Prudence Means Addressing Reality, Not What We Wish is Reality

Rod Dreher and Conor Friedersdorf are attempting this.  The question to ask yourself is, when you hear those names, do you ask yourself, “Is what they are saying true?” or “Why should I listen to them because they are ritually impure sources of information?”  If the latter, I would suggest it is important to listen to people who don’t always tell you what you already think.

  • Jmac

    “I would suggest it is important to listen to people who don’t always tell you what you already think.”
    Well, I don’t think that way. Goodbye, Shea.

    • Mark Shea

      Heh!

    • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester
      • Jmac

        +1 for TvTropes link, sir.

        • Andy, Bad Person

          And…now no more work will be accomplished today.

  • Michaelus

    I keep reading these articles hoping to find some explanation of how so many people missed out on Obama’s failures. But really what we call failures are wildly popular. Dependence on Rush et al. would have led people to assume that Romney would win – but it still does not explain why Americans are manifestly committed to sodomy, abortion, insane levels of Government spending, assassination via Presidential fiat, drones and above all free birth control steroids. At this rate the Republicans ought to promise free cocaine and heroin in schools if want to win any more elections.

    • Ted Seeber

      For the same reason Republican voters are addicted to lowering taxes on the wealthy and letting them eat babies for dinner- because they’re actually voting for something else.

      #1 reason why Catholics voted for Obama- they either have or had a sick relative who very well could die from the negligence of a free-market healthcare system, or they have a relative who is undocumented and could be deported. In other words, actual family values that Romney did not support.

      #1 reason why Catholics voted for Romney- to get rid of the HHS Mandate.

      In both cases, we’re talking material cooperation with evil to achieve something good.

      Reason I didn’t vote for either? Because I can’t detect any time in history where cooperation with evil brought about good.

      • John

        From the research I’ve seen, there are two kind of Catholic voters, ‘social justice’ and ‘right to life’ Catholics. For whatever reason, those two don’t cross.

        • Andy, Bad Person

          I think that that divide (social justice vs. right to life) has been exaggerated because the two fit so neatly into the current two-party system. Republicans would find some great allies among the Black and Latino population when it comes to the right to life and the definition of marriage. They just have to get out of their own way when it comes to racial issues.

        • Ted Seeber

          See, that’s a huge part of the problem. I see the right to life *primarily* as a matter of social justice- and I see social justice *primarily* as the right to those material items that support life. The two are so intertwined to me that I am amazed anybody can separate them.

    • keddaw

      I haven’t done a detailed study, but I’m pretty sure most Americans are not only not “committed to sodomy” but are pretty much disgusted by it. But what they are is not the kind of totalitarian bar stewards who want to monitor free individuals’ bedrooms in order to see if other free, consenting adults are doing things they don’t agree with and arrest them if they do.

      Also, care to point me to where anything Jesus said had any relation to birth control?

      That apart, I totally agree. Especially about the heroin.

  • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

    Well let’s see here…

    It is hard for many conservatives to face the fact that the country isn’t what they thought it was. We have had this narrative on the right for so long that the people are virtuous, and all our problems are caused by the elites — media elites, Hollywood elites, academic elites, Washington elites (by which they mean liberal Democratic and RINO elites) — and the Special Interests they coddle. It’s difficult to conceive how quickly things have changed, and are changing.

    That was truly prescient. Doesn’t Doug Kmiec’s “inconceivable” seem dangerously antique now? What else are we on the Right going to face in the next decade that seems “inconceivable” even to our cleverest minds now, because we live in a bubble, driven more by our emotional needs, which includes both the craving to live in denial that things are as far gone as they are in certain areas, as well as its opposite, the compulsion to believe crazy things, e.g. birtherism, instead of focusing on reality?

    As someone who trawls a lot of conservative spheres, I can tell you that no, this is not exactly the case. There’s a lot of places that do talk about the changes to America. And they are most often…
    People like John Derbyshire and his writing homes like vdare & Taki’s Mag.
    Or people like Vox Day writing at (drumroll) World Net Daily.

    Now what do all these have in common? When they’re brought up, do people ask “Is what they are saying true?” or “Why should I listen to them because they are ritually impure sources of information?”? I just find it somewhat ironic that the people who were less “in the bubble” previously also seem to be the ones that are most often declared “ritually impure”.

    TLDR version: I’m less convinced the author is really concerned about reality. It comes off more about selling relestate in his own (new and improved!) bubble.

    • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

      Actually, let me correct myself.

