A Remnant Book Review...
IT HAS OFTEN been remarked that Marxism is a kind of religion. The philosophy itself is shrouded in religious mystique, with adherents asked to begin from a leap of faith—dialectical materialism as the key to human history and the roadmap toward a perfect human society. The suspension of disbelief thus complete, the Marxist is free to make wild and untenable predictions, which inevitably fail to come true. When this happens, Marxists persecute their perceived enemies with a zeal far beyond anything any religion has ever been able to inspire. Marxists are even fond of cheap imitations of the Resurrection—the moldering, waxed-over corpses of Lenin, Ho Chi Minh, Kim Il Sung, Mao, and other dead communists lie in state here and there as sullen testimony to what eternal life looks like to a socialist bureaucrat. A rather sad religion, this, but a religion all the same.
When Pope Francis visited Japan in November, it marked the first time a supreme pontiff had alighted on Japanese soil since Pope John Paul II’s brief stay in February of 1981. Although Pope Francis’ visit included the same three cities as did John Paul II’s—namely, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Tokyo—there are glaring differences between the two visits, and the two papacies.
For one thing, while Pope John Paul II was unapologetically pro-life, Pope Francis has turned the phrase into its opposite through the skillful use of ambiguity.
Athletics at a school dominated by white leftists is sold as the ticket of escape from the poverty that white leftists created in the first place.
Jemele Hill is probably not a racist. The former ESPN host has gained notoriety for tweeting that Donald Trump is a white supremacist, but, to be fair to Hill, such slander has lost almost all meaning. Anyone who has been among liberals these past two decades will know that “white supremacist” is their standard retort to anyone who questions the General Will of the herd of independent minds—a kind of “irritable mental gesture” signifying exasperated defeat in the face of sound argument. Calling Trump a “white supremacist” should be interpreted in exactly the same way as the primal screams that liberals bellowed in the days following Trump’s election to the presidency. The phrase is not an attempt at discourse, but a frank admission of defeat. Nothing really racial about it—just a verbal tic in the latter days of our dying republic.
Nor, it should be noted, is Jemele Hill much of a philosopher. ESPN is not exactly the Einstein, Spinoza, and Plato Network, after all, and Hill’s colleagues have not distinguished themselves by the quality of their musings on things other than the hurling of javelins and the swatting of balls. Keith Olbermann, Hill’s dai-senpai in unhinged microblogging, tore through the pages of GQ—a magazine about neckties—listing nearly two hundred reasons why, in Olbermann’s estimation, Trump would suddenly resign. Hill, who filled in at the ESPN Social Justice Desk for Olbermann while the latter was explaining to rapt audiences of dozens the finer points of the strike zone and the one-two count, was in every way her mentor’s equal in mediocrity. This intellectual blandness put both Olbermann and Hill far ahead of their jockstrap-sorting colleagues at Connecticut GHQ, but it still did not suffice to lift Bristol into the ranks of Vienna, Oxford, and Athens.
And yet, even granting that Hill is just a run-of-the-mill left-wing drivel nozzle, dribbling precisely the same highfalutin' nonsense as the interchangeable parts who work at the Washington Post, Columbia University, and the Department of Motor Vehicles, it is still theoretically possible that she be right about something from time to time. This is one of those times. Jemele Hill, who now writes columns for The Atlantic (perfect), has recently opined that black athletes should stop going to big schools, where they will be exploited, and should try to lift up black colleges and universities instead.
The reality of college athletics is that athletes are the modern equivalent of Indian slaves in a Mexican silver mine. The athletes do all the work, the university gets all the money. Athletes, especially black athletes from poor families, are lured into this arrangement with the promise of scholarships—because nobody in their right mind would pay to spend four years in a communist re-education camp (On, Wisconsin!)—and further exploitation down the line. Some athletes do go on to earn millions in the big leagues, until gruesome injury or permanent brain damage renders them unable to work at all. After four (or five, or six) years of studying Bolivian queer protest literature and attending mandatory drill sessions with Sex Out Loud, the vast majority of athletes are given a worthless piece of paper and sent on their way, while the army of white deans and deanlets continues its search for the next crop of poor kids to exploit. Hill is absolutely correct to say that this is a system that does not benefit black people. Indeed, this system benefits no one at all except the rapacious administrators who cash six- or seven-figure paychecks from the takings. She is also correct to say that historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) stand to benefit by young and talented people investing more in the community than in themselves. Both of these are undeniable facts.
