Writings by Dr. John C. Rao

Decadent, Belligerent, and Incorrigible

(For Neo-Conned, IHS Press, Norfolk Virginia, 2005)

One of the innumerable myths still cherished by most Americans is that the United States is a young country with an embryonic, developing culture. A youthful, evangelical spirit is regularly cited as grounds for its energetic missionary activity on behalf of peace and freedom on the world plane. Understandable juvenile growing pains have often been used as a cover for excusing its past and present violations of natural law. Finally, periodic, sulky retreats into isolationism are frequently attributed to a shocked, childlike reaction to wickedness beyond the comprehension of this endearingly innocent geopolitical neophyte.

But myth, alas, is not always reality. And the sad reality is that the United States of America, founded in the period between 1776 and 1788, is no more representative of a fresh civilization than a unified Italy, independent since 1861, or the federal German Empire emerging ten years thereafter. The American Way is "new" only in the sense that a deadly sore appearing on the skin after a long maturing illness can be said to be new. The fresh sore, in this case, is actually the end result of an old history of decline. It makes a lengthy, snowballing decadence manifest and testifies not to healthy growth and maturation but approaching collapse and death. Yes, America can, perhaps, still move and shake the entire world through bursts of physical energy, as with the imperialist jingoism in which it now so thoughtlessly indulges. But this freneticism also portends impending doom, calling to mind the last, astonishingly vigorous movements of many of the moribund.

Applying such reflections to the Iraqi War yields an obvious, ineluctable, though horrifying conclusion: that the conflict in Iraq is the feverishly belligerent act of an old, sick, and dying culture which has nevertheless deceived itself into thinking that it is overflowing with the sap of youth. Rich only in those youthful vices which are aggravated by a fall into second childhood, that dying culture displays an arrogantly juvenile indifference to both the nature and the magnitude of the tragedy the war has provoked. It is, therefore, not only decadent and belligerent but pathetically incorrigible. To appropriate the bitter judgment of Salvian, referring to a Roman Empire about to expire at the hands of problems which it lacked the will to grasp and refused even to recognize as dangers, "it dies and yet it smiles".

It is utterly impossible to understand what is really at play in the Iraqi conflict without devoting a good deal of time coming to grips with the character of the long-term disease from which this old geezer of a culture-in-second-childhood suffers. No mean feat indeed! For that malady involves a maddeningly complex union of two constituent elements: on the one hand, a medley of themes arising from Greco-Roman-Catholic civilization, naturalist philosophy, and heretical theology; and, on the other, the ideology of pluralism. Pluralism serves as the glue "pragmatically" holding together what are otherwise radically opposing world views, and prohibiting "practical" men from "wasting their time" seriously investigating the nature and terminal character of the sickness that it works to spread.

Western society was exposed to this bizarre illness beginning with the simultaneous revival of classicism, heresy. and commerce in the High Middle Ages. The early stages of its infection were brilliantly catalogued by the French author Georges de Lagarde, in La naissance de l’esprit laique au declin du moyen age, written in 1934, but, unfortunately, never translated into English. It took many centuries for the disease that he clearly describes to come to full term, only revealing its most nefarious effects once pluralism was given the opportunity to suck the vitality from the most venerable cultures of the globe under the rubric of granting them the life that surpasseth all understanding. Allow me to use this article to explain in broad strokes the character of the two constituent elements of an initially purely western disorder before returning briefly to the question of how this now plays its role in the current tragedy in the Middle East.

Greco-Roman-Catholic civilization. Orthodox Catholicism affirmed the value of Creation at the hands of a good God, who restated His love for nature, after Adam’s sin, through the Incarnation and Christ’s offer of Redemption. It drilled into the western consciousness a religious awareness of the universe as an ordered, meaningful cosmos, one whose various natural and supernatural laws and authorities aided free human persons both in their daily fight against evil as well as in the struggle to perfect their unique individual dignity. In doing so, it called upon and drew the deepest consequences from everything in Greco-Roman culture which might assist Christianity in its labors, with Socratic philosophy taking pride of place at the top of the list. A Greco-Roman-Catholic alliance, emphasizing similar themes and goals, was thus firmly sealed.

