LMS Chairman: The Eich affair: why conservatives are wrong, Part 4

To conclude, liberalism as a theory cannot cope without basic, ‘thin’ moral principles being accepted by pretty well everyone: to point out that their chosen principles are actually accepted by almost no-one this is indeed the case with the most influential account of rationality in liberal theory, that of John Rawls check-mates the whole theory. Again, the theory cannot do without a nice clear distinction between what harms others to be forbidden and what is a legitimate pursuit of a private, perhaps controversial, conception of the good life to be permitted. To point out that this distinction collapses in practice is to show that the whole theory is untenable. If all the things we’d expect to be optional conceptions of the good turn out to be required or forbidden by justice to others because they affect other people, liberal freedom simply disappears.

via LMS Chairman: The Eich affair: why conservatives are wrong, Part 4.

This is the concluding part of a very interesting series by the LMS Chairman Dr Joseph Shaw (Professor of Philosophy at St Benet’s Hall, Oxford University) on Political Liberalism.

I have a great deal of respect for this philosopher, as I do for Dr Peter Kreeft and Dr John Rao. Of course, I pray that the Good Lord provide me with the eloquence, and education to understand half of what they say, but until then, we labour on!

So in my poor layman’s terms I will attempt to translate what Dr Shaw concluded (for those of us less intellectually or educationally endowed).

Dr Shaw describes Political Liberalism as:

Political liberalism is the view that, on the basis of an agreed set of very basic moral principles designed to protect us from obvious harms like being murdered, everyone should be able to pursue the good life as he conceives it to be.

The weaknesses are:

  1. Political Liberalism presents it’s basic moral principles as uncontroversial. Translation: Political Liberalism imposes a set of basic morals, which Political Liberalism considers are not going to give rise to public disagreement in general.
  2. [Political Liberalism] implies a very radical freedom for each person to do what he likes with his life, as long as it does not harm other people.

In the first case is logical, Political Liberalism percolates it’s basic moral principles into society, deflecting attention away from them by claiming that they are uncontroversial, as desirable to everyone. This is not true. Its basic moral principles are controversial. It requires a close look at the principles, but in doing so it is possible to see how they derive from certain specific moral [philosophical] theories, which are highly controversial.

The second is an empirical, Political Liberalism claims “radical freedom for each person to do what he likes with his life, as long as it does not harm other people” is the ultimate good, however the empirical evidence is the complete contrary. The consequences of people doing what they want, so long as it doesn’t harm other people, are dire. So much so that “even liberal states can only apply it selectively and inconsistently“. The truth is, that people doing what they want, always affects other people. We’re not all hermetically sealed entities.

One of my favourite quotes [paraphrased] from Father Emmanuel McCarthy, in explaining this point, with particular regards to homicide, is “our actions ripple out in time and in space, like a stone thrown into a pond. We are powerless over those ripples, and we cannot comprehend the extent of where our good [or evil] actions will end.”

The error of the neo-Conservatives is “seeking to limit the attacks on themselves by liberals by accepting the basic liberal picture, and then trying to ameliorate the problems liberalism causes by special pleading.” Translation: neo-Conservative argue within the environment of Political Liberalism, rather than attacking the fundamental environment of Political Liberalism itself.

To conclude, Dr Shaw is saying that we need to attack Political Liberalism as a system, logically and empirically. This way we will show that Political Liberalism is untenable.

He does mention in passing one counter as being “a conservative alternative to liberalism isn’t a dystopia: it is just a set of compromises between people with much in common, but disagreements as well, about what makes for a good life, negotiated by perfectly ordinary political means.

My worry with that, is that Political Liberalism has had such a free reign, and rampant secularism has so repeatedly raped society of any sense of what really makes for a good life, that the vast majority of people will say that what makes for a good life is doing what you want (so long as you don’t hurt others)!!

I suspect stronger medicine than that is needed and like a wayward child, they won’t like it…

A response to LMS Chairman: “Communist infiltration: a comforting fantasy”

Dr Shaw (the LMS Chairman) wrote an article regarding the accuracy of the book AA-1025 (LMS Chairman: Communist infiltration: a comforting fantasy). Here is my response as it was posted on his blog:

Objection 1: On the flyleaf it reads ‘This book is a dramatized presentation of certain facts…’. Therefore it is a pure work of fiction.

Response to Objection 1: The flyleaf says ‘dramatized presentation of certain facts…’ the word “facts” is used. Literature fiction is subdivided into Realistic Fiction (untrue, but could actually happen), Non-realistic Fiction (could never happen), and Semi-Fiction (implementing a great deal of non-fiction). The use of the phrase “pure work of fiction”, seems to imply Non-realistic Fiction, while the statement given by the French Editor at the most is consistent with the definition of Semi-Fiction.

However, later in the book, in the Publisher’s Note About This Book (p. vii) it reads “According to the publisher at Editions Saint-Raphael, the story as she tells it is essentially true and the way it happened; however, she did apparently, do some slight editing of the text to make it more readable.”

