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American Un-Exceptionalism Print E-mail
By James V. Schall, S.J.   
Tuesday, 08 January 2013

Is the United States just like other nations? Or is there something unique about its founding that resolves the central issue of politics, namely what is the best practical regime for most people? If I read the current president correctly, he does not think that the United States has anything exceptional about it.

Indeed, he apparently thinks that the very notion of this exceptionalism has caused havoc in the world. In a quasi-Marxist analysis, America has “exploited” the world to its benefit. The president’s mission is to set things right by reducing America to size.

We have not explained to the world, as many think we can and should, how it is that the nations can benefit themselves by embracing certain unique American ideas of freedom, responsibility, rule of law, enterprise, and limits of government.

In the president’s view, however, we need to withdraw because our ideas are harmful to the poor. Not a few conservatives hold a similar thesis. The difference is that the president seems to think that the best regimes are the European socialist-welfare configurations that put most things in the control of government, while the latter think that America is unique, decentralized, but un-exportable.

In reflecting on the nature of our polity, however, we must keep in mind the classical thinkers, particularly Plato and Aristotle. If we are Christians, we recall that the New Testament says little about politics – render to Caesar, be obedient to proper authorities, love thy neighbor. This relative indifference to politics is a theological compliment to reason, to what reason can figure out by itself.

Pace the liberationists of whatever stripe, revelation is not concerned with the political or economic structures of this world. We are given brains to deal with such things. Rather, it is concerned with eternal life and how it is achieved in any polity, good or bad. Granted that politics can obstruct and obscure the proper hierarchy of human goods, still revelation did not reveal what reason could figure out without it. Christianity does presuppose that man is a certain kind of being. He is free to reject or accept what he is. In either case, acceptance or rejection, consequences follow from free human actions. In more healthy times, we would call this natural law. We do not call it so today. Why?

Because how we choose to live requires that we reject any implication that an objectively right and wrong way of living exists, especially a right and wrong way that deals with sex, marriage, and the family. This conscious denial of an identifiable and normative human nature brings to our consciousness the classical descriptions of the relation between polity and ways of personal living.


            The Triumph of Virtue Over Vice by Paolo Veronese, 1556


In practice, we are carrying out the Greek cycle of regimes that lead from oligarchy to democracy to tyranny, all of a most genteel nature. In our concern with exceptionalism and un-exceptionalism, we failed to notice that human nature is going pretty much along the paths that were sketched out for us particularly by Aristotle and Plato.

The Platonic principle that the order of polity is but a reflection of the order of soul seems to be a perfectly accurate way to conceive the real nature of our public order. Gradually, but with increasing quickness, the public order has been declining along the lines that lead from the classic definition of the end of democracy to the classic definition of the end of tyranny. These ends were always seen to be related.

The central political issue remains that of personal virtue or its lack manifested in identifiable vice. While government may make either virtue or vice easier or more difficult through law, it cannot dictate what goes on in the souls of the citizens. The definition of oligarchy was wealth as a definition of personal happiness. Democracy placed liberty at its center.

At first sight this freedom sounds noble until we realize that it is a liberty that has no definitive content as such. It is whatever we want. Government exists to provide our wants. The political form of democracy does not oppose such “liberty” but fosters it and elevates it to the status of legal “rights.” In such a regime, the discipline needed for virtue disappears.

In a multi-chaos of conflicting desires arise men, probably relatively young and articulate, who can sway the people. The most eloquent associates himself with what he thinks the people should want. He sets himself against any remains of wealth or virtue that might resist him. He takes the side of the “poor.” He orders the polity to himself and his own ideas which have no further grounding than what he wants.

Initially, this “leader of the people” achieves his end by promising the people what they want, by putting more and more of them under direct control of government agencies. The people themselves think that they have a “right to everything.”

The new leader, however, is not their servant, but their master. His mission is the achievement of his own ideas. The people, lacking their own virtue, pass from an envious benevolence to the status of subjects, not citizens.

The circle is logically complete. It goes on whether we notice it or not. In the beginning, America might have been “exceptional,” but, on more careful analysis, it looks now pretty much as Aristotle and Plato described a regime that rejected virtue and the knowledge thereof.

Or, as I have often said, the most difficult and dangerous task in political philosophy is accurately to describe, in terms of reason, the real character of the regime in which one lives.


