction.)

  • Roman Lance says:

    Until all Catholics assert the belief that an individual must be sacramentally baptized to be saved, without exception, there will never be any real success against liberalism.

  • halt94 says:

    Roman Lance:

    Do you recognize Baptism of Desire or Baptism of Blood as forms of sacramental Baptism, or do you mean to say that Catholics need to assert that only through Baptism of Water can we be saved?

  • Roman Lance says:

    @halt94

    Baptism of Desire and Baptism of Blood are not “forms” of sacramental baptism. They do not make one a member of the Catholic Church and they do not impart the sacramental character that is imposed when the sacrament of Baptism is received.

    Water baptism is necessary for salvation. BOD and BOB are metaphorical baptisms. The Council of Trent specifically condemned any reduction of water baptism to metaphor.

  • TomD says:

    So you argue that the Holy Innocents are not saved, but yet are on the calendar? Don’t fall into Feeneyism.

  • halt94 says:

    They are not “metaphorical” Baptisms though; they are recognized ways that God can impart the grace of Baptism to those who have not been Baptized by water through no fault of their own; that is, they actually impart the grace of Baptism, so they cannot be metaphorical. We as human beings are bound by the Sacraments, but God is not; this is why a priest who cannot go to confession after committing a mortal sin can licitly say mass if he makes a perfect act of contrition (supposing there are not other priests around who could say Mass in his stead and it be necessary that he say Mass); he must go to confession as soon as he can, but he is still really forgiven of his mortal sin without the need of confession in this case. It’s like a confession of desire.

    In fact, the Council of Trent seems to include Baptism of Desire as a possibility in one of its Canons: “CANON IV.-If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary unto salvation, but superfluous; and that, without them, OR WITHOUT THE DESIRE THEREOF, men obtain of God, through faith alone, the grace of justification;-though all (the sacraments) are not indeed necessary for every individual; let him be anathema.”

    I agree that it’s important that Catholics recognize the necessity of the Sacraments, and that the belief that the grace of the Sacraments are unnecessary leads to something akin to theological liberalism which can and does bleed over into politics, but it doesn’t make sense to condemn those who desire Baptism whether explicitly or implicitly who were unable to obtain water Baptism through no fault of their own.

    Granted a lot of this is off topic, sorry Zippy.

  • halt94 says:

    Granted, probably talking about Baptism of Desire and Baptism of Blood too often has a similar affect to bringing up abuse of authority in discussions of authoritative politics or the headship of husbands too often; it probably detracts from the very real importance of water Baptism as the ordinary path to salvation, and I do think it is the way the vast majority of those who are saved will be saved.

    TomD:

    The Holy Innocents were slaughtered before the institution of the New Law, so I think that Roman Lance would say that because they were not yet bound to the New Law, water Baptism was not necessary for them.

  • Roman Lance says:

    @halt94

    The quote you reference concerns Justification not Salvation. The two are separate. Justification can be lost, Salvation can not.

    I assert with Trent that the firm resolution to receive the Sacrament of Baptism can remove original sin and impart sanctifying grace. I also believe the the person who has this firm resolve and receives the grace of Justification WILL, in accordance with Divine Providence, receive the Sacrament of Baptism before they die. Even if there is no “evidence” they where baptized.

    I believe this because Jesus has said it when He declared that when one seeks he shall find.

    I believe this also because the Church has declared 3 times that being a member of Her is necessary for salvation. And no one is a member of the Catholic church who is not Sacramentally Baptized.

    I can’t help but wonder why it is so important to some people to get people to heaven without them receiving the sacrament of Baptism? Do they not believe that God is at work in the world?

    I think maybe they are closet deists who believe God is off golfing somewhere.

  • Roman Lance says:

    @Halt94

    “The Holy Innocents were slaughtered before the institution of the New Law, so I think that Roman Lance would say that because they were not yet bound to the New Law, water Baptism was not necessary for them.”

    You have assessed my view on this properly.

    @ Tom D.

    The claim of “Feeneyism” is a dismissive slight meant to paint all who support the absolute necessity of Baptism as cooks and nutters. It doesn’ prove anything.

    So please define “Feenyism”? I would like to know your personal understanding of it.

    Thanks.

