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  1. #1
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    Default K-Punk and the Catholics

    ' ... anti-Catholicism is no different to anti-fascism'. Eh? That's a pretty silly thing to say, really. It's like something out of a sixth-year debate. John Eden makes one good counter-point, but the main problem is that the whole 'argument' hinges on an extremely simplistic, not to say slightly odd, understanding of fascism:

    Only a stubborn tribal mind virus that insists that is good to belong to a certain ethnic group.
    Fascism in other words.

    Even without questioning the conflating of ethnicity and religion here (if the Catholics are an 'ethnic' group now, then what about the Quakers, and so on? Are they all ethnic groups too?), that's a fairly strange definition of fascism. If I remember my political science correctly, it's normally considered to be an extreme form of liberal democracy, the belief that the majority have more rights than minorities. Ethnic pride is surely far too widespread a phenonenom to be given the name 'fascism'? African tribal conflicts, all kinds of nationalist movements all over Europe for hundreds of years, Chinese Han nationalism from 2000 years ago - they're all fascist now, right? It seems to me fascism is now just a cipher for 'bad'.
    Actually, I've changed my mind, that's not really the main reason that this is a really silly thing to say. I remember a while ago John Eden, I think it was, wrote something along the lines of ordinary people living ordinary lives, helping people out, being nice, that they were the best political activists there were. I think my point is kind of the same. There are millions of Catholics all over the world, in almost every country, who are what I would call 'good people'. They don't abuse kids, they don't burn Mayans, they help people, they're nice - and if you asked them they would describe themselves as Catholics, and most would say that they live their lives the way they do because of their faith. But we should hate them because they're catholics, and hating catholics is the same as hating fascists, right?

    Aw, my second post here and I'm kind of having a go at someone. One of the administrators, no less. It's not my fault, the internet has made me bad.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lamplighter
    ' ... anti-Catholicism is no different to anti-fascism'. Eh? That's a pretty silly thing to say, really. It's like something out of a sixth-year debate. John Eden makes one good counter-point, but the main problem is that the whole 'argument' hinges on an extremely simplistic, not to say slightly odd, understanding of fascism:

    Only a stubborn tribal mind virus that insists that is good to belong to a certain ethnic group.
    Fascism in other words.

    Even without questioning the conflating of ethnicity and religion here (if the Catholics are an 'ethnic' group now, then what about the Quakers, and so on? Are they all ethnic groups too?), that's a fairly strange definition of fascism. If I remember my political science correctly, it's normally considered to be an extreme form of liberal democracy, the belief that the majority have more rights than minorities. Ethnic pride is surely far too widespread a phenonenom to be given the name 'fascism'? African tribal conflicts, all kinds of nationalist movements all over Europe for hundreds of years, Chinese Han nationalism from 2000 years ago - they're all fascist now, right? It seems to me fascism is now just a cipher for 'bad'.
    Actually, I've changed my mind, that's not really the main reason that this is a really silly thing to say. I remember a while ago John Eden, I think it was, wrote something along the lines of ordinary people living ordinary lives, helping people out, being nice, that they were the best political activists there were. I think my point is kind of the same. There are millions of Catholics all over the world, in almost every country, who are what I would call 'good people'. They don't abuse kids, they don't burn Mayans, they help people, they're nice - and if you asked them they would describe themselves as Catholics, and most would say that they live their lives the way they do because of their faith. But we should hate them because they're catholics, and hating catholics is the same as hating fascists, right?

    Aw, my second post here and I'm kind of having a go at someone. One of the administrators, no less. It's not my fault, the internet has made me bad.
    It seems a quite reasonable point, and I hope he takes you up on it. Though I admire his vim, I'll admit to being a little perplexed over Mark's onslaught into the Catholic faith. I do think he has a number of good points (their failure to endorse protected sex is unequivocally insane) but many could be levelled against other organised religions. For instance though the Mayans had a powerfully advanced culture (which it was treason to destroy and their slaughter at the hands of the conquistadores was atrocious) they also sacrificed hundreds of thousands of their own people and their enemies to the gods. I can't help but imagine most Catholics to be pretty straight-forward well-intentioned folk.
    Last edited by Woebot; 20-10-2004 at 10:02 AM.

  3. #3
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    I think Mark is pushing the dialectic of his argument round the bend a bit with this one.

    I was raised catholic -- which makes me somewhat virulently anti-catholic church for a number of reasons I won't dwell on here but which you can read about in the archives at uncarved. So critiquing Catholicism as being monolithically fascist has its appeal, but it's an argument that collapses rapidly for the reasons Eden posits.

    However, critiquing Catholicism while mounting a defence of "faith" and "belief" -- essentially, as far as I could make out, a version of the existentialist position of "it's better to believe in something -- anything -- rather than collapse into ennui" -- involved too many somersaults for my sleep-deprived brain to deal with. Especially in the context of an apologia for The Passion of Christ over at Hyperstition -- not sure if Mark wrote that, but hey, it's a Kollective .

    Mind you, the last thing I expect or want from my esteemed colleague (and brother in the faith) is measured consistency. Nor would I ever do Mark the disservice of merely (or facilely) "agreeing" with him.

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    So classifying millions of people with a common faith as an ethnic group - and then portraying them all as some sort of 'viral' scum, a grotesque conspiracy - this is the non-fascist position????

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    And if that sounds like I'm lashing out, then I'm sorry. But I'm married to a Catholic who deals personally, thoughtfully and painfully with the impossible contradiction between her faith and the institution in which she exercises it every single day, and ill-focused rants about 'deranged bigotry' and 'institutionalized child abuse' aren't particularly clever.

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    Fair enough. But, historically, isn't the faith heavily subservient to the insitution? Catholic morality has always been heavily guided by the centre of the institution, and even today it still defines the terms of moral debate. Protestantism encouraged studying the bible yourself, which was a step forward at the time.

    Meanwhile, Catholicism still does it's bizarre top-down moral teaching bit- guides to which films are and aren't good, like they'd know- which, whatever their intentions, tend to muddy the waters of moral debate.

    I guess one can ignore it all, of course, but the institution is insidious, isn't it?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rambler
    I'm married to a Catholic who deals personally, thoughtfully and painfully with the impossible contradiction between her faith and the institution in which she exercises it every single day, and ill-focused rants about 'deranged bigotry' and 'institutionalized child abuse' aren't particularly clever.
    Hang on rambler, I hope you're not trivialising or ... ahhh... denying the 'institutionalized child abuse' of the Catholic church?

    Just like to clarify...

    BTW it would be interesting (to me at least!) to hear how your wife resolves the "impossible contradiction between her faith and the institution in which she exercises it". Which contradictions are most painful? And which institutions would be more or less painful? I mean, you can be Catholic without being in Opus Dei... and you can christian without being catholic... and you can be monotheistically spiritual without being "christian"... There's a spectrum there; where does she place herself / feel forced to place herself and why?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by WOEBOT
    I'll admit to being a little perplexed over Mark's onslaught into the Catholic faith.
    I'm clearly not in possession of the facts.

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