Monday, May 02, 2005

Galley Slaves, Magpie Watch II and the Jonah Goldberg link

Galley Slaves continues the Andrew Sullian watch but most interesting is the link to Joah Goldberg's essay from NRO.

On the day Cardinal Ratzinger was elected to the top job, my dad was pleased. He hadn’t been following all of the hullabaloo on the web and in print about the “hard-line pope” and how this Sith Lord with a pointy hat spells doom for the Enlightenment. Meanwhile I’d been trying to get up to speed on the theological and political issues, like every other member in the 24-hour commentariat. But my dad had the better handle on things. “I like him,” he told me by phone from his bed, “because we need at least a few rocks in the river.”

The phrase has stuck with me. His meaning was obvious. The pace of the great unraveling, begun a few centuries ago, only quickens. My dad, a Jew by conviction and temperament, sees this pope as someone willing to put his shoulder to the tide, and therefore he likes him.


And than further down this quote referencing what's going on now in Holland.

Regardless, it seems to me that we have little evidence that a politics of doubt is sustainable in the long run without a politics of faith. Societies can run on fumes. They can mistake a temporary consensus as a permanent system of tolerance. But as anyone who reads about what’s happening in Holland understands, systems based solely on platitudes of tolerance can crash into chaos when its platitudes are revealed to have little philosophical superstructure. And we know what happens to democracies when faith vanishes and human will reigns supreme. Fascism was impossible without the Enlightenment. Fascism was impossible without democracy. Fascism was, indeed, the product of both. Various movements found that “alien” or “outdated” notions of liberal democracy no longer served the aspirations of the nation or the volk. Sullivan is about as dogmatically opposed to what fascism stands for as anybody out there, but by arguing for the smashing of all dogmas save the little sliver he likes, he gives oxygen to those who aren’t as selective as he in their hatred of tradition.

That's why I'm with Goldberg's Dad on the Pope. It may be easier for a non-Caholic too feel this way since I'm less invested in the internal going ons of the Church, but I too don't think society can run I fumes. We need a politics of faith and that doean't mean we all need share the same faith. There are Universal and Fundamental truths most share. That's enough.

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