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Showing posts from August 9, 2015

Culture Wars

You hear evangelicals say sometimes, "The culture wars have really hurt our Christian witness." Nonsense. Hypocrisy has hurt the Christian witness. When someone speaks derisively of the "culture wars," they mean the politics of sexual "liberation." They think somehow that there is some formulation of the good news that doesn't include sex, and if we talk about that other stuff, well, maybe that other stuff will go away. Isn't it obvious that politics at its core is the imposition of public morality by force? The libertines know this; their opponents shouldn't be so naive. The very people you want to reach, Christian, nod their heads in tragic approval of your surrender, because that's exactly what it is. The people who say, "We shouldn't legislate morality" are actually saying, "I don't like the one you want to legislate." It's either deception, or stupidity, and we shouldn't find it compelling. Law

Pro-Life, No Exceptions, Revisited

I was talking politics with an older, more liberal friend last night, and he said he thought Sen. Rubio not believing in abortion exceptions for rape and incest would hurt him. I remember thinking I didn't care, because he's right on the issue, if indeed he believes this. Indeed, as I have said, it's the most principled position to take, if a pre-born child is a person. Sen. Goldwater had said that extremism in pursuit of liberty is no vice, and if we say "virtue" in place of "liberty," he's right. The game of politics is about persuasion as much as anything, though, and that's why winning is about not seeming to be extreme, even if you are. More interesting still, when discussions about principles and policy degenerate, the game of politics becomes about convincing the people one's opponent is "extreme," an outlier in relation to some mythical middle that you and your travelers occupy. "Extreme" is the postmodern secula

Pro-Life, No Exceptions.

It's not just an abortion stance. Not to me. It is the deepest, most fundamental conviction I own: that the fundamental dignity of the human person is the beginning and the end of my political philosophy. I think the gravest indictment of the Democratic Party I could articulate is this: If every Republican became an anti-abortion George McGovern or Paul Simon in exchange for the end of the evil of abortion, and its advocate, Planned Parenthood, no Democrats of any consequence would take the deal. You want to lecture the GOP on its anti-child, anti-family, anti-mother policies after birth? Fine; I'd probably join you. It wouldn't allow any of us to affirm corruption, inefficiency, mismanagement, and policies that don't work. Liberals can shout, "Seamless garment!" until the final resurrection; if we don't oppose abortion in all its forms, we're close to useless. There is no garment, if the emperor has no clothes. If it sounds at once like a politica

I'm On Your Side

I may spout any number of political ideological heresies from this space, as is my right and duty. Yet I think it is important to say that I like Republicans; I think like them, and talk like them. I am them. As Catholics wishing to adhere to all that the Church teaches, we may find ourselves at odds with deeply-held ideological commitments; if we do it well, we can articulate a bold, truly humanist conservative vision that will be compelling to the body politic; if we do it poorly, we alienate the very people we want to reach, and we unwittingly reinforce the piecemeal approach to ethics and political engagement that we abhor. The very first rule of effective communication is to connect with the audience; dispose them to hear what you are saying. If a faithful Catholic is indeed compelled to question the philosophical basis for the broad economic vision of his political party, for example, he can do this more easily by frankly acknowledging the things the listening or reading audi