Blogs > Liberty and Power > More on Pope Benedict

Apr 20, 2005 1:21 pm


More on Pope Benedict



I'm not a Catholic, so my interest in this stuff is academic in both senses of the word, but I feel like I ought to blog on it anyway.

While I think he's mistaken about gays, I think this is a good message:"One of Cardinal Ratzinger's central, and most misunderstood, notions is his conception of liberty, and he is very jealous in thinking deeply about it, pointing often to Tocqueville. He is a strong foe of socialism, statism and authoritarianism, but he also worries that democracy, despite its great promise, is exceedingly vulnerable to the tyranny of the majority, to"the new soft despotism" of the all-mothering state, and to the common belief that liberty means doing whatever you please. Following Lord Acton and James Madison, Cardinal Ratzinger has written of the need of humans to practice self-government over their passions in private life. He also fears that Europe, especially, is abandoning the search for objective truth and sliding into pure subjectivism. That is how the Nazis arose, he believes, and the Leninists. When all opinions are considered subjective, no moral ground remains for protesting against lies and injustices." (That's from a NYT op-ed by Michael Novak, read the whole thing here.)

All of that is true.


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M.D. Fulwiler - 4/22/2005

I think we should take up a collection and send Benedict a copy of "Stairway To Heaven." :-)


Bill Woolsey - 4/20/2005

That was before he came Pope.

Hopefully, the holy spirit will
straighten him out on this matter
now that he has become infallible.


Steven Horwitz - 4/20/2005

What? He doesn't hate Rush too? Those agnostic libertarians? What kind of Pope is this guy? :)


Chris Matthew Sciabarra - 4/20/2005

I agree! Loving Classical music does ~not~ imply hating popular music... except among some.

In fact, there are also plenty of "fusion" artists who fuse rock ~and~ classical or classical ~and~ jazz idioms.

But for eons, a certain group of people have always found hidden Satanic messages in the music of every generation younger than itself.


Aeon J. Skoble - 4/20/2005

"[H]e singled out the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Queen, and the Eagles as especially evil."

So much for papal infallibility.

Seriously, I strongly resist the notion that loving classical music implies hating popular music. And the whole "hidden satanic messages" thing is so silly as to be beneath discussion.


Chris Matthew Sciabarra - 4/20/2005

Well, you have to hand it to the Greeks: They have never embraced these New Age "folk masses." Till this day, the services are conducted in Greek ~and~ English (that's about the only "compromise" they've made with modernity), they are never trimmed for time, and they feature as much pomp and circumstance as always.


M.D. Fulwiler - 4/20/2005

But Chris, you would have to agree that those "folk masses" the Catholics used to do were really satanic. By the 9th "kumbaya" you were ready to sell your soul to the devil just to get out of there! But being from the Eastern Orthodox tradition, God may have spared you from that torment!

But seriously, this link shows the remarkable insensitivity of the new pope to the sex abuse crises:

http://www.cathnews.com/news/212/27.php

Not a great start for Benedict IMHO.


Chris Matthew Sciabarra - 4/20/2005

Good points.

But as my pal Timur says, the new pope "package deals" the bout against relativism and the bout against egoism. He's quoted as saying: "We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism, which does not recognize anything as definitive and has as its highest value one’s own ego and one’s own desires." And the Pope's biographer observes: "Having seen fascism in action, Ratzinger today believes that the best antidote to political totalitarianism is ecclesiastical totalitarianism."

The conventional anti-egoism and the positing of any kind of totalitarianism as an antidote to relativism ... gets me nervous.

But nothing gets on my nerves more than this proclamation: that rock 'n' roll is "evil" and full of "diabolical and satanic messages." According to the NY DAILY NEWS: "[H]e singled out the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Queen, and the Eagles as especially evil."


Gus diZerega - 4/20/2005

Not that I agree with either view - I don't - but these two concepts do not make much sense together:

"the new soft despotism" of the all-mothering state, and to the common belief that liberty means doing whatever you please. "

Unless you redefine despotism to mean the opposite of despotism.

Why oh why does everything have to be in dichotomies? I wonder whether if we evolved as three sided critters instead of bilateral symmetry, we might think in threes instead of twos?

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