Politics, et Cetera

A publication from The Political Forum, LLC

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

They Said It:

Politics and the pulpit are terms that have little agreement.  No sound ought to be heard in the church but the healing voice of Christian charity.  The cause of civil liberty and civil government gains as little as that of religion by this confusion of duties.  Those who quit their proper character, to assume what does not belong to them, are, for the greater part, ignorant both of the character they leave, and of the character they assume.  Wholly unacquainted with the world in which they are so fond of meddling and inexperienced in all its affairs, on which they pronounce with so much confidence, they have nothing of politics but the passions they excite.  Surely the church is a place where one day’s truce ought to be allowed to the dissensions and animosities of mankind.

Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France, 1790.

 

THE POPE, THE PRESIDENT, AND THE PREMIER.

Just over a decade ago, as Pope John Paul II lay dying, we pondered his legacy.  We thought about the influence he had on his Church, about the effect he had on popular culture and public virtue, and especially about the undeniable and remarkable moral power he wielded in defense of human dignity and in rebellion against economic and political collectivism.  In a February 28, 2005 piece that served as a pre-post-mortem for one of the most important and influential men of the 20th century, we wrote the following:

It is undoubtedly difficult to remember today, particularly given the rise of radical Islam and the ubiquitous threat posed by Islamist terrorism, but roughly three decades ago, the world was unarguably in direr straits even than it is now. Between the omnipresent threat of nuclear annihilation and the appearance at least that the Western world was losing the great global battle of wills to the atheistic, expansionist, Communist nations behind the Iron and Bamboo curtains, the future at times looked pretty bleak, to say the least.

But from this desperate circumstance, three heroes – three people of extraordinary courage, determination, and faith – emerged onto the global scene almost simultaneously. And within a decade, the three collectively had altered the course of world events by reinvigorating the West, restoring hope to much of humanity, and setting the stage for the ultimate defeat of the totalitarian socialist threat that had plagued the globe for some eight decades.

Sadly, those heroes are all but gone now. Last summer, one of the three, former President Ronald Reagan, finally passed on from this world, after having been silenced by the ravages of disease for nearly a decade. Two years earlier, another, former Prime Minister Lady Margaret Thatcher, had been forced into permanent semi-seclusion and silence by a series of small strokes and rapidly deteriorating health, permitted by her doctors to emerge from her isolation only on the rarest of occasions and under the most extraordinary of circumstances. And the third, Pope John Paul II, the only member of this extraordinary triumvirate who remains active on the global public stage, is himself suffering the ravages of disease and last week reminded the world of his own mortality, making it clear that he will, inevitably and likely before long, succumb to a combination of the effects of his condition and old age.

We were, of course, far from the only or even the most articulate chroniclers of this “extraordinary triumvirate,” that included a President, a Pope, and a Prime Minister.  Indeed, the following year, John O’Sullivan, the veteran journalist and former speech and policy writer for Prime Minister Thatcher, published a magnificent account of these three brilliant leaders and their cumulative effect on the course of history in a book by precisely that name:  The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister.  In his review of O’Sullivan’s book, David P. Goldman (a.k.a. “Spengler” of the Asia Times), described the courage and foresight of the three thusly:

[T]he victorious triumvirate of the West put at risk their own lives – each suffered an assassination attempt – as well as the lives of entire nations.  Great commanders place the burden of uncertainty upon the enemy.  Reagan was less the great communicator than the Great Destabilizer, subverting the principle of strategic balance that had ruled US thinking since the late 1940s.  By the same token, John Paul II turned away from the cautious diplomacy of the Vatican Curia to offer resistance to the Soviet Empire, to the horror of the Vatican’s equivalent of Kissinger, the late cardinal Agostino Casaroli.

A millimeter or so’s deviation in the path of two pistol bullets allowed Reagan and John Paul II to survive.  Thatcher was a hotel room away from an Irish terrorist bomb.  O’Sullivan agrees with the pope’s judgment that his escape was miraculous, and thinks the same applies to the president and the prime minister.  Mystical thinking of this sort is not likely to impress the mandarins of the academy, but indicates the right frame of mind to judge the events of 1979-89.  Faith drove the actions of the great risk-takers of the West; it was faith that enabled them to take risks.  From any other standpoint, their most important acts seem arbitrary, even reckless.

