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Donald Trump is the end result of every subversive tendency in the Sexual Revolution. He is Justice Kennedy's "at the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life" incarnate and personified. That concept, of course, has nothing to with liberty: quite to the contrary, it is the installation of a tyrannical, uncontrolled ego at the centre of each human being's universe - the invention of a world of a million million tyrants. To "define one's own concept of meaning, of the universe" is to impose it on external reality. It is to say "that is what I want, that is what I order" to the world at large. Now the child of that thought walks into the White House.
fpb: (Athena of Pireus)
For me, personally, the final evidence of the guilt of British criminal Hanratty, of anarchist Nicola Sacco. and of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg - however different the circumstances - have been a personal shock. They are the undeniable proof that people can lie even in the face of death and eternity, that claims of innocence from the scaffold are no more reliable than from any other point. The case of Sacco's fellow-accused Bartolomeo Vanzetti seems even darker: he was probably himself innocent, but he knew that Sacco was guilty as Hell, and he deliberately died with a lie on his lips, for the sake of his imagined revolution. (And to add a further taste of futility to his false sacrifice, the historical fact is that the only party who benefited from his and Sacco's executions were the Communists, who had organized all the protests against their executions, and who were sworn enemies of Vanzetti's Anarchists and would have murdered him a good deal more nastily if he had ever fallen into their hands.) But perhaps the most significant of these is the lie of Hanratty, because that had nothing of the ideological justifications of Vanzetti and the Rosenbergs. Hanratty was not fighting for any "cause", however bad: he was a rapist and murderer with no ulterior motives. And he declared his innocence right to the point of death with a passionate intensity that deceived generations of activists including myself.
fpb: (Default)
A couple of years ago I deleted and eventually banned someone for horrid and strangely unselfconscious Jew-bashing. ("Well, of course it's true that Jews danced in the streets when the Twin Towers went down, and I can't imagine why you should say that I am prejudiced against Jews! I'm a very put-upon person!")

Since then this same person has resurfaced as a rabid Snapefan/Slytherfan, convinced that Hogwarts is a horrible brainwashing place, that Snape was a true hero, and that everyone from Albus Dumbledore to Neville Longbottom is varying degrees of evil and/or brainwashed. Oh, and that there was nothing discernibly wrong about blood prejudice and the Voldemort movement.

"By their fruit ye shall know them."
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When I heard of the well-named Mrs.Robinson's lust-crazed behaviour and attempted suicide, I was disposed to sympathy. After all, I know better than most the situation of someone who warns against sins he knows - all too well. But when I heard one remark made by her husband - to which, one assumes, she fully submitted - then all sympathy flew away. I have no pity for someone who could so falsify Christian moral teaching as to say that "I did not say that homosexuality is an abomination, God did."

What shallow, ugly nonsense. Do not expect from me a defence of homosexual practice as such; the Church teaches against it. But the Church also teaches that the impulse as such is not a sin; only the practice is; and what is more, the Church teaches, and has always taught, that homosexual fornication is bad in no other way than any other form of fornication. That is what makes Mrs.Robinson's great sin so ironic: she fell into what, according to age-old Christian teaching, was the exact same sin - only a different specification - that she and her husband were busy pushing beyond the boundaries of the human (that is what "abomination" means). And to add to the irony, it was exactly in Ireland that the equivalence of all forms of fornication had been clearly formulated. The earliest Celtic penitentials (the systematic study of morality and guilt is one of the great contributions of the Celtic Churches to Christianity), though ascribed to two saints, Gildas and David, who were notoriously at the opposite end of doctrine and practice, nonetheless fully agree in this: the penances inflicted for homosexual practice (and for homosexual practice only) are exactly the same as those imposed for fornication with women.

If that is the case, where does the peculiar savagery with which the West has long since treated homosexual practice? The answer is simple enough; it is, in fact, present, black on white, in some of the best known and most widely studied documents in history. It came from Roman law, and specifically from the changes wrought in it by one of the worst tyrants in history. The murderous Justinian I, would-be restorer and effective destroyer of the Roman Empire, codified the whole of Roman law in an enormous Code called after him; but in codifying the law, he also put in some enactments of his own, one of which featured the death penalty for homosexuality. He needed it in order to get rid of undesired clergymen and aristocrats.

It must be understood that for most of our history, everything Roman has had a kind of glow placed on it. Ancient Rome was always taken to be a model, however it was perceived. And when Roman law was rediscovered in the twelfth century - after centuries in which Europe, including Italy, had developped a different customary law of Teutonic origin - its superiority was taken for granted. And so judicial murder for sodomy became part of the law of the land. That was not the only horror that resurrected Roman law brought to Christendom: its prestige also covered the codification of torture as a normal instrument of police investigation - which it remained until the eighteeenth century and Cesare Beccaria - and the codification of slavery. Slavery had disappeared from Europe during the Dark Ages; from the moment Roman law was resurrected, there were constant attempts to reintroduce it in various ways, or to alter serfdom into slavery, according to time and place. It was because of one such bright idea that the English peasant rebels fo 1381 had intended to "kill all the lawyers"; they knew, all too well, that legal ideas being pushed included their own enslavement.

I do not feel bound to any of this kind of heritage. It has nothing to do with Christianity. Let us remember one basic point: to a Christian, everyone is a sinner. Including, most certainly, himself, or herself. If I say that a practicing homosexual is a sinner, it is no more than I should and do say about myself, for the practice of a myriad sins none of which I am going to tell you about. I certainly do not mean that the practice should be called an abomination, any more than any other sin is an abomination. Some sins certainly are, beginning with murder and abortion; but I am myself guilty of so many things that I should be the last to condemn others. I walk as a sinner among sinners, and if I ever say that anything is an "abomination" - something from which human beings should flee as from the plague - it will certainly not be the insanitary and rather sad practices with which some people try to ease a desire that cannot be eased. Try murder, or abortion, or the oppression of distant peoples; those, not these, deserve to be called abominations.

There are sins, and there are sinners, whom one should reject; crimes that really are abnormal, that affect the sane human being with a sense not only of anger but of misery, enormous wrongs that cannot be altered. Abortion is an abomination; Nazism is an abomination; Communism is an abomination; Leopold II's conquest of the Congo was an abomination. These evils subvert the very order of society and involve an infinite number of attendant evils, themselves monstrous enough to damn a man's soul, as states and professions are perverted, rank by rank, office by office, person by person - till everyone is guilty of something monstrous. The railway clerks and signalmen who kept the trains running in Nazi Germany made sure that cattle trains loaded with prospective murder victims were efficiently driven to Auschwitz or Sobibor. This is what abomination looks like. To extend that to homosexual practice - let alone to "homosexuality" - is an insult; an insult to the dead who were its victims, and to the damned who let themselves be swept away with its flood, and damned their own souls in consequence.

Myself, I really am not interested in my neighbour's sins. My own are quite enough to be getting on with. And to condemn one man for one of his sins makes sure that all of us will be condemned, always. The experience of Mrs.Robinson ought to be instructive in this regard. If you condemn a man for this "abomination", you condemn some of the finest people who ever lived. You condemn Plato, Virgil, Michelangelo and Tchaikovsky - something that should occur to no civilized man.

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