Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Mark Steyn on the self-referentialism of modern liberalism

I'm back to my "principles" issue, and my brooding about what principles mean to the conservatives and to the liberals. Here's Mark Steyn weighing in on the subject vis-a-vis the Pope's devotion to a higher truth:

[The New York Times wrote that] “Among liberal Catholics, he was criticized for his strong opposition to abortion, homosexuality and contraception…” Shocking: a Pope who’s opposed to abortion, homosexuality and contraception; what’s the world coming to? To the modern secular sensibility, truth has no splendor: certainly there is no eternal truth; instead, it’s eternally up for grabs. Once upon a time we weren’t cool about abortion: now we are. Soon we’ll be cool about gay marriage. And a year or two down the line we’ll be cool about something else that’s currently verboten. When Governor Jim McGreevey announced last year he was stepping down, he told the people of New Jersey: “My truth is that I am a gay American.” That’s a very contemporary formulation: “my” truth. To John Paul II, there was only “the” truth. To the moral relativists, everyone’s entitled to his own – or, as the Governor continued, warming to his theme, “one has to look deeply into the mirror of one’s soul and decide one’s unique truth in the world.” That sappy narcissism is what the New York Times boilerplate boils down to: “abortion, homosexuality and contraception” is an alternative Holy Trinity for the church of the self. Whatever one feels about any of those topics, they seem a bizarre prism through which to judge the most consequential Pope in half a millennium, a man who unlike Pius XII was not swept along by the times but instead shaped them decisively. Given that “abortion, homosexuality and contraception” boil down to the prioritizing of sex as self-expression over everything else in the world, even as a criticism of Karol Wojtyla’s papacy the charge is shriveled and reductive, reflecting mostly the parochialism of western secularism.