The Tragedy of Culture of Death Conservatism

The Tragedy of Culture of Death Conservatism December 3, 2014

…that is, the kind of conservatism Rick Perry represents, is that eagerness to butcher a severely mentally ill man is construed as moral strength while the Church’s teaching is construed as wimpy weakness.

The Church’s approach to inflicting death is “How can we avoid killing unless we absolutely have to?”

The culture of death, left *and* right, begins with the question, “When do we *get* to kill somebody?”

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  • Assuming this action does represent the “culture of death”, why do we have to say it has anything to do with conservatism? Was the person that Ricky Ray Rector’s execution helped to elect a conservative? He was mentally challenged as well, as I’m sure you recall.

    • Because “conservatives” are generally foursquare in favor of capital punishment, because Texas is a particularly “conservative” state in this regard, and because the self-styled “conservative” governor of that state has the power to commute this sentence, yet won’t.

    • chezami

      I realize the Party of Personal Responsibility is always on the lookout for a way to shift responsibility. But the fact that a panderer like Clinton knew perfectly well that the death penalty is a vote getter does not mitigate the fact that the biggest demographic in enthusiastic support of the death penalty are self-identified conservatives. The same demographic also strongly identifies as “prolife”, by which a large percentage mean “anti-abortion”. Try to take *some* responsibility for the deeply held beliefs of the Party of Personal Responsibility.

  • AquinasMan

    What’s truly mind-boggling is that the state of Texas allowed this man to be his own attorney in court. He would show up dressed in cowboy outfits and other regalia. Whereas anyone could put on “show” to make people think they were insane, in tandem with the previously diagnosed schizophrenia, whichever judged allowed this should be censured, at minimum, and this man have his sentence commuted.

    • kenofken

      It’s not mind-boggling at all taken in the context of that state’s criminal justice culture. The name of the game in Texas is to get as many criminals into the death chamber as humanly possible, with as little delay or due process as possible.

  • Elmwood

    he prides himself in Texas’s economic growth, which is a joke given that Texas is the largest oil producing region in the u.s.–i could run Texas and do nothing and create a great economy there. plus, what’s with his stupid looking hipster glasses?

    is it any mystery why GWB has retired in the Highland Park area of Dallas, the stoopidest and richest part of our country. He fits right in there.

  • D.T. McCameron

    I find the notion of being, “Competent for Execution” macabrely amusing.

  • petey

    update, it’s been stayed.

  • Pete the Greek

    I’m not sure I would call Rick Perry ‘conservative’. He’s just another neo-con, which is nothing more than a garden variety big government ‘progressive’ who happens at the same time to favor big military spending.

    I can’t believe people are SERIOUSLY considering him to run for president again…

    • Mark S. (not for Shea)

      I hope he makes it to the debates at least. The man is hilarious.

    • Joseph

      It’s him and Cruz vying for position. Ugh… I just threw up in my mouth. May as well roll the carpet out for Hilary and continue the aristocratic oligarchy! Bush Sr. VP (1981-1989), Bush Sr. POTUS/Cheney Sec. of Defense (1989-1993), Bill Clinton (1993-2001), Bush Jr. POTUS/Cheney VP (2001-2009), Obama – Cheney’s cousin POTUS/Hillary Clinton Sec. of State (2009-end of second term), Hillary Clinton POTUS???
      Yeah, it’s a Democracy… riiiigggghhhttt.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    There are still true conservatives in American politics. But few if any of them retain any power or influence in the GOP. The GOP is now thoroughly “Right Wing,” not conservative.

    • Rob B.

      How do you define “conservative?’ No snark here; I truly want to know.

      • Mark S. (not for Shea)

        Russell Kirk’s definition isn’t half bad: “The conservative is a person who endeavors to conserve the best in our traditions and our institutions, reconciling that best with necessary reform from time to time.”

        • Rob B.

          Amen, brother! 🙂

        • Brick

          liberals would claim they are doing the same thing. they just believe different traditions and institutions are the ones to conserve than conservatives do.

