Friday, July 25, 2008

Whence Barack?

An interesting thought from Pertinacious.

...I'm inclined to think that the single most important factor behind the emergence of a candidate like Barack Hussein Obama, as well as the dearth of truly inviting and substantial alternatives, is the final death of the Christian Faith in the public square. This isn't to say that there are not Christians. It is simply to say that the Faith, as a decisively culture-formative force in society, has been eclipsed by other forces: the secular media, the Internet, commercialism, reality TV, and what Herbert Marcuse long ago called "telenewsmagspeak...As G.K. Chesterton once said, "When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing — they believe in anything." Whether Mr. Obama is epistemologically self-conscious about this, I do not know; but I believe he instinctually knows that secularized Americans yearn for a God-substitute, a Messiah, and that he has tapped into this yearning. He wears his mantle with studied audaciously. The irony of the yearning is that it recoils from traditional religion because of its putative anti-intellectualism and repressiveness

Plato, in his Republic, describes the process by which good forms of government are displaced by progresively worse ones. He starts with a government of the wise, which is followed by a government of military virtues (Timocracy), one of self-aggrandizement (Oligarchy). Famously, the last form of government before hitting rock bottom with Tyrrany, for Plato, is Democracy. What Plato fears about Democracy is that it verges toward anarchy and easily permits a man to rise to power on the wings of great promises, who, when elected, turns into a tyrant. The wost result, however, is that when the souls of individual citizens have lost their normative order and orientation, they lose the capacity to understand what has happened to them, because they themselves have become viciously tyrannical, leading them to call evil "good" and good "evil."

Thinking about The O-and-Savior's Berlin pastiche of gossamer, "citizen-of-the-world" surrealistic silliness kinda puts Pertinacious' question into place, no?


Anonymous said...

I think you may be on to something. However, even some strong Catholics are not immune to the Obama-frenzy. At the Franciscan University of Steubenville, a group of students have formed a pro-Obama group. This is NOT the university...just some of the students. But given that the vast majority of students choose to go to Steubenville because they believe in the teachings of the Church, it is disturbing that these students are so gullible given Obama's anti-life stance. The students in this group have said that they believe they can "educate" Obama on the abortion issue after he becomes president.

Amy said...

The students in this group have said that they believe they can "educate" Obama on the abortion issue after he becomes president.

One would hope that's a possibility, but until Obama shifts on that (any many other issues), a Catholic cannot vote for him.

It's one of the non-negotiables in voting.

Anonymous said...

Amy...I agree is is a "non-negotiable" issue for Catholics. But the point is, they ARE going to vote for him because they are so caught up in the messianic aura that he and his campaign have created. I wish this group of students were the only ones...I know several other adult Catholics who are very pro-life...who are caught up in the same kind of thinking. By saying they can educate Obmama, it's almost like they are looking for excuses to vote for him because they find his personality and rhetoric so compelling. They are in love with this guy!