Friday, February 26, 2016

"Invasive Gnosticism" & Reactionary Paranoia

http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/leithart/2016/02/invasive-gnosticism

Leithart published this piece on what he considers "invasive gnosticism", the Federal government regulating what is male or female. In other words, if you identify as female, even though you're anatomically male, you're allowed to use the women's room with impunity. This is a part of other White House attempts to attack at the roots of Christianity.

Now, let me start off by saying that while I can appreciate the criticisms that gender norms are primarily culturally constructed, that does not remove their basis in biology. If you are a born a man, you are male, whether you like it or not. I won't get into exceptions because exceptions should not forge the rule. Wealth, privilege and luxury has made America fat-headed, decadent, and incorrigibly immoral. On this, Leithart and I would probably mostly agree.

But, as the article begins, Leithart claims this is the Federal Government foisting its opinions on the people. I'm not sure if Leithart realizes that, in a sense, this is the government protecting the individual and actually a kind of evacuation of its power in terms of enforcing any gendered norms. Ironically enough, his complain about a Seattle man is that the Police won't enforce gendered norms. This is less a complaint about an invasive government, but a government that will not enforce the morally correct option.

Yet this "invasive" move is connected towards the government's "indifference" to Christians in Egypt  and making Catholics support birth-control. In the first instance, I don't know what Leithart wants Obama to do. Does Leithart want a war against ISIS and begin Stage 3 of Iraq's invasion? In the second instance, St. Paul councils us to offer Caesar his due. Obviously the Apostle knew that Caesar funded his wars with these taxes. What is more immoral than the that? Yet the Neuhaus, whiny American Roman Catholic bloc will complain when they have to pay for condoms. Can I opt out of 50%+ of my taxes for all the death programs this country funds?

In this instance, what Leithart wants is a reactionary voting force, and yes, this kind of Christian politics is mostly reactionary fantasy. They can't make up their minds over larger or smaller government, it's mostly a pragmatic position in order to assume power. It's incoherence is why politicians love the Evangelical block, they're so easily riled, motivated, trashed, and reassumed.

Thus, it's fitting that the piece begins with a sympathetic quotation of Donald Trump. Despite all the criticisms, Trump will be (already is?) the Evangelical candidate because he stirs the pot, speaks from the "heart", and rages against all the abstractions that Evangelicals hate without defining. I mean consider this: the complaint is against "political correctness". Would Evangelicals be happy if politicians or talking-heads insulted Christ, Christianity, the saints etc.? This is again a selective standard. But lest one is deceived, this is not a Christian standard.

At least not as the Apostles held. It's a Christianity fused to the Power of Caesar in the place of a virulent, violent, and vile Nationalism. In this religion, Donald Trump is a rather pious man. He leads the worship of Columbia, the death-god who has devoured hundreds of thousands of her children for world dominion.

And besides this, Donald Trump represents the same morally corrosive capitalism that has erased all sorts of gendered norms. When the ultimate standard is money, the only thing stopping these sorts of changes is popular opinion, namely popular spending. Companies alter policies not because they have a moral crusade, they want to be on the right side of the dollar. It's about cornering pockets of the market. If Leithart wants to complain about something "invasive", it's perhaps worthy to consider our deep rooted Capitalism. Money is the only morality.

So, there you have it. It's all a fantasy, and it will continue to be until this rotten nation collapses under the weight of its own belligerent lusts. God have mercy.

2 comments:

  1. I didn't realize you had a blog Cal? Your post is quite prophetic. I don't know what would happen if Trump became president but I'm sure none of the presidents we have had so far have been anywhere as evil as Caligula or Tiberius Caesar. Jesus certainly knew where the tax money was going. I think American Christians (Catholics and Protestants) need to remember that Christianity exists outside of America. We hold such parochial views because we forget that America is not a promised land of sorts. It is just a nation. Peace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment Fariba!

      Yes, certainly open debauchery has nowhere reached the depths of those two, let alone a President spending public money to build statues of his dead boy-lover (Hadrian) or a President who becomes obsessed with a sex-change (Elgabalus...Caitlyn Jenner 2016??).

      True, America is one of many confused and complicated Nations with an interesting past. A first step for Christians is to relativize their nation in the grand scale of things.

      But, at this present moment, America does sit on a world throne of sorts, and quest for empire drives this increasing amount of influence. Peoples suffer as American corporatocracy fans out across the globe, involving more and more in American affairs.

      None of the major candidates has (nor will they) speak of dismantling the empire. I've appreciated some serious socialist critiques against Bernie Sanders that he is just an imperialist. Avoiding the connotations, Sanders is frankly a National Socialist.

      Donald Trump is vile, but so are the rest, and I'm not a paranoid nut to think that the world is falling if the country receives a buffoonish actor for president (paging Reagan).

      cal

      Delete