Message in a bottle….

Ten years ago Gil Bailie spent time reading University of Pennsylvania scholar Philip Rieff’s works with the following results…

To Whom It May Concern:

[To European culture today — while it can still be spoken of in the singular — and to North American culture in the near future]:

From Philip Rieff:

“A multiculture is an anti-culture. … the historical task of a culture is always and everywhere the same: the creation of a world in which its inhabitants may find themselves at home and yet accommodate the stranger without yielding their habitus to him.”


T. S. Eliot’s “where there is no temple, there shall be no homes” finds its perfect echo in Rieff’s “Where there is nothing sacred, there is nothing.”

Lest the word “sacred” trigger in my fellow Girardians a needless knee-jerk reaction, what both Eliot and Rieff are saying is simply that all culture is rooted in cult, and that without reference to transcendence made vibrant and materially manifest in the culture, the culture will succumb to the iron law of both human affairs and physics, namely, that nature abhors a vacuum.


So, finally, Philip Rieff: “As teaching agents of sacred order, and inescapably within it, the moral demands we must teach, if we are teachers, are those eternal truths by which all social orders endure.”

(This was originally posted on gil-bailie.com in May 2007.)

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A Look Back At – Tradition

 

 

 

 

 

The word “tradition” and the word “treason” come from the same root.

The very name “modernity” self-consciously used to describe the period of the last several centuries in Western cultural history clearly exemplifies the spirit that has dominated these centuries, and the “postmodernism” that has lately been offered as its sequel — as its name makes obvious — is nothing more than the same spirit, in Shakespeare’s words, having eaten everything else in sight, at last, is eating up itself.

The spirit that animates both these phases of our cultural history is an anti-traditional spirit, rooted in the assumption that liberation from the past is the key to happiness and progress. This “liberationist” spirit has fostered a remarkable degree of economic and political improvements, but it must be said that the most impressive of these are due more to the residual presence of a Judeo-Christian ethos than to the forces that have insisted on its irrelevance.

Slowly but surely, however, the underlying presuppositions of the modern and postmodern eras have led to a loss of cohesion and cultural integrity, resulting in a situation today in the West which is little more than licensed autonomy enforced with increasingly draconian methods, all aimed at neutralizing or penalizing the public presence of traditional religious or moral judgments: what Pope Benedict called “the dictatorship of relativism.”

All of this plays out as the culture war, which, however reluctant one is to enter its lists, can no more be avoided than can other kinds of war. The bumper sticker which reads: Stop the War, for instance, seems to presuppose that this can be done by simply laying down one’s arms. Which, in a way, is true, for it would simply concede the contest to those who have not laid down their arms, thus bringing the war between them to an end. One doesn’t have to be a political philosopher, much less a member of some neo-con cabal, to realize that war ended on those terms might lead to a very unhappy state of affairs.

So … the unavoidability of the culture war. The passions aroused by that war, however, should not blind us to our responsibility to our descendants. I am even tempted to describe the belligerents in today’s culture war as those who are primarily concerned with making the culture more congenial to their own impulses, desires, aptitudes, and preoccupations, on one hand, and, on the other, those primarily concerned with the cultural, moral, and spiritual needs of those who will come after them. I know howls of protest will be forthcoming about that, but I must say this is exactly how it seems to me.

The precise point I want to make is about the very nature of both tradition and culture. Both are received from the distant past, not concocted in the present or in the recent past. That is why we must try to resolve any differences between ourselves, our contemporaries, our ancestors, and our descendants in favor of our ancestors. Paradoxically, that is the only way we can resolve them in favor of our descendants. For what our descendants will most desperately need is an inheritance, a tradition, a moral, religious, and cultural patrimony that has the weight of centuries of affirmation, reflection, scrutiny, and living experience. Anything less ballasted than that will surely be washed away in the cultural tsunamis which are doubtless coming in the decades just ahead.

To hand on to the next generation a culture cobbled together out of the fashions and ideological enthusiasms of the last few decades is to betray them in the most irresponsible way, for such a culture is no culture at all, and it will do them no good. This is why the New Testament warns against the “spirit of this age,” not because of the peculiar toxins at work in the late-first century Greco-Roman culture when the New Testament was being written, but precisely because every age produces its own unique myths and rituals for warding off the truth that Christians are charged with announcing to the world, and Christians are warned to be wary of them, in season and out.