This statement supports the definition of Non-fiction (a narrative, account, or other communicative work whose assertions and descriptions are believed by the author to be factual).

Objection 2: The way real Communists reacted to developments in the Catholic Church, prove that the Communist regime and agent as depicted in AA-1025 are false. Evidence: Catholic Church in Poland, and the Patriotic Catholic Church in China.

Response to Objection 2: Since the publisher gives fiat to author of AA-1025 in asserting that “the story as she tells it is essentially true and the way it happened”, and that the author is given the presumption of innocence (as justice deserves), then one must admit that there is in existence the original text of the agent. It is certain that not all Communist activities have been published, especially high level attempts at subversion or espionage. Subversion being named as the highest value and most politically sensitive operation in the 1986 RAND report on ‘Countering Covert Aggression’ by Stephen T. Hosmer & George K. Tanham.

Objection 3: The absence of any reference to sex-abuse as a method of subversion, proves that the book is falsified.

Response to Objection 3: Absence of any reference, is not substantial evidence for discrediting the book as a factual reference in this particular case of attempted subversion of the Catholic Church. The book accounts an attempt to infiltrate and subvert the highest levels of the organisation of the Catholic Church, use of sex-abuse at early stages of that mission, would potentially frustrate it’s end objective. The nature of Covert Aggression, is that it is highly compartmentalised, it is not normal for an operative to have a birds-eye view of Covert Operations.

“Venerable Brethren, you see clearly enough how sad and full of perils is the condition of Catholics in the regions of Europe which We have mentioned. Nor are things any better or circumstances calmer in America, where some regions are so hostile to Catholics that their governments seem to deny by their actions the Catholic faith they claim to profess. In fact, there, for the last few years, a ferocious war on the Church, its institutions and the rights of the Apostolic See has been raging…. Venerable Brothers, it is surprising that in our time such a great war is being waged against the Catholic Church. But anyone who knows the nature, desires and intentions of the sects, whether they be called masonic or bear another name, and compares them with the nature the systems and the vastness of the obstacles by which the Church has been assailed almost everywhere, cannot doubt that the present misfortune must mainly be imputed to the frauds and machinations of these sects. It is from them that the synagogue of Satan, which gathers its troops against the Church of Christ, takes its strength.” – Syllabus of Errors. The inclusion of the father of all lies, is obligatory, since it is ultimately from him that all error enters the world.



I have a great deal of admiration for Dr Shaw, but every so often I feel a little let down by his logic, he is a Professor of Philosophy at Oxford University after all!

As I see, using Occam’s Razor would lead one to believe that AA-1024 presents a true account, as is pointed out on page vii of the book.

Clearly, Dr Shaw’s conclusion is correct to a degree;

  • There are external influences on the Church
  • Catholics not being Catholic enough, adopting ideas incompatible with the Faith
  • 19th Century Liberalism, early 20th Century Modernism, later 20th Century [neo] Liberalism.

But, I disagree with the final analysis:

In terms of the intellectual leadership of the Church, the revolution had already triumphed: it just needed to manifest itself. But we can’t blame the Reds for this. The rot came from within.

Surely enough, we can’t blame the Communists entirely for this. But they had a contributing factor, how much of a factor is yet to be decided. One very important fact that Dr Shaw forgot, was the agreement between the Catholic Church and the Communists prior to the Second Vatican Council, that Communism was not to be a topic at the Council. We know how much rot came out after the Council. Just how much of that can be attributed to the secret agreement? we may only ever find out in Heaven. So respectfully, Communist infiltration: a comforting fantasy? No, Communist infiltration, a disturbing fact.

Of course we can’t blame only the Communists, just as we also can’t only blame the Masons (though they most certainly were also a major contributing factor). So, Masonic infiltration: a comforting fantasy?! No, a very disturbing fact. Satanic infiltration: a comforting fantasy?!! Just as much as the great lie that he’s convinced the world he doesn’t exist. Whistling in the dark, is not going to change the very alarming truth that Satanic infiltration is a terrifying truth.

The statement that “The rot came from within”, is incorrect, for it supposes that a body can corrupt by itself. Nature teaches us that corruption always comes from without, it is something foreign to the body. The truth is that people within the body consented and cooperated with that foreign entity and thus were the manifestation of the symptoms of corruption.

The reality is, that the author of this corruption is Satan, working through his agents, conscious and unconscious, both within and without the Body of the Church Militant.

The rot started without, not within.

Please remember however, just because evil exists in the human members of the Church Militant, does not disprove the indefectability of the Church, nor any of her other Attributes. They can try as much as they wish, even corrupt the person who occupies the See of Peter, but ultimately, they will never prevail. Please see my article on Sedevacantism? Sedevacantists? No, not a great idea.

Articles related to my response, include:
CatholicScout Comments: Haldir Quote
CatholicScout Comments: Divide and Conquer
CatholicScout Comments: How to oppose the Dark Lord
Is Gospel Nonviolence communism? Q&As on Gospel Nonviolence 2