Reagan restored America’s strategic superiority and crushed Soviet hopes of dominating Western Europe, whose industrial strength the Russians hoped to tap to compensate for their own economic weakness.  Moscow, moreover, knew that it could not compete with the United States in the field of missile defense.  Ultimately the Soviets accepted their strategic defeat without a fight – but no one knew that they would do so at the outset.  Reagan and his people operated in full knowledge that by setting out to win the Cold War, they risked provoking a very hot one.

All of which is to say that once upon a time – not so long ago really, but seemingly ages ago – three exceptionally brave and brilliant leaders came to power and utilized that power, quite literally, to save the world.

We mention all of this today for several reasons.  For starters, it is heartening to be reminded that great men and women do still exist and do still occasionally bring their passion, determination, brilliance, and bravery to bear on the public domain.  We are not exactly faithful adherents of Carlyle’s “Great Man” theory of history, but we do understand that great men and women have many times, at various points, altered the course of human events.  And the three mentioned here clearly did so.

Consider, for example, the case of John Paul II.  The erstwhile Karol Wojtyla lived through the Nazi occupation of his homeland.  He lived through the Soviet occupation of his homeland.  He was shot and nearly killed by a man with radical ties to the communist Bulgarian government, and, some believe, to the KGB as well.  The Polish government tried to discredit him by planting false stories about him and about an illegitimate child.  And yet he persisted and fought the good fight for the liberty and dignity of every man, woman, and child.  And he never gave an inch in his fights against both right-wing dictators – e.g. Pinochet in Chile – or the Soviet Communists.

When he visited Poland for the first time as Pope – more than a year before Reagan was elected and at a period of time in which most people believed that the Soviets and their satellites would win the Cold War – he told his fellow Poles to “be not afraid.”  And they were not afraid.  And they formed the Solidarity trade union in response.  And they started the campaign that would end Soviet Communism.  Great Man, indeed.

The second and more important reason that we dig all of this out of the archives today is because we are now faced with a similarly dire set of circumstances.  The Soviet menace is gone, but it has been replaced by a far more confusing, irrational, and potentially dangerous enemy that is, as we speak, infiltrating violent “soldiers” into Europe under the guise of the “refugee” crisis.  The global economy is arguably in direr straits than it was in 1978, when we were, in Nixon’s words, “all Keynesians now.”  And while the world barely escaped a global pandemic in the form of Ebola last summer, a similar plague is overdue and likely will find a ready and willing host population in the various migrant and refugee camps throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and now Europe.  In short, then, the world could use a handful of heroes again.

Unlikely?  Impossible?  Well, Burke didn’t think so.  During the dark days following the execution of Louis XVI in France, he noted that while the fortunes of nations ebb and flow, “at the very moment when some of them seem plunged in unfathomable abysses of disgrace and disaster they have suddenly . . . laid the foundations of a towering and durable greatness . . . all without any apparent change in the general circumstances which have brought on their distress. . . a common soldier, a child, a girl at the door of an inn have changed the face of fortune, and almost of nature.”

Of course, it is possible that the heroes that will change the face of fortune are among us at this very moment.  Writing at Mother Jones, James West appears to think so.  To wit:

Something big and strange is happening in the United States this week.

Three wildly different world leaders with divergent personalities, agendas, and backgrounds will be in the same country at the same time, fighting for the same thing — solutions for climate change.

Ahead of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York City, an unprecedented triumvirate will be on US soil: President Xi Jinping, the Communist leader of China’s 1.3 billion people and the world’s biggest carbon polluter; Pope Francis, the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, and a self-modeled reformer; and US President Barack Obama, the leader of the world’s largest economy (and a man who doesn’t need to be reelected).  In one way or another, they each have made fighting global warming a core part of their leadership at home and abroad.

The trio isn’t publicly scheduled to meet each other in America this week—though they will almost bump into one another. But the confluence of these heavy hitters is pumping optimism through green groups that a climate accord may finally be forged at the UN meeting in Paris at the end of the year.

Suddenly, they say, political rhetoric is turning into real momentum….

The rare combination of Obama, Xi, and Francis talking climate at the same time makes [the Reverend Canon Sally] Bingham optimistic that the leaders’ influence will affect the Paris agreement later this year. “You have science, moral authority, and practicality all coming together, and I think it’s quite amazing,” she said.