What makes a tradition a living tradition is not that it has been recently updated to conform to the latest fashions, but quite the contrary, that it brings into play longstandng moral and spiritual realities to which the world will forever be hostile and for lack of which it will become mad and murderous. If such a tradition is to remain alive, it will do so, not by customizing itself to the point of being indistinguishable from its surrounding society, but by delving ever deeper into its reservoir of truth and bringing forth fresh new ways of understanding these truths.

We owe our children and our children’s children nothing less.

(This was originally posted on gil-bailie.com in May 2007)

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Keeping up with the Cornerstone Forum….

We send out a newsletter to our email list 3 or 4 times a year including our annual Fall Appeal. Our Spring 2017 Newsletter is being sent out today. A link to the latest on what is happening at the Cornerstone Forum appears to the right, just click on the image and read all about it!

As an incentive to reading about Gil Bailie’s latest writing project and Randy Coleman-Riese’s changing duties, we are including a coupon for a complimentary downloadable MP3 file of Gil’s Reflections on Shakespeare’s Troilus & Cressida Part 1. Use the coupon code ‘spring’ when going through check out in our webstore. (For those too busy to read the newsletter the link to the free MP3 audio file is HERE.)

Also included in the newsletter is streaming audio player of a 1996 interview Gil Bailie conducted with René Girard in the mid-1990’s.

Finally, for those who do not currently receive our episodic newsletter and would like to, here is a link to our newsletter signup page.

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In the Garden…

On Holy Thursday in the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, we commemorate the last Passover meal the disciples shared with Jesus, their Teacher and Master. Afterward, the whole party retired to the garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. There, while the disciples slept, Jesus experienced an agony unknown and unknowable to mere men. In 1980 Bob Dylan wrote a song entitled “In the Garden” that begins:

When they came for Him in the garden, did they know?
When they came for Him in the garden, did they know?
Did they know He was the Son of God, did they know that He was Lord?

In a filmed recording of a live concert performance in the early ’80s Mr. Dylan is heard to introduce this song by asking the Australian audience if they have any heros, suggesting the names of famous Aussies to which the crowd responds. He follows up by saying he doesn’t care much for any of the ones he mentioned, but that he does indeed have a hero and will sing a song about his hero – launching into a rocking version of “In the Garden”.

More recently Mr. Dylan has been exploring the ‘Great American Songbook’ recording songs by George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin among others. In a recent interview exploring his long and varied songwriting career Dylan was asked if he thought there were any of his songs that did not receive the attention they deserved. He named two, one of which was “In the Garden”.

The verses of ‘In the Garden’ are comprised of a series of questions, like the one quoted above. Anyone familiar with the Biblical stories from which this song was taken will sense the ambiguity and uncertainty involved in attempting to answer them. Jesus’ foremost disciple, Simon Peter, had in earlier days declared that he knew or believed Jesus to be the Messiah, the son of the Living God. On this night, however, he abandoned his Lord in the garden and denied him three times in the high priest’s courtyard shouting with curses, “I do not know the man!”. We ask ourselves, ‘Did Peter really know Jesus was the Lord?’. I ask this question of myself even I as tap out the words, knowing of my own betrayals.

As we traverse this Triduum recalling the events leading into the Paschal Mystery of Easter Sunday it would be a profitable exercise to reflect on the questions posed ‘In the Garden’.

The final verse ends with the repeated question:

When He rose from the dead, did they believe?
When He rose from the dead, did they believe?

A blessed Easter to all,

Randy Coleman-Riese

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No Father…No Family…No Faith

Some years ago, a friend of mine and I collaborated as part of a Lenten series of presentations at a Catholic parish here in Sonoma, California. One thing that my friend said had a great impact on me and on those to whom we spoke. He described, as I recall, how his father was a formidable sort of man, not one who wore his heart on his sleeve. But each Sunday when the family attended Mass, he would look over and see his father kneeling in prayer, his head in his hands. At those moments my friend said he glimpsed out of the corner of his eye something about his father that left a deep impression on him. He concluded his reverie about his childhood by saying something to this effect: “If I hadn’t seen father kneeling in prayer like that, I’m not sure what would have become of me, but I doubt that I would be standing here before you today bearing witness to my faith.”

I was raised by a single mother, my father having been killed in the closing days of World War II. There were a few father figures whom I managed to glimpse out of the corner of my eye, and I developed a gift for finding surrogate father figures. But it was chiefly from my mother (and my grandmother) that I received my faith. I am ever in their debt for that gift.

