19 March 2013

Mark Shea, in fine form this week

Mark Shea is here to kick arse and chew bubblegum. And apparently, today his supply of gum ran out.

He has two spectacularly devastating articles which are calling out banality and drivel left and right, with regard to the bigoted Malthusian misuse of evolutionary theory in an anti-theistic context in the one, and with regard to the ressentiment-filled embrace of idiocy of the American Thing-That-Used-to-Be-Conservatism in the other.

(Also, incredibly quotable stuff, this. ‘The basic rule of thumb is that you stick to your guns when you are right and the crowd is wrong, not when you are proven multiple times to have been disastrously and stupidly wrong and your critics are right.’)

But taking the two posts together, it becomes very clear that the post-Christian cultural American ‘left’ and the aggressively Calvinist cultural American ‘right’ actually share a great deal in common. The technocratic hubris of the cultural elites who believe they can replace God, and those who embrace a post-modern rejection of historical and scientific fact in order to bolster their far-right political worldview, seem to come to the same place. And in that place, the poor and the non-white are made to feel highly unwelcome indeed.

If that sounds forbidding and gloomy, it always bears remembering that the converse also holds true.

The salvation of the Left lies in its embrace of economic and social equality, and of the traditional Abrahamic provenance of that idea, without which support wears very thin indeed. The salvation of the Right lies in its embrace of the transcendental non-negotiable value of the ‘permanent things’, and in a scepticism following from that value of the levelling and social disruption which comes out of materialist capitalism.

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