Naturalism. Naturalism claims that only purely secular, "natural" tools can be employed to understand the character of this ordered, meaningful cosmos and the means of perfecting the distinct, free, individuals who inhabit it. It brooks no reference to a Catholic Creator God who is a permanent actor in the world of nature, and who offers fallen man a choice for or against supernatural Redemption. Paradoxically, many Christians, by the time of the Renaissance, aided the growth of naturalism. Christianity had brought the nature-affirming teachings of the Greeks and the Romans from out the academic wilderness into the mainstream of political and social life. It had tried to consign the destructive lessons to which the bulk of the energies of the ancients were devoted to the rubbish heap of history. Enthusiastic Christian Humanists focused overwhelmingly on the positive achievements of the classical world which their own religion had raised to the fore. They so emphasized the intrinsic value of ancient culture as to help encourage a general overestimation of secular man and fallen nature’s unaided capabilities. Thus, the admirable engine of nature, which actually needed the fuel of Faith to kick itself into proper motion, was treated as though it were flawless, self-propelling and self-sufficient.

Although the memory and the rhetoric of the Greco-Roman-Catholic alliance continued to exercise a powerful theoretical influence over western minds and hopes, it was naturalism, in practice, that dominated our culture by the late eighteenth century. Very quickly, however, naturalism’s own flaws began to become apparent. It could not keep the concepts of order and freedom in harmony with one another once it refused to recognize the reality of a sinfulness that might potentially wreak havoc with both. After all, if the perfect natural laws of the universe were praised, then the individual "freedom" of the human persons who supposedly could never sinfully disrupt them was reduced to a cipher. Each man became but a cog in a wheel, doomed to perform whatever tasks the Grand Machine of nature marked out for him. If, on the other hand, the unique dignity and "rights" of each sinless, free individual were underlined, then the natural order of the universe had to bend to whatever it was that the human person willed.

Enthusiasts for natural law and order or natural rights and freedom began to part ways. Moreover, to make matters worse, those intent upon rational investigation of the structure of the universe went on to produce a myriad of conflicting mechanical keys to understanding its order. Each of these proclaimed the enslavement of the human mind, soul, body, and will to its inviolable laws. Each was ready to readjust the kinks in the machinery of individual men who refused their assent to "obvious" truth. Each was intent on battling the others to death in constructing a peaceful world of meaning and progress. Meanwhile, those asserting the autonomy of the individual became more and more convinced that the thought and behavioral patterns of human persons were so unique as to justify boundless numbers of contradictory visions of the meaning and style of life. Anarchy was thus introduced into every discipline and discussion of public and private conduct. Social order was critically threatened in consequence.

Heresy, in the form of the ideas of medieval gnostic and millenarian sects, extreme nominalist philosophers, and the initial protestant reformers, argued against both the value of nature as well as the freedom, dignity and potential perfection of the individuals inhabiting it. Nature, on the macro or micro level, was, for the heretic, the realm of chaos and egotistical struggle, a savage jungle where senseless power ruled supreme. God’s realm was, of course, ordered and meaningful, but this could never be approached through the flawed natural tool of human Reason. Entry into its precincts was secured by a supernatural, anti-rational, fideistic (i.e., unexamined) Faith alone. Moreover, redeemed man always remained eternally stained by sin, his presence in Heaven made acceptable only under the cover of Christ’s sacrifice, with no personal internal purification and transformation ever taking effect.

Heresy, even though it totally contradicted the secular optimism of naturalism, nevertheless encouraged its tendency to separate all discussion of the wicked world and the depraved individual from dialogue concerning the good and omnipotent God. In ridiculing the absurdity of the hunt for natural laws understanding and controlling what it considered to be essentially uncontrollable, irrational, passionate beings, it also helped explain (and support) the historical degeneration of naturalist society into hopeless confusion. What else could one expect from the cosmos but chaos? "Leave the universe in the gutter where it belongs", as one pious fundamentalist once told me. An orthodox Christian who abandons belief may still possess Reason and, with it, a trampoline from which to leap back even to spiritual wisdom; an anti-rational, fideist heretic who falls from grace has neither God nor nature to support him. And, in fact, many protestant lands, subject to intense secularization from the 1700’s onwards, were left with nothing logical standing between them and an atheistic, absurdist, anarchic vision of existence as a whole. In that vision, the lion does not lie down with the lamb, but necessarily devours him. Secularized ex-protestants often accepted this dreary secular "truth" with the same irrational, fideist fervor with which they once embraced heretical religious doctrines.