Wow!  An “unprecedented triumvirate” . . . or . . . well . . . uhh . . . does anyone know what “unprecedented” means?  We guess it’s probably not very gentlemanly to mock a writer for Mother Jones, particularly one like James West, who appears to be no older than 25 or 26.  After all, if he were sentient, he wouldn’t be writing for MoJo.  Nevertheless, it is highly disheartening that anyone, anywhere believes that this “brave trio” is fighting to save the world, when one of them is a pantywaist, one is a crypto-socialist, and the third is . . . well . . . the Premier of China!

In all seriousness, though, this is a pretty unpleasant notion.  Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II have been replaced in the fight to save the world by Barack Obama, Pope Francis, and some Chinese guy whose name so few people actually know that the copyeditor at Mother Jones didn’t even use it in the article’s headline (“Obama, the Pope, and the President of China Are Teaming Up to Save the World.”)  To paraphrase the Gipper when confronted by angry, protesting students telling him “we are the future,” maybe it’d be a good idea to sell your bonds.

We won’t bore you with another long and rambling bit about Barack Obama and his fecklessness in the face of the challenges that surround us.  Nor will be bore you with any more detailed information about the President of China, whose name, for the record, is Xi Jinping.  He is the President of China, after all, which also makes him the Secretary General of the Chinese Communist Party.  What more do you need to know?

That leaves only Pope Francis.  And while we discussed him and his proposals for the world in some detail last week, we learned a few more things about him during his visit here that we did not know and which give us pause, both about his papacy and about the state of a world in which he serves as the most reasonable and sincere of the trio charged, apparently, with saving us all.

The principal new information of which we speak deals with the extent to which the Pope’s religious pronouncements are reflective of his political views.  As some of you may know, we moonlight for The Culture of Life Foundation’s blog.  And in this capacity we have expended considerable ink explaining that Pope Francis is NOT a political figure, and as such, his pronouncements should not be seen in a political light.  Unfortunately, if Francis’s biographer is to be believed, we may well have been wrong all along about this.

Last week, in preparation for the Pope’s visit to the United States, the Washington Post ran a long and fascinating piece on Francis by Austen Ivereigh, the author of The Great Reformer:  Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope that belied our position on him.  Ivereigh began his piece as follows:

“I always was interested in politics,” Pope Francis told a journalist from his native Argentina last year.  That interest was developed in childhood, in the influence on him of his grandmother Rosa, who once defied fascists in Italy while active in a church organization called Catholic Action.

As a teenager, Jorge Mario Bergoglio would drift between local political party offices as he listened to discussions.  He was drawn to being a priest, but felt the tug of a political calling, too.

Beneath the gregarious, spontaneous Francis lies an unusually acute political mind.  In Argentina, they speak of him as the most talented politician since General Juan Perón.  The Jesuits refer to him as a mixture of a desert saint and Machiavelli.

He began a PhD thesis on the dynamics of disagreement.  He studied the way contrasting points of view, held in tension, led to new fruitful solutions, and how the task of a leader was to hold polarities in tension, without letting disagreement fall into division.  The PhD was never finished, but he applied its lessons, as cardinal archbishop, to the renewal of Argentine politics.

During his life a Jesuit, bishop, cardinal and now pope, Francis has never ceased thinking deeply about leadership and statecraft.  He has been fearless in deploring the failures of global political leadership to tackle the world’s pressing problems, has issued one of the most far-reaching social critiques ever written by a pope, and has challenged the existing world order with the boldness of a prophet and the language of a revolutionary.

H’oh boy.

We suppose, at some level, that it’s impossible to extricate the Pope from politics altogether.  If he is teaching or preaching about any subject of social import, it is inevitable that he’ll touch on politics at least somewhat.  Still, we find this troubling.  One might argue that when Pope John Paul II became involved in politics, we were not bothered.  So why should Pope Francis’s involvement give us the heebie-jeebies?  Well, because Pope John Paul fought a corrupt, murderous, and atheistic system of government that enslaved and destroyed people by the millions.  Pope Francis, by contrast, seems simply to be taking sides on economic matters, choosing one side over the other not because of any great threat the latter represents, but because it simply does not fit his broader worldview.  That’s constitutes involvement in political matters on a far different and far less principled level, we think.

Unfortunately, it gets worse.  Ivereigh continued:

Francis does have a distinctive political outlook, one that is shaped by his experience as a Latin American Catholic nationalist whose thinking matured in the 1960s, a time of deep political ferment in Latin America provoked by the Cuban Revolution.

