Thursday, January 17, 2008

Rush Limbaugh Versus the Ambassador to the Holy See

There is truly a battle for conservatism in this country it appears. I think the true battle is reminding certain folks that are "purists" that there are several threads of legitimate conservative thought in Republican party. I think this has been forgotten. We all must live together and adapt together or we all go down together.

On that note the comments of Rush Limbaugh have been raising some eyebrows among conservatives. Especially Social conservatives and I suppose the Cruncy Conservatives among others.

Two places addressed this quite well today. I think Rod at Cruncy Con did a good job in these two post. That is Unparodyable/The Bubble Republicans and a challenging post here Bootstraps and conservatism.

I must say that the last one reminded me so much of what Pope Benedict has been saying.

Now what is interesting is the great discussion that occurred on the Mirrors of Justice Site. That is a site that is dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.

There were several posts on Rush's comments and if this was "conservatism". The quote that is of interest both to Rod and to the fine minds at Mirrors is this:

But if we're going to keep this notion that everybody's entitled to have whatever they want medically paid for by their neighbors, then we are finished. We are finished as a country; we are finished as a society. You can talk about my wealth, but let me tell you something, sir. I don't depend on anybody else for anything, and it was one of my objectives when I grew up. I didn't want to be obligated. I didn't want to be dependent. I didn't want to owe anybody. I don't buy into insurance plans because it's a hassle! Now, I know a lot of people don't have that freedom. I used to not have that freedom, either. But I do now because I worked for it — and if I can do it, a lot more people can do it than think they can, and that's conservatism again.

Now the fun starts at Mirrors of Just with this first post A question for my conservative friends . . . He says in part:
Here's the question for my conservative friends: Is Rush correct that conservatism stands for complete self-reliance and independence? I understand -- and agree with, in many contexts -- conservatism's skepticism toward government as the most effective provider for human needs. But Rush seems to be taking that skepticism to another level, turning it into a principle that stands in direct conflict with the nature of the human person, as expressed through the ideas of solidarity, reciprocity, subsidiarity, and the common good. I know there are many different currents within the mighty conservative river, and so I'm likely to get many different answers, but let me try to simplify the question: is Rush disconnected from mainstream American conservatism, or is mainstream American conservatism disconnected from an authentic understanding of the human person?.

I think that is correct. We are now seeing the disconnect that National Review Folks , Rush, and others have between what the mainstreat conservatives believe. I guess that is why I am supporting Huckabee and fascinated that his campaign is bring some of this to the forefront.

BY THE WAY I AM VERY MAD AT HUCKABEE TODAY. I am still supporting him but something happen , that I might blog about later, today that has me miffed. I suspect and in fact know pretty much we shall have to come off that position in a matter of months or moderate it.

Anyway returning to the post. By the way by now you are asking what does this have to do with the Ambassador of the Vatican? Well we are getting there. Another Contributor at MOJ responded here at Rush's Radical Autonomy:

it seems to me that Rob is right that Rush’s views are disconnected from an authentic understanding of the human person. I would go so far to say that no politically conservative Catholic with a well-formed conscience could assent to Rush’s aspirations of radical autonomy.

Now Mr Garnett chimed in with I think a post that needs to be read. That is More on "dependence". He reminds us that perhaps we should assume that Rush Limbaugh is not laying out a full morality of man here and all these concepts. I think that is fair. He has a magnificent essay he quotes in part on this subject so be sure to read the whole post. However he says:
That said, it seems more likely to me -- I could be wrong, of course -- that Rush was not purporting to say anything well considered about the nature of the human person, and was instead expressing his views that, for example, some policies might create dignity-sapping dependence on government, or that it is healthy, in a free society, for persons and families to be, to the extent possible, not entirely dependent on the public authority for support and maintenance.
We might disagree with these views, but they are certainly not ruled out by a Catholic understanding of the human person

Well that is true. In fact that is right out of Catholic Compendium on Social thought. However after listening to Rush I think he is becoming much more of a person that does not see all this in the practical aspects of life. As Reagan said Conservatism is not lived out in a labatory but in real life.I agree with many of the ideas he advocates. But it appears that he has gone into Conservative purity into just one facet. That is the economic to the exclusion of others facets of conservative thought and that is not real life.

