Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Sullivan on D’Souza

Thanks to the leader of NLT’s loyal opposition for this long review (AS can never say anything in 1,000 words when 3,000 or so will do). His basic argument is that D’Souza reveals that there’s ultimately no significant difference between the Islamist agenda and its "Christianist" counterpart. In other words, it is, for the most part, very sophisticated name-calling.

Sullivan doesn’t bother to investigate any of the possible distinctions (e.g., between traditional Christianity and Islam) that would make his insinuations implausible. And, self-professed good Catholic that he is, he doesn’t hurl the same imprecation at Benedict XVI that he hurls at American religious conservatives:

There is a difference only in degree, after all, between Islamism’s view of the role of women and that of James Dobson or Tim LaHaye. Very, very few women control any religious institutions on the religious right. Patriarchy rules there as it rules in Pakistan. There is only a difference in degree between Islamism’s view of the relationship between mosque and state and Christianism’s view of the relationship between church and state. If law cannot be neutral between competing moral ideals, and if it must reflect God’s will regardless of the views of religious minorities, then you can see why D’Souza is so affronted by Turkey’s secularism, and why he sees the Declaration of Independence as an essentially religious document. Any space for non-believers is, in the Islamist and Christianist view, an assault on belief itself. The notion that blasphemy, pornography, or homosexuality should be protected, let alone celebrated, is anathema to Islamists and Christianists alike. D’Souza’s sole sin is to say so publicly in a way no one can misunderstand. He has blown the medievals’ cover.

Since it’s hard to believe that what he says about American religious conservatives wouldn’t apply equally well to traditional Catholics (he mentions Fr. Neuhaus as one of D’Souza’s mentors), including the Pope, it’s a wonder that AS doesn’t draw the logical conclusion. Ah, but there’s the rub: it turns out that Catholicism allows--at least in Sullivan’s mind--for a certain liberty of conscience, which distinguishes it--and the rest of Christianity--from Islam. Kind of a problem with Sullivan’s argument, no?

One last point and I’m done. Sullivan makes much of the fact that D’Souza doesn’t say anything about his own faith and regularly presents religion simply as a means of social control. I met D’Souza once and learned, in the course of a casual conversation, that he was educated by Jesuits in India. I’m betting he’s a Catholic. And I’m betting that Sullivan knows this very well. Let me add something to my characterization of his review: it is, for the most part, sophisticated and disingenuous name-calling. Of course, in describing something written by Andrew Sullivan in that way, I say absolutely nothing new.

Update:
Jonah G. and Stanley K. have more. Please note that it’s Jonah, not Kenny, and Kurtz, not Kubrick.

Update #2: Ross D. weighs in.

Discussions - 42 Comments

Joe - I’m not sure how I earned the epithet "leader of the loyal opposition." In any case, two things struck me about the Sullivan review. (1) As you say, he fails to distinguish among religious conservatives. He likes his phrase "theoconservatives" too much. (2) His main point is the political motive behind D’Souza’s book, which I have not read: the widening of a culture war, linking it to the war on terrorism. The premise is that conservatives of a certain kind (again, ill-defined) are in a panic.

For what it’s worth, I have been impressed by the differences between your religious conservatism and the religious conservatism of others from whom I feel far more removed. I wish I knew enough to trace out the distinctions that Sullivan neglects.

PS - In short, is there the intellectual crisis within conservatism that Sullivan avers? Or is the crisis only in his own mind?

2: Steve, there is certainly an intellectual crisis in conservatism. But Sullivan is absolutely no guide to it. He’s basically an ax-grinding liberal who departs from their orthodoxy on a few points. Although more learned, he is basically as classless and vicious as the Howard Deans, Ted Kennedys and Nancy Pelosis.

It’s Andrew Sullivan, not Anthony.

Truth to tell, I don’t see anyone agreeing with D’Souza book. I’m not sure it has anything more than "personal" significance. It’s clearly supposed to rouse people--some kind of traditonalist coalition--against a diverse collection of deconstructionist evildoers. But nobody is roused...Conservatism is in a constant intellectual crisis, but this book makes no contribution...

Fixed.

What do you see as the intellectual crisis within conservatism? I have my ideas, but I will withhold them until others pipe in.

