We live in an age of false dialectics and disinformation of all sorts, at the national and international levels. It is a time when the historical crimes, real or perceived, of Euro-American Christians function as camouflage for an agenda of well organized liberal progressivists, whose goal of stamping out the smoldering remnants of Christendom is moving apace.
Let us not forget that the Blessed Virgin warned at Fatima that if Her requests were not heeded, Russia would spread her errors. We have catalogued those errors elsewhere, but behind many of them lies a method: the political lie. Whether or not Vladimir Lenin actually said the statement attributed to him, “A lie told often enough becomes the truth,” it is a fact that the systematic and constant fabrication of lying propaganda was a commonplace in Soviet life. Trotsky said of Stalin’s propaganda, that “Paper is long-suffering and will reproduce any madness that is imposed on it in the form of ink.”
Readers of George Orwell’s Animal Farm will likely remember the pig, Squealer, who was not only a horrible sycophant, but was the lying propaganda agent of the Napoleon, the book’s Stalin character. Squealer could explain to the other, less intelligent animals things that contradicted the very facts they were all observing, and in a very convincing way, too.
Whether the constant stream of political lies comes from a Communist, a Nazi, or a democratic politico, the liar imitates the One who is the father of all evil politicians militating against divine order. As Jesus told them in His own day, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and he stood not in the truth; because truth is not in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof” (John 8:44).
The false dialectic — the forced choosing between one wrong side or another — is a mainstay of contemporary politics and the culture wars that afflict our society. And this sorry status quo makes perfect sense; for, when man choses to divorce politics from God and the divine order of things, he invites a host of warring ideologies into the vacuum. And all of them have their lies.
One not so new example of the false dialectic is the way Americans are taught to perceive Mideast politics, which is a veritable minefield of political lies. Here I risk opposing the mainstream of “conservative” orthodoxy, but the fact is that the crimes of Hamas, Hezbollah, and even worse Islamist groups, like ISIS, have become a mask that conceals the genuine injustices perpetrated against Palestinian Christians and Muslims. This is not to suggest that such Islamic evils are merely a mask. No, they are real, too. But their reality does not justify crimes committed against Arabs. That sad region of the world — where our Savior lived, suffered, and died for our salvation — will never have peace until the members of the “other two great monotheistic religions” lovingly embrace the Prince of Peace and His Church.
And these lies are particularly deadly, as, in this longstanding false dialectic, nearly everything becomes an excuse for war, with the blood of Americans being spilled along with that of Iraqis, Libyans, Syrians, Afghans, etc., with no end in sight. And theological error lies at the heart of it, for this misguided foreign policy is largely due to the false religion known as Christian Zionism, with its Scofield Bible.
Another example of the false dialectic — much more trivial, but highly symbolic — is the choice we are presented with between the reprehensible beliefs and acts of Westboro Baptist Church on the one side and the reprehensible beliefs and acts of the Southern Poverty Law Center on the other. Thanks to the crude antics of the Westboro folks, and the facile, opportunistic methodology of the SPLC, anyone who opposes the received wisdom of liberalism on questions concerning, e.g., homosexuality, may conveniently be cubby-holed in with those self-parodying sectarians from Topeka.
The latest we are presented with in the realm of false dialectics — with its accompanying set of binary lies — is the street theater between the so-called “Alt-Right,” and opposing groups like “Antifa” and “Black Lives Matter.”
While the Alt-Right does seem to be a viable option when compared to the milquetoast version of conservatism we see in the mainstream, a closer look reveals something truly disturbing. On the one hand, their anti-big-government, anti-globalist, anti-socialist, anti-egalitarian, and pro-aristocratic planks look good to the devotee of Catholic social thinking. But on the other hand, the views espoused by the emerging leaders of the Alt-Right, like Richard Spencer, favor things repulsive to the believing Catholic, including eugenics, indifferentism on the subject of abortion, a Machiavellian attitude toward religion, and a devotion to the anti-Christian philosophy of Nietzsche and the biological theories of Darwin, which lurk behind the racism of the movement.
As Braden N. Plyler has recently written, “The racialist right desires nothing more than to create a Christendom without Christ.”
Charles Coulombe and I discussed the subject of the Alt-Right for Episode 91 of Reconquest: The Alt-Right, a Catholic View.
Catholics who are frustrated by the political mainstream should be careful not to align themselves with such an option, for much of what the Alt-Right offers reveals it to be just another of the manifold non-options that present themselves as solutions to our social ills.
A young Hilaire Belloc learned from Cardinal Manning that, “All human conflict is ultimately theological.” If we are to enter into the conflict that exists for the soul of the nation, we must do so with the right theological outlook. Yes, it sounds triumphalist to the modern man, but the only right theological outlook is Catholic. It is the only protection we have from the lies we confront all across the ideological spectrum.
It is easy to get caught up in the polemics, to obsess about what the new barbarians are doing on our streets. But remember, lies are not necessary for salvation. Truth is. God is Good. He is our Supreme Good. We will do the country not an ounce of good unless we are united to that Truth and that Supreme Good, about whom we should think much more than we do about the machinations of His detractors and their lies.
Would you like to do something? Here is a little list, to make sense of which, we must recall that “our help is in the name of the Lord” (Ps. 123:8), and not in the name of some secular political movement:
- Make the five first Saturdays — preferably as a family if you are a married person.
- Say the daily Rosary — again, as a family, if you are married.
- Form circles to study the Church’s social teaching — as well as her dogmatic and moral teaching.
- Want to go out to the streets? Good! Evangelize, like Steve Cunningham, a friend of ours who does much good. (Steve is the host of the Sensus Fidelium channel on YouTube, with 45,000 subscribers and growing.)
- Another thing to do on the streets is organize a Rosary Rally. (Saint Benedict Center is holding one on October 14.)
Whatever you do, you must realize this first: it does not depend on you, but on God. You can only be of use to the degree that you are a vessel of God’s truth, and His redeeming love for mankind. Do not be a practical Pelagian and think that it all starts with you. If you do, you will eventually become proud, discouraged, burned out, or traitorous — or all of the above. Do not be a practical Americanist either, and think that external activity is all that is needed without an interior life.
Saint John wrote, “In this is charity: not as though we had loved God, but because he hath first loved us” (I John 4:10). And as if we would miss it the first time, nine verses later, he emphasized, “Let us therefore love God, because God first hath loved us” (I John 4:19).
All of the activism you engage in will bear fruit only if you realize and live this divinely revealed truth. Recall this prayer, from the Litany of the Saints. It is very Augustinian in its underlying theology of grace:
Direct, we beseech Thee, O Lord, our actions by Thy holy inspirations, and carry them on by Thy gracious assistance; that every prayer and work of ours may always begin from Thee, and through Thee be happily ended.