I meant to add this thought in the previous post, but I will add it here, as it does lay some good groundwork for the discussion below:
I was talking about Millennials' nothing to believe in. What do they believe in? When they use words like 'love,' what do they mean? When a Christian uses it he is referring to God's nature, the nature He has employed in creating us. We love because that is us moving with the movement of God. Plato and Aristotle talked about this too, but it was more or less our inability to resist God's awesomeness. What is it to secular Millennials? I said it was about unreflectively approving of any sexual 'identity,' and, strangely, of Islam. This idea has no metaphysical foundation for them. But they unconsciously like Christianity's love idea. Marxists have always employed such nice sounding notions to extend their tyranny. Christianity understands that love is about caring enough to bring about another's good and happiness. Christianity understands that because we have a human nature, good and happiness are objective realities. Secularists believe it is simply a product of what one happens to identify as their happiness.
So what are these millennials being taught? That the world can be made perfect through viewing others positively. How do they know this? They are continually reminded about slavery in the US. They are taught that homosexuals used to be tortured and abused and now they are happy. Their frame of reference has often been referred to as the "history of now," which is a great term. They are taught that the only bad thing in the world is not thinking all others are good, that the only bad thing is thinking badly of others. But does this wash? What would have happened had the Romans not thought badly of the Huns, Goths, Vandals? What would have happened had the Spartans not thought badly of the Persians? How does positive thinking on England's behalf resolve the Nazi crisis? How will it resolve the crisis with Islam today? The problem is, it is bad anthropology, historical ignorance.
Their fame of reference is the 20th century, and is centred on the US. In Canada now it is much the same: we focus on the injustices of the past - our treatment of natives and of the Japanese during WWII. Much of this comes from Marxist indoctrination, in the US from Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. I would imagine, and have some fleeting empirical evidence to back this up, that the history taught in Canada is much the same. Our understanding of history has a very powerful moral influence on us - that is why leftists don't tell us about Islam's and black African involvement in slavery, the horrible conduct of the Japanese Empire in WWII, which makes British Columbian internment look like summer camp. They approach Israel much in the same simplistic distorted sense today. (There is an interesting clip about the demoralizing policy of the Communists in Sargon of Akkad's latest video. I encourage you to watch the whole video it is great, but the part I am talking about begins at 42.42).
Eco-spiritualism. I mean, you can supply any number of prefixes, like femo, but in any case the conclusion is the same: this is immanentism, that is, politics devoid of metaphysics, that is, a higher, or ultimate frame of reference. Which is what Marxism believes: there is no higher meaning in the world than material, no other reality higher than power relations. And so these young people are preoccupied with identity politics. Their ultimate good consists in parity: an equal number of men and women, black and white, gay and straight people doing X. Of course, philosophy and religion is about evaluating what kind of X we should be doing, but secularists today stop at the power and the distribution. In this sense, for as much as we might talk about progress, it is a firm fact that what the primitive people were doing in the University of Paris talking about quiddity, esse and essentia and all that was intellectually light years beyond what students are doing today in their modern universities with their laptops. Aristotle, the much-maligned Aristotle, does far more for the human brain and soul than Zinn.
When a child I was exposed to a strange concoction of Christianity, humanism, new-ageism and so on. While the latter two could not offer ultimate explanations, Christianity could, though in the hands of my mentors, rarely in a satisfying manner. Ultimately I had to use what I was given as a sort of warn-out map, one missing some key sections, to begin to look for what I sought. Today, it seems, for so many even that much is missing. Now, of course, I don't think we should have everything handed down to us on a platter. The catechism is itself a sort of platter, but we are typically unable to digest it, so as to obtain its healthful substances. And besides, most of us are never given it. Parents deprive their children of nourishment because they are starving. Parents are starving but addicted to certain narcotics that conceal the fact from them. They have chosen stones instead of bread (Mt 7:9).
When I was a kid I was exposed to an unsatisfactory kind of religious education. But at least I was given that much. Parents attempt to inculcate lower-order politeness and civility as if it were religion or metaphysics. (I would prefer the writings of any Stoic to that!) This is why young people tend to identify lower-order things as the ultimate explanation of life - politics, social justice, equality, sexuality, pleasure. "You reign over us!" (Judges 8:9)
All we can do now is tell them to seek the higher things! No one tells them to seek the higher things. (Col 3:1-2)
Now, on to today's actual post, entitled "Immigration Frustration," which, I think, shows quite well the importance of critical thinking.
I was going to reserve this thought to a Facebook one-liner, but it deserves a bit more trudging out for Catholics.