Based on what I’ve read about D’Souza’s book, it challenges the proposition that our politics and our law are not and ought not to be based on religious truth. (That our civil society and our behavior can be strengthened and improved by a rebirth of religious commitment, freely exercised, is another matter.) Maybe reviewers have it wrong. And Sullivan charges that the challenge has a partisan motive. Maybe his quotes are misleading. Reading reviews one notes a range of opinion, to say the least, from those who think of themselves as conservatives.

This seems deeper than the usual crises that afflict all political coalitions.

I am happy to learn that "nobody" is going to agree with D’Souza. Would that it were true.

Steve, Have you seen a really positive review?

No.

BUT I remember the days when liberals said of bombs and riots that they disagreed with the means, not the ends. Not good enough then, not good enough now.

Well, the book is just bad. It conjures up a kind of Kirkian Islam that doesn’t really exist, has these ridiculous, almost random list of liberals responsible for 9/11 etc., etc. It exaggerates our cultural decadence (a lot) and it doesn’t even come close to identifying its cause. And of course it’s an easy mark for guys like Andrew Sullivan, who can claim it merely says out loud what cultural conservatives in general are really thinking.

Fellas, fellas, fellas.....

If you haven’t read a favourable review yet, it’s just because you haven’t looked hard enough.

Have you checked out the Cairo literary scene............? Or perhaps Tehran? How about Karachi?

I’m sure that our friends in the religion of peace will find something favourable to say about D’Souza’s latest offering.

D’Souza is a Roman Catholic, but he’s not a Westerner. When he offers India as an example for the type of coexistence he proposes for muslims and Westerners, we see how far he is from the rest of us.

No American sees in India an example for anything. And Americans don’t desire some uneasy social compact with hostile elements in their own society. We don’t aspire to live like Indians, and we don’t delude ourselves that they have anything to teach us about the melting pot.

D’Souza tries to reconcile what is intrinsically and inexorably hostile to the West, with the West. It’s bound to fail.

ABOUT FR. Neuhaus.

I saw an interview on C-Span with him once. He was asked by a caller, point blank, and I quote: "Is the Koran the exact, or inspired word of God?" You should have seen the nervousness that spread all over Neuhaus. It was awkward just continuing to watch his hesitant, incoherent response. After much hemming and hawing, after much clearing of the throat, he finally answered that the answer had to be "no."

That little tale tells you how frightened many are of speaking the truth about islam. D’Souza is but one more who shares that fear, and driven by that fear, he’s conjured up this book.

I don’t think that he’s aware of how much damage his kooky book has done to his reputation. And what’s worse, instead of humbly slinking out of sight for a while, serving some time in well-deserved obscurity, he’s out there like some hammerhead defending what can’t be defended.

The guy who emerged from this with laurels is Robert Spencer.

D’Souza clearly thought that placing hsi opponents in bed with Spencer was a trump card. It didn’t prove that way. No one defended Spencer, BUT NO ONE disputed what Spencer’s been writing. No one took issue with him.

Which means that there is a growing consensus that Spencer is telling us the truth about islam. And what’s more, that Spencer is probably sugarcoating it, that he’s probably holding back. And that’s troubling too.

And the other thing that’s nauseating about this whole drama is the way D’Souza tried to score little debating points, instead of engaging on the merits. That’s what we see all the time from the muslim/terror apologists on television.

"D’Souza is but one more who shares that fear, and driven by that fear, he’s conjured up this book."



Dan, you have no way of knowing that his motive is fear.

Dinesh and his book bear no resemblance to the critiques by libs and conservatives alike. My suggestion is to either
-skip the book and the critiques altogether
OR
-READ THE BOOK and then consider the critiques.

Dan, do you have any idea what you’re talking about as far as India is concerned? One-third of the 1 billion people living there are Muslims and their next door neighbors are Pakistan and Afghanistan. Considering they’re the up-and-coming democratic, capitalist super-power, I think they are, in fact, a pretty good example of how to coexist with a massive and often violent Muslim population.

And while I’m generally not a huge fan of Dinesh, I think you’re completely wrong about why he wrote the book (judging by things I’ve read by him in the past). I haven’t read the book so I don’t want to so too much about it, but I don’t think he’s kowtowing to the Islamists or anything like that.

Dr. Lawler



I think it would be very difficult to overestimate the extent of our cultural decadence. But I agree that cultural liberals are not the only ones to blame. Compromising conservatives and Christians share much of the blame as well.


But one of the things that is killing American society (and Western Society) is our own liberalism, the lack of which we decry in the Muslims, which renders it impossible to defend Western particularity (Christianity).



