House Votes to Block Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE
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I am talking more about a new locus of identity, an attitude, I sense among Catholics. This time round, though, it is less like Benedict and more like the Maccabees: Lay people, not monks, who aspire to build walls around what is true, good, and beautiful in order to preserve these transcendentals along with themselves and their children. You see this in the micro-educational institutions that create a community of learning and faith, without hope of any largesse or approval-stamp from the culture at large; you see this in small church communities centered around a liturgy that “brings beauty flowing into the realm of the senses.”
But I wonder if the experience of other creatures, for the laity, must on some level include the Other—a person who challenges us by the very fact that they have a very different experience. This kind of interaction, I have found, helps us see not only the gaps in our own empathy and sensitivity to what any issue includes, but also helps us deepen our ability to think abstractly, with principles becoming living things and not dry museum pieces to worship. We can, in being confronted by real people who think very differently from us, become deeper and of more real value to others.
Dr. Deneen is too good a political scientist not to acknowledge that the disruptive, self-interested individualism he finds to be the cause of liberal failure actually long preceded Locke. He notes that “pre-liberal Christianity” was the first to undermine the traditional family by individualizing marriage as an agreement between spouses, rather than being controlled by patriarch or state. In fact, Jesus went much further, saying that choosing family over Him was not worthy of Him. Jesus even made salvation itself individual, and analogized love of neighbor to love of oneself.