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The progressive mindset April 7, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, General Catholic, scandals.

I really like a blog called Protein Wisdom, run by a guy named Jeff Goldstein.  At times, it is profane and its frequently controversial.  But, it’s also erudite and brilliant.  It’s not a repubican party site, it’s dedicated to personal liberty and individual freedom – more libertarian in its outlook.  It’s right up my alley.  Anyway, Mr. Goldstein recently wrote this:

When the “objective” press becomes more interested in partisan activism than reporting facts — and when the government begins granting itself exemptions to Constitutional law, under the rationale that they are answerable, really, only to themselves (and, down the road, perhaps to an electorate that will remain mostly ignorant of the transgressions being committed in their names) — we have lost the kinds of checks and balances needed to run a democratic republic.

To people like Tom Friedman, who pines for the ease with which the autocratic Chinese government can implement social engineering projects without having to convince the public, this breakdown of the republic (which, I’ve long argued, is an inevitable result of the co-opting of the press by the left) is a feature, not a bug: after all, what good is freedom if what it offers isn’t in keeping with what our betters within the ranks of the progressives believe is what is best for us? — and so, best for them, as the self-appointed architects of the coming Utopia?

Is it any wonder, then, that to many on the left, the Constitution represents not a binding social contract, but rather an outmoded impediment to progress? Is it any wonder that, in order to circumvent that contract, the left (and many “pragmatists” on the right) embrace an idea of interpretation that allows a document imbued with original meaning to become a set of marks whose meaning is constrained only by the cleverness it takes to create new texts out of existing marks — and then the ability to peddle that new text as an “extension” or “augmentation” of the original meaning? Is our Constitution really but a document that changes from moment to moment, based on the whims of how a majority of “reasonable people” are able to interpret it — with the binding “reasonableness,” in many cases, settled by a 5-4 vote along partisan ideological lines?

Without an anchor to tie ourselves to, our liberties are — like signifiers to the deconstructionist — subject to drift. And once those in power realize that they are not restrained by anything solid — by any kind of permanent tether, in a post-Enlightenment world —power itself will only be constrained by the self-control of those who most desire its increase .

And that’s hardly who you want guarding your liberties.

Why am I posting this on my Catholic blog?  Because, the mindset described above with regard to progressives and the Constitution can be extended rather easily to describe progressives within the Church.   When Goldstein (I love that name, it makes me feel like I’m deconstructing The Theory and Practice of  Oligarchical Collectivism) argues “Is it any wonder, then, that to many on the left, the Constitution represents not a binding social contract, but rather an outmoded impediment to progress?”, the relationship to progressives within the Church becomes plain.  How often do we hear progressives describe many of the fundamental Truths established by the Church as nothing more than outmoded beliefs established by a discredited patriarchy?  When we witness arguments in favor of women’s ordination, or gay marriage, or abortion, we are told that the Truth that has been witnessed by the Church for centuries is no longer valid, that it has become an impediment ot progress and is inherently unfair.  This tendency became increasingly prevalent over the last century, where many within the Church have tried to argue that there is no single, unchanging, fundamental Truth revealed by Christ, but that all such ‘truths’ are in fact constructs and are subject to change due to different prevailing conditions.  This is, in essence, the argument of the modernist or post-modernist, that all “truth” is relative and is completely subjective.  This tendency towards modernism represents a loss of faith in the Eternal Truth of God, and at the same time leads many people on a path fundamentally away from the Church. 

We have witnessed the ultimate end-game of this tendency in two enormously painful, shameful episodes within the Church.   The first is the ongoing scandal involving pedophile priests.  Once a ‘truth’ becomes relative and subjective, and once one becomes inculcated in the thinking that ‘truth’ is what one determines it to be, and, more specifically in our hedonistic culture, that the grounding point for ‘truth’ is whether or not it makes one feel good, anything is possible, even priests using vulnerable chidren for sexual gratification.  There was a period in the Church where this mindset become the prevailing one, and if you track the rates of abuse, there is a very strong correlation between this relativistic mindset and the prevalency of abuse of children.  Once one loses Faith in God grounded in His Truth, even the most monstrous acts can be tolerated – nay, even normalized.  Such was the state of affairs at this time that, bishops, knowing such abuse was going on, tried to deal with it therapeutically, innocently ignoring that the very ‘therapeutic’ mindset, also imbued with progressivism, would only feed the cancer within the Church, and not cure it. 

