Sometimes acquiring more knowledge leads to a narrowing of focus, and this is to arrive closer to truth. Truth isn't always an acknowledgment that "things are complex." Let me give some examples: disease is caused by tiny creatures called germs and viruses. This is a simpler explanation than that plagues are caused by humours mixing with atmospheric conditions, mixing with celestial phenomena. Also a marriage ended: it can simply be that one of the partners was a bad person, immoral, a drug addict, whatever. Today we tend to think that making it about everything is smart. Ockham's razor relies on the opposite aesthetic.
The more I read and think about the state of the world today, specifically people's political and moral views which seem so odd to me (i.e. unrealistic leftism), the more I simply have to conclude with one word: Marxism.
And yet, who reads Marxist literature? I'm probably the only one in my town whose read more than the Communist Manifesto, whose read, in fact, half a dozen or so of the works of Marx and Engels. You can be sure with all the 'book virgins' entering into university, that none of the airheads of the left have put much disciplined study into the formation of their viewpoints.
But how can you have non-Marxist Marxists?
There is another problem. If the MSM is Marxist - why? How is it in their self-interest? How is it in the self-interest of the wealthy elite to espouse a doctrine that seems to fundamentally de-legitimize their wealth and power?
Of course, some of the paradox can be diminished if you recall what I already said: most of them are not intellectually formed. Is it in black people who live in the ghetto's best interest to alienate the police who protect them from the most dangerous elements in their neighbourhood? No. Is it in the best interest of poor people to vote for more and more spending that will increase the debt to an unmanageable level? Of course not. It's not in anyone's best interest. Is it in women's best interest to diminish the dignity of masculinity? No. However, many of these things are too subtle for the majority to grasp. Is a minimum wage in poor people's best interest, when that keeps pushing jobs out of NA and into the third world? No. Detroit was destroyed in this manner, by people believing that they should only think short-term.
But there are glimmers of plausibility in all of the above positions. Many, or perhaps all of them, are premised on the idea that rich people just need to be pushed hard enough and when they give up their excess this will alleviate all the problems of the under-class. Some studies out there show that this would not be the case. This is one such discussion. The basic problem is, the billionaires of the US don't have enough money to pay for health care and university for everyone. And, if they were taxed at 100% what would happen? (Hint: read some 20th century Russian history.)
Messing with economics usually has a lot of unforeseen results. So, you are not an idiot to suppose that there is enough money to pay for all this stuff, until you are told there is not enough money. Then you are an idiot.
But when you hang around with people who spend a lot of time on the street smoking weed, rather than reading books, you are invincibly ignorant and can then be treated as a pawn by those who do know better - like the Democratic Party in the US or the two liberals parties in Canada. Hillary Clinton is a multi-millionaire, so is Michael Moore. But they want to give poor people everything they want. They seem to want to. What is stopping Hillary Clinton and Moore from sharing their own money? Absolutely nothing. Francis of Assisi wanted to share with the poor, so he did.
But why would somebody say something they don't mean? To get power from people who believe them.
Okay, but why would people like Clinton and Moore end up on that side rather than on the Republican side, because Republicans believe that people have a right to their money, and so the actions of Clinton and Moore seem to indicate they also believe this?
There is a moral rush or thrill that comes with saying you love the poor, you love women, you love black people. In other words, being a rich Democrat is the ultimate lifestyle: moral self-righteousness coupled with extreme wealth.
But there is more. And this more I have discussed before, but I think needs to be hammered home more clearly - this is the "one cause" I was talking about above. All leftists come from unhealthy family backgrounds. They always have and they always will. A friend pointed out an article from Anthony Esolen yesterday that explains this: if what we have before us is feces we are obliged to pretend it's roses.
Now, my observation is both objectively true, but it's also relatively true. As long as someone feels embarrassed, judged, feel they come up short in relation to their background, they will have a need to decry the standards from which they fall short (which is really to give those standards power). Take the homosexual example. Why are they disproportionately unattractive? Because they simply cannot face up to the fact that they are not the best looking, most desirable, special in that way, they try to change the rules and say they are simply different, special in a different way. Being overweight is terribly unhealthy. The anti-fat-shaming movement attempts to argue against common scientific consensus by saying that 'beauty / health comes in all sizes.'
But what does any of this half to do with Marxism? It has far more to do with certain less commonly recognized elements of Marxism than the money one. Marxism is anti-religion and anti-family, intrinsically so, not accidentally. It is a totally alternative view of life that sees the enemy in everything that has happened so far. Evil appears as a deeply Freudian image of the father. Thus, children of divorce are drawn to Marxism, people who were abused in childhood, the ugly, the unmasculine, the short, the unfeminine, the weak, anyone who considers himself a loser according to the standards he believes the world maintains, and, in earlier times, the Jew, obviously.