Hill frames this as a race issue, to be sure. Everyone is a white supremacist, so black kids must shun the Klan State and stick with their own kind. To be fair, she can hardly do otherwise, as to fail to parrot the issue du jour would lead to her immediate dismissal from The Atlantic. The fact, though, is that Hill, while spewing the usual racist bile one now expects from the CNN crowd, is inadvertently making an argument for subsidiarity. If people are hurting, then those people should be able to make the decisions that they think will ameliorate the conditions in which they find themselves. Black communities are in bad shape, and they can’t afford to have their best and brightest taken away for a shot at the big time in Potosí. This is not about race, it’s about human dignity and respect. Hill is clueless, but she still ends up in the right place.
Despite record employment numbers, black communities are hurting very badly. White liberals have destroyed black neighborhoods with decades of parochial faux-charity in the form of cash payments in exchange for Democrat votes. White liberals, who themselves tend to get married and work and save for the future, promote among poor people (especially blacks) a culture of heedlessness and contempt for the family. Fatherlessness among blacks has long since passed the point of being epidemic. Hopelessness—the inevitable result of familial despair—has become the standard mental equipment of the young African American. There were no Crips or Bloods until white liberals started to “help” black neighborhoods. Like Mao at Tiananmen, a giant portrait of Lyndon Baines Johnson ought to hang from the side of every rundown project building in federal Pottertowns.
The solution that the liberals offer to this hell they have made? Go to college at State U! Run a ball up and down a court or a field for a few years and then leave your past behind for good. Don’t look back, just get out. Athletics at a school dominated by white leftists is sold as the ticket of escape from the poverty that white leftists created in the first place.
What Hill proposes is much more humane—much more Catholic, in fact. Building up a community through patient effort takes a lot more work than kneeling for two minutes during the national anthem. Students and professors at HBCUs get far, far less attention than their counterparts at Gargantuan State (funny, but Hill’s alma mater ESPN is at LSU games far more often than they’re at Grambling’s). But HBCUs do more for black neighborhoods than any number of Famous Athlete Foundations will ever achieve. If heaven is gained like the camel passing through the eye of a needle, then one wonders whither the wide, cash-paved road of the pro career and the endorsement contract will lead.
Jemele Hill probably did not mean to say any of this, of course. But she is right all the same. It will take a lot of time and commitment to heal the broken hearts of the communities that liberalism carpetbombed with federal “assistance”. Imagine what could happen if subsidiarity, and not subsidized escape programs for talented youth, was the guiding principle of neighborhoods across the United States.
--Jason Morgan is associate professor at Reitaku University in Chiba, Japan.
Little Hong Kong, dangling from the underbelly of this beast, is putting up a fight so valiant, so brave, that it brings tears to the eyes of anyone who hopes for more from life than managed consumerism and soul-deadening distraction from the fact of fundamental unfreedom. -Jason Morgan
Many around the world watching the Hong Kong protests unfold are probably thinking that they portend the downfall of the communist Leviathan in Beijing.
They do not.
Christianity is a strange religion. So strange, in fact, that it may be best not even to call it a religion at all. There is no end to ‘the varieties of religious experience’, as our pragmatic-Protestant culture delights in pointing out. But the treasure of truth safeguarded by the Catholic Church is, at heart, a singular paradox. Man sins, and God dies so that man might live. Nobody, but nobody, saw that coming.
Nobody sees it coming still. It shocks everyone who learns that God is not some lightning bolt-hurling playboy living on top of a mountain or a thousand-armed arhat with knotty hair. God is love, and love to death.
Many Remnant readers will probably have heard of Mishima Yukio. Japanese literary star Mishima was one of the most famous novelists of the twentieth century. (In my humble opinion, he was also the best.) Although not a Catholic by any stretch of the imagination, Mishima wrote sensitively, at times searingly, about questions of faith.
Among Mishima’s many masterpieces is the 1956 novel Kinkakuji, which Ivan Morris translated into English in 1959 as The Temple of the Golden Pavilion. The real Kinkakuji—the Temple of the Golden Pavilion—is among the few instantly-recognizable buildings in the world. Anyone who has visited Kyoto has surely been to this breathtaking architectural triumph.
Gilded and yet not glittering, ostentatious and yet subtle and even reserved, the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, which is also known as the Rokuonji, marks a high-water point of medieval Japanese culture. Built by the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu in the late fourteenth century, the Temple of the Golden Pavilion was a Zen Buddhist enclave as well as, eventually, a world-renowned artifact of Muromachi brilliance.
Let us avoid any more damage done by Pope Pokémon I, jumping around from one globalist mashup to the next and surely just minutes away from incardinating Ringo Starr. --Jason Morgan
Whenever anything of mine appears in print, I assume it will have precisely two readers: my editor, and my Mom.