Pluralism is the catalyst for merging together the contradictory themes of these three western historical influences into a truly irresistible, degenerative, and ultimately globe-trotting disease. On the surface, it merely seems to outline a pragmatic program of peaceful control of the potential for violence emerging from orthodox/heretical divisions and the unraveling of naturalist secular society. What is more, it appears to do so with due deference to all the forces active in the society around it. Hence, like the Greco-Roman-Catholic heritage, pluralism claims to respect both law and freedom. As with embryonic naturalism, however, it also presumes that it must defend these goods without reference to supernatural religion, on the basis of secular constitutional, social, and psychological checks and balances alone. Finally, it does homage to the heretical belief in the total depravity of mankind and the absolute incomprehensibility of a fallen universe for two crucial purposes: to find a peculiarly effective sinful tool to harness the divisiveness stemming from any truly serious use of human freedom, and to mock any intellectual effort that might uncover the debasement, contradiction, and ultimate doom emerging from the employment of this instrument in political and social life.

Pluralism ultimately then comes up with the following recipe for protecting endangered order: a) the cynical encouragement of a "multiplication of factions" to make certain that there are so many individuals and groups "freely" active in society that no deeds can ever be strong or significant enough to accomplish--and thereby disturb—social order again; b) promotion of a self-censorship of "divisive" spiritual and intellectual expressions of individuality to the benefit of purely physical, economic initiatives more easily "integrated" into a "pragmatic" social commitment to increased production and consumption. Under this regimen, to take but one example, French-American Catholics would abandon dedication to their dangerously distinct philosophical and religious heritage in exchange for the freedom to open a unique croissanterie next to the falafel stand and the sushi bar on Peaceful Pluralist Avenue; and, c) a seizing and unceasing repetition of the traditional western rhetoric of concern for individual freedom and dignity. This recurring imagery worked forever to associate pluralism with liberty, and to cover over the fact that the latter had, in reality, been stripped of all substantive intellectual and spiritual meaning.

Pluralism’s modus operandi was suggested by Voltaire, outlined by James Madison in The Federalist Papers, and first seriously applied under the threatening conditions provided by an ever more religiously and ethnically diverse nineteenth and early twentieth century America. It has indeed had a truly uncanny history of seducing honest American supporters of the Greco-Roman-Catholic tradition, naturalism, and heresy into thinking that pluralism actually does create a "safe space" of order and security where all of them are free to preach and perfect their various convictions and customs. Amazing as it is to admit, this seduction has continued to be successful even when it has long become crystal clear that honest believers in absolutely anything and everything are required, in practice, to separate all external action from internal thought; that pluralism, its rhetoric notwithstanding, obliges them to live first as schizophrenics, and then as vandals dismantling their own internally "divisive" spiritual and intellectual forum.

How has it carried off a confidence game of such proportions? Through self-deification. Pluralism has made itself an object of worship, its three thematic sources all unwittingly providing it with assistance to allay fears, assuage consciences, cut one another down to size, and prevent any and all discussion of The System’s claims to divinity. Pluralism utilizes those who take its pretense of providing freedom and order under the old Greco-Roman-Catholic rhetoric to heart to deny its anti-religious, naturalist character. Such men—conservatives--point with pride to the number of times the word "God" can be discovered in the writings of the founders of its Creed, ignoring the secularist definition that they give to their syncretist and absent Deity. On the other hand, pluralism turns openly to the very naturalists whom conservatives would abhor to insist upon its open-mindedness, scientific rationality, and hatred of hoary, medieval, orthodox religious superstition. Furthermore, it calls upon its legacy of anti-intellectual heretical thought, and uses it to produce a stream of fideistic doctrinal slogans about its obvious glories, to render its battlements untouchable. Pluralism’s "fresh, new, vigorous approach to life", contrasted with the "dead end" hopelessness of an evil Old World, is thus presented to be understood by Faith Alone.

That Faith is preached in constitution-thumping revival style, accompanied by a "No Alternative Myth" emphasizing the dreadful consequences rejection of its credal demands would entail. If religious and intellectual divisiveness were not avoided, integration not promoted, and conflict not thereby diffused, the "No Alternative Myth" argues, the world would drown in a tidal wave of bloodshed and genocide. Waving the bloody flag of Fascism, the Second World War, and the Holocaust has proven to be so effective in support of the "No Alternative Myth", that pluralists struggle to make these historical forces and events more current than any truly pressing contemporary news item; more central to the education of youth than basic reading, writing, and arithmetic.

