A Challenge to my Liberal Friends

 

My dear liberal friends, noble and true, generous and compassionate, fair and even- handed—they hate individualism. I have not heard them say so, but I think it would be a safe bet that they would never vote for a libertarian.

Of course. The libertarian is a proponent of laissez-faire economics who tends to be calloused towards the poor. “People can do with their stuff as they please!” My liberal friends rightly point out that we who have are obligated towards those who do not. In material matters they say, “Yes” to the painful question of being their brother’s keeper. The basis for their position is often a very strong and effective appeal to the idea of community to which we all belong, community which is harmed or even destroyed when individualism is given free rein.

A strong case can be made that sex outside of marriage also harms community. Strangely, my liberal friends do not see this. Thus, they ignore or even actively support another sort of libertarianism, a sexual one. “People can do with their bodies as they please.” When sex’s natural consequence, procreation, is studiously thwarted by artificial birth control, amputated by abortion, or circumvented completely in the homosexual act, people start to act differently towards one another, beginning with the conjugal couple—the germ of the family—on to the nuclear family, the extended family, the neighborhood, the town, the country, the nation and finally the whole world. Why is sex not as much about community as is money? Why do my liberal friends not obligate themselves to seek the moral well-being of their community? To be consistent woudn’t they have to speak up on behalf of the sanctity of marriage and the inappropriateness of sex outside of it?

Given the moral high ground that my dear liberal friends often claim with regard to community, given the quickness with which they condemn the material selfishness and covetousness of a pronounced American individualism, it seems doubly odd that they do not see how contradictory their tendency towards sexual libertarianism is; just how much individualism is really involved in no-fault divorce, in abortion-on-demand, in homosexual marriage. In spite of their condemnation of individualism when they see it in others, they are oblivious to the harm to community caused by their own stark libertariansim in sexual matters.

Fingering material liberalism as a culprit is easy, one has many allies in the popular media. Doing the same with sexual libertarianism, in our day and age, is much harder. For example—the world loved Mother Theresa for her service to the poor. They could not get enough of the images of her with the poor in Calcutta, and it had a positive, if limited, effect. But her call to sexual purity, to the sanctity of marriage, and her prophetic stance on abortion did not receive the same praise from the NYTABCNBCCBSCNNPBS conglomerate, much to the contrary.

I invite my liberal friends to be consistent.

2 Responses to “A Challenge to my Liberal Friends”

  1. Rusty Says:

    you’ve pegged modern sexual libertarianism, with its attendant hypocrisies. It has the same evil root of selfishness and pride as material and economic libertarianism. Are you going to be consistent in your own critique of idolatrous individualism?

  2. unasancta Says:

    My opening paragraph makes it obvious that I am opposed to the kind of individualsim that destroys community. I seek to be consistently and thoroughly Catholic. In future posts I will spell that out.

    This does not mean I can see free to carte blanche handing over to the state the responsibilities for which it has no mandate.

    Which means I have no easy economic answers.

    Which means I am willing to philosophically “subsist” in a less-than-fair economic system, one which can, in its essence, never be perfect. The alternative, lining up with utopian proposals calling for heaven on earth, is not one of my options.

    In using the word subsist I seek for the right word. Obviously, I am not materially subsisting, I have more than I need. I use the word in a philosophical sense, i.e. philosophically I am subsisting–I have no answer to feed on. Economic freedom does not deliver prosperity to all, but every alternatives seems, at least to me, to produce prosperity for even less people.

    I come back from three weeks in Germany. There is still an external sense of community everywhere there, i,e, stronger and more palpable than here. That sense does not come from the socialism imposed on the East for 60 years, nor from the free-market capitalism practiced in the West, but still flows forth from the great Catholica which was formed in Europe in what are now viewed as the very dark medieval ages.

    The values stamped into the Western conscience by its former faith are threatened by both state intervention and ubbridled economic freedom. You and I both clearly realize that. In the past you have backed supporters of increased state intervention and I have called for the maintenance of freedom. Both of us have changed, and, it seems to me, neither of us continues to offer a wholehearted endorsement of any political “solution” to the dilemma of the West’s contagious godlessness and all of its ramifications.

    We must be individuals living in community. Yes. There is a paradox at work. The Catholic faith fosters, develops and protects that paradox better than any Protestant version. Surely you have witnessed how Catholicism has changed my thinking, particularly on the issue of community.

    Catholicsm is not only a “way of thinking,” but a way of being, a way of living. It involves submission to something greater than myself. But even moreso, it involves Him, the living God, who offers Himself not only in His thinking, but in His Body, His Blood. In the Catholic Church I receive Him, the living Lord. This is real food indeed.

    You embrace a number of Catholic ideals. Ironically, you challenge old Protestant presuppositions that still lurk in the corner of my mind. Isn’t it time for you to come home? Isn’t it time to just abandon all the worry and the concern and the “what will happen if we do this?” Isn’t it time to say it is better to be Catholic and suffer for it than to wait, for fear of what might happen if you lived here or didn’t live there, or if this or if that?

    Calling you home,

    Tom


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