January 17, 2017

Call me morally optimistic, but I think that most people have a basic intuition that pornography is bad. Sure, there are ideologues here and there who really believe that it’s healthy, doesn’t hurt anyone, improves your sex life, empowers women, and all the rest — but these voices have a faint, overly-defensive whine in the face of the growing complaint over the sex-lives of porn-watchers, the ill-health of porn-actors, and the immense wealth of pornographers. Of the people who do... Read more

January 14, 2017

In his work On the Eternal in Man, the philosopher Max Scheler argued that one must make religious acts. The human being is that type of being who is religious, whether he’d like it or not. This is backed up by the historical research of Mircea Eliade. Man will organize time into the sacred and the secular; organize space into holy and profane ground; say strange, liturgical things at the beginning of public ceremonies; look longingly for an ultimate significance to... Read more

January 13, 2017

The older, business generation criticizes my generation for a vague, object-less idealism. We want to “change the world”, but we have no idea what we would like to change it into. We want to “make a difference” — we are relatively inarticulate on the difference we would like to make. The criticism fits: we are hankering for some target to aim our rainbow-rays of impact-making sentiment. But the effort to locate the source of this problem in Disney movies and... Read more

January 11, 2017

Since this discussion of identity politics began in dialogue with the Leftists, I thought I’d let a real, living one on the blog to hash things out more thoroughly.   It tickles me, I must admit, to know that the BadCatholic has gone out of his way to draw up my favorite topic of discussion — political theology.  And given that he’s also referenced one of my favorite “socialist rags”, it seems like I have to respond in some way.... Read more

January 10, 2017

Where does the genuine capacity for revolution come from? What wood fuels it? What wind whips it from a flicker of an idea into a forest-fire of action? Community is the source of all genuine revolution — actual people working in daily, sweaty concert to achieve a good common to them all. A man can theorize or post about the need for a worker’s collective, a revitalized downtown, or a parish picnic until his typing fingers grow calloused. Only a... Read more

January 9, 2017

In the perfectly penned article “Safety Pins and Swastikas,” picked up by the socialist rag Jacobin, Shuja Haider makes the point that identity politics and white nationalism are fundamentally compatible. To summarize his argument a little brutally: when you reduce mainstream politics to the attempt to establish and represent your identity, you invite racists into mainstream politics. The language of identity is as appropriate for the alt-right as it is for oppressed minorities. They can snag a victim-narrative, a label,... Read more

December 31, 2016

You cannot take a picture of a general “mother” or “child.” You cannot photograph the idea of “pregnancy,” “family,” or “abortion” — only this pregnancy, this family, and this abortion. A photograph of a child is always of a real, particular child, who stood at a particular place and a particular time and had his photo taken. Photography is always photography of the real. The difficulty for the pro-life movement is that, as it works for the abolition of abortion,... Read more

December 30, 2016

Every image is a selection, and every selection hides. In the case of the pro-life movement, images of beautiful, happy babies exclude images of ugly, crying babies. Images of beautiful, wholesome pregnant women exclude images of ugly, miserable pregnant women. Images of happy, smiling Downs children exclude images of suffering Downs children. It is a cheap shot to argue that these images lie. They don’t lie. There really are happy, beautiful babies. There really are wholesome, crunchy pregnancies. But these... Read more

December 29, 2016

The trans/non-binary movements cannot simply be working for the extension of civil rights. They are not isolated attempts at life-improvement by certain minority groups. Their practical demands are grounded in specific beliefs about gender that either apply to everyone — or fail as grounds. It is a sad sort of “commitment” that takes up the banner of the practical action while remaining too timid to fully live out the theory of gender that makes these actions intelligible and just —... Read more

December 29, 2016

Transgenderism, postgenderism and any other non-binary systems of understanding gender tend to rely on the definition of “gender identity” as an “innermost concept of oneself as male, female, a blend of both or neither” (Human Rights Campaign) or “a person’s internal, deeply held sense of their gender” (GLAAD). While not all views can be fit into this “official” schema, they represent the go-to description of the transgendered persons I speak with. Sure, some hold gender to be “nothing more than... Read more

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