Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why Liberals are Liberal

Patrick Madrid had a great post re. a so-called pro-choice Catholic the other day, and provided a link to the original article he was criticizing. This in turn led me to something called 'Young Adult Catholics Blog' hosted by something called the 'CTA.' I couldn't determine what that stood for; I guess they presume I know.* (see below post) It is not my intention to give that organization publicity, but I doubt many of my readers would care for it anyway. Have a read of it if only so you can provide yourself with some of the context of my following remarks.

Why are liberal Catholics liberal, anyway?

That site presents, obviously, a slice of young Catholic liberalism. Yes, I am sure that they are a dwindling minority, but I have a feeling that YCLs (young Catholic liberals) will always exist. Let me explain why without sounding defeatist, without sounding anything.

You can quickly figure a few things out if you scan the posting on that site, which have been written by different authors. They see the Church as an enemy of freedom, an enemy of the good. They see it, or rather, the Magisterium, as generally a source of backward thinking and repressive legislation. They especially have in mind issues related to sexuality: homosexuality and contraception especially. They even balk against the Church's teaching on abortion. If they make any attempt to understand the rationale for this merely human institution, they cannot sympathize with it, but condescending can't believe that grown men would be so stupid in their thinking when the goodness of homosexuality, etc., is so transparent!

In other words, these 'young Catholics' are motivated by an enlarged sense of sympathy, which they feel trumps any other factor. Give people what they want and call it good because that is nice. Not that it isn't nice, it's just that in matters pertaining to intrinsic moral evils, nice is a word that signifies nothing more than "I don't understand it's real moral implications, it's real implications for human happiness. I don't see how these things interfere with human happiness, therefore they can't be evil."

Their ignorance is filled in by secular truisms, which they find convincing because they are very simplistic notions: anything that I think makes me or others happy is good. They very often rely upon unsophisticated thinking. It is a kind of thinking that is materialistic and reductionistic, that is, it orients its notion of the good to the here-and-now only, understands the good in terms of the pleasant, and also in terms of what is materially beneficial. It derides any other conception of the good as superstitious or hate-based.

Is it not commendable to put people first? Sure it is. These are people of heart. If they would err (and they do in spades) they err on the side of a notion of the good that makes people feel good about themselves.

We've said what they think, now we have to say why are they this way?

They have an unusual sense of the function and character of authority. While being on the surface individualists - you do what you like, I do what I like - they are passively-aggressive, or authoritarian in an unexpected way. While ostensibly despising authority, they are very willing to employ it to mercilessly restrain those who would suggest things contrary to their paternalistic care of the feelings of others. They have an idea of mental freedom that only works in one direction: the freedom to agree that homosexuality is right, that contraception and abortion are right. One hardly needs to point out how immature this is, not to be able to extend to those who disagree with you the right of expression you are adamant in defending for those who agree with you.

The interesting thing is not that they believe that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality, contraception etc., but why they end up on this side, displaying the psychological profile they do. Why do they refuse to believe that sexuality is governed by some pretty definitive moral parameters?

What would I be like if I were to believe that sexuality is not so governed?

I don't know if I can even answer that question.

My reflex answer is: I would be less intelligent than I am. haha.

You know this is the perfect picture for this post, dont you!
But it's more likely that they feel this way about sexuality because they have been really hurt by authoritarian impositions into their personal life at quite a young age. I'm no psychologist, but it makes sense to me that they want to give a wide berth to the private exercise of sexuality because of a deep-seated need for sexual comfort. Who doesn't! But, you cannot let this need overtake rational reflection: contraception hurts people, homosexuality is unnatural, extra-marital intercourse hurts people, does not dignify people, abortion kills people. They draw the line at 'pedophilia,' of course, because that conjures up to them the sense of victimization that is at the heart of all their theorizing. The idea that homosexuality has a very close relationship with pedophilia is something they would never consider for a second, despite any amount of evidence to the contrary.

Liberals focus on the notion of victimization. Why? They feel victimized. They consider the Church a heartless father.

I don't simply accept the notion that liberals are less intelligent than conservatives. I think conservatives are often pretty dumb too. I think an IQ comparison would be embarrassing to both sides. I might, nevertheless, accept that liberals do less thinking, or that their positions are more simplistic than conservatives'.

Don't worry, conservatives are getting it next post.

* A holy saint and reader of thetheologyofdad (are they not one and the same!) has pointed out that CTA stands for Call to Action. Of course!

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