Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Does this clerical collar make me look fat?

The Spanish company of everyone's favorite off-Broadway musical (masquerading as a religious order) has its pearls in knot: It seems that John Paul II simply didn't understand the Jesuits' need to dance, or as they put it, their "creative fidelity":

The editorial accused “the spin which the papacy of John Paul II introduced into the Church” of stifling the reforms being led by Father Pedro Arrupe (Father General of the Society during the post-conciliar period). “The Jesuits went from being the defenders of the Roman Pontiff, to the object of suspicion because of progressivism, sympathy for Communism, and excessive concern for human justice, thus downplaying eternal salvation,” the editorial complains.

The authors claim Pope John Paul’s immensely successful papal voyages “may have led some to believe in the effectiveness of this ministry which was more spectacular than profound.” The Pope’s ministry was a failure, they claim, because it did not “close the gap between a technologically advanced society that is global in nature—and that continues to marginalize the poor— and the
dictates of Christian faith and morals, as they are officially proclaimed.”

“The Jesuits have observed a ‘time of silence’ during these years,” the editorial continues. The “creative fidelity” of the Jesuits toward the Church “has not always been well understood and accepted.”

Look at that last paragraph: I have never seen a more lapidary distillation of the Jesuits' rationale for decades of defiance of the instruments of the teaching Church, nor have I encountered a better illustration of what the Church's recent instruction means by "affective maturity." Anyone who has spoken at length with various members of the Society comes across this same line of argument, albeit in more or less mincing diction. "We are loyal to the institution of the papacy, but that doesn't mean we have to follow every deatail that [insert Pope's name here]'s reactionary mind dreams up." Or how about this, "I understand my oath of obedience to apply to what the papacy stand's for, not to an individual." Or, perhaps if you go to the right bars, "The institutional Church's understanding of this obedience thing is just too butch for me!"

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Three men in a tub: Gay "Marriage," Militant Islam, and the European Left

The European Union's super nanny state takes a bold stand in defense of its core values:

The justice minister of the European Union, Franco Frattini, announced this week at the EU parliament in Strasburg that member states which do not eliminate all forms of discrimination against homosexuals, including the refusal to approve “marriage” and unions between same-sex couples, would be subject to sanctions and eventual expulsion from the EU....

“Homophobia is a violation of human rights and we are watching member states on this issue and reporting on cases in which our efforts have been unsuccessful,” Fratti said. In this way “the Commission and the European Parliament seek to make any refusal to grant homosexual couples the same rights as a married couple a crime of ‘homophobia’,” the report warned.

For the past decade now everyone from David Horowitz to Mark Steyn has been trying to explain the cozy relationship between the European left, with its assault on all things marital, fertile, and reproductive, and militant Islam, with its passion for creatively maiming and killing aberrant women and homosexuals. Although we can explain how this comes about (various petit pont "-ismes," post-colonial guilt, etc.), the structural "why" remains elusive. But, just after I read the above, the image of Franco Frattini, M. de Villepin, and Yassir Arafat relaxing together in a tub of Mr Bubble flashed through my mind and it became clear!

Like the Hell's Angels at Altamount, militant Islam is the EUrocrats' "security" detail. Unlike the reliably rightist military or national police forces, non-assimilating Muslims are irregulars whose political advantage can generally be plotted as the antithesis of the traditional European Right. With the Hell's Angels the Stones had no worries about the cops coming down on them for their back-stage drug-fueled antics; with militant Islam, the EUrocrats keep the always restive and potentially nationalistic middle class in its place without raising the profile of the military (and the potential for awakening national/rightist fervor that goes with it).

For years now the bargain offered by the EU has been clear for all to see: on one side of the balance sheet are billions in low or no interest loans, open markets, easy immigration, and unprecedented access to higher education. On the other side are state-mandated homo-matrimony, abortion, and curtailment of free speech. For many in both old and new Europe this already seems like a bargain that can't be refused. Still there remain a great many, especially in new Europe, for whom no amount of Euros is worth destroying marriage, family, and national identity.

Now, throw in an angry unassimilated Muslim population and the calculous changes. For those used to recurring to the state for self-defense, pension, health care, education, and all forms of welfare where does one turn but the new super state. With their own atrophied militaries the effectively border-less EU member states have little choice but to trust to the EU bureaucracy for help in shuffling their immigration problems around among all the member states. Enough has been written on Europe's demographic catastrophe to see that this protection racket can't last too much longer. But why should it? The rampant fraud exposed and then silenced in Brussels suggests to me that the EUrocratic left are in this to make all they can and get out. In countries where (as in Spain) over 20% of the workforce is state-employed, there is a reliably pro-bureaucrat rump electorate to keep expanding the role of the super state. I am hardly saying that every stoned hippy and anarchist protesting for the Palestinian struggle is in on the racket, but their adolescent irresponsibility and refusal to consider the bigger picture are just as useful to the EUrocrats as the intimidation that reigns in the banlieus. And, these radicals must be temporarily bought off as well, hence the sops to gay rights and the other NGOs of the self-destructive left.