James V. Schall, S.J., who served as a professor at Georgetown University for thirty-five years, is one of the most prolific Catholic writers in America. His most recent books are
 
The Mind That Is Catholic and The Modern Age.
 
 
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written by Michael Paterson-Seymour, January 08, 2013
I think there really is something “exceptional” in the American concept of freedom.

For most other peoples, ancient and modern, freedom meant a people living under laws of their own making and under magistrates of their own choosing. Hence, the citizens see government action as the consummated result of their own organized wishes.

Rousseau identified the root cause of tyranny: “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall. When it is necessary to march out to war, they pay troops and stay at home: when it is necessary to meet in council, they name deputies and stay at home. By reason of idleness and money, they end by having soldiers to enslave their country and representatives to sell it.”
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written by Frank, January 08, 2013
@fleshman
"Obama holds virtually none of the views that you ascribe to him (the Marxism, anti-colonialism, denial of exceptionalism etc)..."

Hmmm...and Social Justice is not a derivative of Marxism? That's a pill just to big to swallow and a bridge way too far. Obama's father was certainly anti-colonial and perhaps the father was justified in his position. However, his father was a committed Marxist holding a view of 100% confiscatory tax rates. How the son embraces the father is evident in "Dreams of My Father."

There is a difference between a social safety net and a welfare state. Conservative as my views are, I heartily support a social safety net as an amalgam of government, private, religious, and individual efforts to assist those in need and least among us. A welfare state is nothing more than an amorphous leviathan throwing money hither and too not concerned about where it lands and recipients wanting more and more and more...whatever they get will never be enough. Such an attitude of want is nothing more than envy and thievery masquerading as "justice."

The fault lies with both sides and I am in the mix as well. On one side are the activists squeaky wheels succeeding in lobbying the legislative halls at the local state and federal level picking my pocket while I spend my time working hard to support my family, pay my mortgage, put food on the table and attempt to succeed at some modicum of self reliance. Now i am looking at an ominous cloud approaching wanting to suck me into the carnal human madness that is "social justice." My only question is whose justice or is it no more than revenge imposed by others as they too get sucked in by the craven pols seeking the security of their power by whispering in the ears of their constituency that they are victims who can only be "liberated" by the elites? Not too long ago, a man by the name of Adolph Hitler sold that bill of goods and we saw the horrible result.

i have to hand it to Obama, he's picked his points. defined his targets and focused his battle plan. He's declared before his constituency the Americans who oppose him enemies and encouraged this rabble to take their revenge at the polls. The problem is such words portend an ominous potential to go beyond the polls to the mindset of the mob. Did we not learn from the French Revolution?
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written by Jack,CT, January 08, 2013
Father,
Do you send back your "SSI" check every month,
I hope not you worked 35 years for it and earned it!
The statements you made,where do they come from?
I find myself offended for all of us who paid into
our nest egg.
You made some very negative and broad statements,
that are for you to defend but I will say even if
correct,the negative way you present it cancels out
the gains.
God Bless You,
Jack
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written by Frank, January 08, 2013
Thanks Fr. Schall for connecting the dots reason has aligned. I greatly appreciate your ability to articulate what is profound in what is apparent but dismissed by pop culture. Your observations identify unexpected consequences of rejecting virtue as classsically understood and defined; prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance. The fact that they are hard to enact makes me paraphrase Chesterton, Virtue has not be tried and found wanting; it has been left untried and found difficult. Exceptionalism can mean taking the more diffiuclt path. In this case the path toward virtue.
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written by Denverite, January 08, 2013
Cards on the table - I believe that America is the greatest force for good in the world today.

That said, am I the only one who reads Fr. Schall's column as agreeing with American non-exceptionalism? Human nature being what it is, Father paints the picture of cyclical ascendance and decline of culture. Here's the heart of it:

"In practice, we are carrying out the Greek cycle of regimes that lead from oligarchy to democracy to tyranny, all of a most genteel nature. In our concern with exceptionalism and un-exceptionalism, we failed to notice that human nature is going pretty much along the paths that were sketched out for us particularly by Aristotle and Plato. ...