The dominant liberal doctrine of the time was “developmentalism,” promoted by John F. Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress.  Developmentalism, underpinned by modernization, assumed that closer economic ties between the U.S. and Latin America would produce growth to the benefit of both.  The Marxist critique of that model started from the opposite view: the closer Latin America was tied to the U.S. economy, the more it would be impoverished.

“Cuba vs. US” was the Manichean choice of the time and has poisoned Latin American politics since, but the Jesuit Jorge Mario Bergoglio rejected this polarity.  He was a Peronist: anti-colonial, pro-worker, offering a “third way” between capitalism and communism that was true to Latin America’s Christian-humanist traditions.  That made him naturally sympathetic, in 1959, to the original “national” and “popular” Cuban Revolution, seeking social justice, political and economic independence, but it equally horrified when within two years Fidel Castro allied with the communists and fell into the Soviet orbit.

Longtime readers may remember that we have noted many times in these pages that “third-way” ideologies more often than not turn out to be fascist.  As it were, Juan and Eva Peron were dictatorial gangsters who admired Hitler and the Nazi regime and provided furtive refuge for Nazi war criminals, including Eichmann and Josef Mengele.  Now, that’s not to say that anyone who adopts a “third way” approach or who was sympathetic to the Perons is a fascist.  And certainly it’s not to imply that Pope Francis is.  It is, however, to say that those who, like the Holy Father, embrace the notion of political reform ending in a “third way” tend to be hopelessly naïve at best.

And that brings us, at long last, to our final and perhaps most significant misgiving about Pope Francis’s political views and aspirations.  Ivereigh’s piece contains a handful of other passages that cause us considerable consternation.  For example, when discussing the Pope’s economic views, he notes the following:

The idea of organizing society around the autonomy of the sovereign individual repels him. . . .

In his address in Bolivia to workers in the informal sector in July, he warned that “once capital becomes an idol and guides people’s decisions, once greed for money presides over the entire socioeconomic system, it ruins society, it condemns and enslaves men and women, it destroys human fraternity, it sets people against one another and, as we clearly see, it even puts at risk our common home.”

In an article on the Pope and his politics, the author and blogger Jean Kaufman (neoneocon.com) wonders if this last bit doesn’t make Francis something of a “semi-Rousseauvian,” positing a “state of nature in which humans would be exhibiting fraternity, would have an unruined society, and would not be ‘set against one another,’ but for the existence of unchecked capitalism.”  We take Kaufman’s point, but we’ll go her one better.  Taken in conjunction with the first bit, about the sovereignty of the individual repelling him, we think it’s pretty clear that Pope Francis a full-blown Rousseauian.

As we have noted countless times in these pages, the social contract as interpreted by Jean-Jacques Rousseau is the foundation of every leftist dictatorship and mass murdering regime since Rousseau’s death in 1778.  From the French Revolution to the Russian Revolution, from syndicalism to communism, from Mao to Ho, the Left – including the contemporary Western Left – has found its inspiration in Rousseau.

The differences between the Right and the Left very often boil down to the differences in beliefs about the nature of government, the rights of the governed, and the interaction between the two.  In short, the differences are often best exemplified by the contrasting conceptions of the social contract.  The Left traces its understanding of government and the citizen to Jean Jacques Rousseau, while the Right is more a product of John Locke’s ideas.

Among the other differences between the two, Rousseau and Locke clashed over the idea of the sovereign, from whence said sovereign draws its powers, and what that all means for those under its rule.  Rousseau believed, and argued, that the state exists only to guarantee liberty and that true liberty can only be expressed and understood in the will of the people, which is to say the “collective will.”

Additionally, and more relevantly in this case, Rousseau’s view of the world was based in large part on his belief about man’s pre-societal existence and on the culprit he blames for damaging that existence.  This myth of the “egalitarian state of nature” underpinned Rousseau’s worldview.  In the opening line of Emile, Rousseau, declared that “Everything is good in leaving the hands of the creator of things; everything degenerates in the hands of man.”  Rousseau’s critique of modern society and his lionization of pre-societal man are, perhaps, his most consistent themes. They are also his most powerful and far-reaching contributions to political philosophy.

In The Second Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, Rousseau argued forcefully that private property was the source of society’s ills. “The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, to whom it occurred to say this is mine, and found people sufficiently simple to believe him, was the true founder of civil society.”

