In his post The Pope And The American Right, Andrew Sullivan touches on themes that have been running themes of mine (and many others, of course, including Sullivan himself) and I keep hoping against hope will someday soon finally sink in the National Press Corps:
The Republican Party is not in any way, shape, or form a “moderate” party that has temporarily lost control of its crazies. The so-called moderates are as big a bunch of magical thinkers as the Religious Right worshiping their malicious sky wizard and the Tea Party with their paranoid delusions of various Others crawling out from under the bed or descending on ropes from black helicopters or running riot through their lily-white towns where nobody but them wants to live anymore. The so-called moderates are mostly a congregation of Right Wing Corporatists of various stripes who, as Sullivan says, practice a religious faith in a magical form of capitalism that rests fundamentally on a belief that piling up wealth for its own sake is the greatest good a society can perform for itself and, in fact, is the only reason to have a society.
When asked to solve a societal or political problem---health care for example---these capitalist fundamentalists don’t argue, they don’t think, they simply recite a list of commandments, none of which has any practical, real world application, all of which are versions of Money is Good. Whatever Costs Me Money or Might Cost Me Money is Evil.
And in service of these commandments they are dogmatic, doctrinaire, superstitious, furiously and vindictively in search of heresy, prone to scapegoating, and determined to punish and sacrifice those Others they’ve branded sinners to appease their angry god whose name is legion but who is generally known in their prayers as The Free Market.
Ok. A lot of the above is me. But Sullivan makes some excellent points as he examines the Right Wing Commentariat’s sudden dissent on the notion of Papal authority and their rising hatred of Pope Francis, starting with this:
And the way in which market capitalism has become a good in itself on the American right is, well, perniciously wrong. As soon as a system ceases to be a means to a human good, and becomes an end in itself, it has become a false idol. Perhaps the apotheosis of that idol worship was the belief – brandished on the degenerate right in the past decade or two – that markets are self-regulating. Of course they’re not, as Adam Smith would have been the first to inform you. Another assumption embedded on the American right is that more wealth is always a good thing. The Church must say no. This is a lie. Wealth is a neutral thing above a certain basic level of non-drudgery. Above that, it can be an absolutely evil, deceptive thing, distorting human souls, warping their dignity, vulgarizing their character. An American right that worships at the altar of both free markets and material wealth, and that takes these two idols as their primary goods, is not just non-Catholic. It is anathema to Catholicism and to the Gospels.
There’s much more. Naturally, Sullivan being Sullivan, he feels obliged to muffle his own best writing with ponderous obfuscations intended to keep his “conservative” cred intact, including calling a column by that champion ponderous obfuscater Ross Douthat “typically nuanced” and hide, from himself at any rate, few others are fooled, the fact that a lot what he would like to think of as refreshingly contrarian but still conservative ideas are fairly traditional liberal ideas. But never mind. Read the whole post.
Andrew Sullivan: The Pope And The American Right.