We also see this mindset in the numbers of Catholics who are willing to “trade” certain social programs for human lives, or at least, grave risks being posed to human life.  A large percentage of Catholics, people who no doubt consider themselves to be good and holy people, have argued passionately that providing medical insurance for themselves or others who need it, is an acceptable bargain even if it raises substantial risks to human life, as witnessed around the world.  We even had the spectacle of Roman Catholic nuns, women whose lives are supposed to be dedicated to the spread of the Gospel and to be a witness to the Truth proclaimed by the Church, signing their names to a petition to enact progressive political legislation, even though numerous voices, including their own bishops, were stating that such enactment posed grave threats to human life, the fig leaf of an executive order not withstanding.  These people invariably argue that those opposed to this legislation on the basis of concerns over life, and many other valid, issues, simply do not understand, that there is no way that this bill poses a threat to human life.  I’m sure they believe this.  But, I think it is their general progressive mindset that leads them to this conclusion, and not an objective review of the evidence.  Many Catholics, such as Michael Sean Winters, Edward Penlaver and the democrat apologists at Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, argued that Catholics should support the health care legislation in Congress even if it paid for abortion, because it was so very important to get as many people covered by a government run health insurance program. 

Yesterday, I referenced a post on another blog that discussed how the progressive mindset, imbued as it is with ostensible ‘compassion,’ leads invariably to death.  Since the progressive mindset is not tied to any fundamental Truth but consists of the will of the progressive consensus at any particular point in time, decisions get made that on the face may seem compassionate, but inevitably lead to human lives being sacrificed to achieve some other good.  There aren’t just a few examples of this, they are voluminous: the National Socialists I already referenced, Stalin’s collectivism, Pol Pot, Mao’s Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, the Sandinistas, FARC in Columbia, murder in Zimbabwe by Mugabe’s thugs, forced abortion in China everyday, the list goes on and on.  What do all the above have in common?  Progressive politics – an extreme form, perhaps, but a progressive mindset just the same.  For as Goldstein says, “power itself will only be constrained by the self-control of those who most desire its increase.”  In Holland today, good, liberal Holland, thousands of the elderly are euthanized every year.  There is growing evidence that this euthanisia is often not voluntary, because, you see, those darned old people are just drains on our limited health care resources.   As the old saying goes, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”  That applies both literally, and figuratively.

We must pray that all in the Church will accept the Truth that is proclaimed by the Church through the Magisterium.  We must pray for all Catholics to have a deep and real belief in all the Truth, all the doctrine, of the Church.  We must pray for conversion, for those who feel that the Truth of Christ is subjective, or a human construct.  And we must pray that God will have mercy on us, should this mindset take greater hold and further misery be inflicted on mankind.  Prayer, fasting, penance, and constant vigilance  – this is the path to greater Faith, and to a true renewal in the Church.


1. In attacking the Pope…… « A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics - April 7, 2010

[…] Pope Benedict has been THE primary person at the Vatican trying to change the culture of the Church, and especially the priesthood, and who has vigorously tried to get pervert priests removed.  The press knows this, or they should.  But, then, the attacks on Benedict have always had less to do with a genuine concern for the victims, and more about a convenient weapon with which to bludgeon the Church.  More so, to bludgeon Benedict, who, with his true Catholic reforms and true ecumenism is a living rebuke of much of the progressive mindset. […]

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3. Regarding those attacks on the Pope in the NYT « A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics - April 8, 2010

[…] Regarding those attacks on the Pope in the NYT April 8, 2010 Posted by tantamergo in General Catholic, Society, foolishness. trackback This is hardly unexpected.  The current editor in chief of the NYT describes himself as a “collapsed” Catholic and has stated he wants to overthrow the Magisterium and have the Church embrace every leftist view of ‘tolerance’ and ‘progress’ imaginable.  He’s even in favor of forcing the Church to make these changes.  See what I mean about the progressive mindset?  […]

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