Saturday, April 23, 2005

The Church and the Radicals II

The Catholic Church seems in danger of falling into the same trap the radical Left has been in for more than a generation now. There's no sense in talking about how to make things better with an incremental, policy by policy ameliorative agenda. Those things only make "The System" work better, and it is "The System" that is the problem. "Abbie Hoffman contemptuously dismissed 'political revolution' on the grounds that politics merely 'breeds organizers.'" So working for a more equitable health care system, progressive taxation, an excellent public education sector, or social and economic justice were all dismissed as mere band-aids on a corrupt system not worth saving.

Substitute "The Modern World" for "The System" and you see a very similar way of thinking among Vatican elites. They become less and less capable of participating in any kind of rational discussion about how to deal with problems like the population explosion, AIDS, or the dilemmas posed by advances in medical technology. Their contempt for the entire post-Enlightenment world is such that one suspects they don't mind it a bit if these problems continue to rage -"Burn, Baby Burn!"- because it only hastens the day when the world sees the error of its ways and comes back to them. The same applies to geopolitics. Why would the difficult, grueling project of transforming an Iraqi society that had suffered under fascism into a democratic state be worth it if Liberal democratic states and fascist states were not fundamentally different in kind? If the two were essentially morally equivalent, the war would, indeed, be indefensible, wouldn't it?