Marx and Engels said it quite clearly: family and religion are all about power too. Thus, it is not accidental that Marxism would be intimately tied to the feminist movement. It wasn't only a device of the Leninist state when it proclaimed that it was the best hope women had for liberation. It wasn't only a device.
It should now be evident that Marxism is always interested in destabilizing society, for society will always include families, and, it appears as well, religion. Because Marxism is intrinsically anarchic it inevitably leads to despotism. Societies are usually complex structures of cooperative and of competing smaller institutions. Religions compete among each other, they compete with secular attractions, they compete with bureaucrats, professors, employers, doctors, fathers, mothers and husbands, with lawyers, with merchants, etc.. all of which compete among each other too. This is Marxism in its positive function, that is, doing what it does: it destabilizes. When people participate in destabilizing these structures they do 'Marxism.' When homosexualists push for marriage they do Marxism, because they are undermining the family, rendering it into just some other kind of legal arrangement. When you water down the meaning of family, you undermine its position in society, thus you make other things, in this case, the state, stronger. When you make education mandatory you do the same. When you make make taxation about things other than funding the bare necessities of defense and infrastructure, you do Marxism. People who want to undermine the family do so because they have a low or negative opinion of it.
Does anyone have a vested interest in destabilizing the family? Not objectively. But bureaucrats and politicians have a relative interest in doing so. Homosexualists, feminists, Marxists, poor people, have a relative interest in doing so - it increases their relative moral standing, even though they are thereby weakened because they are part of a society that is now weaker, i.e., one that has hurt itself by hurting the family.
When people look at religion they do not immediately think about the flaws in Thomas' Five Proofs for the Existence of God. Most don't know them and wouldn't know how to respond to them anyway. Society does not look at religion from the perspective of epistemology, that is to say, whether it is reasonable or not to believe in a God. It looks at religion as a moral issue. But they don't do so free of strong personal bias. If one has warm associations with it from their childhood, they will consider it morally good; if they did not, they will consider it harmful. Society is not well-versed in religion. The vast majority who say they hate Christianity have no idea what it teaches and what its effects on history have been. (Neither, for that matter, do they have any idea about whether fracking is good or bad, what impact Mexican immigration has on American society, whether the UN is good institution, whether the G8 is a positive or negative institution, or the European Union.)
People's views are based upon gut feeling. If Christianity is pro-family, and I had a bad dad, then Christianity is bad. It has been this way for a while. Marxism profited from the switch of society from an agrarian to an industrialized base. It is now profiting from artificial contraception - which has left women and children unprotected, because it has divorced sex from marriage, has made familial responsibility something one can opt out of. Marxism is about the need to be protected when the father has left. Children who grow up without fathers look to the state for protection and for everything else that the father is supposed to give them. These people in need are the so-called "useful idiots," and the people who take advantage of them are the limousine liberals.
So, what should the Church do about this? What should a Catholic intellectual do about it?
We have to call a spade a spade, of course. The Church has to be vigilant in pointing out that when the state overreaches it harms people, because the family was meant by God for human fulfillment, and cannot be replaced by a faceless bureaucracy. The state is often presented as a benefactor, even by the Church. Some church documents talk about human rights, like to education, to employment, etc., and that is all true and good, but what is heard is that the state is the natural dispenser of these things. Our tendency is to draw straight lines. Jobs are needed, therefore they must be created in the most obvious manner, by governmental fiat. It is not realized that perhaps lowering taxes can create an environment that fosters more sustainable employment. When there is a 'right' we run the shortest route to its satisfaction. But jobs created by the state usually create debt, which robs people in the future of their rights.
Church documents don't say that it is the state that must guarantee citizens employment or education. Christians must act in ways that lead to these dignities for others - and this is not just by means of their vote! It might mean the very opposite of setting up a welfare state. Low tax USA and Japan had vastly lower unemployment and vastly more wealth than any communist state ever did.
Catholics have to recognize that looking to the state undermines human dignity. We talk about subsidiarity, and that is good, but it too can be a little too materialistic. Even there we don't talk about quality of life; we talk about quantity of production. But family life and Church life are not quantifiable. That is my only bone with talking about subsidiarity. It still dwells on maximization.
Best education or most loving parents? And if you ask, well, which one makes for a better economy?then there is no hope for you as a human being and as a Christian.
The creeping state is Marxist and it is anti-family and anti-Christian. You can't get good fruit from an unsound tree. (cf. Mt 7:17)
Perhaps we should pay special attention to that enigmatic saying from the Gospel (and the OT),
"Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. "He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse." (Mal 4:6, Lk 1:17)
Whenever fathers are distant the consequences are bad, and these bad consequences cannot be ameliorated by anything other than by returning hearts to the places they belong.