The central political issue remains that of personal virtue or its lack manifested in identifiable vice. While government may make either virtue or vice easier or more difficult through law, it cannot dictate what goes on in the souls of the citizens. The definition of oligarchy was wealth as a definition of personal happiness. Democracy placed liberty at its center.

At first sight this freedom sounds noble until we realize that it is a liberty that has no definitive content as such. It is whatever we want. Government exists to provide our wants. The political form of democracy does not oppose such “liberty” but fosters it and elevates it to the status of legal “rights.” In such a regime, the discipline needed for virtue disappears."

Synopsis: unless the virtue of American citizens is manifestly exceptional, there is no American Exceptionalism. Unless Americans have some supernatural human nature there can be no Americal Exceptionalism.

This perspective plays no favorites. Libertinism and viscious capitalism are both on the same wide and easy path found by many.

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written by Ray Hunkins, January 08, 2013
Good for you Fr. Schall! It takes courage to stand up for your beliefs, a quality you have displayed in abundance. The worst characteristic of the current administration, in my opinion, is its disrespect for the rule of law. The evidence of this disrespect will be with us for some time to come. We are drifting toward authoritarianism. Pray for us Father.
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written by athanasius, January 08, 2013
I totally agree with Fr. Schall.

To Fleshman, I can only say that if you don't think Obama is a socialist, then you don't know what socialism is.

Regarding Social Security: In theory I support a social safety net, but it has to be sustainable, and it should be a minimum floor that does not discourage individual thrift. The plan in place today is not sustainable as it pays much more in benefits than is paid in by people over the years. It needs to be redesigned. To not do so is irresponsible, and this is a greater risk to financial security than having no program at all.

Regarding Iraq: That is a tough call, and good people can disagree. I think Saddam Hussein was a monster, and leaving him in power would have led to a many more people being killed and injured. Our brave soldiers helped bring about as orderly a transition of power in that country as I think could have been hoped for. But I understand that others may disagree and it was not a clear-cut call. But looking at Syria, I think the death toll of innocents in Iraq would have been greater had a similar situation unfolded.
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written by Seanachie, January 08, 2013
Well said, Father. What am I to believe, my lying eyes and ears...or, the Kool Aid drinkers/commenters who have expressed themselves herein? Think I'll stay with my lying eyes and ears! I'm reminded of the old saying, "If it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, waddles like a duck, and otherwise acts like a duck, it likely is a duck." Moreover, from my view, a three point electoral margin hardly makes for a "mandate"...seems to me the margin reflects a significantly fractured electorate in need of unifying leadership (which to date is clearly absent).
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written by Chris in Maryland, January 08, 2013
@ Fleshman:

To insist that Mr. Obama holds no views that are Marxist, etc is asking us to believe in superstition. Fr. Schall is defying the monolithic propoganda machine that is constantly grooming Mr. Obama's flimsy facade. And behind this facade is David Axelrod, just like Mr. Obama, is a child of radical leftist parents.

Axelrod’s mother, Myril Bennett Axelrod, worked for the left-wing New York newspaper, PM, in the 1940s. PM was penetrated by Stalinists and others who promoted the Communist Party agenda. PM‘s Washington correspondent, I.F. Stone was identified as a Soviet agent both in the “Venona” documents and also by former top KGB operative Oleg Kalugin. Whether Axelrod’s mother was a Communist, or just a Soviet sympathizer at PM, doesn’t matter. If Axelrod’s mom was working for PM in the 1940s, that indicates a politics that is profoundly hostile to American values of respect for individual liberty rooted in rights from God, and liberty subordinated to Trust in God.

As a student at U. of Chicago David Axelrod worked as a political reporter for the Hyde Park Herald. There Axelrod connected with Don Rose and David Canter. Both of whom were associated with the Communist Party and other far-left organizations. David Canter’s father, Harry Canter, was a member of the Communist Party USA. He was secretary of the Boston Communist party, and in 1930, he ran for governor of MA on the Communist Party ticket. In 1937, at the invitation of the USSR, Canter moved his entire family to Moscow for 5 years, until he returned to Chicago in 1937. In 1944 the Democratic-run 78th Congress issued a investigative report of front-groupscalled "Investigation of Un-American Propaganda Activities in the United States.” In it, Canter is listed as, among other things, a teacher at the Abraham Lincoln School, a Chicago-based CPUSA front that instructed pupils in the teachings of Marx and Lenin. David Canter followed in his Communist father’s footsteps...a 1970 congressional investigation report of the Democratic-run Congress, “Guide to Subversive Organizations and Publications,” lists David Canter 25 times. David Canter and Don Rose started the Chicago-area community newspaper called Hyde Park-Kenwood Voices. Hyde Park-Kenwood Voices editorialized for the abolition of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), whose investigations had exposed the pro-Soviet subversive activities of both David Canter and his father Harry. During the Viet Nam War, Hyde Park-Kenwood Voices published pro-Hanoi articles by SDS members based in Chicago.

