The Pope is Not a Communist

So Sayeth Thomas Williams over at Breitbart.

Rather, the Pope is a critic of the spiritual malaise involved of the worship of Mammon. As he should be. But he never has said, or even suggested, that the free market be replaced with another economic system.

Francis’s predecessor, Pope John Paul II, famously distinguished between capitalism as an ideology of lawlessness and capitalism as a system that promotes free exchange and creativity.

“If by ‘capitalism’ is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative,” he wrote.

This is a summary of how Pope Francis thinks.

Read the whole thing, and observe the regularity with which the progs who write for the mainstream media shoehorn papal statements into things which confirm their bias.

Because the media – especially the American media – do not understand Catholicism. They never will.

papal facepalm

A Sane, Sensible Discussion of Laudato Si, the Pope’s Environmental Encycical.

Over at Ace of Spades.

To summarize:

  1. The Pope is not infallible on matters of science. Anyone, even Catholics, are free to disagree with his assessment of scientific knowledge. The Holy Spirit does not assist with that.
  2. The Pope’s theology in this encyclical is solid. Ultimately, we cannot damage the earth without damaging ourselves, and our relationship with God. We are of the earth: “Dust thou art, and to dust thous shalt return.” That remains true even if everything an AGW skeptic says is true.
  3. The Pope is Catholic. In the encyclical, the Pope points out that “abortion, “coercive means of population control, experimentation on embryos, and other offenses against the sanctity of life are part of the very same callous stance towards the natural world that the environmentalists deplore.” So everyone who got themselves excited about the Environmentalist Pope should take these words seriously, and not just relegate them to a paragraph that starts with “The document isn’t perfect….”, right?

Best part of this post:

This is really the basic point about this faith — you can’t pick and choose what bits of it you like to believe. Catholicism is a faith that generally takes the middle path. This is why the sophomoric “What would Jesus do?” rejoinder to any political argument is laughable. Jesus wasn’t a politician. Jesus would forgive sin…then he would tell you to go forth and sin no more. See? The touchy-feely Jesus co-exists with the judgmental Jesus. It’s not like Highlander. People are quite fond of confirmation bias when it comes to Jesus Christ.

Everyone loves the Sermon on the Mount. Everyone ignores the parts about cutting off your left hand to avoid sin and coming not to bring peace but the sword.


Camus and Karamazov, “The Rejection of Salvation.”

A Continuing series in which I post my notes of reading this engaging book.

In The Rebel, Camus frames Metaphysical Rebellion in the words of Dostoyevsky’s Ivan Karamazov (among other ways). God is to be not denied, but refuted and condemned. The Problem of Evil on steroids, as it were.

From pgs. 56-57:

Ivan rejects the basic interdependence, introduced by Christianity, between suffering and truth. Ivan’s most profound utterance, the one which opens the deepest chasms beneath the rebel’s feet, is his even if: “I would persist in my indignation even if I were wrong.” Which means that even if God existed, even if the mystery cloaked a truth, even if the starets Zosime were right, Ivan would not admit that truth should be paid for by evil, suffering, and the death of innocents. Ivan incarnates the refusal of salvation.

In addition, Ivan is the incarnation of the refusal to be the only one saved. He throws in his lot with the damned and, for their sake, rejects eternity. If he had faith, he could, in fact, be saved, but others would be damned and suffering would continue. There is no possible salvation for the man who feels real compassion. Ivan will continue to put God in the wrong by doubly rejecting faith as he would reject injustice and privelege.

My Response: This comes to me as nothing more than a metaphysical temper tantrum: “If I cannot have existence my way, I will not have it at all.” Or more properly, “an existence that requires suffering is not ‘worth it’.”

This is empty vanity. Suffering will continue regardless of how sullenly you refuse to countenance it. What child does Ivan save from suffering? If none, then we must conclude the the intellectual solidarity with the suffering is a sham, or at any rate, a means to an end. And the end is power, moral power as a precursor to political power, the power over life and death.

The desire to be Better Than God rests on the mistaken notion that God’s mystery is a false veil, a smokescreen hiding a lie, rather than a necessary consequence of our nature. If we had infinite minds, we could be God’s equal. We do not and never will. We continually frame Him in our own tiny conceptions, and are indignant when those conceptions will not hold Him.

Existence is not yours to justify. Deal with it.

Atheist Violence

It appears that the man who gunned down three Muslim students at UNC-Chapel Hill was a Proggy Atheist.The police are now saying that the murder was over a parking dispute.


Look, that may have been the trigger, but that was not the powder, if you receive my meaning. You settle parking disputes with passive-aggressive notes and towings. You don’t shoot people.

