"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Let's be bad at math

From the redoubtable Diogenes:

Part of the syndrome of being a child of one's age is a lack of the historical imagination to recognize oneself in a different setting, endowed with a different array of sentimentalisms. In fact, such people are certain they'd be on the side of the angels in any situation. The personal advantages they have purchased by their social conformity are so enormous and comprehensive that they fail to see it as conformity at all. This was true in 1930s Germany, when the right wing was in the ascendant, and it's true in the West today, when the left wing is. Joseph Sobran once wrote:

[Liberals] want us to believe that their willingness to conform to today's fashions is proof that they would have had the courage to defy yesterday's fashions. Somehow I find it hard to believe that today's coward would have been yesterday's hero, if only he'd had the chance. More likely he would have been, like most people, a timid conformist in any circumstances.

Look at is this way. If it were your goal to move in the most socially prestigious circles of today's world -- at the parties connected with the performing arts or fashion or big media -- whose opinions would let you move effortlessly and contentedly among the beautiful people: those of liberal half-Catholics, or those of the orthodox Catholics they despise? And which group, coincidentally, congratulates itself as the "Thinking" Catholics? To hold views that are currently fashionable is not necessarily to embrace falsehoods, but for a Catholic it ought to be -- at minimum -- an embarrassment. As Chesterton put it, "We do not really need a religion that is right where we are right. What we need is a religion that is right where we are wrong."

The "liberal half-Catholics," as well as many others, are those who follow the world's spiritual calculus. They take for granted that the benefits outweigh the costs. But since life is short and eternity is long, we must follow a higher calculus. It is otherwise known as "the narrow path." If we do, we win fer losin'.
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