Don Rose was also associated with SDS, from which Bill Ayers’s terrorist splinter group Weather Underground spun off in 1969. Rose and Canter played were “mentors” to David Alexrod. David Canter’s son Marc Canter has been quoted that a letter of recommendation from Don Rose helped Axelrod land a job as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune.
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written by Maggie-Louise, January 08, 2013
Thank you, Fr. Schall. Much more could have been said. You restrained yourself remarkably well. I agree completely with your conclusions. Regarding our not-so-distant future, I will paraphrase President Reagan: "It's 1936 in America."

The first time I heard Obama speak, not knowing a thing about him, I said to my husband, "He doesn't think like an American." It must have been his use of language and as much what he didn't say as what he did, but, as time went on, I thought, more and more, that he did not think like someone who was raised to love and honor his country, its Constitution, or its founding principles.

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written by senex, January 08, 2013
What ‘was’ American Exceptionalism? In times past I think it is reflected in the admiration other nations and peoples had for this country and its people, who lived in relatively greater freedom/liberty than other nations. But freedom/liberty then had a different meaning. It meant the ability and freedom to do what is right, i.e., objectively true. That translated into greater personal freedom and independence as well as responsibility. Americans were then not moral relativists in any significant way. As we lapsed into moral relativism, we have lost many of our freedoms to a socialist type of government in the expectation that the government will take care of us. We have become too self centered rather than pursuing the common good, even if it requires personal sacrifices, and thus have lost our Exceptionalism. We are fooling ourselves into thinking that government entitlements increase our freedoms.
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written by Sue, January 08, 2013
It is interesting that a commenter mentions the communist association with the Abraham Lincoln School in Chicago, because the one pillar that could be said to represent our "exceptionalism", the inalienable rights announced in the Declaration, were left out (deliberately?) of the Constitution. Which left the original sin of slavery which was not wiped out till Lincoln. Even after that, the racism that got baked into the South because we flubbed the Constitution persisted, and the Marxists used that Constitution-baked racism to choke our country.

So whereas I would always have maintained the exceptionalism of the US because of the Declaration, I now see that the Constitution was her illegitimate stepchild. We should not have let Madison bake slavery into our country.
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written by Tony Esolen, January 08, 2013
To the fleshman:

THINK. Why is passive income taxed at a relatively low rate? Why? If I earn money from my work, I pay taxes on it, right? Now I can bury that money under my mattress, and pay no more taxes. Good for me. But how does that help anybody else? The government WANTS me to take a chance and invest my money. Now, I may LOSE by investing. I may lose a lot. I may lose my whole investment. If I do, does the government give me a rebate? Not a bit of it. So then, if I do invest -- and other businesses NEED me to invest, because it's where they get their capital from, investors -- why should I, in justice, pay any more taxes at all, if I'm fortunate and the business I invest in makes a profit? Well, I do pay taxes on it -- what are called Capital Gains Taxes. But if you want investments to cave in, just raise those Capital Gains RATES, to make the mattress look better and better.

Obama gave the game away when he said that he would want to raise tax RATES even if that meant LOWER REVENUES to the government. And our revenues, the "take", have been low, because of the recession, high unemployment, and the no-go "recovery". I take myself as an example, and figure that I can't be the only guy out there thinking as I do. I have a family to take care of, and one dependent in particular who may need a big nest-egg long after I'm gone. I am NOT going to sit quietly and let Uncle Sam devour his living.