It reminds me of Christopher Hitchens’ rebuttal to the contention that Communism counts as atheist violence. To Hitchens, Stalin created an ersatz religion in the Soviet Union, with himself as a kind of god, so all the crimes of Russian Communism were in fact, caused by religion. The people of Russia simply exchanged the Russian Orthodox Church for the Communist Party.

It’s a clever argument, but it hides a horrible weakness: if a thoroughly athest-materialist philosophy like Communism can create a religion as murderous as any theist, then what is the point of atheism? If it does not insulate us from the violence that the righteous meet out against heretics, what value does it have?

Not that anyone will answer. The current play is to keep the Tea Party meme in operation. Whatever demonizes the Other.


Blood, Madness, and Charlie Hedbo

Back in 2011, Charlie Hedbo’s offices got firebombed by Islamists. I remember because I posted the offending cover to my old blog. I was “Je Suis Charlie” before it was hashtagged.

This attack was worse in terms of body count, but I haven’t been as attached to the issue. All the usual suspects have said all the usual things. There has been the moment of Twitter solidarity, and the massive pro free-speech rallies worldwide. And the French police have arranged for all of the suspects but one to become dead. Which is all fine. It means there’s life in the old girl yet.

But in my gloom I wonder if our elite, so painstaking in not fanning the flames of anti-muslim rage, are rather going to end up bringing it about. There’s only so many times people can be told “Yes, but understand them,” before losing all desire to understand anything but threats and the removal of same.

This is a religious war. We don’t want it to be, but it is. We don’t want it to be because we lost our taste for religious war in the West some 300 years ago, and have as yet not regained it. But if we had our wants, we wouldn’t be fighting this war at all. Most of us would be entirely content to let the Middle East and Islam buzz off and do as it liked provided it left us out of it. It’s not like we actually care about what’s going on in Yemen.

And because of that, our elites would much rather pretend that this is some failure of cultural understanding, with some regrettable law-enforcement and precision-bombing involved. They don’t want to use the weapons at their disposal, because they are far more interested in making their culture reflect their specific prejudices than in defending it as it is.

And what are these weapons? In a cultural war, attacking the premises of the offending culture, mocking its claims of sacrality, forcing it by moral suasion to accept change.  And it means answering violence with violence.

We aren’t prepared to do that yet. Not fully, not without shame, not without assuring ourselves that we really don’t want to. This is a pride of ours, that we consider very little in this world worth killing for. And it’s better than the alternative. But it will not give our enemies pause.

When we reach the end of the road, and we find ourselves faced with our enemies’ demand “Submit or die,” we may yet find the determination to find the third choice. This will be ugly. It will be messy. It will not assure us of our evolved natures. But it will decide things quite clearly.

Despite what we say, we are not all Charlie. Yet.

On the Cake-Baking Front of the Culture Wars…

Should Christian Bakers have to make cakes for Gay Weddings?

If you think they should, then should Gay Bakers have to bake cakes with messages in support of traditional marriages?

Because Gay Bakers seem to think they don’t.

This raises more questions. Should Jewish Bakers have to make cakes with Swastikas? Should Muslim Bakers have to make rum cakes?

Why Do Europeans Hate Jews? Who Cares?

Spengler hits his usual note about the dullness of European civilization, post-nationalism: the tribes of Europe had their folly baked into the cake of their culture during the dark ages. In his view, Isidore of Seville and Gregory of Tours are the “Bialistock and Bloom” of Europe, inflating these upjumped Germanics with the desire to be the elect of God, which they cannot be. Anti-Semitism and World War One ensue.

Whatever the merits of this position, I find myself wondering why any Jew gives a damn. Europe has not been a welcoming place for Jews: in the 1877 years between one set of Europeans smashing the Second Temple and another set anxiously permitting Zionism to happen, Europe was a kind of Babylon for Jews, a place of silence punctuated by violence.

Can any Englishman alive today recall which King it was who expelled the Jews from his realm? Or how long it was before they were allowed back in? Europe tolerated the Jews when they felt like it, and scapegoated them when their blood was up. The Third Reich merely applied insdustrial techniques and bureaucratic focus to an existing undercurrent of hate. It’s always been there, and always will be.

Thus, I cannot imagine anyone in the Knesset noticing what the Europeans do. Israel has learned not to rely on the goodwill of gentiles. So long as they have their army and the strategic heights of Palestine, they will do what they must, and the rest of the world can go hang.

Because in 1000 years, there will not be an England, or a France, or a Germany, or an Italy. There probably won’t be a United States of America. But there will still be Jews.