We probably all agree that the government should not persecute religious minorities, but neither should we slavishly embrace purist Religious pluralism, a relatively modern concept.

"Based on what I’ve read about D’Souza’s book, it challenges the proposition that our politics and our law are not and ought not to be based on religious truth."



Exactly. Well said. We used to call that position CONSERVATISM, and opposition to that position LIBERALISM. (That is of course not the sum total of the distinction but it is a big part of it.)



No one took my bait, but this represents the true intellectual crisis within conservatism. Since when did it become conservative to defend liberalism?

Until now, I have been under the impression that American liberals and conservatives agreed with that proposition (that our politics and our law are not and ought not to be based on religious truth); that one of the strengths of contemporary conservatism is that it defends what liberals sometimes neglect; and that therefore "conservatives" sometimes indeed defend "liberalism" in the historic sense of the term.

"conservatives agreed with that proposition (that our politics and our law are not and ought not to be based on religious truth)"



What are we talking about here? Most American conservatives would agree that the State should not interfere in or take on the role that properly belongs in the Ecclesiastical sphere. But that our institutions and our laws have a fundamentally religious (Christian) base has certainly been believed by American conservatives until fairly recently, and is still believed by many (most?). The competing position that the underpinnings can be derived from the application of man’s reason alone apart from Revelation, history, tradition, nature etc. is rank Enlightenment liberalism.

Dan Phillips -

But that our institutions and our laws have a fundamentally religious (Christian) base has certainly been believed by American conservatives until fairly recently, and is still believed by many (most?).

Others will be more qualified to respond than I am. Much depends, I suppose, upon what "base" means, and your last sentence is, to me, ambiguous - what with the list of things that "rank Enlightenment liberalism" neglects.

I’ve never understood what it meant to say that our laws are based on the Judeo-Christian tradition. Laws against things like murder, theft, and rape all predate that tradition by thousands of years (they’re included in the Code of Hammurabi). Only three of the things forbidden in the Ten Commandments are illegal today (killing, stealing, and bearing false witness), and most of them weren’t illegal at the time of the Founding, either.

Dan P., is my speculation about D’Souza’s motivations more than speculative, is it based upon "real" knowledge of him, like conversations or something. Of course not. It’s speculative. I’ve seen him try to defend himself on television, and I’ve checked out his blog and I’ve checked out his little run in with the guys at POWERLINE.

ANDREW.

I used to be a fan of D’Souza too. Just this past Christmas, I bought his biography of Reagan as a Christmas present for a family member. But his recent offering purchases into the jihadist critique of this country. He’s repeating what some of their flacksters say simply for the purpose of paralyzing us. He’s taking that at face value.

You asked me whether I knew anything about India, that question would be better directed at D’Souza, for it’s him that’s whitewashing the history, the bloody history of Hindu/muslim relations.

I think that’s the most troubling aspect of his book. He whitewashes what muslims have been up to in Indonesia, in Turkey and especially in India. And he’s been playing fast and loose with his citations and attributions. He uses a quote to support proposition X, when if you go take a look at the quote in question, it supports proposition Y. That’s not just bad history, that’s deliberate deception. If his case were as strong as he maintains, he wouldn’t have to distort to find support for what he’s proposing.

Ultimately, muslim behavior in India is not as violent as elsewhere because the Hindus have demonstrated often that atrocities will be repaid in kind and in spades. Muslims form mobs, and Hindus will form other mobs. Muslims pick up machetes, Hindus will pick up machetes. And the Hindus drastically outnumber the muslims. Don’t ya think that little history and that demographic reality has something, just something to do with the status of "coexistence" between muslim and Hindu?

We don’t want to live like that. We don’t want domestic order to depend on the willingness of ordinary Americans to form mobs and look for vengeance. That’s the absolute LAST thing we want.

India’s domestic state is not an example to be followed, but a cautionary tale, which all of us, especially Europeans, ought to take heed. We need to take immediate action to bar muslim immigration. Moreover, we need to cut off the flow of Mideast dollars to American mosques. Prevent them from coming, limit their ability to get their message out here, preclude them from participating in prison ministry and military ministry.

Islam is incompatible with the West, in fact, it’s hostile to the West, and was meant to be hostile to the West. Islam spread by force, maintains itself by force and seeks to stretch its dark presence over the world by force, and by the threat thereof. 1,300 hundred years of history doesn’t lie.

