Sunday, October 27, 2013

Regarding Mark Shea...

So, has he always been... you know, like he is now? Or was he more relaxed once upon a time?

I'm not all that aware of what goes on in the Catholic blogosphere, admittedly. Basically, 'Feser's for education, Darwin Catholic for upscale conversation, Wwwtw for a bit more reactionary stuff, Dangerous Idea for provocative questions and real goddamn stupid atheists.' But I know Shea's kind of up there with Jimmy Akin - not quite First Things material, but still damn popular and giving regular talks, etc. And it's kind of disheartening to realize that a major voice in modern Catholic media is so bizarrely shrill.


Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

He's always been a bit screechy. Whom has he anathematized this time? (Reppert is Catholic?)

Crude said...

No, Reppert is not. That was awkwardly included in the rest of the list, which was more supposed to be 'the religious-themed blogs I hit fairly often', not 'Catholic-themed'.

And no anathematizing. He's just so frantic when it comes to politics. I don't think the man is capable of saying 'I disagree with X, here is why, but I understand their motivations and reasoning.' Instead it's always the most maudlin "THEY WOULD BRING US TO THE VERY CUSP OF ANNIHILATION AND HELL" routines.

It's disappointing.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

Yeah, that's how I thought you meant with reference to Reppert. I was just curious. I agree that his tone is often so arch. That fact coupled with the fairly derivative and/or self-referential content of his posts weaned me off his blog years ago. Then, again maybe those are just the same defects in my own blog! Heh.

Crude said...

I don't notice them if they are. You tend to couple any criticisms you make with a very thorough intellectual fisking of your opponents. Shea plays largely at the level of 'You guys are going to DESTROY US ALL' and perpetual panic attacks.

It also seems to be a nesting ground for Catholics who consider support for the Democratic Party part of their religious beliefs. I hate party loyalty with a passion, so that's not helping my perception of the place.

BenYachov said...

The thing about Mark is when it comes to politics his brain shuts off.

On matters of the faith such as explaining them plainly & defending belief he is common sense incarnate.

But in regards to politics he fancies himself the dude from Romeo and Juliet who was accidentally stabbed.

"A pox on both your houses". Thus he is with both Cons & libs.

But he is 100% unreasonable about it.

In the "Is Water Boarding torture?" debate simply asking that question proved you where a faithless Catholic in hi eyes.

Look how he treated poor Feser.

Now Shea has apologized recently for being a judgmental jerk to people. I support that but like so many of us sinners he falls back off the wagon.

So I went back to not reading his blog.

It's just better I not read him, save my sanity & let God burn his defects out of him in purgatory like the rest of us.

Crude said...

I will say that Shea will eat crow if he's clearly caught in the wrong, which is a point in his favor.

The Deuce said...

I'll just endorse what BenYachov said. When it comes to explaining and defending matters of theology and doctrine, Mark is very measured, very structured, very logical, and very persuasive.

On almost all political topics, he's a raging lunatic. Basically, while the political positions he takes are not all leftist, his thought patterns and manner of argumentation are identical to those on the far left.

That is, like leftists, he sees political topics in Manichean terms, as a struggle between good and evil forces, without remainder. It's assumed that there are no neutral, inviolable laws of physics or logic or economics that we must deal with, which prevent political utopia. It's also assumed that everyone shares the same premises as he does, and that therefore the only reason other people don't support the policies he wants is that they are Skeletor-like evildoers who *want* bad things to happen to others, purely for their own amusement and narrow selfish benefit.

If you've ever argued with a liberal over socialized medicine, you know what I'm talking about. You can explain to him why it can't possibly work, why government price-fixing can only destroy price information and thereby rob people of the ability to meet their needs and wants in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible, why it can only diminish wealth overall and result in the misallocation of resources away from those who most need them towards those who don't, why it destroys peoples' incentives to support themselves, why it must end in rationing of care to the needy, etc.

And no matter how carefully and politely you explain it, the leftist will respond with, "WHY DON'T YOU WANT POOR PEOPLE TO HAVE HEALTH CARE YOU MONSTER!!!!" It's just assumed, without question, that not only would socialized medicine work, but that you yourself believe that it would work, and that you're only opposed to it because you represent the FORCES OF EEEEEEVIL and want poor people to die. All that jazz about "cause and effect" and "supply and demand" and "laws of economics" are summarily dismissed as so much self-serving jibber-jabber and false consciousness on your part, not even requiring consideration.