      When it comes to disagreement, there’s still “ritually impure” and “pure” sources. I notice frequently that when people talk about “read/listen to someone who disagrees with you” it’s almost always the case that it must be the “right” kind of disagreement. (after all, consider this blog and… Ayn Rand – any recommendations to read her and her ilk to avoid a Catholic bubble?)

      Therefore, if one were to consider it all from a purely logical standpoint, the conclusion is that bubbles must always be maintained, everyone’s just fighting about the boundaries.

      • Cinlef

        I’d cheerfully advocate any decently catechized Catholic that they read Rand’s The Virtue of Selfishness, since any illustration of why Rand’s philosophy is evil is going to pale in comparison to the illustrations provided by the text themselves just as the only 100% accurate map of an area is the area’s terrain itself.

        • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

          Yes, I’m a big fan of the “hate it for the right reasons” philosophy.

  • The Deuce

    In conservative fantasy-land, Richard Nixon was a champion of ideological conservatism

    Whaaaaaaaaaaat? Has anybody here heard *any* conservative say that?

    [Conservatives thought that] Benghazi was a winning campaign issue

    Er, no. Most of us who made a big deal out of Benghazi did so because lying to the American people over a matter of grave national importance and stomping on free speech to cover it up *is* a big deal and a great injustice that ought to be exposed, not because we thought it a “winning issue.” Conor is projecting his own cynicism onto others.

    • The Deuce

      Rod Dreher, however, is right on with this one. We need to open our eyes about where we are.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    Michaelus wrote: “I keep reading these articles hoping to find some explanation of how so many people missed out on Obama’s failures. But really what we call failures are wildly popular. Dependence on Rush et al. would have led people to assume that Romney would win – but it still does not explain why Americans are manifestly committed to sodomy, abortion, insane levels of Government spending, assassination via Presidential fiat, drones and above all free birth control steroids.”

    You’re over thinking it.

    For most Americans, this election was about the economy, and the GOP ran a candidate who has never worked a hard day in his life, has no concept of what it means to work for a living, keeps millions in foreign bank accounts, loves Wall Street, loves the big banks, and wants to return to the policies that brought about the Great Recession in the first place. I don’t think it is a situation where most of the electorate loves Obama or his policies. We have a situation where the oppposition ran an empty suit and tried to convince us the suit actually had an emperor, when it so obviously didn’t.

    Economic issues might not be the primary concern for many Catholics, but we hardly represent the majority of the electorate. And even as an orthodox Catholic myself (who voted third party by the way), I was never even a little suspicious that Romney might care about the issues I care about. I know he doesn’t. I know Obama doesn’t. So I voted my consience.

  • Peggy R

    Mark Not Shea said:
    ***For most Americans, this election was about the economy, and the GOP ran a candidate who has never worked a hard day in his life, has no concept of what it means to work for a living, keeps millions in foreign bank accounts, loves Wall Street, loves the big banks, and wants to return to the policies that brought about the Great Recession in the first place. ***

    The Dem/media character assassination was quite a success. Have you read anything bout Mitt’s life? Yes, he had a great start and funds from his parents to obtain his education, at which he succeeded very well. He gave away his inheritance, albeit to BYU. He does continual works of charity, involving physical and spiritual works of kindness, not just throwing money at people. He did the work hard to become filthy rich. And he shares it. And Mitt was extremely competent to solve the fiscal problems. I grant he’s not pro-life or conservative enough. The funny thing is Obama has never worked a day in his life. How well did he do in college? Who paid for his education ? I have no idea what GOP policies caused the recession. Tax cuts are expansionary policies and probably prevented grave economic collapse in the wake of 9-11. Employment remained under 6% during W’s terms. The housing mess was brought on by political desires to expand home ownership to people who really weren’t in a financial place to buy a home. It collapsed.

    I understand there were reasons people didn’t support Romney, but those who voted for Obama voted for their interest–contraception, union spoils, safety net, gay agenda, etc. It is unfortunate that black preachers’ efforts to discourage blind support of immoral Dems did not pay off.

  • Peggy R

    P.S. Back to the topic, yes, it is important to rethink issues with the changing demographics. I had read some from Rod late last week. Many conservative web sites are discussing outreach. Unfortunately, they say, well who cares if the group is pro-abortion so long as they’re fiscally conservative…This is going to have some bumps in it…But, the black clergy who objected to Obama on the homosexual “marriage” issue must be reached out to.