But who is it that actually has gained, in practice, from the advance of this mad western malady? The most committed and consistent criminals. Criminals have no problem working with a vision of nature as a savage jungle and individuals as depraved creatures. Nor are they troubled by the possible contradictions of a world view; why, they never expected life to make rational sense anyway. Moreover, the intelligent among them readily discover just how much pluralism’s odd doctrine works to justify their stirring up and then democratically responding to the illicit and exaggerated passions of their fellow men. After all, people like themselves cause no acrimonious spiritual or intellectual debate; they can thus actually claim to contribute to the construction of a peaceful social order. In fact, they can even join pluralism’s authorities in working over nobler "disruptive" elements preventing people from getting "what they really want". Strong willed and unscrupulous, they labor more effectively than others to wean men from serious religious, mechanist, or individualist speculations that can trouble daily life. They work to unify them in the common mud of debased human fears and desires. Once they have been permitted to degrade the rest of the population, they can then feel justified in perpetrating the seduction that has responded to its "deepest free, natural wishes". Yes, massive chains stimulating artificial lusts, multinational companies creating genetically altered foods, drug gangs, and mafias may still provoke bloody, unsettling turf wars. Still, whether their respective CEOs understand it or not, all these nevertheless work together for the shared purpose of reducing the bulk of mankind to a universal, low-level, materialist culture, uniform in its drab needs, both licit and illicit. As I noted in an earlier article in The Latin Mass Magazine, referring to nineteenth-century French Catholic critiques of budding pluralist "culture":

Louis Veuillot’s comments regarding a unified, boring culture centered around a base understanding of man and nature appear as germane today as when they were uttered a century and a half ago: ‘There will no longer be different places or climates, or any curiosity anywhere…. Everywhere the same language will be spoken….The old diversity will be a memory of the old liberty….Everything will be done in the image of the main city of the Empire and of the World’ (L. Veuillot, Mélanges, Paris, 1933, viii, 369). …Pluralism offers the criminal purveyors of passions a chance to tempt good men away from goals that might rock the social boat, and the opportunity to pose as the best representatives of freedom and statesmanlike concern for tranquility as they do so. It gives them carte blanche to turn Original Sin into a political and social system, dominated by the greatest sinners, but passed off as something glorious. To paraphrase Chateaubriand, referring to Talleyrand and Fouché, pluralism gives us the spectacle of Liberty and Order walking arm and arm with Vice and Crime.
(Latin Mass Magazine, Winter, 2002)

Only one type of person places a certain obstacle in the path of the ordinary criminals working "competitively" together to build the Drab Society: the pluralist zealot. Remember that pluralism destroys all serious thought, but not the kind of heretical, unexamined, fideistic belief that it itself relies upon for its own defense. It retains a passion for ideological faith, and thus exalts the zealot, whose life is dedicated to an evangelization which may not always suit the ordinary criminal’s basic goals. The ordinary villain or purveyor of passion does not necessarily believe in pluralism; he simply finds it eminently useful to the pursuit of his own passions or the plying of his wares. Nevertheless, he is bound by a golden chain to support the fundamentals of the system that gives him this opportunity to pilfer, pervert, and prosper. This means that he has tied himself to the thinkers who invented that system, its basic structure, those who now honestly and zealously believe in it, and the rhetoricians who provide him with the arguments that he uses to justify his own base rapine. In consequence, the ordinary criminal takes on something of the character of the zealot himself, though in a fashion that can, in the long run, be counterproductive to profitable crime.

Similarly, the pluralist zealot does not necessarily believe in crime. Nevertheless, his system, and his own uncontrollably passionate pursuit of an irrational vision, encourage it. Furthermore, the criminals that pluralism produces are eminently useful to the zealot. They help him to "evangelize" pluralism in underworld ways that his own personal intellectual inhibitions or continued traditionalist hang-ups might prevent him from pursuing. In consequence, he takes on something of the character of the criminal himself, though in a fashion that can, in the long run, be counterproductive and embarrassing to his honest zealotry.

Disruptions caused by twentieth century ideologies, wars, and global migrations have created a situation wherein a multiplicity of antithetical world views and cultures now exist in the same time and space on a world wide plane. Imperial America has sought to confront and control the attendant potential for chaos by an application, everywhere, of its own beloved pluralist precepts. Hence, the transformation of the long-festering western malady into a universal plague promoting the global union of criminality and zealotry, with all its strengths and all its mind-boggling contradictions.