So, if the topic is Walmart and the minimum wage, Mark will shout and scream about how they're all a bunch of monsters who refuse to pay their employees "a living wage" and prefer to "force them onto welfare" out of pure, unmitigated spite and greed. If you ask him whether there should be low-paying jobs available to young people who are still living with their parents and don't need a "living wage" of their own, you won't get an answer. If you ask him why adults taking the exact same job should get paid more for it, you won't get an answer. If you ask him who Walmart should fire so they can give raises to some of their minimum-wage employees, you won't get an answer. If you ask what Walmart should do with all their employees who already worked their way up the chain to the level of payment he's demanding for unskilled newbies, you won't get an answer. If you ask him how Walmart could possibly be "forcing" people onto welfare when they'd need welfare even more if Walmart hadn't hired them in the first place, you won't get an answer. He'll just take all those questions as indication that you're an evil person with an evil mind who doesn't want poor people to have a living wage. The Catechism says employers shouldn't cheat their employees out of a living wage, he believes that means Walmart must pay everyone at least $15 an hour (or whatever), that settles it!

The Deuce said...


So, if the topic is waterboarding, Mark will assert that it is clearly torture as condemned by binding Catholic teaching as "intrinsically evil," that this cannot be argued, and that everyone knows and accepts this to be the case. If Edward Feser says we need to be cautious in making such an assertion, because truth cannot contradict truth and it's difficult to square the notion that causing pain on the level of waterboarding is "intrinsically evil" with other writings that the Catholic Church takes as authoritative and binding, then he's clearly just an apologist for intrinsic evil who doesn't give a damn about Catholic Social Teaching and is only saying that because "The Thing That Used To Be Conservatism" loves intrinsic evil so much! Neither Ed's argument nor the authoritative documents he refers to need be given any consideration whatsoever! Why, he probably made them up, and went back in time and planted them, that's how evil he is!

So, if the topic is gun control, he'll just assume that everyone accepts that gun control works and would have prevented Sandy Hook. If you say it would only result in more deaths, you clearly just don't care about children dying like he does, and all your "facts" that you use to support your position are so much false consciousness on your part. If you say that the government has no right to disarm the population, then you're obviously the equivalent of an abortionist, enthusiastically favoring the slaughter of children just to protect your so-called made-up "rights," which we all know are nothing more than projections of your own self-justifying ego. If you say that on the contrary, self-defense is an actual inherent right, and that the country's founders were adamant that it be protected as a safeguard against government tyranny, then you're clearly a treasonous sociopath with fantasies of murdering millions of your fellow citizens in a futile and pointless bloodbath, who is so far beyond the pale that You Shall No Longer Be Allowed To Post On This Blog!


The point being (other than blowing off a bit of steam), Mark has been this way on political matters from as far back as I can recall him mentioning political matters. It can be hard to tell (and in my case it took a year or two of reading his blog before I realized he had this tendency), because he's very sane on non-political matters, and sometimes he goes a while without bringing them up, during which time his blog remains readable. Then something comes up, and you're like, "Oh yeah, that's right, this guy is completely unreasonable." I've stopped reading him several times because it was so obnoxious, and then come back during a period of solid, thoughtful posts. But, lately those periods seem to be shorter and shorter.

Crude said...

Yeah, it's not the fact that Shea disagrees that is throwing me here. It's that whole 'You oppose gun control' = 'You are a MONSTER who wants to KILL CHILDREN because you won't PASS THE LAW I WANT' thing. And it is ridiculously common with him.

BenYachov said...

When it comes to politics Mark is the Huffington Post with Rosary beads.

Bob over dangerous idea is kind of liberal politically but orthodox as a Catholic. He thinks Obamacare is great but he accepts church teaching.

You can talk to him and disagree with him on politics.

Mark is a savage when it comes to politics. Political Posts are where reason goes to die on his blog.

13 fzedsat

BenYachov said...

I 100% endorse what the Deuce just said.