Catholics (and all Christians) are torn by the idea of man's universal brotherhood. We know that there is no difference between Greek or Jew, slave or free. We know, thus, that no one has an absolute right to wealth by nature or by fact. Of course, the "preferential option for the poor" does not eradicate our belief in the right to private property. No one doubts that I have a right to my house, but I do not have a right to watch a man freeze to death outside of my house some winter night. On the other hand, if that person is a homicidal maniac, that might be justified; if he has a terribly contagious disease, it might be okay (or morally necessary) to keep him out of my house for sake of my innocent family. I usually say that I have a duty to risk my life, but I have no obligation to risk the lives of innocent others.
Okay, those are extremes. The immigration debate is not about extremes, even though sloganeering about 'love' and 'hate' make it appear that way.
How do I know that it is not about extremes? Because we are only talking about immigrants who show up at the Southern border of the United States, not the untold millions of people in South Saharan Africa who are in much worse shape than those Central Americans who are able to get themselves to the Texas border. Bishops have generally said Americans should let those immigrants in. But why not the even more desperate Africans? Everyone knows that the US does not have enough food/money to share with every poor person in the world. Are able-bodied Mexicans more deserving than Africans? Of course not. If the US has enough money for all those able-bodied Mexicans, should it let all them in... many of them in... some of them in... what?
In the US, as in most First World countries, conservatives are more generous than liberals, poor people more generous than the wealthy. This in not the view that the MSM presents, of course. But the fact is, the poor and conservatives are more Christian. Although he drives me nuts, Glenn Beck exemplifies this perfectly: he is generous and conservative, because he is Christian (well, Mormon, but close enough).
Motives are extremely important. I am talking about ad hominem stuff. Ad hominems are okay and even important because they help us get to the reality underlying often deceptive stances. People who talk about love and then physically beat people who disagree with them should not be listened to. But as leftists do all the time, there are problems with circular ad hominems:
1. people who vote for Trump are stupid
2. this person voted for Trump
conclusion: this person is stupid
Why did you vote for Trump - does that never really come up?
Why are you against more immigration from Mexico?
- Because my brother Jim, whom I love, has been out of work for six months and I am worried he will never get a job if more unskilled labour is imported.
- Because the US has a $20 trillion debt and will enter a depression if something is not done about this soon. Therefore, we cannot afford more welfare.
These are reasonable considerations that even the most well-meaning Christian must consider. The fact is, the most ardently pro-immigration person would not give up their job for person X, whether that person was Mexican, African or Alabaman, even if that person was needier and more deserving. They wouldn't want their mother, sister, son or friend to lose their job either for person X. Nor would they even want to split their salary 50-50 with person X.
The idea that there is enough money out there and there are enough jobs out there if we become socialist is foolish. The socialization of Russia and China led to the deaths of nearly 100 million people. That of Cuba and Venezuela has led to impoverishment, nothing anywhere close to the financial success of American capitalism. Socialism has proven bad for poor people. Smart people cannot chose to ignore these facts because they are 'not nice.'
In the end, what we have here is a case of ethics, for Christians, theological ethics. All men have an ultimate equal claim on the goods of the world, but how these are appropriated, preserved and distributed is quite another matter. In one sense, it would be wrong for me to acquire "in the name of the people" all the stuff that Walmart has because I haven't the means to preserve it and distribute it
In this sense, when people talk about selling all the priceless treasures of the Vatican to end world hunger, the same foolishness emerges: yes, the price these things would fetch would be enough to feed all the hungry for a day or perhaps even a week, but then what? The Marxist wanted to believe that man could live on bread alone.
But it is very interesting how many Catholics have these left wing economic views. They are confused by Catholic teaching. They make mistakes when they attempt to translate the absolute right of the poor into the practical. Leftists apply a specific interpretation of 'care for the poor' for cynical political ends - they are only interested in doing so insofar as it gives them power. So, well-meaning Catholics employ the framework these non-Christians have developed as the right and proper channel of Christian charity, which it is not. Christians do not define charity according to governmental definitions of place (i.e. my country) and agency (i.e. taxation and welfare programs). When they adopt that framework, they thereby assist the power grab of the Marxists. In other words, they concentrate on Mexicans (who are politically useful to the Marxists) rather than on any most needy person (such as, as I have said, Sub-Saharan Africans). They concentrate on political policies rather than on reaching out and actually meeting the poor.
There is a reason why the Church leaves much practical discretion to states. This always perplexed me, I admit, and I am still grappling with this. Read the catechism and note every time it mentions the discretionary power of the state with regard to taxation, education, etc. It's really quite remarkable. I would say that the best explanation for this is what I have been saying, the intrinsic difficulty of translating universal concepts into concrete solutions. In other words, to protect the rights of the poor in their own country, the state has a right to limit immigration. The Church cannot teach that there should be no borders because this can (and probably would) cause a great deal of suffering.
In the end, politicians and ideologue have their preferred victim classes. The Church cannot look on
the needs of Mexicans above those of American poor and working class people, above the needs of Africans. Some are more equal than others to Marxists, not to Christians.