        • ivan_the_mad

          I am saddened that I can only like this but once 🙁

        • HornOrSilk

          I still prefer how Solvoyov discussed the issue via Plato:

          “To the Conservatives Socrates, as it were, said: ‘You are perfectly right, and deserve every commendation for your desire to conserve the bases of society– this is a matter of the highest importance. It is good that you are Conservatives. The misfortune, however, is that you are bad Conservatives. You neither know what or how to conserve. You flounder about and grope your way like blind men. Self-conceit is the cause of your blindness. However, your conceit, though wrong, and harmful to yourselves and others, should be pardoned, as it does not spring from ill-will, but is the result of your stupidity and ignorance.’ What possible answer was there to this but prison and the cup of poison?

          “To the Sophists Socrates said: ‘You do very well in considering and in testing by critical thought all that exists or does not exist; the pity is that you are bad thinkers, and have no idea whatever either of the aims or the methods of real criticism or dialectics.’

          “Socrates pointed out, and, what more, demonstrated beyond question the intellectual bankruptcy of his opponents. This, of course, was an unpardonable offence. Reconciliation was henceforth impossible. And even if Socrates never had directly accused the Athenian city fathers of being bad Conservatives, or the Sophists of being bad thinkers, the position would not have been changed. All the same he had accused both parties by his very personality, by his moral character, and by the positive significance of his speeches. He himself, as the personification of truly conservative and truly critical principles, was a living offence to bad conservatives and bad critics. Until he appeared, even if both parties were dissatisfied with one another, they were, on the other hand, serenely satisfied with themselves.

          “As long as the Conservatives could see in their opponents godless and irreligious men, they had the feeling of their own moral superiority, and in anticipation celebrated their victory. It might appear in very truth that they were defending faith and piety itself. There was an appearance of a dispute about principles and ideas, in which they represented the right and positive party. But when they came into conflict with Socrates, the position changed completely. They couldnot defend faith and piety, as such, against a man, who was himself a pious believer. It fell to them to defend not faith itself, but only thedistinction between their faith and that of Socrates’, and this distinction lay in the fact that Socrates’ faith had vision, while theirs was blind. Thus the poor character of their faith was revealed, and in their eagerness in asserting this particular unchanging blind faith its weakness and insincerity became evident. On what ground could they defend absence of enlightenment in faith? Was it on the ground that every faith was bound to be unenlightened? But there, before them, was Socrates with an obvious refutation of such a supposition by the very fact of his enlightened and perceptive faith. It was clear that they
          defended unenlightenment, not in the interests of faith, but in other interests having no connection to faith. And, as a matter of fact, the Athenian Conservatives of that time, at least the more cultured among them, were men who had no faith. It could not be otherwise. When in the given society an intellectual movement had once begun– when philosophy appeared and developed– a direct faith requiring a childlike mind became impossible for everyone touched by the movement. What has passed away cannot be conserved, and the faith of ‘obscurantes’ is only a deceptive mask covering their actual unbelief. In the case of the more active and gifted men among the Athenian Conservatives, Aristophanes for instance, their true feelings broke through the mask; exposing the so- called impiety of the philosophers, Aristophanes at the very time by his coarse mockery of the goods displayed his own. What was conserved by such Conservatives, and what was their motive? It is clear it was not the fear of the Divine, but only fear for the old and familiar way of life which was up with a given religion.”

          Vladimir Solovyov, Plato, VII

  • Peggy

    The conservative movement is not monolithic. Much debate on nearly all issues of the day are occurring on the right. The media characterizes that as the rith being in a disarray, b/c the right is not lock-step like the left. And, yes, some people on the right are morally or intellectually wrong on some issues.

    As usual, there is more to the story than posted here. CONSERVATIVES are urging Perry to stop this execution.

    http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/conservatives-request-rick-perry-halts-execution-mentally-ill-inmate

    • Rob B.

      I find it interesting that you are quick to say that the right is not monolithic and then not two sentences later say that the left is…

      • Peggy

        What deviations from pro-abortion, pro-gay, pro-birth control mandate, pro-amnesty, etc., pro-budget-busting spending have you heard on the left? There are a variety of views on these issues in the GOP and the right in general. The Dems/left do not permit dissent, particularly on social issues.

        • Ken

          How much liberal media do you pay attention to? I don’t so I wouldn’t be able to judge over how much dissent they actually have. Liberals say the same thing about conservatives.