All of this, clearly and sadly, sounds perfectly consistent with what we now know about Pope Francis’s views on government, property, and the nature of man.  Moreover, this clearly places Francis outside of the traditional American view of government and property and outside of the American Founders’ vision of man, his rights, and the role of the Creator.  And since the Founders based their vision on that of Locke, who owed a considerable intellectual debt to Aquinas, Rousseau and his followers are therefore outside of the vision of man, God, and natural law as described by perhaps the greatest doctor of the Church.  And you don’t have to take just our word for it.  Rousseau and his threat to natural law and God’s law is a subject to which some of this and last century’s greatest minds gave considerable thought.  Indeed, of the greatest minds to tackle Rousseau and his toxic effects on society belonged to none other than Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, who was at the time the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is the successor to the Inquisition and is the body within the Church responsible for “spread[ing] sound Catholic doctrine and defend[ing] those points of Christian tradition which seem in danger because of new and unacceptable doctrines.”  For those of you who may not know, Cardinal Ratzinger went on to become Pope Benedict XVI, Francis’s immediate successor and the Pope emeritus today.  In 1996,the future Pope wrote the following:

Common to the whole Enlightenment is the will to emancipation, first in the sense of Kant’s sapere aude – dare to use your reason for yourself.  Kant is urging the individual reason to break free of the bonds of authority, which must all be subjected to critical scrutiny.  Only what is accessible to the eyes of reason is allowed validity.  This philosophical program is by its very nature a political one as well: reason shall reign, and in the end no other authority is admitted than that of reason.  Only what is accessible to reason has validity; what is not reasonable, that is, not accessible to reason, cannot be binding either.  This fundamental tendency of the Enlightenment shows up, however, in diverse, even antithetical, social philosophies and political programs.  It seems to me that we can distinguish two major currents.  The first is the Anglo-Saxon current with its predominantly natural rights orientation and its proclivity towards constitutional democracy, which it conceives as the only realistic system of freedom.  At the opposite end of the spectrum is the radical approach of Rousseau, which aims ultimately at complete autarchy.

Natural rights thinking critically applies the criterion of man’s innate rights both to positive law and to the concrete forms of government.  These rights are held to be prior to every legal order and are considered its measure and basis.  “Man is created free, and is still free, even were he born in chains,” says Friedrich Schiller in this sense.  Schiller is not making a statement which consoles slaves with metaphysical notions, but is offering a principle for fighters, a maxim for action.  A juridical order which creates slavery is an order of injustice.  From creation man has rights which must be enforced if there is to be justice.  Freedom is not bestowed upon man from without.  He is a bearer of rights because he is created free.  Such thinking gave rise to the idea of human rights, which is the Magna Charta of the modern struggle for freedom.  When nature is spoken of in this context what is meant is not simply a system of biological processes.  Rather, the point is that rights are naturally present in man himself prior to all legal constructs.  In this sense, the idea of human rights is in the first place a revolutionary one: it opposes the absolutism of the state and the caprice of positive legislation.  But it is also a metaphysical idea: there is an ethical and legal claim in being itself.  It is not blind materiality which can then be formed in accord with pure functionality.  Nature contains spirit, ethos and dignity, and in this way is a juridical claim to our liberation as well as its measure.  In principle, what we find here is very much the concept of nature in Romans 2.  According to this concept, which is inspired by the Stoa and transformed by the theology of creation, the Gentiles know the law “by nature” and are thus a law unto themselves (Rom 2:14). . . .

For Rousseau, everything which owes its origin to reason and will is contrary to nature, and corrupts and contradicts it.  The concept of nature is not itself shaped by the idea of a right supposedly preceding all our institutions as a law of nature.  Rousseau’s concept of nature is anti-metaphysical and is correlative to his dream of total, absolutely unregimented freedom.  Similar ideas resurface in Nietzsche, who opposes Dionysian frenzy to Apollonian order, thus conjuring up primordial antitheses in the history of religions: the order of reason, whose symbolic representation is Apollo, corrupts the free, unrestrained frenzy of nature.  Klages reprises the same motif with his idea that the spirit is the adversary of the soul: the spirit is not the great new gift wherein alone freedom exists, but is corrosive of the pristine origin with its passion and freedom.  In a certain respect this declaration of war on the spirit is inimical to the Enlightenment, and to that extent National Socialism, with its hostility towards the Enlightenment and its worship of “blood and soil,” could appeal to currents such as these.  But even here the fundamental motif of the Enlightenment, the cry for freedom, is not only operative, but occurs in its most radically intensified form.  In the radical politics both of the past and of the present century, various forms of such tendencies have repeatedly erupted against the democratically domesticated form of freedom.  The French Revolution, which had begun with the idea of a constitutional democracy, soon cast off these fetters and set out on the path of Rousseau and of the anarchic conception of freedom; precisely by this move it became inevitably a bloody dictatorship.