Imagine my delight, then, when I found that someone had not only read one of my recent Remnant columns—nearly doubling my usual audience!—but had taken the time to reply to my arguments. I am grateful to the website Novus Ordo Watch for their lengthy, albeit unsigned, essay, “Missing the Forest for the Trees: The Remnant on Schism and Sedevacantism,” in which the anonymous author (how fitting that a sedevacantist should have no name) goes through my original Remnant article with a fine-toothed comb. If only everyone read my little jottings so closely. (I’m not letting this go to my head, though. I still assume a readership of two. Thanks, Ma!)
Editor’s Note: The recent, "devastating" $6.5 million lawsuit over defamation brought against the SPLC by lawyer Glen Keith Allen, prompted Remnant columnist, Jason Morgan, to delve a little deeper into the SPLC hate campaign. Here are the more than devastating results… MJM
I WAS APPALLED to discover recently that The Remnant is still listed on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hatewatch” list. The “Hatewatch” list, as the title implies, is a run-down of every group and organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center decides is “hateful”. The Remnant is listed with the Ku Klux Klan, skinheads, neo-Nazis, Holocaust deniers, Aryan nationalists, and the New Black Panthers as one of 953 “hate groups” active in the United States.
What is The Remnant’s offense? By what conceivable logic could a Catholic newspaper be equated with groups that burn crosses, murder minorities, riot in the streets, and reject the inborn dignity of every human being?
Remnant readers may be surprised to learn that this is how the Southern Poverty Law Center describes their newspaper:
“Radical traditionalist” Catholics, who may make up the largest single group of serious anti-Semites in America, subscribe to an ideology that is rejected by the Vatican and some 70 million mainstream American Catholics.
Adherents of radical traditional Catholicism, or “integrism,” routinely pillory Jews as “the perpetual enemy of Christ” and worse, reject the ecumenical efforts of the Vatican, and sometimes even assert that recent popes have all been illegitimate.
These groups are incensed by the liberalizing reforms of the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council, which condemned hatred for the Jews and rejected the accusation that Jews are collectively responsible for deicide in the form of the crucifixion of Christ.
By now, it should be obvious how this trick works. The Southern Poverty Law Center is a money-making operation, for one thing. It is also a political front. It exists to gin up outrage, funnel cash to leftist organizations (including itself), and discredit opposing viewpoints by linking them with racist bile. It is a most unsavory operation. Dennis Prager, a conservative intellectual, got it right when he said in National Review that the Southern Poverty Law Center is a “hate group on the left”.
The SPLC smears individuals and groups it differs with by labeling them as some form of “hater”: “racist,” “white supremacist,” “extremist,” and the like. That it is cited and even relied upon by the New York Times, Facebook, Amazon, Google, CNN, and others, and that Apple gave the organization a million dollars, is testimony to the moral state of mainstream media and corporate culture in America today.
To be sure, the crowing sense of moral superiority of the SPLC and other liberal “Wokescolds” (to use Ben Shapiro’s apt term) is proof positive that they have no moral superiority of which to speak. They strut and glory because their righteousness is utter vanity. The Southern Poverty Law Center is a money laundering operation, whereby virtue signaling is converted into greenbacks and votes for Democrats.
But there is something even more important to bear in mind when trying to understand why The Remnant is listed as a “hate group”. It’s not just that there are organizations—the SPLC is hardly the only one—which have found a way to monetize leftist hatred by reversing the polarity and making it seem as though the ones doing the hating are actually the ones pointing out the hatred of others. It’s that this trick has become the very essence of our political landscape in the United States. The proof is right there in the SPLC’s own brief: not going along with Vatican II is “worse” than “routinely pillory[ing] Jews as ‘perpetual enemies of Christ’”! Anyone who is not a secularist leftist is immediately disqualified from the human race, after which the seek-and-destroy tactics of the Southern Poverty Law Center are the only real option.
This is how we deal with one another today—not based in love, but in hate. We hate love and have made it our mortal enemy. We immediately convert all social exchanges into the currency of hatred. This is the coin of our realm, and it is the only kind of money one finds in regimes dominated by the left. As Prager continues:
Any organization that labels Ayaan Hirsi Ali — the extraordinary Somali-American woman who devotes her life to fighting for oppressed women, especially in the Islamic world — an “extremist,” as the SPLC has done, is not a moral organization. No wonder it just agreed to pay Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz $3.4 million and issued a retraction for smearing him as an “anti-Muslim extremist.”
