Wednesday, August 07, 2013

There will be a Quiz at 1 pm

A very good article by Ross Douthat, "Conservative Catholics and the New Pope" (New York Times, July 31, 2013). [Sorry, no time now for anything more. Read the article. Good.]

[Hat tip to JM]


Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Like a blue lobster or a negro in a national park, the sighting of a Tradition-at-heart person in the conservative catholic collective is a one-in-a-million rarity and the NY Times does not hire rare Catholics but safe Catholics who can be counted on not to trend within a ten-miles in length Crosier's distance of Tradition.

For the Jews who run the NY Times, Mr. Douthat is a safe catholic.

Here is a little background on First Things (whose editor regularly appeared on EWTN) a periodical that, from the get-go, was a Jewish Neo-Con front whose mission was to make acceptable to Catholics the very UnCatholic ideology of those who paid Fr Neuhaus to pipe their tune.

To begin with, Richard John Neuhaus founded First Things in response to Jewish concern about the rise of Pat Buchanan and paleoconservatism. I have told this story before, but it is interesting to consult Benjamin Ginsberg, who wrote Fatal Embrace, when paleoconservatism was considered a very real threat in Jewish circles. Beneath the façade of interfaith collaboration on the civil rights movement model, Ginsberg discerns bedrock ethnic identity, which in America means religious affiliation. So the paleocons, led by Patrick Buchanan, “are socially conservative” and “some, like Buchanan, are conservative Catholics who reject the reforms mandated by liberal popes and the Vatican II conference [sic].” They were disgruntled in the early ‘90s because they had been swindled by the Republicans on the right-to-life issue, or, as Ginsberg puts it, “Though Reagan and Bush paid lip service to the concerns of these groups by praising the right-to-life movement and other moral goals, both lacked a genuine commitment to social issues that eventually became apparent and led to a sense of betrayal among social conservatives.”

Pat Buchanan was the Ahmadinejad of his day. He was the revenant of Father Coughlin, Henry Ford, and Charles Lindbergh all rolled up into one. He was the most significant threat to Jewish hegemony over American culture since America First, and Ginsberg’s description of him shows how dire the threat seemed to American Jews as of 1993:

After a long hiatus, anti-Semitism has once again become a significant phenomenon on the political right. The most noteworthy expression was, of course, Pat Buchanan’s charge that the Persian Gulf war was promoted by the Israeli Defense Ministry and its “amen corner” in the United States and his subsequent description of Congress as “Israeli-occupied” territory.

Richard John Neuhaus’s patrons Midge Decter and Norman Podhoretz were every bit as concerned about the Pat Buchanan phenomenon and paleoconservatism as Benjamin Ginsberg. Seeing an opportunity, Neuhaus became a double agent. While still working as editor of the Rockford Institute’s Religion and Society newsletter, Neuhaus was undermining the institution which published it, referring to the Rockford Institute as located in “the fever swamps” of intellectual discourse at cocktail parties in Manhattan. Finally, the hostility came out in the open and after a high speed car chase in Manhattan to secure the filing cabinet containing donor names, Neuhaus succeeded in diverting a $250,00 Bradley Foundation grant from Rockford to be used as the founding nest egg for First Things.

The founding of First Things was just one skirmish in a decade-long campaign which involved the subversion of just about every Catholic journal of opinion by Neoconservative agents of influence. Dale Vree, editor of the New Oxford Review recounted his big chance when a Jewish donor from the East Coast showed up at his offices and offered NOR money if it would support 1) free market economics and 2) a muscular American foreign policy. Vree declined, but the editorial record of other Catholic publications speaks for itself.

Kevin Tierney said...

Anything by Ross Douthat tends to be something worth reading.

JFM said...


I enjoy your posts. But I take exception to this one.

"...a Jewish Neo-Con front whose mission was to make acceptable to Catholics the very UnCatholic ideology of those who paid Fr Neuhaus to pipe their tune."

I have read FT for two decades, but also am a friends of things like Latin Mass Magazine. And I don't recognize the mag from your description. A mixed bag, sure. A front? That sounds more like something Thomas Drolesky or Gerry Matatics might spin. In fact, I wish the Vatican would release more items with as much doctrinal clarity and orthodoxy as many of the ECT documents... Which probably makes you laugh.


Ralph Roister-Doister said...

"When First Things was founded, Richard John Neuhaus could presume a broad range of religiously engaged people who had diverse political commitments"

Plastic peanuts. Americans have been secularists in the clinch for a lot longer than First Things has been around. Religious affiliation is largely an affectation, like one's affiliation with a particular brand of sneakers, or a social lubricant, like one's enthusiasm for a particular NFL team. Reno knows that, of course, but he is an academic apparatchik with that most prized of possessions, editorship of a journal that is both financially secure, and of some intellectual standing. This guarantees Reno access to publication (the key to self-promotion and influence in the academic colisseum), and makes him a powerful figure among his peers. Ring-smooching, after all, is not exactly unheard of in the academic community.

"Religiosity now strongly correlates with partisan loyalty. Nones are overwhelmingly Democrat. Regular churchgoers, especially but not exclusively Evangelicals, trend ­Republican. This politicizes religion."

When has religion and politics not been entwined? Not to say that that is a good thing, just that Reno's rumblings of grave concern are fashionably late in coming, especially considering his job as editor of First Things. The intersection of religion and politics is where FT has maintained its most profitable Kool-Aid stand.

"Second, religious people are becoming more and more dependent on the Republican party to protect their interests (religious liberty, for example). We could easily become a taken-for-granted base largely irrelevant to the party’s larger policy debate, as African-Americans often are in the Democratic party."

Could?? This might have been a penetrating insight fifty years ago. In 2013 it is a joke, a case of Pollyanna discovering that her sugar daddy has other mistresses stashed away, and that those others have been laughing at her stupidity for decades.

"Third, religion, especially orthodox Christianity, may end up implicated in the inevitable failures and corruptions of the Republican party. "

Well, duh.

“We may be in danger of recapitulating in some ways the disastrous alliances of the Catholic Church with the European right in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries."

Yeh, or maybe the cluster embrace of the V2 fathers with American-style liberal democrats and protestant capitalists in the mid-twentieth century. Funny Bob didn’t think of that one.