In looking back, however, I realize now that in many ways my mother became my father and the Church became my mother – the Church which was at the time so marvelously represented by nuns galore, most of whom were paragons of selfless fidelity. Those were the days – I entered the first grade in a little Catholic grammar school in 1950 – when such things were possible.

These memories are stirred by a recent piece in the Canadian National Post by Barbara Kay entitled “Men of the church,” in which she cites a fascinating report from Switzerland on demographics and religious practice. She summarizes the report’s findings this way:

A statistical report from Switzerland in 2000, “The Demographic Characteristics of the Linguistic and Religious Groups in Switzerland,” reviewed the results of a 1994 survey of Swiss religious practice, and arrives at a fascinating conclusion about the impact of mothers’ vs. fathers’ church attendance on the future religious observance of their children.

The detailed survey indicated that if the father attended church regularly, and the mother was non-practising, then 44% of their children became regular church-goers. But if the mother attended regularly, and the father was non-practising, then only two per cent of their children became regular church attenders.
Even when the father was an irregular attender and the mother non-practising, a full 25% of their children became regular attenders, while if a mother was a regular attender and the father irregular, only three per cent of the children became regular attenders.

In short, if a father does not attend church, it won’t matter how dedicated the mother is in her observance, only one child in 50 will become a regular attender. But if a father is even somewhat observant, then regardless of the mother’s practice, at least one child in three will become a regular church-goer. The disparity is too stunningly wide to be culturally insignificant.

The rather provocative title of this weblog post is from a comment Barbara Kay quotes in her article. It is a must read. It has been reissued by the Catholic Education Resource Center here.

(this was originally posted in March 2007 on our old weblog gil-bailie.com)

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A Lenten Reflection – The Multiplication Table

The website The Catholic Thing has published a Lenten reflection by Gil Bailie entitled, The Multiplication Table. It is a classic piece of Gil’s work. I especially appreciate the play of the title and the text. ‘Multiplication table’ is not mentioned in the article. And it is not until the Chesterton quote at the end that the concept of enlargement (Church bigger on the inside) comes in. Hopefully, this leaves the reader pondering “What does ‘the multiplication table’ have to do with this”. The Eucharistic altar is the table upon which the Church grows out of the grace of our God haunted predecessor’s lived experience into our present lives and the lives of all who come after us.

The Eucharistic liturgy is also where we bind ourselves to our ancestors going all the way back to Jesus’ last supper with his disciples, and to the first Passover in Egypt and beyond. Turning forward, the Mass is the prefiguration and foretaste of the Messianic Banquet we will celebrate when we enter God willing into full communion with the Trinitarian Life of God.



 

While doing some recent cleaning chores in the Cornerstone Forum office I came across a couple of old cassette tape albums that contained recordings of presentations René Girard made in Sonoma in 1991 and 1994. I hope to make these available on our streaming audio section of this website in the coming weeks. At the beginning of one of the tapes, after Gil Bailie introduces professor Girard to the audience, René Girard takes a few moments to talk about Gil as a preface to his remarks. I’ve prepared a short excerpt of this below:

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A Remedy for Sentimentality

Mother of Sorrows – Vonn Hartung

 

A decade ago Elizabeth Bailie, Gil Bailie’s wife, was called from this life to the next. Her passing has left those who know her with both a sense of loss and tremendous gratitude for the gift of her life. A few weeks before her passing Gil wrote the following weblog entry.


I’ve often thought, and several times said that those of us who live with all the conveniences would do well to have to do our laundry at a laundromat at least every once in a while. Perhaps it is my blue-collar upbringing, but I feel at home in a laundromat, almost as much as I do in church. In my case, the danger of romanticizing either is not great. But for a graduate course in subjects that can be studied at the undergraduate level in laundromats, an emergency room in an urban hospital late on a Saturday night is hard to beat.

Complications related to Liz’s illness and the numerous medications she is enduring because of it took us to the emergency room on Saturday night. Crowded conditions and the various procedures and diagnostic tests Liz had to undergo kept us at the hospital until 6:30 a.m. Sunday. While Liz was being diagnosed and given an emergency MRI, I sat in her wheelchair in one of the little curtained-off cubicals trying (against impossible odds) to get at least a few minutes of sleep.