This kind of behavior should surprise no one. Ever since Stalin labeled Trotsky, the ideological leader of Soviet Communism, a “fascist,” the Left (not liberals, to whom the Left is as opposed as it is conservatives) has libeled its opponents. Without lying about its opponents, there would be no Left.
The most important function of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hatewatch,” then, and of the countless newspaper and television pieces which cite “Hatewatch” as a manual for proper liberal social shunning, is that it conceals the moral bankruptcy of leftism. What the Southern Poverty Law Center is attempting is an alchemy whereby hating hate produces secular virtue. But the real target for them is not hate, but love. Love is the Hatewatchers’ enemy, and The Remnant, far from being a minor footnote to a list of truly repulsive organizations, is surely the very reason why “Hatewatch” was started in the first place.
Why? From the beginning, the left has hated God. (Why else would the SPLC go after Dennis Prager, who spent years studying in an Orthodox yeshiva?) The SPLC hopes that by hanging neo-Nazi and KKK millstones around The Remnant’s neck the little newspaper will sink down to their level and be forgotten. The uncomfortable truth, though, is that it is the SPLC that is the ideological twin of those disgusting organizations. Love is their common enemy, truth the thing they loathe. “Hatewatch” is a tacit, and yet shrieking, admission that the left is rooted in hatred, and nothing more.
(Note: The arguments being presented in this article are so similar to those raised time and again by Michael J. Matt that we decided to include this video from a Fatima conference some years ago which rather nicely backs up what Mr. Morgan is contending herein, especially when it comes to the question of anti-Semitism.)
Consider the charge that the SPLC levels against us, that Catholics hate Jews out of theological necessity. This nonsense is so easily dismissed that it cannot possibly be the reason that The Remnant, a faithful Catholic newspaper, was added to a toxic stew of groups that really and truly do hate Jewish people. For the record, let us dispense with the false-front argument once and for all.
Even though the left hates both facts and history, it is nevertheless an historical fact that Jesus of Nazareth was initially tried by the Sanhedrin, the religious authorities of Judea at the time. The Sanhedrin, who had set Jesus up from the beginning by bribing one of His followers, duly found Him guilty of blasphemy, even though the Sanhedrin were transparently jealous of Jesus’ popularity and feared that He may very well be the Messiah, or at the very least a revolutionary.
Whatever the reason, the Sanhedrin handed Jesus over to the Romans, the political authorities. Pontius Pilate, a Roman prefect, found no reason to execute Jesus as the Sanhedrin (and the crowd they had whipped up) were demanding. Even so, sensing another uprising brewing, Pilate ordered that the execution be carried out. Acting on direct orders, Roman soldiers tortured Jesus, drove Him out of the city to a rocky outcropping, and crucified Him.
So, who really killed Jesus? It is technically correct, at least in part, to say that “the Jews” killed Christ. But does this explain anything? Jesus was also a Jew, of course, as were all of His disciples. So to speak of “the Jews” as a monolith is already to fail to understand the very basics of the historical account. If “the Jews” killed “a Jew,” does this not render meaningless the charge that “the Jews” killed Jesus and must be persecuted forever in revenge?
There is also the political arrangement to take into consideration. Those of us alive today can hardly help but notice the wickedness and depravity of Washington, DC. When Brett Kavanaugh was undergoing character assassination in the press and by the secularists in the Senate last fall, was there anyone who seriously believed that it had anything to do with vague claims about a drunken encounter in the 1980s? The Sanhedrin of Capitol Hill whipped up their crowds and the Pilates in the Fourth Estate pushed forward with the execution, even though nobody could find any evidence to support the sentence. So to say that “the Jews” killed Jesus is about as accurate as saying that “the Senators” went after Brett Kavanaugh. It was hardly a one-team operation.
But none of this is really important, because those who blame “the Jews” for Christ’s death have clearly never read the Gospels. Or been to a Good Friday Mass. Throughout the entire liturgical year, there is only one moment that causes me dread—the moment in the Good Friday liturgy when the congregation reenacts the Passion of Our Lord. Who is it that reads out loud the part of the violent mob calling for the gibbeting of the Son of God? Do Catholics go to the local synagogue and drag some unsuspecting rabbi into church and force him to take the blame for the evil deed? No. We, the congregation, read the terrible words: “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
Theologically, then, who killed Jesus? We did. I did. If Christ came for the forgiveness of sins, then it follows that sinners ultimately caused the atoning sacrifice. And if Christ is the Prince of Peace, Who forgave His persecutors from the Cross and Who preached love for enemies and forbearance of personal offense, then would any serious Catholic nurse a grudge against “the Jews” and throw the entire New Testament out the window in order to hate them?