  • http://agapas.me Bob LeBlanc

    “Despite what some panicked conservatives think, it’s not the end of the world. But it really is the end of a world. How did so many of us not see it coming?”

    I only have one witness. I certainly HOPED to see Romney win, but I saw an Obama win as more likely, and if Romney won, I predicted that he would win with an electoral college vote margin in the single digits. I was very confused by the various conservative pundits who predicted a wide Romney landslide. They based their projections on a media bias, but even fudging the numbers wasn’t going to give them a Romney landslide. And the state polling numbers didn’t match the national polls giving a Romney popular vote. They ignored too many red flags.

    Eventually, the fiscal conservatives are going to figure out a way to dump the social conservatives. They don’t like us, but they love our votes. The GOP has been wanting to give us a Giuliani candidacy and then blame the social conservatives for failing to support him. My guess is that the future conservative coalition will look libertarian sans any social conservatism.

    And the Church is going to take a beating for her refusal to support same-sex marriage, and for the teachings against unnatural acts. While I pray for the courage of bishops to keep teaching the Word (including the currently unpopular parts), I’m anticipating that many, if not most, bishops will fold or be silent. The Church will be called bigoted and medieval. If you point out that the Church teaches that God loves all human beings, and that Christians are to love neighbors in a broad sense (i.e. to love everyone including your “enemies”), you will be called a liar for providing cover for a hateful religious teaching (actually, it’s not a prediction, it’s already happened to me).

    I’m not sure if we’ll face a bloody martyrdom, but I am certain at the least that we’ll face shunning and hatred, and more government pressure on religious conscience. I’ve always wondered how well I might stand up to the prospects of martyrdom (I’m not all that confident in myself), and it seems I’ll likely be put to the test before I pass away from this world.

    How are those for rose colored glasses?

    America needs another Great Awakening. Let this awakening be a Catholic one.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      My guess is that the future conservative coalition will look libertarian sans any social conservatism.

      I have yet to meet any dyed-in-the-wool libertarians with any social conservatism.

      • antigon

        Tom Woods surely qualifies.

        • Ted Seeber

          Not after what he wrote about Caritas In Veritate he doesn’t.

  • John

    Another great piece from the American Conservative this morning…”The Real GOP Fiasco: Fairness”. http://www.theamericanconservative.com/the-real-gop-fiasco-fairness/

    “The Republican Party can appeal to “Judeo-Christian values” as long as the sun shines and their voices hold out. But they’ve abandoned the most basic moral value of all: fairness. America is supposed to be the land of opportunity. But tell that to minorities, to single women, to working-class whites. Even 44 percent of voters who earn over $200,000 a year voted for Obama, the candidate who promised to raise their taxes.”

    The GOP, for better or worse, has become more tightly aligned with big business in the eyes of many Americans than the Democrats. Trickle down, et al. It just ain’t trickling. And, no social program, or entitlement, is going to change that. If people don’t feel they can play the game fairly, they are not going to play, or vote for someone who believes that 47% of Americans are victims…moochers…takers.

    “The heart has reasons that reason does not understand.” This should be a quote that all in the GOP should become acquainted. Because, it’s become clear that they don’t understand.

  • Sam Schmitt

    The whole “fairness” discussion is nonsensical: “fairness” is never defined. How much do “the rich” have to pay in taxes before it becomes “fair”? And how, exactly, is Obama going to make everything fair? This questions cannot be answered, but I guess it doesn’t matter since people from vote for the candidate who talks about fairness and makes the biggest promises.

    As long as some people, somewhere, are better off than others, someone can always pull the “fairness” card. People are poor just as much, or more so, because of misguided government programs, greedy lawyers, destructive social policies, etc. (Democrats) as they are from greedy corporations (Republicans). But you wouldn’t know that listening to the mainstream media.

    • John

      Which is why I included the quote “The heart has reasons that reason does not understand.” There’s a lot of folks who FEEL this way, and research to back it up. Income has been redistributed over the last 40 years, but not to lower or middle incomes. Here is an example…

      http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3629

      “The years from the end of World War II into the 1970s were ones of substantial economic growth and broadly shared prosperity.

      Incomes grew rapidly and at roughly the same rate up and down the income ladder, roughly doubling in inflation-adjusted terms between the late 1940s and early 1970s.

      The income gap between those high up the income ladder and those on the middle and lower rungs — while substantial — did not change much during this period.

      Beginning in the 1970s, economic growth slowed and the income gap widened.

      Income growth for households in the middle and lower parts of the distribution slowed sharply, while incomes at the top continued to grow strongly.

