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off the reservation

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jan 14, 2005

George Weigel discusses the shock to the (British political) system provided by pro-life MP Ruth Kelly, and the paradoxically predictable reaction:

The Times of London summed up this change in the Ruth Kelly indictment by writing that "some MPs [Members of Parliament] fear her religion may cloud her judgment."

"Cloud" was the give-away, of course. In an objective news story, that sentence would have concluded, "...inform her judgment." But in the intellectually insular world of European secularism -- which has many parallels on this side of the Atlantic --- religious faith in general and Catholicism in particular are, by definition, obscurantist and irrational. How could Catholic moral theology "inform" anyone's judgment? Catholicism, according to the settled mythology of the Euro-secularist left, clouds judgment. Or distorts judgment. Or replaces "judgment" with robotic obedience.

We've seen this linguistic base-stealing in operation quite a while. If a man dissents from Humanae vitae, whether he's read it or not, he's a "thinking Catholic." If he concurs with Humanae vitae, no matter how deeply he may have studied the document and the attendant issues, he can only have "checked his brain at the door."

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  • Posted by: Sterling - Jan. 15, 2005 3:41 PM ET USA

    Speaking of words, "linguistic base-stealing" is really neat. Diogenes, how do you do it?

  • Posted by: - Jan. 14, 2005 10:06 PM ET USA

    It has been going on for years regarding abortion: pro-lifers are always referred to as "anti- choice" or "anti- abortion", (even in our diocesan newspaper), while the anti life forces hide behind the "pro-choice" misnomer. Showing concern about illegal immigration immediately brings the label of racist. And those who recognize the Passion as a cinematic work of art are just ignorant religious right-wingers. Labels are powerful; their use can influence the shape of the debate. -Traditionalist