What I am saying here is hardly esoteric knowledge. Everyone who has ever been to Sunday School or even casually read a work of Christian history might be expected to know these most basic tenets of Christianity. In fact, one need not even be Christian to understand that both the Christians and the Jews believe that righteousness is not synonymous with humanity. The Israelites and the golden calf, King David and Uriah the Hittite, Joseph’s murderous brothers—only a secularist could accept the delusion that mankind is anything other than broken, fallen, and in need of a Savior.
In point of fact, that is precisely what secularists believe. It is what the Southern Poverty Law Center believes—that it has attained to such a height of righteousness that it can declare others outside the moat of secularist virtue. It is also what nearly every other organization on the “Hatewatch” list believes, too. Black people, white people, Jews, Muslims, homosexuals, you name it, and there’s a group that hates them. That’s what “hate” is in modern, leftist terms: rejecting the possibility of another’s goodness based upon the assuredness of one’s own. The SPLC is merely trying to scramble to the top of the hatepile by listing just about everyone as being beyond the pale of leftist acceptability. “Hatewatch” is the Southern Poverty Law Center’s own obsessive over-the-shoulder monitoring of the competition.
There is one very notable exception, though. Planned Parenthood. Here we finally arrive at the black heart of all the accusations of “hate”. The Southern Poverty Law Center is silent about the work that Planned Parenthood does, but that makes perfect sense. Leftists pretend to be compassionate—they advocate for open borders, they preach tolerance and freedom for all—but in practice the left allows nothing but their own view of the world to prevail. If the refugees trying to enter a given country were traditionalist Catholics, say, or Eastern Orthodox, the left would be the first to call in the National Guard. No traditionalists allowed! Likewise, one can put an actual statue of Satan in a courthouse or capitol building, or start an “After-School Satan Club” at a middle school, but one cannot, under any circumstances, hold a “Jesus lunch” for schoolchildren at a public park. That would be crossing a line.
But the most dramatic refutation of the left’s virtue signaling is in its support for abortion. In the contest between licentious hedonism and responsibility, the former must win. And in order for that to happen, any babies conceived through the practice of leftist secularism must die. This is the most hateful thing imaginable—nothing, nothing, could be more heinous than murdering an innocent child. But it is the very form, the very nature of leftism.
To welcome a baby takes love. And love is the enemy of all of the left. So do not be deceived. What the Southern Poverty Law Center really wants is to go on denying the humanity of an entire group of human beings, in which sense there is precisely zero difference between them and the Ku Klux Klan.
The charge of anti-Semitism leveled against The Remnant is sickening and false on its face. The Holocaust that the National Socialists (a party of secularist leftists against which the Catholic Church stood in opposition) perpetrated in Europe is the cover-up for the ongoing holocaust that the SPLC champions against the unborn.
Or, as Dennis Prager says,
On any given day, PragerU [Prager’s collection of essays and videos] increases goodness and kindness on Earth while the Southern Poverty Law Center increases anger and resentment.
That’s why the SPLC hates PragerU. The bad hate the good. It’s a rule of life.
On the lighter side. . .
A debate has been raging for centuries among the Eastern Orthodox over whether Moscow is the “third Rome”. Constantinople, the capital of the eastern wing of the old Roman Empire, was the “second Rome,” the Third Romers argue. To be sure, Constantinople held out long after the “first Rome” fell to invading barbarian hordes. St. Augustine wrote City of God in the early 400s to explain why the sack of the West by the Visigoths was not the Christians’ fault, but by that time it was already too late, Third Romers say. The spirit of Rome had moved on, settling in the East until it, too, fell. When Sultan Mehmed II sacked Constantinople in 1453, there was the same panic as in Rome itself a thousand years before. Where would the third “Rome” be?
A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend a talk given by the Dalai Lama. I have long been interested in Buddhism, and I am also deeply concerned about the ongoing genocide of the Tibetan people under the rule of the People’s Republic of China. So, I was looking forward to the event, and hoped that His Holiness would have a few words to say about the communists who have made it part of their daily routine to tear down Tibetan monasteries and torture unarmed monks and nuns.
The Dalai Lama is said to be the fourteenth reincarnation of the bodhisattva of compassion, so I did not expect him to twist his mouth up like Rambo and call for the blood of his people’s tormenters to run in the streets of Lhasa. And yet, I was surprised that the Dalai Lama did not mention what is happening in Tibet at all.