      The concentration of income at the very top of the distribution rose to levels last seen more than 80 years ago (during the “Roaring Twenties”).

      Wealth (the value of a household’s property and financial assets net of the value of its debts) is much more highly concentrated than income, although the wealth data do not show a dramatic increase in concentration at the very top the way the income data do.”

    • Ted Seeber

      “How much do “the rich” have to pay in taxes before it becomes “fair”? ”

      Enough to make sure nobody has to abort their 5th child to feed the other four.

      I should think that would be obvious.

      • Peggy R

        No one ever “has” to abortion their children.

        • Ted Seeber

          Not according to the Malthusian Democrats. Speaking of exiting out of the bubble to understand the enemy! Killing the 5th child to feed the previous 4 is pretty much the entire argument of Planned Parenthood for abortion, and the Sierra Club for sterilization and extinction of humanity.

          If you don’t understand their argument, how are you going to combat it?

          The biggest weapons we have against that argument are generosity and charity. Which is why I say social justice and pro-life are so intertwined, that those who separate them are intellectually dishonest.

  • Obpoet

    “I can’t detect any time in history where cooperation with evil brought about good.”

    Hmmm…..I’m thinking Russian army, Stalin, helping to defeat Hitler. Just a thought.

    • Ted Seeber

      That example brought about no good at all for either the Russians or the Germans. The number of people killed on the German Eastern Front was astounding. East Germany was the result, and the German nation is still struggling with the economic aspects of reintegration 60 years later.

      Unjust war is never good. Just war can’t even be called good, only necessary to combat evil.

      • Mercury

        Yes, but could the West have defeated Hitler without the Eastern front occupying 4/5 of German forces? I doubt it.

        • Mercury

          And if I recall, Pius XII gave explicit approval to ally with the Communists in order to fight the Nazi menace, as some Catholics at the time were conflicted about it.

          • Scott W.

            Do you have a source for this?

            • Mercury

              Here’s an article that touches on it:

              http://www.firstprinciplesjournal.com/articles.aspx?article=1603&theme=home&page=4&loc=b&type=cttf

              In spite of his pronounced anti-Communism, and in spite of the official neutrality he was determined to maintain, Pius XII nevertheless certainly favored an Allied victory in the war. This was brought out quite clearly in the way the pope resolved in favor of the Allies a question that raged in the United States regarding lend-lease aid to the Soviet Union. Since Pius XI had so clearly condemned Communism as “intrinsically evil,” many American Catholics could not see how there could be any “cooperation” with such an evil regime, since this would go against the express words of the late pope.

              To resolve this dilemma, President Roosevelt sent his personal representative Myron C. Taylor on a mission to Rome to speak with Pius XII. The idea was to try to secure an interpretation of the Church’s teaching that would allow American Catholics in good conscience to support lend-lease aid to the Soviet Union. The pope’s solution was to supply an “interpretation of the encyclical of Pius XI as not condemning the Russian people, but as directed [only] against Soviet practices in respect to religious liberty.”59

              The Apostolic Delegate in Washington was instructed by the Holy See to convey this papal interpretation to appropriate American Catholic bishops. Soon the Archbishop of Cincinnati, John McNicholas, O.P., issued a pastoral letter embodying the interpretation. And, shortly after that, on November 16, 1941, only three weeks before America would find herself at war, the American bishops issued a statement “warning of the twin evils of Nazism and Communism, but recalling that Pius XI himself, while condemning atheistic Communism, had professed his paternal and compassionate benevolence for the peoples of Russia.”60 Thus ended opposition by American Catholics to lend-lease aid to the Soviet Union.

        • Ted Seeber

          They could have if they had been willing to do what it took- following St. Augustine’s three step strategy:
          1. Only fight against an invader on your own soil.
          2. Never invade in revenge
          3. Show love for your enemy- use weapons and tactics that do as much harm to them as they do to yourself.

          It’s hard to rule over a graveyard. And as we’re finding out, it is nearly impossible to stop a man willing to trade his life for that of the target.

          • Mercury

            Okay, and this would have defeated Hitler how?

            US cannot fight unless it is directly attacked. Ergo, fighting Germany was unjust in the first place, but we were right in knocking Japan out of Hawaii. Invading the country that launched the attack is out – so even if we could stop Germany, we would stop at Aachen – oh wait, he had no right to even go into France. Okay. And apparently the only weapons we could use are what, grenades attached to short sticks? And we’d have generals that make sure enough of their own soldiers get killed to be fair?


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