Being called "crazy" by Michael Sean Winters is like being called a "heretic" by his employer, the National Catholic Reporterif that particular publication ever admitted the existence of heresy. Such an accusation lacks gravitas and authenticity; it also comes across as a bit, well, crazy:
who are prone to conspiratorial explanations of phenomenon tend to be,
well, a little bit crazy. And, their craziness is not only
intellectual, it is moral.
How else to explain this bizarre article at the Catholic World Report
anout the "Nuns on the Bus" tour being linked with financier George
Soros. Soros, you see, gave money to the Center for American Progress.
The Center for American Progress played a role, not clear what role from
this diatribe, in the foundation of the group Faith in Public Life.
The group Faith in Public Life apparently was one of the groups that
the nuns at NETWORK met with when the idea of having a bus tour was
hatched. Q.E.D. Sr. Simone might as well have been caught sitting in
Soros' lap! And all for the sake of publicity! The horror. Except that,
in a democracy, publicity is not a bad thing, is it? What is so
different about the bus tour from the pamphlet "Common Sense"? And, in
American democracy today, the idea of trying to garner publicity for
the plight of the poor by means of a bus rental is almost quaint, at
least when compared to the gobs of money making its way onto the
airwaves via the SuperPACs.
what if Sr. Simone had cashed a check direct from Soros? Where did this
demonization of Soros begin? I may not agree with all of his politics,
but the man has used a considerable amount of his considerable fortune
to promote civil society and democratic norms and independent
journalism in the countries ravaged by Communism. Is that such a bad
thing? I deplore some of his positions, especially his support for
euthanasia, but that cannot undo all the good he has done. Ignoring the
good, and only emphasizing the bad is, tarring everyone with an
association with an indictment, this sort of conpiratorial think is, as I
Folks can read my post and
judge its level of intellectual and moral craziness for themselves. For
my part, I'm unclear what Winters means by "moral craziness"; is he
actually accusing me of a specific depravity, evil, and sin? Or
inclination to the same? (I know he believes in sin: it is any action or
thought issuing forth from what he calls "Catholic neo-cons".) Perhaps I
missed the memo about going easy (as the mainstream media does) on an
atheist billionaire who has been convicted of insider trading in France, and who supports a number of dissenting, progressive Catholic groups, some of which are openly pro-abortion,
such as Catholics For Choice. And how, for goodness sake, does my post
qualify as "conspiratorial"? Especially since Soros's political and
social stances are fairly well-known and his support of causes and
groups in opposition to Church teaching and authority are equally
Well, I would spend more time analyzing it, but over the years I've
learned that analyzing the "logic" of Winters' posts and articles is
like looking for a melody and a sax solo in a Sex Pistols "song".
Besides, it is obvious Winters knows that his core readership of
catechesis-challenged Catholics will dutifully come running when he
throws out the "crazy" label. Having penned the post, "Conspiratorial
Craziness" (see above) about myself and CWR on July 11th, he quickly
followed up with a post titled "More Conspiratorial Craziness" on the same day:
observe that Father John Zuhlsdorf is a crank is like observing that the
sun rises in the East. You don't get points for stating the obvious.
But, at the end of this post,
in which he rightly faults President Obama for his response to a
question about the HHS mandate, Zuhlsdorf includes a fake poster
showing, in a row, Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Mao-Zedong, and Obama.
This crosses the line, even for someone as off-kilter as Zuhlsdorf.
Marx, of course, was a writer and thinker, not a politician, so he fits
rather oddly with the quartet: In Moscow, after the collapse of
communism, the statues of Lenin were hurled from their pedastals, but
not the statue of Marx not far from Red Square. There, the inscribed
motto was altered, and not by much, to read: "Workers of the World, I'm
Sorry." But, Lenin was bloodthirsty. Mao was one of the great mass
murders of the 20th century. To put Obama with them is so wrong, I don't
know where to begin.
Winters is apparently still unaware (or stuck in some stage of denial
about the fact) that President Obama is the most openly pro-abortion,
pro-"reproductive health", pro-Planned Barrenhood, pro-contraception
POTUS in U.S. history. Actually, he's not completely unaware: back in
2009, he lauded Obama's record on nearly everything under the sun while
admitting that on the issue of abortion the President has a "horrendous blind spot"as
if pledging unwavering suport for Planned Parenthood and having a 100%
NARAL rating were somehow the result of an unintentional, freak accident
rather than a prime indicator of a disturbing worldview and problematic
moral compass. Finally, after the HHS mandate business got rolling
along, Winters got a big dose of reality dumped in his liberal lap:
Barack Obama lost my vote yesterday when he declined to expand the
exceedingly narrow conscience exemptions proposed by the Department of
Health and Human Services. The issue of conscience protections is so
foundational, I do not see how I ever could, in good conscience, vote
for this man again.
(Is anyone here willing to bet that Winters will actualy keep this
promise? I'm fairly confident he will find a reason to back out of his
promise, most likely revolving around how "crazy" Romney and the GOP
I do not
come at this issue as a Catholic special pleader, who wants only to
protect my own, although it was a little bracing to realize that the
president’s decision yesterday essentially told us, as Catholics, that
there is no room in this great country of ours for the institutions
our Church has built over the years to be Catholic in ways that are
important to us. Nor, frankly, do I come at the issue as an
anti-contraception zealot: I understand that many people, and good
Catholics too, reach different conclusions on the matter although I
must say that Humanae Vitae in its entirety reads better, and more presciently, every year.
What? Humanae Vitae makes sense? That's crazy! Oh, speaking of "crazy", Winters wrote a post on July 17th titled, "Bachmann Goes Crazy Again", in which he wrote, with his usual winning combo of wit and wisdom:
Bachmann released the text of a letter she sent to Cong. Keith Ellison
yesterday, explaining why she is calling for an investigation into the
possibility of infiltration by the Muslim Brotherhood in the u.S.
government. The letter repeats earlier charges by Bachmann hurled at
Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and
wife of former Congressman Anthony Weiner.
Hard to judge whether
this is more vile than crazy or more crazy than vile. But, it is a
measure of where today's GOP is on the zaniness spectrum. Look for
Bachmann to get a rousing ovation when she addresses the GOP convention
next month. She is not that far out-of-the-mainstream of today's GOP.
Sadly. Very sadly.
Crazy! Vile! Zany! Sad! Crazy! Whew. When Wintertime hits,
count on the dictionary being cracked open with whipsmart vigor, the
thesaurus plundered with brow-furrowing zest, and the realm of
rhetorical reverie expanded as never before! Still, with all of that
said, I suggest that someone such as Andrew McCarthy, who actually knows a thing or three about radical Islamic groups, might be a better guide than
Mr. Winters to the situation with Rep. Bachmann. But, hey, what do I
know? I'm just man with crazy morals. Or moral craziness. Or
conspiratorial morality. Or something.
In the meantime, I'm mindful of Ambrose Bierce's definition of "insane": "Addicted to the conviction that others are insane."