John M., such laws as you referred to in #22 rest upon Natural Law. Religion, when true, is consistent with and corroborative to revealed religious truth. Since their source is the fount of all truth, they can’t clash, they can’t be inconsistent with one another.

The Decalogue offers the assurance that the Natural Law is true by offering the support of REVELATION.

Right and wrong are not sourced in the Decalogue, {they are only articulated there, seconded there, echoed there} Right and wrong sourced in our being, by virtue of our making. We are formed in the image and the likeness.....

The Enlightenment suggested that between reason and revealed religion a vast chasm of unreason exists. Nothing could be further from the truth. And I suggest that all read Fides et Ratio, or Veritas Splendor. The first is "Faith and Reason," the second is "The Splendor of the Truth." Both were authored by the late Pope.

If anyone really wants to get into that, those two Encyclicals would be an excellent point of departure.

You can see too how loss of awareness of the Natural Law has played havoc with Americans understanding of their foundings, their foundation and the body of their law.

Without a firm grasp of Natural Law, we’re strangers to ourselves, and we’re estranged from our founders.

Dan,



All the problems you suggest about Islam and the "cautionary tale" of India screams one thing - immigration.



I really wish I understood what the end goal of the war strategy is. To save the West we are going to kill Muslims who live in the Middle East?



I am entirely serious here, what is your end goal? To bomb the Muslims into submission? To bomb them into irrelevance? To democratize them? What?

Dan,



Christians historically have not agreed on the extent to which Natural Law can be relied on apart from or in addition to Revelation. Since you suggest we read the Pope, I assume you are Catholic. (The Catholic Church and both the current and late Pope opposed the War, BTW.)



The Catholic Church has usually been friendlier to the concept of Natural Law than have Protestants.



I don’t reject the notion entirely, but it must be tempered. Natural Law inherently invokes philosophy and reason, which conservative have always warned against relying on too heavily. Natural Law has often been used to dispense with the need for looking to Revelation, history, tradition, nature, etc. ("What do them old farts know? Down with the old ways and traditions and customs. We have discovered the universal "Natural Law" so we know better. See the problem?)



Neocons and Theocons (First Things types) love to invoke natural law to support the virtue of their embrace of universal "liberal democracy." Of course we all know that once the liberal democracy beast is out of the cage it immediately starts to attack and weaken the particular society that gave it birth.

such laws as you referred to in #22 rest upon Natural Law. Religion, when true, is consistent with and corroborative to revealed religious truth. Since their source is the fount of all truth, they can’t clash, they can’t be inconsistent with one another.

So the test for whether or not religion (or any human institution) is true is the extent to which it accords with Natural Law. This was, of course, exactly the mission of the Enlightenment.

Natural Law inherently invokes philosophy and reason, which conservative have always warned against relying on too heavily. Natural Law has often been used to dispense with the need for looking to Revelation, history, tradition, nature, etc. ("What do them old farts know? Down with the old ways and traditions and customs. We have discovered the universal "Natural Law" so we know better. See the problem?)

And now you’re saying precisely the opposite.

Dan P., isn’t that lack of agreement that you accurately referred to evidence in favour of the proposition. We’re fallen beings, we don’t see as clearly as the angels, for instance. Our ability to perceive the truth has been marred, but not wholly effaced, wounded, but not wholly destroyed.

It’s within our reason that the answer lies. But that quest must be made in good faith, without preexisting allegiances and loyalties. Natural Law today is slighted not because of the difficulty of learning what it has to say, but because of fear of what it might have to say. Truth makes demands. Truth hurts.

John M., the test for whether a religion is true is multifaceted. Does it consist with right reason, is it consistent with Natural Law, does it jive with what known and accepted revelation has to say. And lastly, the test of Pascal, does it conform to what our heart tells us. When a religion meets all of these tests, when it satisfies mind and soul, then we know we’re in the presence of truth.

Islam fails just about everyone of those tests. It doesn’t satisfy the soul, but the flesh, whose demands it promises to satiate even in the beyond. Islam doesn’t conform to right reason, for it glorifies blood, and coerced praise of a solitary, desert Deity.

Natural Law should not be confused with some commercial code. It isn’t written in stone, but in the heart, the human heart, which is a tangled place indeed.

"And now you’re saying precisely the opposite."



John Moser. What? Dan said the first quote and Dan Phillips said the second. Not the same people.