  • All in good humor here, but while I would certainly love to see everyone in the world come to know Jesus Christ, I would settle for a simple change in thinking that just accepts the fact that humans are not by nature sinless creatures who just want to hold hands and sing kumbaya. That alone would be a huge blow to our faulty thinking.

    Zippy says, “Mercy follows from truth, always.” Liberalism requires lots of lies and self deception in order to thrive.

  • halt94 says:

    Roman Lance:

    “I believe this because Jesus has said it when He declared that when one seeks he shall find.”

    All the Baptism of Desire says is that a person who makes a perfect act of love for God (including, but not limited to martyrdom) and repents of his sins can receive Justification if, through no fault of their own, they cannot receive the Sacrament of Baptism before they die; it can be an implicit but no less firm desire for Sacramental Baptism. But it is precisely because I believe God is at work in the world that I believe this; he works where man has not reached.

    Either way, I don’t want to threadjack any longer, and I’ll concede that the idea of Baptism of Desire/Blood probably takes up too much importance in my own thinking.

    On the topic of politics, it seems that we no longer can really discuss ideas behind specific policy proposals because they are so long; it’s somewhat difficult to actually discuss a bill that is 2000 pages long. That’s generally why ad hominems are everywhere in political discourse; we have to discuss who proposed something because it’s too difficult to discuss what was proposed. Although an Alabama Senator recently proposed a one sentence bill to repeal Obamacare, and I hope that those kinds of short measures become a regular thing.

  • TomD says:

    Why don’t we celebrate the Baptism of Mary, eh?

    We worship and love a Person, not a legalism. Baptism is required for salvation. No man can damn another. Therefore, somehow, failing to preach the Gospel to someone can’t damn them; otherwise invincible ignorance becomes a meaningless topic.

    God gives us power over Him in some ways (the Sacraments), but we do not limit God.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    Liberalism ostensibly prescinds from controversies of religion and applies itself to politics. It is a religion-of-authority rather than a religion-of-God: a Godless deontology and social being, with authority as its locus, in a post-Nietzchean world wherein for practical purposes God is dead.

    This tracks with what is said by a man named Timothy Schutt. In an audiobook he pointed out that Hobbes and Locke were the first to attempt “systematic political philosophies” (my words) which have as a thesis “What are the natural rights of men?” To me, that question is wrong-headed; as if there was some knowing what man would be like if he spontaneously erupted from the ground without provocation, thought, or any force at all. Just chance. Such a thing is not possible even according to the lie of evolution.

    But Hobbes and Locke probably don’t happen without the popularity of Machiavelli’s foolish answer to St. Paul’s question: “Should we do evil that good may come of it?” Machiavelli said “Yes, that’s what princes do.” and all of Europe took a bite of that apple.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    Liberalism is not reducible to the idiosyncracies, notions, unexamined assumptions, or cultural prejudices of individual liberals or groups of liberals, nor is it reducible to some mere abstraction or idea.

    Not an idea, but a question: “What if you had no master?” It’s a rhetorical device meant to unleash an endless stream of nonsense thoughts which prods us towards more and “better” attempts at producing a “natural man”; the “noble savage” sprung from a test tube that no one made.

  • Roman Lance says:

    @ TomD

    “Why don’t we celebrate the Baptism of Mary, eh?”

    Jesus said that a man must be born again of water and the Holy Ghost or he will not enter the Kingdom of God. Mary is a Man, therefore Mary must have been baptized or she would not be a member of the Catholic Church.

    The Catholic Church is the Kingdom of God on Earth.

    As an aside I could just as well ask, “Why don’t we celebrate the Baptism of St. Peter.?” Could it be because we just assume he was baptized since he was the first head of the Catholic Church?

    How more likely is it the Mother and Queen of Heaven was baptized?

  • Roman Lance says:

    Edit:
    How more likely is it the Mother [of God] and Queen of Heaven was baptized?

  • TomD says:

    Or perhaps we should obediently follow our Church and let Her worry about the details, whilst we handle our details in our lives by baptising our children and our converts.

    @Cane Cado – modernism is like a plane crash; there may be greater and lesser causes, any of which being avoided might have “saved” the plane or at least let it crash elsewhere – but they all contributed. The root cause will go back to disobedience of God and the sin of Pride.

