The Consequences of Reckless Rhetoric
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In the professions of faith of the New Testament, only men are remembered as witnesses of the Resurrection, the Apostles, but not the women. This is because, according to the Jewish Law of the time, women and children were not considered reliable, credible witnesses. In the Gospels, however, women have a primary, fundamental role. Here we can see an argument in favor of the historicity of the Resurrection: if it were a invented, in the context of that time it would not have been linked to the testimony of women. Instead, the evangelists simply narrate what happened: the women were the first witnesses. This tells us that God does not choose according to human criteria: the first witnesses of the birth of Jesus are the shepherds, simple and humble people, the first witnesses of the Resurrection are women. This is beautiful, and this is the mission of women, of mothers and women, to give witness to their children and grandchildren that Christ is Risen! Mothers go forward with this witness! What matters to God is our heart, if we are open to Him, if we are like trusting children. But this also leads us to reflect on how in the Church and in the journey of faith, women have had and still have a special role in opening doors to the Lord, in following him and communicating his face, because the eyes of faith always need the simple and profound look of love. The Apostles and disciples find it harder to believe in the Risen Christ, not the women however!
In the beginning, what was the best that the Right had to offer? I would briefly say: an anti-individualist and anti-utilitarian system of thought, together with an ethic of honor, inherited from the Ancient Regime. Thus it was opposing head-on the ideology of the Enlightenment, whose driving forces were individualism, rationalism, self-evident individual interests, and the belief in progress. The values that the Right claimed were aristocratic and popular at the same time. Its historic mission was to fulfill the natural union of the aristocracy and the people against their common enemy: the bourgeoisie, whose class values were precisely legitimized by Enlightenment thought. But this union was fulfilled only during very brief periods.
For the Right, Man is naturally social. However, it never forged its own consistent theory to explain community or social connectedness. Nor did it seriously explore opposition to the ideal liberal types, the autonomous individual and the “social man.” It has never been able to formulate a genuinely alternative economic doctrine to the mercantile system, either.
Instead of supporting the workers’ movement and nascent socialism, which represented a healthy reaction against individualism that the Right was also criticizing, it all too often defended the most dreadful human exploitation and the most unjustifiable political inequalities. It sided with the wealthy, objectively participating in the class struggle of the bourgeoisie against the would-be “redistributors” and the “dangerous classes.”
There were exceptions, though rare ones. The Right’s theoreticians were more often led by their audience than leading it. Defending the nation, the Right rarely understood that the nation is above all else the people. She forgot the natural complementariness of aristocratic and popular values. When the workers’ right to an annual holiday break was passed into law, the Right railed against the “vacation culture.” It always preferred order to justice, without understanding that injustice is a supreme form of disorder, and that order itself is very often nothing but an established disorder.
The Right could have developed a philosophy of history founded on cultural diversity and the need to acknowledge its universal value, which would have led it to support the struggles in favor of autonomy and liberty in the Third World, whose peoples were prime victims of the ideology of progress. Instead of that, the Right ended up defending the colonialism that it had once condemned, while complaining about being colonized in turn.
The Right forgot that its only true enemy is Money. It should have considered everything opposing the system of money as its objective ally. Instead it gradually joined the other side. The Right was better equipped than any other force to reframe the anti-utilitarian values of generosity and selflessness, and to defend them. But, little by little, the Right acceded to the logic of interest and the defense of the market. At the same time, it fell in line with militarism and nationalism, which is nothing but collective individualism, something that the first counter-revolutionaries had condemned as such.
Nationalism led the Right to the metaphysics of subjectivity, this illness of the spirit, systematized by the Moderns. This estranged the Right from the notion of truth. It should have been the party of generosity, of “common decency,” of organic communities; but it all too often became the party of exclusion, of collective selfishness, and resentment. In short, the Right betrayed itself when it began accepting individualism, bourgeois lifestyles, the logic of money, and the model of the market.
And that vision is Jewish and Christian in origin. It is a vision that we find on the first page of the Bible and it continues through the Law of Moses and the writings of the prophets and it continues in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the writings of the first Christians.
America's "creed" is based on the biblical teaching that human life is sacred and has great dignity — because God made men and women in his own image. It gets expressed this way in the Declaration of Independence — that all men and women are created equal by God and endowed with God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
This Judeo-Christian creed has helped make America home to a flourishing diversity of cultures, religions and ways of life. As a result, we have always been a nation of nationalities. E pluribus unum. One people made from peoples of many nations, races, and creeds.