Tuesday, September 13, 2005
A response to Thomas J. Herron (Culture Wars)
From Bill Cork
-- via Mark Shea
. . . an article by Thomas J. Herron in the latest issue of Culture Wars
, titled "The Trouble with Converts", an "all out assault" which takes aim at Fr. Richard J. Neuhaus, Linda Chavez, Rev. Robert Sirico (The Acton Institute
), Catholic journalist Rod Dreher, and . . . The Blosser Family(???)
All the converted members of this family appear to be rabid supporters of the current American occupation of Iraq and, to varying extents, have adopted the neocon habit of name calling people with whom they disagree like "Pat 'isolation above all else' Buchanan." ... The members of the Blosser family, as relatively new members of the Church, may be excused for not seeing the battle at National Review as just one campaign in the on-going Catholic-Jewish tribal war in America. ... It is obvious to anyone that, at present, the Jewish "tribe" has beaten the Catholic "tribe" and taken over the Bush administration, the Republican Party and the "conservative" media with the result being America's headlong plunge into never-ending wars in the Middle East ... while the moral decay at home continues.
Brief thoughts on this latest outburst from the Catholic fringe:
- I am most definitely NOT rabid. I've had my shots.
- Labeling Pat "Isolation At All Costs" Buchanan was in reference not to his stance on the Iraq war but to his article "Was World War II Worth It?" May 11, 2005 -- and which was vehemently protested (rightly so) by a number of bloggers, including this from Vodkapundit.
- I'm not sure if "The Blosser Family" is all that uniform (no pun intended) in our support of the war in Iraq. Mr. Herron might have came to that assumption by virtue of my father having penned the excellent "War and the Eclipse of Moral Reasoning" (presented at the Tenth Annual Aquinas/Luther Conference held October 24-26, 2002 at Lenoir-Rhyne College), and perhaps myself for my occasional blogging on the topic. My brother Benjamin? -- not a peep, nor fromJonathan and Nathan (the latter presently at sea aboard the U.S.S. Kearsarge).
- As far as attacks on Catholic bloggers and/or converts go, Mr. Herron could probably take lessons from Fr. Joseph O' Leary's "Rise of the Neo-Caths", who in July 2005 targeted "Jeff Miller, Jimmy Akin, Oswald Sobrino, Mansfield Fox, Earl E. Appleby, Amy Welborn, Arthur Tsui, and at the youngest (and perhaps most genuine) end of the spectrum, Apolonio Latar III." (I think Mark Shea escaped The Wrath of O'Leary on account from his taking a leave of absence from blogging). You can view the content of O'Leary's screed here; a roundup of responses from St. Blog's Parish here.
- The barely-concealed allegation that Israel is pulling Washington's strings is seriously disturbing. Exactly what kind of "culture war" would want to provoke, exactly? -- And here I was just blogging about the hatred of Jews found among some factions of traditionalist Catholics. As Mark Shea notes:
"Yes, it's true that we converts bring baggage with us. It's also true that I disagree (respectfully) with the Blossers in my view of the war. I don't think it met just war criteria. But there's a strange tendency on the Catholic far right (see the Herron link) to constantly return to the Jews as the source of all our ills that gives me the willies."
- Whence this "Elders of Zion" conspiracy-theory regarding neoconservatives and the Iraq war? -- Norman Podhoretz gives a brief history in his historial survey of terrorism and the development of "The Bush Doctrine" ( "World War IV: How It Started, What It Means, and Why We Have to Win" Commentary Sept. 2004):
. . . A cognate count in this indictment held that the invasion of Iraq had been secretly engineered by a cabal of Jewish officials acting not in the interest of their own country but in the service of Israel, and more particularly of Ariel Sharon. At first the framers and early spreaders of this defamatory charge considered it the better part of prudence to identify the conspirators not as Jews but as "neoconservatives." It was a clever tactic, in that Jews did in fact constitute a large proportion of the repentant liberals and leftists who, having some two or three decades earlier broken ranks with the Left and moved rightward, came to be identified as neoconservatives. Everyone in the know knew this, and for those to whom it was news, the point could easily be gotten across by singling out only those neoconservatives who had Jewish-sounding names and to ignore the many other leading members of the group whose clearly non-Jewish names might confuse the picture.
This tactic had been given a trial run by Patrick J. Buchanan in opposing the first Gulf war of 1991. Buchanan had then already denounced the Johnny-come-lately neoconservatives for having hijacked and corrupted the conservative movement, but now he descended deeper into the fever swamps by insisting that there were "only two groups beating the drums . . . for war in the Middle East—the Israeli Defense Ministry and its amen corner in the United States." Among those standing in the "amen corner" he subsequently singled out four prominent hawks with Jewish-sounding names, counterposing them to "kids with names like McAllister, Murphy, Gonzales, and Leroy Brown" who would actually do the fighting if these Jews had their way.
Ten years later, in 2001, in the writings of Buchanan and other paleoconservatives within the journalistic fraternity (notably Robert Novak, Arnaud de Borchgrave, and Paul Craig Roberts), one of the four hawks of 1991, Richard Perle, made a return appearance. But Perle was now joined in starring roles by Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, both occupying high positions in the Pentagon, and a large supporting cast of identifiably Jewish intellectuals and commentators outside the government (among them Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, and Robert Kagan). Like their predecessors in 1991, the members of the new ensemble were portrayed as agents of their bellicose counterparts in the Israeli government. But there was also a difference: the new group had managed to infiltrate the upper reaches of the American government. Having pulled this off, they had conspired to manipulate their non-Jewish bosses—Vice President Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and George W. Bush himself—into invading Iraq.
Before long, this theory was picked up and circulated by just about everyone in the whole world who was intent on discrediting the Bush Doctrine. And understandably so: for what could suit their purposes better than to "expose" the invasion of Iraq—and by extension the whole of World War IV—as a war started by Jews and being waged solely in the interest of Israel?
To protect themselves against the taint of anti-Semitism, purveyors of this theory sometimes disingenuously continued to pretend that when they said "neoconservative" they did not mean "Jew." Yet the theory inescapably rested on all-too-familiar anti-Semitic canards—principally that Jews were never reliably loyal to the country in which they lived, and that they were always conspiring behind the scenes, often successfully, to manipulate the world for their own nefarious purposes.
- Of course, I realize the mere fact of my quoting Norman Podhoretz in Commentary only confirms Mr. Herron's suspicions. Ah, well.
From the new blog