I think, too, you have missed entirely the point of Father Schall's essay. Have you read Plato and Aristotle? Do you know the passages he has in mind? We are, right now, a profligate, ignorant, and vice-ridden people. We will therefore have leaders who are also profligate (when we need them to be frugal), ignorant (when we need them to be wise), and vice-ridden (when we need them to be virtuous). Example: the ONE thing, overwhelmingly, that has destroyed the black family in the US and is now ruining the last pillars of the working class family in the US has been the sexual revolution. But that revolution hasn't "hurt" the welfare state; it feeds it. And it is the one thing that the Left defends to the very death -- and the so-called Right, outside of some Catholic and evangelical circles -- are too scared to touch. It WILL bring us down; it must; vice has destroyed many an empire, and will destroy ours too.
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written by fleshman, January 08, 2013
If you all think I reacted too negatively to Fr. Schall's piece it is in part because this is Obama's American exceptionalism quote which gave rise to the tired Republican attacks which Father repeats here. Does this sound like the caricature being attacked? There's plenty to attack Obama on but this isn't one of them!

Here:



I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism. I'm enormously proud of my country and its role and history in the world. If you think about the site of this summit and what it means, I don't think America should be embarrassed to see evidence of the sacrifices of our troops, the enormous amount of resources that were put into Europe postwar, and our leadership in crafting an Alliance that ultimately led to the unification of Europe. We should take great pride in that.

And if you think of our current situation, the United States remains the largest economy in the world. We have unmatched military capability. And I think that we have a core set of values that are enshrined in our Constitution, in our body of law, in our democratic practices, in our belief in free speech and equality, that, though imperfect, are exceptional.

Now, the fact that I am very proud of my country and I think that we've got a whole lot to offer the world does not lessen my interest in recognizing the value and wonderful qualities of other countries, or recognizing that we're not always going to be right, or that other people may have good ideas, or that in order for us to work collectively, all parties have to compromise and that includes us.

And so I see no contradiction between believing that America has a continued extraordinary role in leading the world towards peace and prosperity and recognizing that that leadership is incumbent, depends on, our ability to create partnerships because we create partnerships because we can't solve these problems alone.


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written by Sue, January 09, 2013
It is correct to say that it is not *only* the Marxists - the global elite consist of plutocrats working hand in hand with Marxists (hand in hand with Islamists - a three legged stool). That's part of the dialectical whack-a-mole (whack-a-marxist?) game - as soon as you try to target one of the legs of the stool, say Marxism - they say hey but look the problem is Wall Street. Then when you focus on the bankers, Islamism rears its terrorist head. And yes, there is plenty of evidence for there being a conspiracy among these elements. Wall Street funded the Bolsheviks, Hitler, etc. KGB trained the terrorists - and lives on in Putin! Soros is funding every institution of destruction known to man to level America.

Prof. Esolen is correct in identifying sexual liberation as a key weapon. Alan Keyes has written a great book about the destruction of American via the destruction of the black family. It's called "Masters of the Dream". Put that together with Jones' "Libido Dominandi - Sexual Liberation and Political Control", and you have more than sufficient understanding of what has happened to America.
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written by fleshman, January 09, 2013
@Tony
Good arguments about lower cap gains rates. The stated purpose is as you contend, but what has happened instead is that a nontrivial number of finance workers have learned to book earned income as capital gains and avoid payroll taxes completely while paying often far lower rates than guys like you and me who work for a living outside of finance. ALso it's not clear to me how much Mitt Romney's stock portfolio and offshore accounts really contribute much to the domestic economy in the way you suppose. Seems like mostly deferred consumption for his grandkids. But this issues here are very complicated and we won't solve them here. The public's perception of fairness is important in taxes is important and if a lot of people have learned to game the system this is not good.

But efforts to clean up the current tax regime are not socialist and indeed are long overdue.

To your (and the piece's) main point...yes there is a cultural and moral decline in America which is happening for many reasons mostly having to do social and economic changes over the past 50 years--which have been very good for some people and segments of the country but bad for others. It's much more than about sex as there have been many other changes as well.

Alot could be said about its exact causes and cures but I fail to see why TCT has so much invested in blaming Obama for it or using him as a symbol for all that is wrong with the country or treating national election results as a barometer of the nation's health (the fever always strangely seems to spike during Democratic presidencies). All of these problems were here when the GOP was in power as well and would persist if Romney had won the election. These trends have been long in the making and we should not kid ourselves that the other party has a solution to them either.