"Nanny come save us!" scream the helpless children. To whom she answers, "Only if you play nice and do exactly as I say."

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Siren's Song of Supply-Side Sodomy

Over at the imaginitively titled SpainMedia Dan thinks he has the prescription for how to put Spain's (right/center-right) Popular Party back on top: embrace homosexuals [I couldn't resist], abortion and cut out all the rest of the anachronistic popery:

The PP will have its work cut out in trying to lessen the influence of traditional Catholic sectors within the party, but the religious right stalwart PP voter doesn’t really have anywhere else to go, and a new outlook will attract more forward-thinking voters from the centre right who are often turned off by the anachronistic views of a party dominated by well-dressed rednecks.

....the PP also needs to shake off its Alf Garnett image in social issues: strongly influenced by the church, the party continually fires off tirades against homosexuals, abortion, secular education and anything deemed to be ‘politically correct’, leaving any economically centre-right but socially liberal voters desperately scrambling round for an alternative.

All of which has worked so famously well for the Tories in the UK. When he's not begging the question, Nicholls rests his argument principally upon the success of Tony Blair at re-branding Labour to sop up the disaffected middling types whom the Tories had lost by, presumably, sliding too far to the right and putting on the strait jacket of values conservatism. But the real comparison of the PP is with the Tories and the cul de sac in which they find themselves for having followed too closely Dan's advice. After all the socially conscious mincing about by Ian Duncan Smith the Tories fell even further.

In the case of the PP, they are first off, a rightish sort of party with a platform that, after Aznar, owes much more to Ronald Reagan than to any of the avatars of the continental right. Looking to the left of the PP we see PSOE--commited champions of the dying EU--and IU ever poised to steal small scraps of the electorate that will never be in play for the PP anyhow. The "economically centre-right but socially liberal" voter invoked above is poorly cast. Among those for whom the social issues of gay "marriage" and abortion are righteous causes, there are far more credible representatives of these tribal identifications on the left vanguard than anywhere on the right, and no amount of supply-side reforms is gonna make them identify as traitors to the tribe. Given how low abortion rates are in Spain (although climbing at a horrifying rate), abortion is simply not a decisive issue even on the centre-left, to say nothing of the centre-right. Did Aznar need to mute his stance on abortion to achieve either his victories or his reforms? The minority on the left for whom these social questions were essential bolted to IU, and PSOE could never manage to raid the regional parties' bases to make up for the loss. At least not until March 2004. The PP did not come to power on their social platform, nor did they fall out of power on those grounds.

It's quite likely that, in the aggregate, the fractious Spanish electorate is somewhat to the left of the PP on abortion, but it is FAR to the right of the PSOE on gay "marriage" and regional separatism. Although conservatives in Spain, as everywhere, are loath to take to the streets, record crowds turned out in the past year for the two largest demonstrations in the history of Spanish democracy. These demonstrations were against: gay "marriage" and the education reform propounded by Zapatero. It was back in June when Zapatero's government suffered its first real slump in public opinion, just as the legislature took up his proposal to re-define marriage.

Now is hardly the time for the PP to abandon principles for votes that will never materialize. Ideas and policies matter, and as Greece's social security debt swells above 25% of GDP with other European nations' balance sheets not far behind, the economic ideals that Aznar enshrined in the PP will wear very well indeed. The cruel realities of demography too will play a part: at 1.1 children per fertile woman, the increasingly fewer native Spaniards, reluctant to throw their immediate pleasures over for family life, are going to be tough to persuade that they need to shell out at steeply progressive rates for the top-heavy mass about to join the pensioned ranks within the next ten years. A more disaffected north African immigrant population will be even less likely to opt for confiscatory taxation that must be diverted from other social programs to kafir pensioners.

Seen in the long term, Nicholls's suggestions become only more obtuse. In a little over a generation, Spain will have lost about 30% of its native-born population. Who is to make this up? This demographic decline is not irreversible, but will certainly accelerate with liberal abortion and the assault upon marriage. Since Zapatero loosened restrictions, an estimated 20,ooo more Spanish citizens have been dismembered in utero. In purely practical terms, Spain can ill afford to lose this many native-born citizens who would otherwise strengthen the warp and weft of its societal fabric. Will the sort of immigrants that Spain is welcoming be able to make this up?

Can a society that won't even welcome their own naturally born children welcome the world's least assimilable immigrants? Perhaps Carlos, Emilio's "wife," will welcome them with a Jell-O mold.
With the good sense that only generations of starvation and strong drink could have bred in my tribe I shall keep this first entry brief. Human events will lubricate this machine in due time. For now I shall be content merely not to have "foozled my tee-shot" as our Plum would say. To my public I bid you all most welcome! Events both ecclesial and secular will concern us and it will chiefly be my humor that dictates any method to my posting.

Para mis lectores hispanoparlantes: entiendo, leo, y hablo Castellano, pero mi gramática y composición (sin mencionar la ortografía) no son las mas perfectas de todo el mundo mundial.