The curtain of the cubical where I sat was opened, and I was able to see and hear the choppy segments of the emergency room drama. To the din of blaring televisions (a ubiquitous curse in most places in the typical hospital today), sirens, intercom staff messages, shouts of patients who were in pain, or on drugs, or drunk, or all three, I tried (largely unsuccessfully) to sleep. (Wheelchairs are not made for sleep.)

At one point, two of the patients, males in their 30s who seemed to be high on something or other, went for each other, triggering an avalanche of testosterone, as uniformed security personnel, men in street clothes and surgery scrubs emerged from every corridor. The shouting died down, and, after milling around for a few minutes, most drifted off to resume their assigned roles.

All the while, I was wondering how Liz was handling the exhaustion and the diagnostic tests, and worrying that her tumor might have gotten into her spinal column. (Mercifully, it had not.)

Back home on Sunday morning for a few short hours of sleep and then a day like most other days, quiet and revolving around Liz’s needs. As I may have mentioned in an earlier post, before dinner each night Liz and I have always had a period of prayer and reflection and personal sharing. We call it “port time” because it invariably includes a glass of port or an equivalent libation. Liz isn’t able to read these days, so I have lately been reading a few paragraphs each night from something of spiritual interest to us. For the last couple of weeks or so I have been reading from Romano Guardini’s The Lord.

As it happened, on Sunday night, when I turned to where I had left off the night before, it was at Guardini’s discussion of the Beatitudes, and more precisely the following paragraph, in which the great German theologian reflects on the Beatitudes as Christ’s manifesto for a new order of existence:

To participate in this new order, man must open his heart. He must free himself from the clutches of natural existence and advance to meet the things to come. He must eradicate the old, deeply rooted claim that this world is sufficient unto itself, the essential and only reality; he must admit that earthly existence even at its best is stained and discredited in the eyes of God. Naturally such self-emancipation is particularly difficult for those for whom the world holds the most delights-for the powerful and creative, for all who have a large share in earth’s greatness and beauty. These are the rich, the sated, the laughing, the praised and honored ones-hence, the woe that threatens them. On the other hand, blessings on the poor, the mournful, the hungry and persecuted, not because their condition in itself is blessed, but because it helps them to realize that more than just this world exists. Need teaches them only too well how inadequate existence is, and once taught, they turn more easily from earth to heaven for something better. [The Lord, p. 72]

Fresh from my long vigil at the emergency room, this marvelous paragraph seemed to me to capture the sum and substance of Christian faith. All the more so is this the case, inasmuch as Guardini took pains to warn against sentimentalizing Christ’s transvaluation of all values. “We must guard against one thing only,” he insists, “sentimentality.” (Something that would survive in the emergency room for about 30 seconds.)

Nothing on earth ever, of itself, guarantees heaven. Poverty can make men greedier than wealth. … Hunger can harden; pain can drive to despair; contempt can inwardly destroy. … But on the whole, Jesus’ “Blessed are you” is correct. He spoke from experience: it was the poor, the suffering, the despised publicans, sinners and harlots who at least attempted to believe. The powerful, the learned, the wealthy, the secure were provoked by his message, or laughed at him, or hated him, whom they considered a danger to the political existence of the nation.

The Church is humanity’s emergency room, where the weak and the wounded, the reckless and the raging, the broken and the frightened are thrown together to be ministered to by others only marginally healthier or holier than those to whom they minister.

At this very moment, as I am tying these words, Liz is sitting on the sofa nearby looking intently at an image of the Mother of Sorrows which was carved by our friend Vonn Hartung and which hangs in our living-room. Mary, with her heart pierced by the sword, is the icon of the Church: the Mother of Sorrows, under whose protection we huddle together with all the other needy ones.

How blessed we are to be under her protection and in the care of Mother Church.

(This was originally posted on www.gil-bailie.com in January 2007)

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A Mailbox Full of Valentines for Grace

Thomas Merton’s poem Grace’s House was frequently mentioned in Gil Bailie’s talks from the 1980’s and 90’s. I offer an example from an excerpt of Gil’s series on W. H. Auden’s New Year Letter below. I encourage those coming by this site to take the time to look up Merton’s beautiful short poem which can be found in The Collected Poems of Thomas Merton (New Directions Paperbook) (Copyright prevents its being presented here in full.)

There were two lines from the poem that have stayed with me over the years:

‘there is no road to Grace’s house’

and

      ‘Mailbox number 5 is full of Valentines for Grace’

In the poem Merton says there is a river that runs between our world and Grace’s, a river of “uncrossed Crystal water between our ignorance and her truth”.