All this is very interesting... What does it have to do with our American foundations? (No, I don’t assume the answer is "nothing.")

Steve, "We hold these truths to be self-evident...." Notice the phrase isn’t "We hold these truths to be revealed...." Or "We hold these truths to have been declared to Moses...." Rather the line is what it is, "We hold these truths to be self-evident." And to whom are they "self-evident?" To men of good will, who look for them in good faith.

Upon such "self-evident" truths we have built the foremost power on earth. And that power has naturally flowed from the soundness of that original foundation.

To the extent that we depart from the knowledge of those truths, to the extent that we depart from the very idea that men of good will can discern those truths, we are thrown upon the riptides of relativism. Law then becomes a caprice, the prevailing will, and all of politics becomes a battle of political will, so as to determine whose will, will predominate.

It informs our political discourse. It’s no mystery that our political discourse is filled with such rancor, such bad faith, such naked power grabs. For our politics is a pursuit of real power, unchecked by minority rights, unchecked by Natural Law.

The next time you hear of some school administration run amok, ramming their version of abortion and homosexual norms down some poor kids throat, know that what you’re witnessing is political will in action, unchecked by any consideration for Natural Law.

It would be well to distinguish the motivations of those that begin the Enlightenment at its inception, with how it ultimately turned out. It was different at the beginning, than it revealed itself to be by the 20th century.

A movement that at its birth embraced a God who was mind, as well as Creator and Savior, ended up a movement hostile to organized religion and hostile to God himself.

What? Dan said the first quote and Dan Phillips said the second. Not the same people.

My apologies; I should’ve read more closely. I will add, though, that "natural law" isn’t some innovation of the Enlightenment; it goes back at least as far as Cicero, and is hence a pre-Christian idea.

It would be well to distinguish the motivations of those that begin the Enlightenment at its inception, with how it ultimately turned out.

Another valid distinction would be between the Scottish Enlightenment of Hume, Ferguson, and Adam Smith, and the more radical French Enlightenment of Voltaire and Rousseau. Gertrude Himmelfarb has written well of this divide. The former had far more of an influence on the Founders than the latter (aside from Jefferson, who tended to drink from the Roussauvean well a bit more than was good for him).

Dan - But the precise question is whether people of good will, acting in good faith, holding to self-evident truths, are assumed by the Declaration to be embracing Natural Law in any strictly Christian sense. Natural law is a complex tradition, and as Moser points out, stoic in origin. If you mean the Declaration supposes that there are timeless natural truths or norms that constitute the Declaration’s "people", I agree. But I think this makes our foundations independent of Revelation, though surely strengthened by it.

John Moser - I’m not sure there is much Rousseau in Jefferson. Some bookish references.

Exactly, Natural Law is independent of revelation, but strengthened by it. Without the fall, we wouldn’t need that revelation, but because of the fall, we perceive the Natural Law with difficulty.

The founders took for granted that they were acting consistent with the Natural Law, and that the society they were establishing was built upon the bedrock provided by Natural Law. History shows they were right. But it would be presumptuous for this present society to inflate their various desires as an expression of Natural Law.

American society, American law is is sharply departing from Natural Law. You can see it in the haste that some displayed denouncing Coulter, then following that up, and denouncing General Pace. First the denunciation was reserved for words that stigmatized. But a few weeks later, we see that the real denunciation all along was anyone holding to moral standards. Standards imposed not by cultural conditioning, but by virtue of the Natural Law.

It’s as I mentioned earlier. Many pretend that Natural Law is hopelessly vague, hopelessly imprecise, and thus they’re exempted from even bothering with it. But Natural Law speaks in the conscience, and it takes a great deal of effort for it to be crushed into silence.

They know what Natural Law says, but they’re capable of following their whims, their impulses, their glandular desires, their sensual delights, and they’re capable of scoffing at Natural Law, laughing at it, mocking it as a "dated" proposition.

And that’s what’s going on out there.

"Ideally, when Christians meet, as Christians, to take counsel together, their purpose is not (or should not be) to ascertain what is the mind of the majority but what is the mind of the Holy Spirit - something which may be quite different.

