14A056 Pat by Jim Davies, 11/14/2014    


My ZGBlog about cults ended with a remark that those wishing to promote market anarchism as a rational world view ought not at the same time to embrace some non rational, religious belief; it's inconsistent, so damages our credibility.

An example appeared on October 22nd. He's a Conservative, not a market anarchist, but he was well regarded by Murray Rothbard and promotes a viewpoint of which a good deal overlaps our own, and he's a crackerjack historian and writer - but by embracing religion he hurts his own case. I refer to Patrick Buchanan, and have commended here his masterpiece about World War Two, which I think is second only to A J P Taylor's "Origins."

Buchanan wrote recently about Pope Francis, because he's a Roman Catholic and doesn't like to see a Socialist leading his religion. I don't blame him. The trouble is that by showing himself immersed in religion, he reduces the credibility of all his other writings. Notice his numerous contradictions.

1. He refers to his religion as "Catholic". That's a fib - a very big one. The word means "universal" or all-encompassing, and constitutes a massive claim that the Roman Church embraces the whole of Christianity; that if one doesn't belong to it, one isn't part of the Christian church. The name (without the qualifier "Roman") un-churches all other denominations, such as Baptist, Lutheran, Anglican, Methodist etc. So right off the bat, Pat Buchanan endorses a huge lie. How, then, can he be trusted to tell the truth elsewhere?

A response might be that Mr Buchanan and others use the term "Catholic" merely to abbreviate, without meaning to re-assert that claim to exclusivity. However in that case "Roman" would have greater utility; it has one fewer syllable and three fewer letters. A simple "R.C." would serve better yet, with a 75% saving of space and breath.

2. The article relates to a controversy within the R.C. Church about homosexuality. It has hitherto denounced that as wrong, but the current Pope has expressed a more inclusive view. Buchanan approvingly quotes an Irish critic of the Pope, who said a report Francis had endorsed “fails to recognize that homosexual inclination is objectively disordered.” Well, yes, one could make that case; Nature requires both sexes to propagate our species. But then, what of the Roman Church's prohibition of marriage for 100% of its hierarchy, down to every monk and nun and village priest, both male and female? - I've not heard that Buchanan wants that celibacy rule to be scrapped, even though it has always flown in the face of 1 Timothy 4:3, where Paul warns of a coming time when "some shall depart from the faith,... forbidding to marry..." Buchanan claims to be a Christian (in fact, to be a member of the only Christian church, as in #1 above) yet that verse very plainly says that the celibacy rule (which has led to a forest of practical troubles) is evidence of a departure from the faith. That would make Roman Catholicism a heresy, and in any case if "objective order" is the criterion, compelled celibacy should be condemned every bit as much as homosexuality.

3. Buchanan next writes that traditionalists (like him)

"believe moral truth does not change, nor can Catholic doctrines be altered. Even a pope cannot do that. Should such be attempted, the pope would be speaking heresy. And as it is Catholic doctrine that the pope is infallible, that he cannot err when speaking ex cathedra on faith and morals, this would imply that Francis was not a valid pope and the chair of Peter is empty."

Now, here's a pretty how-do-ye-do. Roman Catholic doctrine is fixed for ever, yet a Pope is poised to change it, yet Popes are infallible, therefore Francis isn't a true Pope - even though he was selected by just the same process as is used for all the others. So either R.C. doctrine isn't permanent, or no Pope is infallible, or the process itself is fallible and one can never be sure whether any Pope is a true Pope. Good luck in disentangling that knot.

4. Buchanan then denounces Henry VIII (fair enough) but also calls Martin Luther a "heretic"; as I recall it, Luther posed ninety five very awkward questions of the Roman Church, whose only answer was to forbid him to continue asking them - exactly like today's IRS. By saying an infallible Pope is fallible, I suppose Buchanan makes himself a heretic; perhaps it takes one to know one.

Well, enough about Roman Popes; the whole scene is clearly a rats'-nest of contradictions and I may well be accused of criticizing that Church, rather than Pat Buchanan. Maybe so - but that's my point. One could expose ridiculous contradictions in most if not all religions, and this articulate spokesman for at least a good measure of freedom has hurt his whole credibility by aligning himself with one. The wiser course for all of us is to steer well clear of the lot of them.

Will the coming zero government society be religion-free? It will certainly be rid of the religion of government, by definition. And since it will come into being only when all its members have become rational enough to rid themselves of that one, it makes sense that all the others will have been discarded too. But of course, since there will be no lawmakers, there will be no laws to forbid other religions, irrational though they are. I look forward to finding out.







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