The Personalist Project

I'm grieving these days over the crack up of the Republican political party and the imminent demise of the American Experiment in self-government and the rule of law. I was rather attached to both.

A few thoughts, then a few quotes.

This reductio ad absurdism of the Enlightenment ideal of rational self-governance without reference to God has been long in the making. It is linked, spiritually, to the same forces (of industrialization, the rise of mass media and technology, the spread of atheistic materialism and its attendant evil ideologies, the sexual revolution, the break up of natural communities and customs, etc.) that impelled Pope John XXIII to convene Vatican II. 

Many years ago I read an interview with then-Cardinal Ratzinger about that Council. He said (paraphrasing from memory), "The Church had been like a strong fortress, where the faithful were protected from enemies. The Council Fathers saw that the walls were about to be breached; we would have to train them for guerrilla warfare." That is to say, the cultural forces were too much—not for the Church, but for the old (paternalistic) forms of Catholic life. Now the faithful would have to learn to live their faith from within.

I'm thinking today that trying to maintain the Reagan coalition and American conservatism is maybe somewhat comparable to trying to repair those walls—a fruitless rear guard action and a waste of energy. They simply can't withstand the cultural forces now sweeping the world. 

Only God can do that. Only a return to Him will suffice on both the individual and communal levels. And it has to be focused within.

Socrates: “tyranny is probably established out of no other regime than democracy.”

John Adams: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

Theodore Dalrymple: "Political correctness is the means by which we try to control others; decency is the means by which we try to control ourselves"

Whittaker Chambers: "Economics is not the central problem of this century. It is a relative problem which can be solved in relative ways. Faith is the central problem of this age. The Western world does not know it, but it already possesses the answer to this problem—but only provided that its faith in God and the freedom He enjoins is as great as Communism’s faith in Man” [or, I would add, Progressivism’s faith in progress or scientism’s faith in science.]

Pope Paul VI: "...what matters is to evangelize man's culture and cultures (not in a purely decorative way, as it were, by applying a thin veneer, but in a vital way, in depth and right to their very roots), in the wide and rich sense which these terms have in Gaudium et spes,[50] always taking the person as one's starting-point and always coming back to the relationships of people among themselves and with God."

It's about the interiority of the person, which is to say, our relation to God and others.

 

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