Patriotism, Mark Shea and Ezra Klein

Then none was for a party—
Then all were for the state;
Then the great man helped the poor,
And the poor man loved the great;
Then lands were fairly portioned!
Then spoils were fairly sold:
The Romans were like brothers
In the brave days of old.

Now Roman is to Roman
More hateful than a foe,
And the tribunes beard the high,
And the fathers grind the low.
As we wax hot in faction,
In battle we wax cold;
Wherefore men fight not as they fought
In the brave days of old.

Horatius at the Bridge, Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay



Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts has an interesting post on Ezra Klein, a man upon whom Mark Shea bestows the title of patriot:


According to Mark Shea, Ezra Klein.  Why?  Because Klein is a leading voice in the call for Trump’s impeachment.  He is a an activist not at all shy about donning his PhD and MD in psychiatry and declaring Trump to be mentally unstable.  He supports the contraceptive mandate of Obamacare.  He supports abortion rights.  He supports gay marriage.  In short, Klein is a hard left activists who represents many of the radical Leftist extremes that got us Trump in the first place.
And Mark Shea gushes with love and adoration over this folk hero of American patriotism.  Why?  Because, again, Klein is against conservatives and Trump.  Apparently, that is the litmus test.  Support abortion rights, gay marriage, the eradication of religious liberty, Leftist politics – it matters not.  Oppose the Right and Trump at all costs, and that alone is worthy of praise and adoration.  Oh, and that abortion thing?  We just blame it on sexist men and capitalists who give women no other choice but to have an abortion.  
Remember when Mark joined other Catholics in saying support for abortion rights was bad, or that the HHS mandate was a threat to freedom?  Yeah, so do I.   But then I can hardly blame Mark for excusing what the Church once so loudly opposed when the Church no longer seems to loudly oppose them. 
Note: None of this is to take issue with Klein’s interpretation of Trump’s interview, or tendency to gloss over the similar foibles that have plagued the media over the last few years.  It’s just to notice the term ‘patriot’, which has alternately been used as a compliment, an insult, and a joke in my life, is applied by Mark in such a way.
Go here to comment.  Those of us with good memories will recall that Klein founded Journ-O-list.  This was a secret cabal of left wing journalists that was uncovered in 2010.  I guess for them the mainstream media was too right wing.  Klein, of course, is not a patriot.  He is what the Founding Fathers would have called a factionalist.  He seeks not the good of his country, but rather the triumph of his political faction.  I have no doubt that if queried he would protest that the policies of his faction would be good for the nation, and he might well be sincere in that statement, but there is little doubt that he views the nation through the prism of his factional loyalties and that America is only to be loved insomuch as it embraces his faction.  This all brings to mind a brilliant scene from True Grit:

LaBeouf: The force of law? This man is a notorious thumper. He rode by the light of the moon with Quantrill. – Bloody Bill Anderson.

Cogburn:- Them men were patriots, Texas trash.

LaBeouf: They murdered women and children in Lawrence, Kansas.

Cogburn: That’s a God damn lie!

Politics have often been heated in the US.  The trouble is that on two occasions in our history heated politics led to outright war:  the American Revolution, which might also be rightfully called the First American Civil War, and the Civil War.  Great issues were involved in both those conflicts and perhaps they were unavoidable.  But when politics reaches  a stage where we bestow the title of patriot upon those who agree with us politically, and condemn those who oppose us traitors, we would do well to remind ourselves that such talk has before led this country down the path to open war.  Something that Mark Shea, and all of us, might wish to consider,



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  1. The United States of America and pre-imperial Rome were republics. America even had a written constitution.

    The word “republic” is derived from the Latin “res public:” the public thing. In a perfect republic all public actions would equally benefit all the citizens. Since say 1913, I cannot think of an American (now unlimited) government act that equally benefited, cost, or harmed all Americans.

  2. If you look at the commentary about the President which comes over our Facebook feed (including that emanating from people with post-baccalaureate degrees), you begin to realize that their politics hasn’t much to do with policy and they fancy the latest gas emission from John Oliver or Bill Moyers or Robert Reich is what you need to understand the world. They think in memes which aren’t especially clever (much less fair treatments of any controversy). Extensively educated people who comment on public affairs (Jennifer Rubin, Scott Sumner) have outed themselves as clown-car denizens.

