Paris II

There is a quite a bit of clamor on social media and other outlets that Friday’s deadly attacks in Paris are receiving a disproportionate amount of media attention compared to other high-casualty attacks in places like Kenya and Lebanon. The critical read of this reality is that (mostly white) Western Europeans and Americans don’t care about “dark people” from third-world countries. There is probably more than a ring of truth to this observation, though it ignores the fact that brutal, well-planned terrorist assaults are “not supposed to happen” in places like Paris, London, and New York. If Paris is susceptible to such organized violence by so-called extremists, what’s to top something similar from happening in Berlin or Rome or Chicago? Paris makes the threat of Islamic terror feel more immediate than bomb blasts in Beirut. A soberminded reflection reveals that terrorist violence is always abhorrent; but that doesn’t change how the popular consciousness will react to it. Remember: One of the (rickety) promises of liberalism, which finds its roots in Thomas Hobbes, is to keep the citizenry safe from violent death. Terrorism upsets this claim.

Terrorism upsets this claim not simply by the fact it kills people, but because it reminds us that there are still genuine enemies in the world, that is, those who force us to make an existential decision about ourselves. The problem is that liberalism itself is not a banner most spiritually healthy individuals which to march under, for there is really nothing “to” liberalism except a series of promises culminating in an unimaginative, hedonistic, and ultimately cowardly life—a life of “entertainment” as Carl Schmitt quietly, but powerfully, noted in his The Concept of the Political. Men are not willing to die for such things; they are only willing to put their power behind making sure that others die for them. Granted, America, more than its European neighbors, still presents a tale of transcendent meaning to prop-up the prevailing liberal ideology, but how long is that bound to last? At some point in the not-so-distant future the vacuousness of the so-called “American Experiment” will be as evident as the moral and spiritual emptiness of European-style liberalism. How long until we submit—as European is submitting—to the crescent moon?

It doesn’t have to be this way, of course. The future is not written in stone. The great and terrible problem before us is that nothing appears ready to step-in and renew the West’s spirit, to reorient its existential self-understanding toward something higher than natural desires. The institutional Catholic Church, which has been gutted by the same liberalism which has already eroded the traditional bases of society, has little more to offer than a banalized rhetoric of intramundane peace. Instead of praying to Almighty God for protection from the infidels and their conversion, the shepherds scramble to setup “interfaith prayer services.” Instead of using large public gatherings to inform people that what they need in their lives above all else is Jesus Christ, the Pope himself dresses up fashionable political problems in light Christian garb. Although it is a false religion built on violence, perversion, and lies, Islam at least offers a spiritually robust alternative to the West’s cultural malaise. It may be grotesque, but at least it is something. When will the Church wake up to this horror and fight back? How long will God allow us to suffer these evils? Pray. Pray that our Lord, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the Saints, raise up His Church again, not only in the West but the longsuffering East as well. The fate of not just civilization, but millions upon millions of souls, depends on it.

9 comments

  1. Cogent points. But I would just say: give up. You have a pope who, much like the prevailing political class, can make a shew of gravity and incomprehension, even crocodile tears, but obtusely and arrogantly won’t change his liberal stance or reverse, for example, his call upon every European parish to accept at least one “migrant” family. Meanwhile, everything around him is crumbling into dust. If he were a layman like you or me we’d be able to call him what he is: a traitor.

    Just turn to your Bible. We’ve seen that the Church won’t stand up for us. Is it the Church anymore? Remember Paul VI’s lament about the “smoke of Satan?”

    “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” Isaiah 45:22.

    1. I don’t feel like taking the coward’s way out of, worse, devolving into a liturgical fetishist.

  2. Many of my friends have put the tricolor flag of the French Revolution over their profile picture to show solidarity with the people of France. I’m not sure how many of them know the French Revolution decimated the Catholic Church in that country and many of its ideas spread like cancer throughout the rest of western Europe. The revolution of 1789 was probably one of the most tragic events in western history. It led to the secularization of the west, the rise of functional atheism and the crippling of Christendom. It is most likely Islam would not be making such inroads in Europe without the events of 1789. While I pray for the French and the victims of Islamc terrorism, I would never rally around a symbol that I truly believe represents the main root cause of the infiltration of Islam into Europe.

    1. As I wrote earlier today on another blog, as a comment to a post featuring Edith Piaf singing La Marseillaise:

      Why should I applaud, or even listen to, some sluttish chanteuse singing a song that encapsulates and celebrates events that constituted the overthrow of France as “the eldest daughter of the Church” and enthroned “laicite” in it place?

      If this is the “French heritage” that we are rallying to defend, my call would, rather, be “pereat!” The French Revolution was the first, and the bellwether, of subsequent revolutions aimed at overthrowing any Catholic Christian social order, and the Marseillaise, like the Internationale, is freighted with anti-Christian (and, indeed, savagely neopagan) ideas. Were I a Frenchman I would have no truck with “1789 and All That” and, indeed, would take some melancholy consolation in the fact that with the Charlie Hebdo massacre and now the Paris Slaughter it seems to be expiring from, as Karl Marx wrote, mistakenly, of bourgeois capitalism, its own “inner contradictions.”

      And if I were to feel moved to show solidarity with the French, the flag that I would wave would be the drapeau blanc.

      1. Many years ago, I attended a banquet of a local French society with a French member of the Society of St Pius. I was surprised when she joined, with great gusto, in singing the Marseillaise. I stood, but did not sing. After the meal, a very good one, she asked why I had remained silent; I explained that the Revolution was fundamentally anti-Catholic and anti-Christian, and even though she was a well-educated university professor, she seemed rather shocked.

        1. Many are still ignorant of the great evil of the French Revolution. I’m an admirer of Chesterton and Belloc who got many things right. One thing they got woefully wrong is their view that the revolution was a good thing for mankind.

      2. This may sound like heresy, but not only is she indeed a sluttish chanteuse, she is not even very good at that. I cannot fathom her continuing popularity.

          1. Rex, I hadn’t notice this before, but it’s true, it’s true…she does sound like Elmer Fudd, but in French with a fixation of thrilled Rs.

            Thanks for posting!

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