Second: re: America the Incorruptible

Somehow, when I say, “I hold no brief for the ICC”, people keep hearing me say “Support the ICC! Globalism Now! Down with Amerika!”

In my comments boxes, I think I’m now up to the fifth time I’ve said, “I don’t care about the ICC”. I don’t have a “globalist” agenda except that I’d like to see the Catholic faith spread across the globe. I’m merely pointing out that when a Powerful Interest threatens excommunication against those who are investigating its corruption and says, “Since when is refusing sacraments to which you have no right ‘blackmail’?” we tend to assume that “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. But when another Powerful Interest says the same thing about withholding money to nations that threaten its interests, we see not the slightest whiff of suspicion, but a vigorous call for those darned “anti-Americans” to go to hell (as I was told to do in my comments box).

So, to repeat: My point is not “Support the ICC!” It’s not even “Power corrupts” (which is untrue, sin corrupts). It’s that there are not a few people like my “go to hell!” friend out there who regard any talk of check on American power as a threat and thereby trump their own alleged faith in the doctrine of original sin with an American conservative ideology that, at bottom, rejects the possibility that the human institution called America could ever become an engine of evil in the world. It’s simply impossible. We’re Americans. We’re special. We need no checks on our power.

The article I cited happened to be about one (not very promising) attempt to check American power called the ICC. I linked it not because I have any enthusiasm for the ICC, but because it was an example of the US fighting any checks on its power. Some of my readers appear to have used a stimulus/response method in exegeting my blog on the matter. Stimulus: “ICC”. Response: “Go to hell!” Such a reaction doesn’t appear to have read a word I said. I must be a “globalist”. I used a sentence with the letters “ICC” in it. Theology? Original sin? Oh, that’s for religion classes, not the real world.

So, to again, be clear: I hold not brief for any of the institutions that are currently on the table as checks to American power. Indeed, I would say that there is no realistic mechanism of check on American power at present. I suspect Rome’s tendency to want to defer to the UN is along the lines of an attempt to help that happen, but I think the UN so corrupt that I’m dubious that this can (or should) happen. But American Conservatives, in my experience, tend to react like like my “go to hell!” correspondent to *any* suggestion of *any* constraint on American power.

That’s because this general rule of thumb in American political discourse is true: American liberals find it impossible to believe the fall affects our sexuality, though they find it easy to believe it affects the rich and powerful. Conservatives find it easy to believe it affects our sexuality and hard to believe it affects the richest and most powerful nation in the world. Once again, Catholic theology is at cross purposes with all our human ideologies.

This, again, is not to say “America is evil!” It is to say that America is the creation of fallen humans like every other human creation and therefore stands in grave danger, like all human creations, of becoming an instrument of our appetites and our pride. And the road pride takes to the human heart is *always* to pit the good against the best. America has real and enormous virtues which only an idiot can deny. So did Israel in 70 AD. That’s why they refused to believe the warnings Jesus gave 40 years earlier. How could he say those terrible things about a nation that has brought this much good into the world? An ideology that blinds itself, from the outset, to *any* possibility that the creaturely object of its love can do evil is an ideology ripe for disaster.

So no. I wasn’t implying the behavior of the US was wrong in rejecting the dubious ICC. I was stating the behavior in the article, which would have set off red flags and klaxons of alarm about “accountability” had bishops done it, set off no alarms at all among conservatives, only an ocassional kneejerk “go to hell!” to anybody who referenced the article, because conservatives basically agree that the US should not be accountable to anybody and that any attempt at imposing accountability is “globalism” and people who talk of it can just go to hell. In other words, my point was about what conservatives are sensitized to, not about the merits of the US case against the ICC.


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