Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pope Francis is scaring the hell out of social liberals

I've been watching the fallout from Pope Francis' recent interview. I'm 100% behind him - no surprise there, given the argument I had on WWWtW over this very thing. But what's fascinated me is the reaction not just from conservatives, but from the liberals. The moment I started seeing official 'Dear Pope Francis, thank you. Signed, pro-choice women everywhere' pictures circulating on the web, it confirmed for me something I've long suspected about the LGBT movement, and the leadership of social liberals in general.

First though, let's talk about what has the conservatives upset. I think it's simply that the Pope basically rapped the knuckles of the social conservatives, primarily in the US. Not just Catholics, but social conservatives generally. The Pope suggested that there was way too much of an emphasis on these issues - contraception, abortion and gay marriage - to the point where it was practically monotonous, and mentioned how he was expressly trying not to harp about those things. At no point did he even hint at a change on the issues - in fact, it didn't take long for him to denounce abortion expressly after his interview. But his message was still pretty clear: social conservatives have screwed up their approach on these issues. They've focused on them too much, they've communicated poorly.

Now, here's the thing about political topics. There's an unspoken rule that you're never supposed to criticize someone 'on your team', especially not in a major public venue. Even if you're correct, it's demoralizing. And the Pope? He's not just another social conservative - even to non-Catholics he's a major figure in the fight against abortion and gay marriage, etc. Not only is it demoralizing to take friendly criticism on the topic from a friendly source, but worse - let's be honest - it encourages the social liberals. After all, anything that pisses off a SoCon has to have a silver lining at the very least, just like anything that pisses off the SoLibs is a silver lining for the SoCons. So the Pope said something which upset the SoCons, and at the same time it's made worse because the SoLibs show up to cheer on the Pope and use this as an opportunity to rub salt in the SoCon wounds.

But... there's something more going on here. Something important.

When you think about it, cheering on the Pope doesn't make all that much sense from a SoLib point of view, does it? Sure, he criticized the approach of SoCons... but really, only their approach. Pope Francis hasn't given a hint of liberalizing on sodomy, abortion or even contraception. He immediately followed up his interview with the aforelinked anti-abortion speech. He's not NARAL's friend. So why the hell is NARAL out there sending the Pope virtual thank you messages, expressly from 'all pro-choice women'? Part of it is easy to explain: they want to give the impression that the Pope approves of abortion, because they probably feel that if they can lie their way into a papal stamp of approval, they may win more people over to their cause. But for anyone who actually cares about what the Pope says, and who isn't dirt stupid, this isn't going to really pay off. There's the Pope the next day, preaching against abortion. So what gives?

Here is the hardest lesson, in my experience, for SoCons to learn. SoLibs want SoCons to be hostile. They want them to be angry. And they want to not only have them perpetually ranting and raving - they want to make the SoCons truly afraid of ever being anything less than hostile. So the moment any social conservative (like Pope Francis) starts talking kindly, or forgivingly about people with same-sex attraction, or people who have had abortions, etc - the moment the Pope says 'Look, just because you're gay doesn't mean you're a terrible person, and someone who has had an abortion and repents can be forgiven' or words to that effect, is the moment the SoLibs need to Nip That Shit in the Bud. But they can't directly attack the Pope, or anyone else who says such things, most of the time - they'd look like jerks. So, they attack in a roundabout way: by trying their asses off to warp the message being sent. Basically they communicate, "If you are EVER civilized and compassionate towards gays, if you EVER show that you regard sexually active people with anything short of hate, we're going to make you regret it. We're going to try and transform your humanity into endorsement, we're going to try and penalize you for acting like this - because the idea of someone who opposes abortion or who opposes gay marriage, and who is calm and humane and level-headed, scares the piss out of us."

And it's effective. All the high-strung SoCons look at the reaction and, remember - when something makes the SoLibs happy, the SoCons are automatically unhappy. And if you say something that makes the SoLibs cheer - even if they're only cheering on an intentionally warped, dishonested mangling of the message - the SoCon instinct is to panic a little bit and try to find a way to Never Do THAT Again. Which, of course, is exactly what the SoLib wants, because if the image of the person who opposes gay marriage isn't "angry person screaming about how all faggots are child molestors" but "well-meaning person who cares for gays, but thinks same-sex behavior and sexual culture is harmful", they're in trouble. Likewise, the SoLib - and I'm talking about the diehards here, the dedicated 'politics is my religion' SoLibs - absolutely needs the anti-abortion advocate to be some bizarre "I don't give a shit about single moms, all I care about is that fetus being born - it's a great way to punish the sluts!" caricature. Once it's someone concerned about treating human life as sacred and having people behave responsibly in light of that, the whole conversation will get dramatically difficult in a heartbeat.

