AGAINST THE FUNDAMENTALISMS OF THE LEFT AND RIGHTJanuary 24, 2012
This last week I've been rather unsparing in my criticism of certain Republithug candidates, and lest you think I do not have equal loathing for the Dummycrooks, I bring this article to your attention:
Cardinal-designate Dolan is correct: when the government interferes with the teachings of a religion, when those teachings are not directly threatening to that government in any way, then it has crossed the line. Forcing the Roman Catholic Church to comply with laws in contradiction to its teaching is a slippery slope indeed, and opens the door to further such intrusions on the rights of Catholics, or any other group, to practice their religion in peace. By the same token, as I mentioned earlier in the week, Mr. Sick Rantorum's views represent the diametric opposite, an attempt to impose those teachings on the rest of society. Now from one standpoint it is much ado about nothing, since most American Catholics are more liberal than their official church teaching on the matter of the pill anyway. But will the government, pressing its logic, require Catholics, Jews, Protestants, or Muslims to allow the ordination of women as priests, rabbis, and imams in the name of equal rights? Or will the religious right conversely require agnostics or atheists to register with an "approved religion"? (Don't think that's possible? Google Rousas John Rushdoony, or theonomy, or dominionism, and think again!)
My point is this: for every such secularist or religion push, there has been an increasing fundamentalist reaction from the opposite side, driving their adherents into ever more harsh and just plain backward stances. And for every fundamentalist reaction on the right, an equally fundamentalist reaction on the left. Anyone taking the time to research Ms. Sibellius' stances on social issues will immediately realize she has her own agendas...I know, I used to live in the state of which she was governor (Kansas). We need only look at how well this dialectic has served only to polarize our society and make any sort of reasoned compromise impossible by looking at the education issue. Fundamentalists on the right would want us to allow freer and more local alternatives in education, so they can home school their children in their own madrasas in the ethics of Old Testament madness and teach them a "science" about an earth only 4,000 years old and all the "evils" of evolution, while fundamentalists on the left want to pump more and more money into "federal standards", into a utopian "no child left behind", into a system that is broken, intellectually bankrupt, and producing ever lower and lower scores on worthless computerized standardized tests, while Russian children go to math olympiads, French children are actually literate in their own language, British children learn their own history and literature, German children learn physics and biology...well, you get the idea. Doubtless you can think of other such issues where the fundamentalisms of Republithuggism and Dummycrookery only serve to play off each other. And the more extreme the claims and positions of either side, the more extreme and kooky the "compromises" between them - and there are, for obvious reasons, fewer and fewer of them - become.
Or consider the hypothetical case of a pregnant woman brought in to an emergency room triage, her life in danger and requiring a very costly but life-saving procedure. Under the Dummycrookery fundamentalism, a faceless bureaucrat in Washington DC might have written a rule whereby the doctor is forced to terminate her life because trying to save it wouldn't be "cost effective", and laying down "guidelines" that are as long as the IRS-US tax code. Thank you Mr. B.O., and Ms. Pelosi, for that is the logical end of your health care madness. Nevermind about that woman's four children at home, deprived of their mother's nurture and farmed out to foster homes to be raised on more federal subsidies. Consider the same woman, in that triage room, under a theocracy of Mr. Rantorum's making, where the doctor is forbidden to save her life by terminating the child's, thus depriving those same four children once again of their mother's nurture. In the one, she is the victim of a policy dogma, in the other, of a religious one, and the net effect is the same, and in both cases, the decision is made by a far-off bureaucrat, and in the name of a system, and not on the level where it belonged to begin with, with that doctor, and the woman's family, in that triage room.
For those of us in the middle, disillusioned with the implicit dogmas both of the Left and the Right,and looking askance on the fundamentalisms of Republithuggery and Dummycrookism, it is becoming an increasingly lonely place.
Ron Paul, anyone?