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written by Brad Miner, January 09, 2013
@fleshman: You write: "I fail to see why TCT has so much invested in blaming Obama for it or using him as a symbol for all that is wrong with the country . . ." My view -- and I believe it's shared by others in and around TCT -- is that Mr. Obama is the most anti-Catholic president in American history. This is to imply nothing about any virtues remaining in the GOP.
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written by Sean Barlow, January 09, 2013
It cannot be avoided that the period that Fr Schall argues embodied America at its most exceptional, was also the period during which America was the most venimously anti-Catholic.
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written by fleshman, January 09, 2013
@brad miner

Maybe you could write a column explaining why you believe Obama is the most anti-Catholic president in history for those in your audience who are unconvinced of this but at least are willing to give you a hearing. I'll forewarn you that his support for legalized abortion and the HHS birth control mandate by themselves constitute pretty thin evidence in support of this in my mind. This is the sort of thing we'd likely have gotten with any Democratic president.

Yes, Obama's reelection campaign was polarizing (as was the awful Democratic convention) but you all forget that it was Karl Rove who pioneered the strategy of ceasing to try to persuade anyone in the middle but rather using amped up rhetoric aimed at just turning out one's own hardcore supporters. Now the Democrats are doing the same thing better than Rove. As you sow so shall you reap!

So my main response is that this sounds alot like broader anxiety and disappointment in the cultural and political direction of the country as a whole and the problems in the Church's public image which Obama himself has had very little to do with.

And as someone who is old enough to remember and in fact particpated in the over-the-top anger and paranoia which infected the Catholic right back when Clinton was president (which seemed to magically subside when Bush became president) my response this time around is "this too shall pass."
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written by ChrisofColorado, January 09, 2013
The American experiment was a big gamble--let people do what they want, mostly, while trusting that they'll rather do what they ought. I won't say that it was a failure, because it wasn't. But does anybody doubt that America will become a greater force for evil in the world if it fails to re-embrace a society of virtue and faith? I can see no other solution.

So what do you do as a Catholic, as a conservative? Do you try to repair the Titanic's gaping hole? Do you prepare for a complete rebuild of the country that will come inevitably if the country breaks down? Do you move? These are dramatic, heady questions, and they used to be silly. Now they're real.
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written by Brad Miner, January 09, 2013
@fleshman: There are other TCT contributors more able than I to make the case, but for now I'll respond to your almost casual comment that any other Democrat would have made the same direct attack on the Church. Who? Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton? On what evidence? Obama supports embryonic stem-cell research; Planned Parenthood; funding overseas abortions; same-sex "marriage;" and the Mandates, which not only call for free birth control but also abortifacient drugs. And what does Karl Rove have to do with it? BTW, I don't disagree with your appraisal of American Catholicism's own cultural malaise, but the current occupant of the White House is demonstrably the most anti-Cayholic ever -- and I suspect there's more to come, especially since the Mandate gambit worked (in the sense that it rallied "cultural" Catholics to his side).
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written by Spirit-Life, January 09, 2013
@FLESHman

You have picked a telling pseudonym:

Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy,* drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ [Jesus] have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit. (Galatians 5:19-25)
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written by fleshman, January 09, 2013
@brad miner

As I suspected it mostly comes down to the HHS mandate since everything else you mention is boiler plate pro-abortion policy that would have come from any Democratic administration. That and fear about what else is coming.

I think the HHS mandate was a terrible idea politically and gratuitous substantively. I expect that it will be overturned in the courts. But I think you're kidding yourself if you think that 1) the broader health reform idea was unique to Obama and 2) only Obama among Democrats was interested in expanding access to birth control...both are things that the Democratic party has long been pushing for. I think if the ACA passed under President Hillary Clinton we'd be looking at much the same thing.

And don;t think that Biden didn't help shape the policy.

Maybe you're right about the trajectory of this but I see it as overblown to interpret this as an attack on the ChurchI see it as less an attack on the Church than the clash between a state interest and the freedom of a religious institution--the kind of clash that is inevitable in a pluralistic democracy and a clash that is working against the Church because her doctrines on birth control are unpopular.

But then again, maybe you all a right. But I'm not convinced yet.

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written by stanley, January 15, 2013
There is no statement so simple yet so stark and often repeated by Schall and Voegelin...Plato's words that you can't have a good society without good people.

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