    The question to ask here is what is it in the psychological or cultural ‘deep structures’ of professional-managerial types that is so irritated by Trump. (A question to ask about Shea is why he’s been having the same reactions as fancy people who wouldn’t give him the time of day).

  3. The Soviet Union was guilty of the systematic abuse of psychiatry for political reasons, and used psychiatry against their political opposition, and dissidents. It’s amazing how many people render a remote diagnosis of all manner of phobias, and bigotry without any evidence to back up their claims.

  4. Yes, but has he read THE UNANIMOUS DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, especially the part that says: “and for the support of this Declaration , with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence,…”

  5. The question to ask here is what is it in the psychological or cultural ‘deep structures’ of professional-managerial types that is so irritated by Trump.

    My off the cuff guess? It’s the same thing that had the blue-blooded upper crust so upset about FDR back in the day: He’s a traitor to his class.
    That, compounded by the fact that he’s something of an arriviste to the class he’s turned his back on.

    As for Shea, all I can say is hate does terrible things to a man.

  6. Or maybe it’s just a conflict between two classes struggling over the commanding heights, so to speak. Trump represents the old class elite (Money) and professional-managerial types are part of the new class elite (expertise).

  7. Phillip,

    I know exactly what Mark would say about the Christian Post article, “They are just a bunch of anti-abortion-but-not-pro-life Christianists.” Notice his play on the Islamist label and applying it to politically conservative Christians.

  8. My off the cuff guess? It’s the same thing that had the blue-blooded upper crust so upset about FDR back in the day: He’s a traitor to his class.

    OK, the question is, how is he a traitor? Is it his vernacular quality? The same class of people put up with the Clintons. The Clintons came from families that were affluent in a certain context, but ill-mannered. Both were know to behave badly themselves. What gives?

  9. Mark Shea–and the entire katholyk Left–are not Catholics. They are Democrats. Full. Stop.

    Shea does not engage in “reasoning,” in any ordinary sense of the term. As shown by his adulation of Klein–a totalitarian, anti-Christian abortionist–Shea’s “political thought” engages with a single variable, as his “intellect” now entertains a single thought: Hate Trump.

    The dissolution and disorganization of Shea’s “intellect” has been played out in public. That process is now complete. If there ever was such a thing as a “Mark Shea,” there is no longer. He has ended.

  10. Shea is no more a Catholic Christian than the wall against which my computer is currently situated. He is a loud mouth braggart on a soap box of liberalism, progressivism and feminism. Let him shout imbecilities to himself and others like himself for such people can only do what the non-sentient baboons on the savanna themselves do.

    PS, yes, I do hate. I hate what people like him are doing to the Church and the Republic. I hate the dissolution of society. I hate the personal irresponsibility and lack of lack of individual accountability that is liberalism and progressivism. I hate the emasculation of men and the masculinization of women by feminism. I hate the baby murdering and the sodomy sanctification of all that is liberal leftism. I hate eco-wacko enviro-nazism that elevates goddess Gaia above the Lord God Almighty. Yes, our Love of God, His Church, our Republic and our Families demands that we hate these things. Not the people all of whom Christ came to save them, but what they under surely demonic influence do to destroy our world.

  11. Beginning some time before he was sworn in, whenever I saw his image, saw his words, or heard his voice, – BSBO, Barry Soetoro Barack Obama, – I turned off whatever screen, site, phone or radio was the source . He is now fading into a black hole of bad history, never to rise up again. I have not read all of the article above, nor have I clicked on any link to any other material. Why? because I send MSBS to that same black hole with BSBO. Try it – you will like it – and in doing so you become part of the silent audience who – a la JM Barrie – refuses to applaud and give MSBS life. Guy McClung, Texas

    [“MSBS” = Mark Shea . . . ; you figure out the rest]

  12. how is he [Trump] a traitor?

    He betrays his class by not aping their manners or paying tribute to their values. (Although, it might be more accurate to say that he’s done more than his fair share of aping the worst of their manners while not paying the lip-service they pay to their values.)

    James Kalb summed it up this way: “Respectable public orthodoxy and the intellectual class that propogates it have fallen into the black hole of technology worship and scientism. Our rulers believe in studies and statistics but refuse to understand basic features of everyday life. Trump’s immunity to instruction means he retains some of the normal cognitive abilities that education today suppresses—like the ability to recognize that the world can’t really be managed, “cultural diversity” often means conflict, a baby is a baby even before it’s born, and the human race is divided into two sexes that are different from each other.” They hate that.

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