Now here we get to Mary Glendon. May Glendon was a advisor to Mitt Romeny. She is one of the leading Catholics in the United States. She was appointed by President Bush to the President's Council on Bioethics, the official Vatican representative to the international 1995 Beijing Conference on Women sponsored by the United Nation, andfirst female President of the Roman Catholic Churchs official Pontifical Academy of Social Science, appointed by Pope John Paul II

Oh and she is now she is the just named new US Ambassador to the Holy See. A post she shall be taking offically in just a weeks. In this post that is in this line of post at MOJ Glendon on dependency.
"To state the obvious: If the outlook for dependents is grim, the outlook for everyone is grim. Despite our attachment to the ideal of the free, self-determining individual, we humans are dependent, social beings. We still begin our lives in the longest period of dependency of any mammal. Almost all of us spend much of our lives either as dependents, or caring for dependents, or financially responsible for dependents. To devise constructive approaches to the dependency-welfare crisis will require acceptance of those simple facts of life. And it will require a certain tragic sensibility, for there is no solution that will not entail striking balances among competing goods."

Michael Perry Chimes in on the last post at MOJ that is currently up on this topic at Limbaugh v. Glendon.
Limbaugh v. Glendon
Glendon: "Despite our attachment to the ideal of the free, self-determining individual, we humans are dependent, social beings. We still begin our lives in the longest period of dependency of any mammal. Almost all of us spend much of our lives either as dependents, or caring for dependents, or financially responsible for dependents."

Limbaugh: "I don't depend on anybody else for anything, and it was one of my objectives when I grew up. I didn't want to be obligated. I didn't want to be dependent. I didn't want to owe anybody."
It seems to me, Rick, that it doesn't get much clearer than that!.

So there we have it. Or at least a clue. There is a battle between people that see Conservatism I believe as a very narrrow thing. Devoid of real life. This is the problem. In 1977 Reagan gave a great speech called the New Republican party. Quotes from that speech worth noting:

One thing that must be made clear in post-Watergate is this: The American new conservative majority we represent is not based on abstract theorizing of the kind that turns off the American people, but on common sense, intelligence, reason, hard work, faith in God, and the guts to say: "Yes, there are things we do strongly believe in, that we are willing to live for, and yes, if necessary, to die for." That is not "ideological purity." It is simply what built this country and kept it great.
Let us lay to rest, once and for all, the myth of a small group of ideological purists trying to capture a majority. Replace it with the reality of a majority trying to assert its rights against the tyranny of powerful academics, fashionable left-revolutionaries, some economic illiterates who happen to hold elective office and the social engineers who dominate the dialogue and set the format in political and social affairs. If there is any ideological fanaticism in American political life, it is to be found among the enemies of freedom on the left or right -- those who would sacrifice principle to theory, those who worship only the god of political, social and economic abstractions, ignoring the realities of everyday life. They are not conservatives

Wherever and whenever we can, we should gently but firmly correct our political and media friends who have been perpetuating the myth of conservatism as a narrow ideology. Whatever the word may have meant in the past, today conservatism means principles evolving from experience and a belief in change when necessary, but not just for the sake of change.

And just to set the record straight, let me say this about our friends who are now Republicans but who do not identify themselves as conservatives: I want the record to show that I do not view the new revitalized Republican Party as one based on a principle of exclusion. After all, you do not get to be a majority party by searching for groups you won’t associate or work with. If we truly believe in our principles, we should sit down and talk. Talk with anyone, anywhere, at any time if it means talking about the principles for the Republican Party. Conservatism is not a narrow ideology, nor is it the exclusive property of conservative activists.

So it must adapt. It is not 1980. We cannot return to that. It does not mean we throw allt hose principles out but the world has changed a tad. In essence I think COMPENDIUM OF THE SOCIAL DOCTRINEOF THE CHURCH offer clues. It seems where people are trying to go in the conservative movement and some that are fighting it is contained there. It appears to achieve that balance that promotes family, the common good, deplores the Nanny State, and recognizes that we must live as a society not as radical indivduals only but as true community. And yes Govt has a role in promoting and helping that.

I think in the end we are working it out. It is hard because we sense we need to do it but not thrilled about it. As Rod in the above links stated:
The public senses intuitively that something has gone very wrong, and says it wants to change, but few people really want to make the changes necessary to fundamentally put our house in order. Rather, they want the therapeutic comforts of change. The appearance of change: Rearranging the furniture, so to speak, rather than remodeling the house.

I think that is true. I also think this is why the political process on both sides of the aisle is in flux and upheaval right now. We know there needs to be some changes but we are not quite what and how t achieve it. However I know this. The reckless throwing around of labels will not work anymore. That is where I know Rush is wrong

1 comment:

SJ Reidhead said...

Excellent. I'm stealing part of it! Funny how it works into what I was planning.

The Pink Flamingo