  • Zippy says:

    Cane:

    To me, that question is wrong-headed; as if there was some knowing what man would be like if he spontaneously erupted from the ground …

    There is definitely something equivocal in there. Man’s true nature is that he is a creation of God, but many superficial thinkers leverage the “human nature” bit as if to say “man understood apart from the fact that he is a creature made by God” or some such.

    So sure, we can talk coherently about natural law as something which arises from man’s nature. But we can’t talk coherently about man or his nature as if they were independent things which just burst into existence without God, because the “things which spring into existence without God” bit is contrary to man’s nature: it is contrary to the sort of thing that man actually is in fact. It is a non-human theory of man.

    More succinctly, theology is the queen of the sciences.

    Liberalism rests on an anti-anthropology all the way down, starting with its attempt to develop a political doctrine (an understanding of authority) while prescinding from religious questions. Other non-liberal doctrines might theoretically be developed from the same starting point, but would in the end be just as wrong: would be non-authority theories of authority.

  • “Or perhaps we should obediently follow our Church and let Her worry about the details, whilst we handle our details in our lives…”

    Panism TomD, my favorite bit of theological wisdom. That’s a belief that it’s all going to pan out in the end. Also, the good guys win. No need to sweat about all the details.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @TomD

    modernism is like a plane crash; there may be greater and lesser causes, any of which being avoided might have “saved” the plane or at least let it crash elsewhere – but they all contributed.

    A plane crash is a poor metaphor because it’s not one big phenomenon. There are a lot of crashes, and many are not related by circumstance except in the fact that the ground (reality) impeded their flight.

    Modernism is more like the assumption a man can instinctually fly if he only realized that we are on a globe in space, and in space there is north or south; no up or down.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Zippy

    More succinctly, theology is the queen of the sciences.

    I have heard this before, but: Why queen?

    Liberalism rests on an anti-anthropology all the way down, starting with its attempt to develop a political doctrine (an understanding of authority) while prescinding from religious questions. Other non-liberal doctrines might theoretically be developed from the same starting point, but would in the end be just as wrong: would be non-authority theories of authority.

    Superb.

  • […] in particular rests on an anti-anthropology all the way down, starting with its attempt to develop a political doctrine (an understanding of authority) while prescinding from religious […]

  • Zippy says:

    Cane:

    I have heard this before, but: Why queen?

    The reason I used that phrasing is just because it is the traditional expression.

    Men tend to give feminine names and designations to inanimate objects and the like, whereas if we give a masculine name or designation it tends more often to refer to an actual person. This probably stems at least in part from the very natural tendency of men and women to segregate, if I had to guess, so calling the motorcycle or guitar “she” just makes it more obvious that you aren’t referring to a member of the group.

    But beyond my own reason for the editorial choice – “because that’s the way it is usually put” – I don’t really know and haven’t given more than fleeting thought to it.

  • Jack says:

    The queen of the sciences because she imparts Wisdom to them, and Wisdom is biblically represented as “she”.

  • ignacy says:

    Roman Lance,

    you might find it interesting that there are at least a few saints who have been baptised in blood, such as St. Genesius of Arles, St. Rogatian and St. Victor of Braga and, most notably, St. Emerentiana. In particular, the baptism in blood of St. Emerentiana is confirmed by the authority of Divine Office.

    Well, sure, you can try to maintain that Divine Office is not infallible, St. Bede got it wrong or excommunication of Fr Feeney was invalid, but hey, you can argue that way against a majority (if not all) of Catholic doctrines.

  • Zippy says:

    ignacy’s comment immediately above mine just fished from SPAM.

  • Aristokles Contra Mundum says:

    Theology is queen, because God is king. Just as Mary, the Queen of Heaven, reveals the Lord of Heaven in the flesh, so to does the queen of the sciences make apparent his presence in the realm of knowledge.

  • […] I understand reluctance to assert (or appear to assert) a straw man. But it is no straw man to observe that in fact liberalism is rationally incoherent, all the way down — with all that that incoherence implies (e.g. weaponized principle of explosion) as a political ideology situated in particular, real, social contexts. […]

  • […] the principle of explosion makes everything explode, as a matter of rationality.  As a social reality, popular rationally incoherent doctrines have further implications: implications we’ve […]

  • […] modernity’s answer — liberalism — no matter how it is phrased or how circumscribed right liberals attempt to frame it to be — is a motte-and-bailey mashup of tautology, nominalism, and self […]

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