With the American release of Houllebecq’s Submission [Soumission], I thought this was worth re-blogging for those who might have missed it.
Though it’s been awhile, my latest contribution to Ethika Politika, “The Protection of Souls and the Banning of Books,” is now up online. Here is an excerpt:
What emerges from this unfortunate state of affairs is a culture of contempt for both the Church and traditional morality. It is now widely assumed rather than proven that the Scriptures are comprised of pious legends; natural law and teleology are untenable in the light of modern science; and that capitalism, liberalism, and democracy are the highest civilizational achievements in the history of mankind. What for ages had been, for the good of society and souls, prohibited is now permitted, and all under the guise of “enlightenment.”
Not every individual is capable of separating the wheat from the chaff when it comes to disagreeable works, particularly when such works demand a great deal of intellectual sophistication. A well-meaning soul cognizant of the social principles set forth in magisterial statements such as Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum and Pius XI’s Quadragesimo Anno, but with no formal training in economics, can be led astray by propagandist works from a certain marginalized school of free-market thought, particularly when those works are hybridized with ostensibly Christian thinking. In fact, there is an entire institute dedicated to that project.
You can read the full article by following the link. As always, I welcome thoughtful — including critical — feedback.
David Mills’s latest article for Ethika Politika, “Speaking Truth,” is worthy of serious attention, particularly with regard to his suggestion (admonishment?) that we “read less that makes us comfortable in our ideas and to read more that challenges us.” While Mills uses the example of a Lefty reading Hayek and a Righty reading Polanyi, numerous others spring instantly to mind. How many “Thomists of The Strict Observance” does anyone know who has read St. Gregory Palamas’s Triads or neo-Palamites that have any familiarity at all with St. Thomas Aquinas’s Summa? I know more than a few folks who claim to detest “Straussianism” but have never read a single work by Seth Benardete, Allan Bloom, Thomas Pangle or, for that matter, Leo Strauss. Of course, I must admit that I also have come across more than a couple of “Straussians” (or wannabe “Straussians”) who dismiss a priori thinkers like Eric Voegelin and Werner Jaeger because their respective approaches to classical philosophy does not fit within Strauss’s ahistorical paradigm. I could go on, but I think you get the point.
This week’s edition is being brought to you by the letters A and Z.
Three for Friday
I didn’t do one last week. My apologies.
A day late and $0.83 short. I am keeping it brief this week.
A friend queried me the other day as to why Left-leaning blogs are, on average, more fun to read than Right-leaning ones. Because I am quite aware of his politics, I am confident he meant something else other than, “Why are Democratic blogs more fun to read than Republican ones?” Still, the categories “Left” and “Right” are often difficult to define, especially when applied to bloggers who write about more than just politics. I’ll start here. Is Opus Publicum a Right-leaning blog? Regardless of whether or not my posts are fun to read, the views they express are integrally bound up with the Catholic Faith. If I read an academic article and comment on it, I do so as a Catholic. If I read a book and review it, I do so as a Catholic. And when I discuss socio-economic matters, whether in the form of critiquing liberalism or championing alternative avenues, I do so as a Catholic. Given all of that, it seems that Opus Publicum can be safely categorized as Right-leaning, which maybe also means that it’s foolhardy for me to advertise its contents as “fun” to a single, well-adjusted human being.
Dr. John Rao, an associate professor of history at St. John’s University, pulled double duty in traditional Catholic cyberland. First, over at The Josias, the opening part of Rao’s survey of the Catholic Church’s relationship to contemporary secularism, “The Question of the Res Publica Christiana in Post-Conciliar Catholic Doctrines,” went up online. Parts two and three will follow in due course. Next, over at Rorate Caeli, you can find Rao’s guest post, “Is the Papacy in Turmoil?–Call in the Outsiders.” Both pieces are well worth reading.