          • Peggy

            It’s hard to avoid liberal media–tv, radio and print/online. The movement press can be read as well easily. As well as the pols themselves. It’s easy to observe the lockstep nature of the Left. Their fealty to their agenda is impressive, except bad for our nation. Some cracks are beginning to show in the allegiance to Obama’s lawlessness….we’ll see how far it goes.

          • Joseph

            Come on, Ken. This really cannot be denied. This is an institutional problem with the Left. You can see it from journalism, to Hollywood, to colleges/universities, to high schools. If you break ranks, they try to humiliate and destroy you. It’s way more evident on the Left than it is the Right, but that is purely anecdotal on my part and it could also be because the mainstream media (not just journalism) leans heavily towards the Left, so it’s more public when one of their own breaks rank.

          • HornOrSilk

            Indeed, they do. This is just the inability to read the other.

      • Joseph

        Did you ever receive your education at a university? Without a bone to pick on either side, I can confidently say that if one who considers himself leftist so much as shows a hint that they disagree with the sacred cows of the Left, they will become ostracised. No more cool parties, no more fine ladies, lots of gossip about how stupid he is, etc. He loses his *cool kids* membership card. Sometimes the confrontations can get quite brutal, too.
        Come to think of it, it was the same way in high school. From what I’ve seen, oddly, those on the Right are much more tolerant when it comes to deviation in thought. The Left uses herd psychology to its advantage to a much greater degree than the Right. But the Right offers the *hidden knowledge* approach to suck in their victims. It’s no accident that talk radio is a big Right Wing cesspool. It has that whole *underground* feel: ‘We’re the smart ones, we know what’s *actually* going on. They’re hiding this from us, they’re so clever but we’re cleverer. If you want to know the *secrets* and be part of the group of people who *know*, then join us. Together we can bring sanity to the insane again… and buy Gold!”

        They both use psychological trickery, but one is easier on their dissenters than the other.

        • Kurt 20008

          “Did you ever receive your education at a university?”
          I think that is your problem. 75% of us did not receive a university education. Maybe if you spent some time at the union hall, you would have a better understanding of those of us on the Left.

    • Elmwood

      interesting to me that for the most part, us “conservatives” can have very different opinions on different issues, but the “progressives” are much more homogeneous as a group or at least they appear that way. seems they never break ranks or think for themselves as much.

      • D.T. McCameron

        Well, I remember Greenwald protesting some of Obama’s more…draconian policies. But maybe the exception proves the rule; from what I’ve seen in the main, Leftists are willing to endure a great deal of mission creep or philosophical disconnect if it furthers “the cause.” Which is a nebulous notion, as Progressivism is more of a direction than a destination.

        In any case, they stand (again, from what I’ve seen) largely united against the opposition, which they view as seeking to destroy all that is true and good and beautiful in the world. They very literally see it as a fight to save the world.

        Of course, the temptation to settle for victory-at-any-cost strikes those of any political persuasion. Look at Romney.

        • chezami

          Greenwald wrote perceptively about “Repulsive Progressive Hypocrisy” when Lefties refused to speak against Obama draconian behavior.

      • HornOrSilk

        No, I see both sides say the same thing here about the other. Both sides have a large “center” which is used to discuss them as a group, with diversity within. And yet, within that diversity, nonetheless many of the people still fall for the same errors of their side in general, even if not in specific. Which is why we should be neither but Catholic.

      • Kurt 20008

        Really? How do you think I as a liberal never break ranks?

    • Peggy

      A concrete example of a variety of opinions on the Right. GOP congressoids are all over the place on how to address Obama’s over-reach on amnesty.

      http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/393907/gop-congressman-boehner-doesnt-have-votes-joel-gehrke

      Now, you can characterize that as a party in disarray or a party where a diversity of ideas are welcomed at the table for debate and discussion. Some may be more welcome than others, but that the debate exists is a positive.

  • HornOrSilk

    Didn’t know where to post this, but I think this is probably the best thread:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/12/02/1348850/-Texas-school-board-member-posts-KKK-I-m-dreaming-of-a-white-Christmas-meme-on-Facebook?detail=email

    Another example of the bad taste of some in Texas

  • Joe

    I’ve observed that the death penalty is a spectator sport in Texas.

  • D.C.

    How did Francis of Assisi pull it off, living a radically gospel-centered life? Conservative, liberal and orthodox labels aside, maybe I can become more….Franciscan?