Thursday, May 17, 2012

Double-standard intolerance

Michael Polanyi once pointed out that when freedom of thought is extended to embrace freedom to reject the basis for freedom of thought, it undermines itself. I have never understood how so-called "liberals" have so often failed to see something so basic about their own "liberalism," that what begins as advocacy for "tolerance" ends in brutal intolerance.

J. L. Talmon, a scholar from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, saw this clearly in his study, The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy, a study of, among other things, J.-J. Rousseau's Social Contract.

Flannery O'Connor once spoke on the issue of liberal compassion: "Do you know where [their] tenderness leads? It ends in forced labor camps and in the fumes of the gas chambers," she declared.

But all of this is too theoretical. The simple point is this: there is nothing more authoritarian and intolerant that a certain kind of "liberalism." True, the Christian right can be intolerant too; but there is a difference. The Christian right opposes many vices that are now generally defended as acceptable by the public mainstream. It does not reject the very basis for toleration, however, which lies in clearly distinguishing between vices and virtues.

Tolerance only has meaning, and can only be implemented with any even-handedness, within a context of a larger framework of traditional values based on moral insight, understanding of human nature, and natural law.

[Hat tip to Fr. Z.]


bill bannon said...

But historically when the Christian right had coercive power, it stretched people on the strappado. I'm all for stretching exercises...I am. It's just that they should be voluntary. When the Christian right had coercive power, it cut Quaker's ears off. I'm all about getting a trim around the ears...I am. But not a trim of the ears. Look at the Quaker on the Quaker Oats box. Search in vain for ears.
When the Christian right had coercive power, they divided the world between Spain and Portugal. That went well. You're now safer sending your daugther on vacation to Shinto Japan rather than any country in the Catholic continent...S.A. Next time you get mugged in Rio, read the middle of the 4th large paragraph in Romanus Pontifex by Pope Nicholas V.

Pertinacious Papist said...

As to Shinto Japan, I quite agree, although it's the Confucian influence more than the Shinto, which latter animated Japanese imperialism before and during WWII.

As to your main point, however, I would note a significant difference between abuse on the Christian right and abuse on the anti-Christian secular left. Both are abuse, and as far as the victims are concerned, one is no better than the other. However, in the case of abuse on the Christian side, there is a basis for judging it as ab-use; on the other, there is not. Hence Martin Luther King, Jr., appealed to the Christian conscience of Southern white racists still resident in their ethos as a basis for turning the corner on the abuse of racist discrimination and segregation. To what would the Catholic appeal once Obama's HHS Mandate, repeal of DOMA, and all the legal repercussions that will inevitably follow become a reality? If there is no recognition of natural law, which there isn't in his administration, then all that's left is positive law, which is the will of the dictator.

bill bannon said...

You trust the clergy on natural law as to sex. St. Alphonsus noted that even saints have disgreed on the more complicated levels of the natural law in his Theologia Moralis. You should be able to understand why the non Catholic world doesn't trust the Catholic clergy or Popes on sex and the natural law. Heck one couldn't trust the original natural law experts...the Stoics on sex or on infanticide.
We just had another sex scandal with Fr. Thomas Williams having fathered a child who he refers to as "her child" and he teaches ethics to the LC at their university besides being the face of Catholicism at ABC and CBS. Fr. Corapi...strict publically on sex.
Fr. Entennauer...strict publically on sex....denounced Hannity as heretic then hit on a recovered demon possession woman. Fr. Williams....strict publically on sex. Cardinal Law and multiple Bishops and auxiliary Bishops...strict publically on sex...but thinking lightly of placing children near danger which turned out to be
near 25% penile penetration or its attempt cases (John
Jay). No Pope stepping in, in an emergency manner during this emergency to override an arrested system to protect children.

And you are stunned that the world doesn't see us as the experts on sex.

Pertinacious Papist said...

No, my friend, I'm not stunned at anything these days, when the whole world, much of the Catholic included, is slipping into the shadows of oblivion and idiocy.

Just one comment about natural law. It's not a theory, but a reality. There are theories about it, and some are good and others bad. There are good Catholics and bad Catholics, plenty of sin to go around. But none of that obliterates the fact of natural law.

Even if a person is idiot enough to try to cultivate tomato plants by pouring gasoline on them, most of the world still has enough common sense to know that the nature of a tomato plant demands water, while the nature of an auto demands gasoline.

What we need today is more purity, growth in grace and personal sanctity, all of which demands prayer and commitment; and less theories rationalizing immorality. God bless. - PP