Nevertheless I am an enthusiast for democracy. And I take that position, not because I believe majority opinion is inevitably right or true - indeed no majority can take away God-given human rights - but because I believe it most effectively safeguards the value of the individual, and, more than any other system, restrains the abuse of power by the few. And that is a Christian concept."--Lady Thatcher

If Andrew Sullivan cannot tell the difference between Billy Graham and bin Laden, why should anybody take him seriously? Here’s Sullivan’s problem; he wants the one thing he can never have. Not just acceptance of same-sex "marriage", but he wants homosexuality to be an absolute moral good.

Dan, while I agree that the Founders believed that they were guided by natural law, I don’t believe that it was the same idea of natural law advanced by the Catholic Church. The original Stoic sense arose from an observation that all civilizations had certain laws in common. Their conclusion was that this was because they were "natural" in the sense that no civilization could dispense with these. Laws against homosexuality could not be included among them, as plenty of civilizations possessed no such restrictions.

I understand that the Catholic Church developed a more expansive notion of natural law, but given that almost none of the Founders were Catholics--indeed, many were expressly anti-Catholic--I don’t see how they would have gone along with this conception.

Also, I don’t see how the outrage against Coulter could have had anything to with her moral standards. She called someone an ugly name--someone who isn’t even gay. We used to call this sort of thing slander.

"I will add, though, that "natural law" isn’t some innovation of the Enlightenment; it goes back at least as far as Cicero, and is hence a pre-Christian idea."



Agreed. But the ancient Natural Law concept was a FAR cry from "liberty, equality, and fraternity." In fact, it is scandalously illiberal. Defenses of slavery, the subordination of women, etc.

Dan, John, Steven, et al.



Natural Law suggests looking to nature, does it not? So what does nature tell us? What can we derive from looking at nature (and by implication history/tradition/etc.)? Nature suggests such things as the inevitability of patriarchy, several different family patterns but the universality of the mother child bond, gender roles, and a natural spontaneous order - a natural hierarchy among other things. (See for example The Politics of Human Nature by Thomas Fleming.) This is entirely consistent with the Divine Revealed order as would be expected since He created the nature. (With the exception of the multiple family patterns. The Bible suggests a superior family pattern which has been the pattern in the West.) But we can’t have that now can we, because to reuse my word above it is scandalously illiberal?



“Natural Law” argues precisely the opposite. It doesn’t argue gender roles and hierarchy and patriarchy. It argues equality. It doesn’t argue a spontaneous, intrinsic order that arises from the society. To them, prior to their smarty pants bright ideas all was darkness and chaos. We needed a “social contract” (he writes while trying to hold back the snicker) to be imposed on the people so we can protect and preserve our newly minted “Natural Law.” (Actually by the reckoning of some, Natural Law does suggest a hierarchy, but that is an in-group secret and not for wide dissemination to the poor, ignorant out-group masses.)



I have said this before, but I am not sure where. Maybe here. Natural Law is at best a conservative (of sorts) defense of a conservative (meaning less extreme) liberal democratic social order. It is clearly a leftist idea with reference to the French Revolution. So today’s Natural Law conservatives were yesterday’s Jacobins.



Actually I could live with some of what Dan is arguing re. natural law. Dan you are actually invoking things other than man’s pure reason. A purely rational Natural Law would argue for cultural acceptance of homosexuality? Opposing homosexually relies on an appeal to nature (not natural law), tradition, spontaneous disgust, and especially Revelation. If we accept the baseline liberal assumptions, then we are powerless to defend ourselves when that same liberalism attempts to overturn long held assumptions such as the immorality of homosexuality. Opposition to homosexuality is as Lawrence Auster calls it, an unprincipled exception to liberalism. Opposition to women in combat would be another example of an unprincipled exception. (I am not a fan of LA, but he is right about this.) So it is the underlying liberal assumptions that must be challenged if we ever hope to preserve our Republic.

John, it would not have been a precise overlay with what the Catholic Church taught, but it was roughly consistent with it. Functionally equivalent, if not definitionally identical.

I ought to go upstairs and pull a direct quote from the new Catechism, which gives the Catholic Church’s definition of Natural Law. Do that another time though.

AND NOEL has a wonderfully commonsensical point! Why should anyone take anything Sullivan has to say seriously? Why is he getting all this attention from the Conservative blogosphere. Just about everyday over at THE CORNER, John Pod begins a post with "Andrew said this....," or "Andrew posted that...." It’s as if "Andrew" was the same as "Jackie," or "Madonna."

I find all these endless discussions about what Sullivan has to offer slightly bizarre. No. Change that. Not "slightly bizarre," just plain, old-fashioned bizarre.

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