So what you're seeing among SoLibs in response to Francis? That's not totally sincere praise and affection. None of them really see much hope for Francis to suddenly become the pro-abortion, pro-gay-marriage, "Go ahead, orgies aren't a sin" Pope. They're actually pretty terrified. There's only room for one kind of compassionate person in this world, and that's them. So if the Pope is going to act compassionate towards gays and such, well, their only option is to try and desperately misrepresent him as The Socially Liberal Pope, and try to mangle his message in the process. What absolutely terrifies them is the introduction of the socially conservative person who nevertheless is and, even worse, appears to be kind-hearted and sincere. At this point they're cornered, and are exhausting their options. If the Pope insists on acting kind towards gays, forgiving of repentant women who have had abortions, etc, then they're going to try and discourage that by screwing with his message, or - lacking that - misrepresenting him to the public to try and fool everyone for as long as possible.

The take-away from all this is, don't take the praise of Pope Francis by SoLibs at face value. There's a meta-game going on here, and it's pretty easy to understand why.


Anonymous said...

I feel like this post acts as a good "partner post" to mine. I agree completely, of course.

Is it wrong that, in a perverse way, I'm really looking forward to the liberal backlash? If you read the comments you can see that it already started (though in the embryonic stage) when the Pope excommunicated the pro-gay marriage and pro-female ordination Priest in Australia.

Crude said...

Yeah, your post actually inspired me to write this one.

In the middle of writing this up, I was finally able to put into words what I think is a key animating principle of a certain class of liberal, particularly social liberal: the desperate need to be the only compassionate one around. I think it makes complete sense of the reaction to Pope Francis when viewed in that light.

The Deuce said...

I think it comes down to the way that leftism is all about inventing false narratives and making them the "truth" (in the leftist's mind) by creating a consensus around the narrative.

While they don't like abstract arguments that debunk their narratives, of course, what *really* upsets them are things that visibly and clearly contradict their them for all to see.

They *cannot* have SoCons being visibly compassionate, because that undermines the narrative that they're the only compassionate ones in a way that many people cannot deny, so when it happens, they in their desperation have to push the narrative, no matter how silly or impossible to believe, that the SoCon is actually one of them.

Crude said...

I agree narratives play a huge role. I do think - and it took writing this post for me to realize it - that a major issue going on here is that there's a variety of leftist who sees themselves as compassionate and caring. But at the same time... they are ferocious, angry, fearful protectors of that self-anointed title. The whole thing reminds me of the stereotypical psychotic relationship. "I love you, I'll protect you, I'll care for you. And if I can't have you, no one will." That, but on a societal scale.

They *cannot* have SoCons being visibly compassionate, because that undermines the narrative that they're the only compassionate ones in a way that many people cannot deny, so when it happens, they in their desperation have to push the narrative, no matter how silly or impossible to believe, that the SoCon is actually one of them.

I agree. I think some of this is subconscious, some is conscious. And I think the SoCons (despite my being one of them) have some responsibility here too. The SoCon narrative is pretty big on attacking 'the gays', and treating gay people as a monolithic group - as if merely having same-sex attraction automatically and irrevocably means you're part of the LGBT pride parade idiot brigade and the *only cure for this is to become heterosexual*. I see this coming up time and again, and I think it's not just bonkers, but I think it's something that SoLibs encourage. They *want* this attitude to remain, because it makes it a cinch to cast SoCons as these angry guys who hate the heck out of homosexuals and there's no appeasing them.

But that 'compassionate' aspect now has made a few things crystal clear to me, and honestly, it's weird in context now. It makes a portion of the liberal left seem very Jim Jones. It suddenly has things making sense, like how Clarence Thomas (to give one example) isn't merely disagreed with by the left, he's despised. Because he's black, and black people are supposed to be the supreme example of 'the group the liberals care for and love and nurture and act as parent figure to', and by being what he is, Thomas rejected their offer of unconditional love. And if you reject that, well, all that's left is hate.