Sometimes I watch The Five on Fox News. Oddly, the one who raises my blood pressure the most is not the orthodox liberal Juan Williams — there is a soothing predictability to Juan that forces me to like him — but the nominal conservative Dana Perino.
Perino doesn’t seem to grasp the enormity of what’s unfolding before us in the forms of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. She strikes me as one of those people who think this election season a mere glitch — a short circuit that the dirty, uneducated lower classes have caused in a system that is otherwise functional.
Actually, that might be the strongest sense in which Perino is a conservative: she thinks that once November 8, 2016, comes and goes, the Republican Party can go back to doing business the way it did before Trump descended the escalator at his eponymous tower last year. (more…)
I have written the cover story for the October 21 issue of The Catholic Herald. My piece concerns the controversial pilfered emails from John Podesta, released by Wikileaks, that point to Democratic activists’ use of certain Catholic groups to influence the U.S. Church.
Here’s a taste:
It’s hardly surprising that liberal activists would create organisations devoted to left-wing goals. But these comments should open up fresh debate about the use of religious groups for political ends – and the often close relationship between a small circle of powerful Democrats and liberal Catholic groups.
In the July 15 issue of The Catholic Herald, I write about how our concepts of “left” and “right” are Cold War-era relics. The rupture of these obsolete ideas is behind the current breakdown in conventional politics in both the United States and the United Kingdom:
Millions of Americans and Britons don’t accept a bipartisan consensus that was formed without their input or permission. Its partisans grew so resistant to reform they treated their own citizens as a kind of plague to be contained in the hinterlands, not as stakeholders with genuine concerns.
How did this mushy consensus come about? That’s a difficult question. One thing’s for certain: The political elite misread the fall of communism. They thought, as the American political scientist Francis Fukuyama did, that history had ended, and that at the climax of this great Hegelian unfolding was a Western liberal democracy that would never die.
This bred arrogant complacency – the belief that you could sit back, relax and think only about small matters like tax rates. Why worry about immigration? After all, history was over. We had won. The little people would soon see how glorious the future would be.
Here’s me at The Catholic Herald, reflecting on last week’s Democratic sit-in for the policy people like to call “gun control”:
One side of the culture war has been successful in linking all its opinions to the most contentious and guilt-ridden periods in American history. Anyone opposing the sit-in, then, is cast in the symbolic role of Bull Connor.
One might scoff at all of this, but bringing guilt and shame by continually invoking the lowest points in a nation’s history does affect people — see “Germany” — and often makes people assent to things not on their merits but on their emotional repercussions. I’ll always defend the Enlightenment, but it cemented in many Western minds a false idea of how humans actually think and make decisions. We have been trained since school age to believe that if we use facts, logic, and reason to make a case, we can persuade others to our side; if we apply this process to governance, the thinking goes, we can preserve our rights and liberty through superior argumentation.