Marxism too is a continuation of this radical line: it consistently criticized democratic freedom as a sham and promised a better, more radical freedom.  Indeed, its fascination derived precisely from its promise of a grander and bolder freedom than is realized in the democracies.  Two aspects of the Marxist system seem to me particularly relevant to the problem of freedom in the modern period and to the question of truth and freedom.

(1)Marxism proceeds from the principle that freedom is indivisible, hence, that it exists as such only when it is the freedom of all.  Freedom is tied to equality.  The existence of freedom requires before anything else the establishment of equality.  This means that it is necessary to forego freedom in order to attain the goal of total freedom. . . .

(2) Bound up with this notion is the assumption that the freedom of the individual depends upon the structure of the whole and that the struggle for freedom must be waged not primarily to secure the rights of the individual, but to change the structure of the world.

This is, we think, a fairly damning indictment of Rousseau and of those who adopt his conceptions of government, freedom, and man’s true purpose – including Robespierre, Nietzsche, the Nazis, and the Marxists.  As we said, countless brilliant minds have been set to the task of discrediting Rousseau, but it is no mere coincidence that we chose this mind and this passage by Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict.

Over the long-term, this dichotomy is untenable.  The current Pope not only believes but advocates aggressively for a conception of man that is directly contradicted by that of his predecessor, who, before he became Pope, served as the official responsible for the promulgation and defense of Church beliefs.  At some point, something will have to give, and either Pope Francis’s view will overtake his predecessor’s causing a rift in the Church, or Francis will have to amend his beliefs, causing a rift of a different sort.

The greater tragedy in all of this, however, is secular.  The world needs heroes today, just as desperately as it did thirty-five years ago.  Those heroes are clearly not likely to come from the American political realm, where people like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump currently occupy the spotlight.  They are also unlikely to come from the international political realm, where a century of post-colonial guilt has rendered most global leaders as feckless and self-loathing as their American counterparts.

That leaves the religious realm.  And with Francis at the helm of the Catholic Church, our expectations are notably reduced.  It’s not that Pope Francis isn’t a remarkable man preaching a compassionate and remarkable gospel of caring for the lowliest among us.  He most certainly is all of that.  But he is also a revolutionary, as his admirers describe him.  Unfortunately, revolutionaries who take the tack he appears to have taken often end up as mere precursors to the real revolutionaries, whose motives turn out to be less benevolent.  History has taught us that the French Revolution eventually produces Robespierre; that the Russian Revolution eventually produces Stalin; that the Chinese Revolution eventually produces Mao; and that the Cuban Revolution eventually wanders from its “nationalist” and “popular” origins and winds up under Soviet Domination.  We have no rational reason to believe that the Franciscan Revolution will end any differently.

For those of us who have long believed that the Catholic Church is one of the few remaining bastions of stability and reason in an increasingly chaotic world, this is a terrifying thought.  For those of us who remember the effect that Pope John Paul II had in combination with Reagan and Thatcher, it is a depressing thought as well. Will the West survive this revolution?  Heaven only knows.  But for our part, we’re far from optimistic.

At the risk of overdramatizing our position, we will end this piece with two quotes.  The first is from the author of the classic anti-totalitarian novel Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler, who warned the world against “men of good will with strong frustrations and feeble brains, the wishful thinkers and idealistic moral cowards, the fellow-travelers of the death train.”

And the second is from another former communist who saw the light and helped lead the fight against communism during the Cold War, Max Eastman.  To wit: “We must arm our minds now against the less obvious, the more strong and plausible and patriotic enemies of freedom, the advocates of a state-planned economy.  They are not on the train, and have no thought of getting on, but they are laying the tracks along which another death train will travel.”

 

Copyright 2015. The Political Forum. 8563 Senedo Road, Mt. Jackson, Virginia 22842, tel. 402-261-3175, fax 402-261-3175. All rights reserved. Information contained herein is based on data obtained from recognized services, issuer reports or communications, or other sources believed to be reliable. However, such information has not been verified by us, and we do not make any representations as to its accuracy or completeness, and we are not responsible for typographical errors. Any statements nonfactual in nature constitute only current opinions which are subject to change without notice.