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Logos

As I have often said from the podium, it helps to clear away the “spirit of the age” clutter to ask: Why are we here? Or: What are humans for?

Now that I’ve violated the one grammatical principle that I still try to uphold — against ending a sentence with a preposition — let me repeat the offense: One way of putting our predicament is this: The challenge and the quintessential human task is to discover — existentially at least, and cognitively as far as possible — what human existence is all about. It remains, after all, an open question. We are, par excellence, the only unfinished creatures. But that does not mean that we are free to fashion ourselves according to our whims. Our existence would then simply been absurd, which is to say incapable of being assessed. A “well-lived life” would be an unintelligible phrase, purely subjective. There must be a pattern, a form, a purpose, and logic, in a “word,” a Logos.

More that merely a synonym for the English “word,” the Logos of John’s Gospel means the reason, the pattern, the (Trinitarian) reality toward which creatures made in the image and likeness of God are inherently ordained. Everyone whose life has any moral or conceptual or existential coherence has a logos at work in the background of his or her existence, that is to say: an operational notion, however vaguely conceptualized, of the meaning and purpose of human existence.

The question is: how true is the logos on which one’s life is based? A Christian, like everyone else, ought to routinely ask: What are humans for? In other words: what is the true pattern, the true nature of human existence? To what are we called by the fact that we are made in the image and likeness of (the Trinitarian) God? The answer is Christ, simply: Christ: the Logos in the flesh, that is to say, the Reason (for human life) embodied in human form.

It would be technically true to say that “what we Christians believe is that Christ is the answer,” but, in the squishy world of multicultural diffidence, that way of expressing it inevitably relativizes it. Imagine a person getting up at an international meeting of scientists and saying: “what we Western scientists believe is that the earth is spherical.” There are people who don’t believe that, but those who do believe it are right and those who don’t are wrong. When is the last time you heard a Muslim say: “What we Muslims believe is that there is no God but Allah and Mohammad is is prophet”? Don’t hold your breath waiting to hear it. Our Islamic brothers and sisters may be religiously mistaken (they are), but at least they believe what they claim to believe.

To make the truth claim unabashedly will seem, again in the present atmosphere, to be an act of pride. In fact it is an act of humility, inasmuch as the one who makes such a statement is precisely not stating his or her personal opinion. One is simply assenting to the truth that has been mediated by centuries of credible Christian witnesses (“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe”) and, provisionally at least, corroborated by one’s own experience of prayer and the sacraments.

Accounting for one’s creedal affirmation surely requires the summoning of apologetic, theological, and (especially in the case of Christianity) anthropological corroboration, but none of these things will avail if the original affirmation is too diffident, too equivocating, too relativized to be taken seriously.

To say, as Christians always have, that Christ is “Lord,” is to say that He is the true Logos, the unsurpassable pattern of self-sacrificing love to which all humans are called by God. To say that Christ is the “Lord of history,” is to say that history is the drama of Christ’s gentle appeal to his mortal brothers and sisters to come their senses and claim their ontological inheritance by participating, here and now, in the joy of Trinitarian self-donation.

(This was previously posted on gil-bailie.com in February 2007.)

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Filling the Vacuum….

Virgil tells Dante what it was that caused the Assyrian Queen, Semiramis, to be tormented in the region of the Inferno reserved for the lustful. Her sin, however, seems to have been more than just lust, which for Dante is the least deadly sin. Semiramis’ sin seems to have been her attempt to endow her erotic recklessness with social and legal respectability.

Her vice of lust became so customary
that she made license licit in her laws
to free her from the scandal she had caused. — Inferno V

Dante puts sodomites in another, lower place in the Inferno, but it is this tendency to make licentiousness licit that has such a strong contemporary analogue in the push to create the legislative fiction that homoerotic activity and the nuptial embrace are but two equally natural and legitimate forms of the same thing. The homosexual activists are late-comers to this moral coup d’etat. It was heterosexuals who made an art of turning sexuality into a recreational activity not to be unduly hampered by middle-class hangups, much less the sacramental dignity with which traditional Christianity endowed it. But late-coming homosexuals have mastered the art with great aplomb and obvious relish.

They are not, however, the only ones who want to replace key elements of the Western tradition with exotic moral codes more to their own liking. A surprising number of Muslims, especially in Europe, where their numbers are much greater than here, tell pollsters that they favor laws more in keeping with Islam’s Sharia.