American pluralism has had enormous success in devastating European culture and reducing it to the plaything of capitalist criminals, purveyors of international crime, and pluralist bureaucratic, educational, and artistic zealots. Its greatest European victory came when its two most serious opponents—Roman Catholicism and Marxism-Leninism—almost entirely cracked and self destructed under its seductive pressures.

One major enemy alone remained to be broken in the years after the Second Vatican Council and the collapse of the Soviet Union if pluralism were to have the opportunity to sing a song of total triumph: the Arab World. Not only was this world dangerous as home to a competing, unexamined, fideistic Faith as effectively irrational as pluralism—Islam; it also hosted fervent opposition to one of the most dangerously criminal forces operating internationally in union with America: the State of Israel. Hence, the need to bestow the blessings of peace and freedom upon Islamic Kingdoms, Emirates, and Republics, and secular Arab nationalist states alike. These, too, had to be taught what liberty and order really meant: nothing more than an eternal shopping spree in a free Supermarket of Criminally Zealous Ideas and Zealously Criminal Merchandise.

Now let us finally return to Iraq and the War on Terrorism that has fraudulently been linked to it. We need do so only briefly. What is it that really lies behind the current conflict? Commitment to the spread of that long-festering western malady which has already sickened and doomed American culture. What does this specifically mean? That criminal passions fueled the conflict, both those of ordinary villains--the Halliburtons of the world--and of fideist zealots—the gnostic Straussians and neo-conservatives, in union with the enthusiasts for the creation of a Greater Israel and their apocalypse-obsessed, evangelical fellow-travelers. For, once again, the "free society" infected with the western malady is always one in which the strongest wills of the unrestrainedly passionate predominate. Iraq has been ripped to shreds because its ravaging was willed by strong men who, in a proper social order, would be confined to prison cells or mad houses. Unfortunately, as things now stand, these forces are the ones that silence and abuse the innocent and the sane.

Crooks and zealots favorable to the Iraqi adventure proudly and understandably fly the flag of a pluralism that works so relentlessly to their advantage. An appeal to the all-encompassing pluralist bear hug enables them to abolish the Aristotelian principle of non contradiction and say anything that they wish in favor of their escapade. It gives them the arguments for claiming, as circumstances dictate, that they are engaged in a crusade for true religion and secularism; a struggle for a peaceful, global, multicultural society and the protection of western (religious? naturalist? heretical?) civilization; a battle for universal freedom, justice, and economic opportunity, but also for hard-nosed industrial Realpolitik, and the victory of masculine martial firmness over soft, feminine, pacifist gullibility. Pluralism’s self-deification principle offers the propagandist an obvious retort to those calling up objective, factual evidence to criticize their position. Such critics lack Faith! For Faith alone proves infallibly both the altruism and the pragmatism of the pluralist position in classical, protestant, "gospel-paradox" fashion. Any appeal to rational discourse is dismissed as illustrating either the lunatic naiveté of the idiot savant or the cynical rejection of Amazing Grace. Pour comble de misère, the "No Alternative Myth" is dredged up to show that the detractor of pluralism is probably a Nazi yearning for the chance to drown the efforts of the paladins of world progress in a bath of blood. Why, his anti-Israeli stance on its own cannot help but prove his National Socialist sympathies.

America, propelled into an unjust conflict in Iraq through the work of these most effective carriers of the western malady, does, indeed, offer the model of a decadent and belligerent culture. Alas, barring divine intervention, it also appears to be incorrigible in its devotion to the sickness that is killing it, blind to any serious effort fundamentally to reform itself. Why should this be the case? Because, as noted above, old and decadent American culture displays all the characteristics of a second childhood. Thus, it does, in one sense, possess a kind of irresistible "youthful" vigor. Vitality comes, however, in the form of that irreformable attachment to parochial, personal flaws which is all too reminiscent of a juvenile mentality, and all too intensified when compounded by senile dementia. A childlike but senile determination to hold onto and play with toys appears as though it will drive this dying beast until the day of its incomprehending annihilation.

In this regard, it reminds one of David Hume on his death bed, playing out, before Boswell, that indifference towards the drama of life and the tragedy of death which he had long felt and indulged. How could such a man, convinced as he was that troublesome questions regarding Truth, Goodness, and Beauty might be shaken off by the diversion of a hot bath or a billiard game, be awakened to the magnitude of existence by the mere approach of his own end? How could someone whose embrace of a vision of pointless existence had, in effect, amounted to a life long fling with euthanasia, be taken aback by contemplation of the yawning tomb? He was already dead, long before the actual physical event. Analagously, how could a culture with a lasting dedication to a substanceless intellectual and spiritual life come to terms with the drama of its own sins and imminent doom? On what basis could it build a death-bed conversion?

