Fantastic Conceit

Posted: December 13, 2011 in controversy, politics, poor

Elizabeth Scalia at First Things:

The people who talk a good game about freedom and service and fairness – usually reserving their most ardent rhetoric for the $30,000 per-table fundraisers – never seem willing to promote the monastic ideal though, and they dont refer to the soup kitchens and outreaches, the church-administered hospitals or training and recovery programs as models of anything except, sometimes, intolerance.

Perhaps they’re afraid that if people became more familiar with (and supportive of) such programs, they would be less ready to look to government for direction, or social engineering, or class co-operation, or any sort of empowerment. Rather they would be finding it within their own communities; they would be actively working with others in building up the whole, rather than preferred portions-in pursuing potentialities both individual and collective.

In such a case, the government of man would necessarily recede into the background, and what is divine might come to the fore.

That would be unacceptable to the people who still believe, by sheer force of fantastic conceit, that they are anti-establishment outsiders – courageous adversaries of conformity who still manage, somehow, to always be in lock step with the message of the day; the people who say all the “smart” things and automatically adopt all the “correct” positions, because they are so terrified of being excluded from that crowd of busy moralizers to whom they are accountable, as they would never deign to be accountable to a Creator.

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