I’ve been spending quite a bit of time recently researching for an article I plan to submit to The Remnant Newspaper, and in the course of this research I stumbled upon the atypical liberal blog (Under the Mountain Bunker), written by an atypical leftist woman. Post after post after post is nothing more than sarcastic ridicule of some perceived threat from the right. Be it Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, John Boehner, Sarah Palin or the current GOP candidates, the author of Under the Mountain Bunker has nothing for them but vehement vitriol, replete with Photoshopped images (many of which were obscene) of these individuals that are intended to demean and to hatefully deride.
I was struck, first of all, by the fact that there is nothing to these posts except hateful derision for the author’s perceived enemies on the right, and a conspicuous absence of reasoned and useful criticism of their positions and ideologies. I certainly do not agree with someone like Glenn Beck, who seems to think the US Constitution is the last book of the Bible (or the last chapter of the Book of Mormon, as the case may be), nor for the current GOP candidates, all of whom are just liberals of a different guise. However, ridicule and derision does not constitute a reasoned critiqued of their political ideologies. I’m fully aware that caricature is a part of the political debate, and can be used, sometimes, as an introduction to actual critique; however, it is clear that when caricature is used by the Left, from Bill Maher all the way down to the author of Under the Mountain Bunker, the whole argument is nothing but rank caricature—the demonization of others—without sense, sensibility, or reason. Unfortunately, this hateful rhetoric of ridicule, sarcasm and derision is what now passes for political dialogue in our country.
If anything sums up the Left it would be the world “unreasonable”. They run from reason while at the same time ignoring reality and plain facts. Meaningless slogans such as, “Change You Can Believe In”, become meaningful only for those who have no rational underpinning to their arguments and their beliefs about the world. These minds are malleable for the mob-shepherds like Barack Obama and his campaign engineers, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, and snake oil salesmen and race baiters like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. These malleable minds are easily persuaded by deriding images of demonized figures on the right, and crass jokes from the likes of Bill Maher.
The underlying cause of their unreasonableness has its roots, like all vices do, in one of the seven deadly sins. It is the sin of pride. This refusal to reason based on the clear facts arises because honest inquiry requires a willingness to accept the fact that one may be wrong concerning their pre-conceived notions, their opinions, and their cultural, social or religious upbringing. A prideful man cannot discover truth because he has put himself before the truth.
We traditional Catholics at this time of the year, from the Gospel passages presented during the liturgy, are being confronted with a group of people that have at least the Left’s unreasonableness in common. This group is the Pharisees. As Dom Guéranger writes about the Pharisees, they “hate the light, and love darkness; their pride will not yield even to the evidence of facts.” We all know what consummated for Our Blessed Lord due to the pride of the Pharisees. Can there be a good end in store for the targets, which undoubtedly included traditional Catholics, of our modern day Pharisees, the Leftists?
The ultimate reasonableness, the harmony of Catholic doctrine based on pursuing the Scriptures, and the truth of the natural law based on philosophical and scientific inquiries into the world of nature and society, are plainly evident for anyone who has ever approached honestly the evidence of facts. Countless people have converted to the Catholic Church by “reading themselves in”, as the saying goes. However, there will always be those who insist on being unreasonable. History teaches us the painful lesson that unreasonableness often ends in violence.
A great mystery is that Truth Incarnate, Jesus Christ, did not convince, by any measure of charity, truth or justice, the minds and hearts of many (not all, but many) Pharisees. He did not convince those Pharisees that stubbornly denied the truth in front of their very eyes. They refused the testimony of Jesus’ miracles, even the healing of the man born blind and the raising of Lazarus after having been dead for four days; so they also refused the soundness of His doctrine and the fruits of His ministry. This unreasonableness due to pride endures to this very day, in fact. It endures, of course, in the perfidious refusal to recognize the Messias, but also, and perhaps more troubling, among those on the Left, such as Bill Mahar, who deride religion and religious people, but who fail, time after time, to give reasons for their disdain. This growing animosity toward Christians, particularly devote Christians, the epitome of whom are traditional Catholics, has grown at such a rate that we can safely conclude that this unreasonable disdain is held by a majority. The devout practice of the virtue of religion on our part may only increase the hate of the disdainful, just as the presence of the Incarnate God whipped up the ire of those who disdained the truth then.
Thus, it would be a mistake to think that we will, by our feeble human efforts, convert the hearts and minds of all those today that still hate the light, love darkness, and will not yield even to the evidence of their senses. However, there are some who might yet be convinced by the light. Are we, you and I, not of this number who were converted? Were you and I not children of darkness at some time or other in our lives? Are we not, even now, still on the path of conversion? Thankfully for us, not all the Pharisees, both then and now, are lost. For this reason we are urged, as a duty owing to the virtue of religion, to pray for those in the darkness of unreasonableness, and that we may also be healed of our persistent blindnesses, so to speak.
The central theme of Under the Mountain Bunker is the notion of the Apocalypse. Of course, the author’s interest in the Apocalypse doesn’t go much further than a derision of those who believe in it. Granted, there are many doomsday-sayers whose preparations seem to border on insanity. The best preparation for any Apocalypse, both great and small, material or spiritual or both, is the practice of charity. But this is neither here nor there. The reason I mention this blogger’s interest in deriding others for their Apocalypse-ism, is that perhaps this interest constitutes a crack through which the light of Christ might shine.
There is one indisputable fact that is true for everyone, regardless of whom they are, where they are, or when they have lived. That one indisputable fact is that he or she will die. That is the one apocalypse that the author of Under the Mountain Bunker cannot deny, and only ridicule with a feeble and nervous snicker at best. As Blasé Pascal pointed out, this reality exacts a certain toll on the individual soul, one that often drives men to pursuits intended to distract them from this dread apocalypse of their personal existence. Perhaps the author of Under the Mountain Bunker will come to a consideration of this apocalypse, and not being able to assuage herself with the usual derision, will allow grace to break through.
We can only pray.