Friday, April 27, 2007

New group blog

Mr. Daniel Larison tells us he will be joining What’s Wrong With The World, the successor of Enchiridion Militis. The blog has already been launched. I suspect this is the same blog which was announced, but without its name being disclosed, over at Right Reason.

Its statement of purpose:
What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: The Jihad and Liberalism.

We are happy warriors, for our defense is motivated primarily by gratitude for what our ancestors bequeathed to us. We are hardly what the world calls “optimists,” for our sense of the crisis of our age is robust indeed; but despair is among the more fashionable sins today, and our hostility to it, too, is implacable. We put not our trust in princes, but stand on the Solid Rock, against which neither the tyranny of the Crescent nor the blank negations of Liberalism shall prevail.

Jihad is the Islamic doctrine of aggressive war waged with the purpose of subjugating all non-Islamic peoples to the political and legal authority of Islam. It covers virtually all manner of crime with the shield of piety by blessing massacre, plunder, enslavement and treachery if these are judged necessary in the cause of Allah. There is nothing like it in Christian civilization. Its roots lie in the very antiquity of Islamic civilization, and though it is surely true that not all Muslims have committed themselves to Jihad, it is also true that the doctrine is at least latent in all Islamic societies. As such, it stands as an inevitable threat.

Liberalism is a more obscure doctrine to define. Its grounding, we believe, lies in the assertion of Man’s sovereignty over his own nature and destiny, his brazen defiance of God. In political philosophy its mark is the reduction of all things to some strictly materialist standard, whether openly atheistic or more subtly economic. It collapses the mystery of Man’s dualistic nature. Christianity has taught us, in the common maxim, that man is in the world but not of it. Liberalism posits that he is emphatically of it; and by its logic even the worth of human life is made subject to the whims and calculations of worldly interest. The reductionism also issues in a deep antipathy for natural distinctions of any kind; Liberalism in the end renders men incapable of judgment.

All the world is darkened by these terrible falsifications of the nature of Man and the duty he owes his Creator. For solace we look not to the morbid optimism of the world, but to a hope which was ably captured in a statement of the man from whose short book we shamelessly take our own title, who by his great “metaphysical intuition of being” penetrated to the heart of these falsifications. His words were these: “The men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark.”

Is Jihad really the threat that the contributors think it is? I don't doubt Muslims who have immigrated to Western countries and are committed to their tradition and religious authorities pose some sort of problem, and that there is a war of demographics--but setting this aside, do they have the military power wage a war of conquest? It seems not. The governments may have the power to cripple the West economically, but it seems unlikely that those who have such power would use it, since they depend in some measure on the West to keep them in power. (Terrorists and other groups, on the other hand, are undoubtedly waiting for the opportunity to strike at vulnerable oil production targets, but even if they do so successfully, a Muslim invasion would not follow.)

As for liberalism being a problem, how many people understand what the tenents of liberalism are, if its critics have difficulty defining it?

I still believe that what we should be worried about is a possible impending implosing of the various Western states, and while a certain political ideology concerning freedom, government, and law may be false, what is a bigger threat is our way of life which is supported by very poor habits, if not outright vice. Do all peoples need to be converted to Christ? Yes, but this will not be done directly through argument from Natural Law or sound political theory; this will be helpful to the extent that it serves the evangelization and the spiritual works of mercy.

The first solution has always been, and will continue to be, prayer, sacrifice, and penance, in union with our Lord Jesus Christ.

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