I mentioned in an earlier post the odd alliance between Jihadists and Leftists in Europe, where the political Left retains more of its Marxist roots than does the North American Left, which tends today to be a life-style libertine Left — hyper-liberals with illiberal temperaments, content to throw off traditional moral constraints only to impose the new orthodoxy with sanctimonious contempt for those who resist. (In future posts I would like to return to this strange alliance if and when time permits.)

Herbert Marcuse’s amalgamation of these two manifestations of Leftist activism still persists, of course, but the relatively greater weight of Karl Marx in Europe and Alfred Kinsey on this side of the Atlantic can still be detected. (I use Kinsey to personify the sexual revolution his reckless behavior exemplified and his unscientific writings served to exempt from moral scrutiny.) The Alfred Kinsey version of Marxism is not as likely to ally itself as readily with the Jihadists, but stranger things (not many) have happened. The multicultural world, however, is a carnival of such strangeness. There are jurisdictions in Europe today, for instance, where one is more likely to attract the attention of law enforcement agencies by calling into question the morality of homoerotic behavior than by calling Jews pigs and monkeys.

Inasmuch as Dante put Muhammad in the Inferno as a schismatic, he is surely on the Muslim short list of pernicious influences from which the young must be protected once the textbook committees can be made as solicitous of Islamic sensibilities as they have shown themselves to be of today’s Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender (LGBT) pieties. (And solicitude for one is very often accompanied by solicitude for the other — one of the genuine oddities of the multicultural mentality.)

It’s conceivable that the day will come when dropping Dante from the curriculum will be among the few things on which Muslims and the LGBT activists will agree. Like the elimination of Cordelia by her sisters in King Lear, however, or the elimination of Pompey in Antony and Cleopatra, once Dante and everything he represents is set aside, the concordat between those wishing to be rid of these things will collapse into intense hostility. Foreseeing precisely this as the result of the elimination of Pompey, Antony’s lieutenant, Enobarbus remarks:

Then, world, thou hast a pair of chaps, no more;
And throw between them all the food thou hast,
They’ll grind the one the other.

Bruce Bawer, is an American literary critic, translator, poet, living in Europe. He has written about being gay in America. His most recent book is While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam Is Destroying the West from Within. I would be surprised if Mr. Bawer and I see eye-to-eye on every issue, but I think he’s surely right about this one:

Multiculturalism is deeply, perversely irrational. If you’re a multiculturalist, it’s verboten even to notice, acknowledge, and express concern about murderous hatred directed against you and yours by the officially oppressed. For a multiculturalist, any act or statement by a member of an officially oppressed group, however morally reprehensible, is to be understood either as a legitimate reaction against “our” prejudice (or our forebears’ colonialism) or as a legitimate aspect of an alien culture that we, in our pitiful narrowness, have failed to understand and respect – which is, of course, our obligation.

For a snapshot of how incoherent the world becomes when allowed to arrange itself according to the multicultural logic, there’s this from the ever-quotable Mark Steyn in a December, 2004 London Daily Telegraph piece:

Last year, I was strolling down the boulevard de Maisonneuve in Montreal and saw across the street a Muslim woman, covered from head to toe in black, struggling home with her groceries past a “condom boutique” whose front window was advertising massive discounts on a, er, item of useful gay-sex paraphernalia. I wish I’d had a digital camera: there, in a single image, were the internal contradictions of the multicultural society. It seems highly improbable to me that gay hedonism and creeping sharia can co-exist for long.

The two greatest challenges to Western culture at the moment are from the Koran-quoting fanatics at the gates and the indulgent and irresponsible sexual liberationists within. It is not out of the realm of possibility that, after they beat up on Dante or the Pope for a while — and when they no longer have George Bush around to cement their loopy alliance — they’ll grind the one the other, very likely crushing civility in Europe in the process. Since the sexual revolutionaries haven’t bothered to produce the requisite numbers of offspring to maintain parity, were such a showdown to occur, the demographics would surely favor the jihadists. They would do most of the grinding.

From the ravaged world that would likely result, the Judeo-Christian moral tradition will look like what it has always been: an anthropologically sound summons to human nobility and dignity, a refuge from barbarism and tyranny, and a spur to human flourishing and freedom the likes of which the world has never seen.

(This was originally posted on www.gil-bailie.com in January 2007)

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