Hence, despite all the disasters--the turning of "friendly" Shiites into implacable enemies, the excuse given for further oppression of the Palestinian people, the stimulation offered for strengthening of that integral Islam which the Iraqi adventure was supposed to have controlled, and the diversion of attention and resources from real dangers to the legitimate security of the United States--the federal government insists on happily maintaining its bear hug with the criminals and zealots and the disease that they carry. As with the belligerent powers in the First World War, much of incorrigible America is digging its feet in the ground for the duration. Pointless, suicidal battle must proceed over the edge and into the abyss. Thus, a recent Bush advertisement gushes over the entry of Iraq and Afghanistan onto the list of "free nations" competing in the Olympic Games, and argues that the sun is shining brighter globally than ever before; that, in every day and in every way, things are getting just a little bit better. The ordinary criminal element that really benefits from Iraqi/Afghani "freedom" grows ever more pious in its appeal to pluralist propaganda, and anguished over the unthinkable alternative to the defeat of its altruist position. Similarly, the zealous pluralist becomes more villanous in the lies that he will tolerate about the war and its conduct, and the company that he will keep to defend his program. All in all, it seems that the representatives of both wings of unchained human passion will pursue their work of mutual interaction and obstructionism until their joint destruction. But how many innocent people and how much of civilized society will their incorrigibility bring down with them?

Unfortunately, this unwillingness to correct oneself is no less evident among most of those who are by now upset with an illegitimate conflict, and wish to back away from it. Unlike the great sinners thrown into tragic despair and true repentance who are found in the novels of Dostoievsky, the little men of pluralist society are incapable of grasping the nature and magnitude of the damage the games that they have played has done, and what this damage requires of them in terms of penance. A true spirit of penitence would involve a thorough-going self-analysis clarifying the terminal character of the western malady, a massive breast-beating over evils perpetrated, and then a headlong flight from pluralism. However, this is not what one sees in the American confessional. Critics of the war may stop playing the Iraqi War Game, but only to pick up another pluralist-inspired pasttime; one thought to be "truer" to the basic goodness of The System. The new game invariably turns out to reflect the same lack of comprehension of the depth of the hole that pluralism leaves in the human heart. It does nothing to remedy the evil that can easily veer back to imperialist adventuring when the mood strikes once more. Thus, to take but one example, many who reject what they recognize to be a foolhardy enterprise in Iraq replace this with a "truly pluralist" effort to dialogue with evangelical Islam, with the purpose of rendering it peacefully substanceless and meaningless. Meanwhile, the number of American converts to Islamic fideism grows by quantum leaps, especially, and dangerously, among the prison population to which a dying culture has nothing more to say or offer. One wonders how long it will be until even those outside the prison gates who are nominally free fill the emptiness of pluralist life with the meat of Islam? If pluralism collapses, it will be a religion of a willful, irrational God, like Islam, that will logically pick up the pieces. For pluralist fideism has trained the entire American public to succumb easily to unexamined faiths in general.

The western malady has been able to prosper globally chiefly because of pluralism’s tremendous success in manipulating rhetoric on its behalf. It is, indeed, a master of murk, confusing honest believers in all manner of opposing ideas that it somehow is truly "on their side"; that it can create one, unified, peaceful society out of many diverging world views, e pluribus, unum. But pluralism offers men stones instead of bread. Roman Catholicism provides a substantive unity in Christ out of which a plethora of legitimate natural differences do emerge, and brilliantly so, ex uno, plures. Would that Catholics, at least, would cease to be duped by the grotesque caricature of itself that pluralism ultimately is and always will be. Roman Catholic withdrawal of support from this monster would be an impressive and valuable first nail in its coffin. It would give hope to the Iraqi people. It would win us back our own trampled dignity and abused intellects. Most importantly, it would help to prepare us for the inevitable assault on the remnants of Roman Catholic "divisiveness"--apparent in continued pockets of opposition to abortion, homosexuality, and cultural genocide--which is bound to follow from total pluralist victory in Iraq. The ever more frantic criminal and zealot carriers of the western malady will, by that point, be ready to wipe up any and all counterrevolutionary partisans still active in the Homeland. If die we must, let us adopt a bit of the current jingoist language, and at least go with our boots on.

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