The Change In The American Social Contract
Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – “The civil religion says that everything comes from the ground up, everything starts with us. How is that going to work out for you? The same way any democracy works out.” Check out today’s transcript for the rest….
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: The civil religion says that everything comes from the ground up, everything starts with us. How is that going to work out for you? The same way any democracy works out. Ryan Cooper writing at TheWeek.com:
The rise of Trump is worth examining in the context of this brilliant article by Matthew Stoller, detailing the change in the American social contract from the postwar generation to today.
Mike: I’d like to know where I might view this contract at. I have a contract on my house. I know what the contract says. Can I read it? Sure I can. I have a contract on the loan that I took out for one of my cars. Can I read it? Yes. Do I know what’s on it? Yes. So what is this social contract? If it’s a contract, then it must be written down somewhere. Would someone send me an email and tell me where I might find this thing called a social contract? Where is it? Where does it exist? Where can I read it? Can I download it? Is it printed somewhere? Is it engraved on a wall?
. . . there was a strong political-economic consensus around a high rate of unionization, shared productivity growth, strict financial regulation, and low unemployment — all centered around homeownership as the bedrock of middle-class status and wealth.
Mike: Folks, I could spend the entire rest of this program on this one paragraph in Ryan Cooper’s piece. It has all the fundamental parts of the heresy of ‘Muricanism in it, which is that we’ve created an order here. If you’ve lived the order, you’ve lived the American dream. You don’t need the beatific vision. The beatific vision has been replaced by the American dream. All you need is a bigger car with newer paint, a bigger television with more channels, a larger house with more square feet, and a prettier wife with more fake plastic parts. Rinse and repeat for the rest of the population and everyone is happy. Let’s examine that paragraph again.
The rise of Trump is worth examining in the context of this brilliant article by Matthew Stoller, detailing the change in the American social contract from the postwar generation to today. In brief, for 30 years after World War II, there was a strong political-economic consensus around a high rate of unionization, shared productivity growth, strict financial regulation, and low unemployment — all centered around homeownership as the bedrock of middle-class status and wealth.
Mike: The status and wealth around the home supported by working for the Man outside of the home, outside of the homestead, all that then was part of what makes you real uniquely and authentically an ‘Murican. You cannot be ‘Murican if you’re a stay-at-homer, if you’re a farmer, if you don’t work for the Man, if you’ve taken some sort of a vow of poverty and don’t have the 7100-square-foot McMansion and the eleven extra cars with brand-new paint and twelve extra televisions, one in the bathroom, one in the kitchen, one in the living room, one in the den, one in the kids’ bathroom, one in the dog’s doghouse. Yeah, Rover needs one, too. If you can’t see that there is a civil religion that we are all supposed to believe in, and now part of that religion says that your own natural sexual identity, your gender identity no longer matters because we’re ‘Muricans. And because we have our own civil religion, we can have our own distinctions inside the civil religion, meaning we don’t have to segregate ourselves into men and women any longer. We can do this by just being people, citizens, numbers, taxpayers. As long as we go to Regal Cinema, as long as we have dinner at Olive Garden or some other chain restaurant, everything will be right with the world.
Folks, how many of you have ever been to the area of northern Virginia around Mordor on the Potomac River? If you have been, then you know exactly what I’m about to talk about. Why would anyone volunteer to live this life of transient misery? It defies any comprehension whatsoever why people would subject themselves to this. That is, standing or sitting in your car for hours upon hours every single day in order that you can leave your house in the northern Virginia suburbs, travel 40, 50, 60, 70 miles up to Mordor, go milk a bunch of ill-gotten gains out of taxpayers – most people that work in Mordor are paid by you and I. Yes, that even means the contractors and people allegedly in the private sector. They’re not. All this is then done so you can rinse and repeat and go get back in the car. What kind of a life is this?
You look at this and you look at the people stuck in traffic. I am of the point of view that there’s an awful lot of community activity that just isn’t entered into. There just isn’t enough time. There’s not enough time to rebuild communities in northern Virginia near Mordor because the time they would spend rebuilding their communities they’re stuck sitting in traffic, or they’re commuting even if they are moving. Try to explain away how you get to Donald Trump. Then there’s this from Tracy Rowland at The Imaginative Conservative:
When the Obama Administration began its Kulturkampf against American Catholics my husband suggested to me that if the Church is forced to pay for its employees’ contraceptives then there should be an option clause for practicing Catholics. An equivalent amount of the Church’s money spent on other people’s recreational sex should be given to faithful Catholics to cover whatever they do for recreation—for example, golf, tennis, fishing, or weekends at the beach house with hot rock massages.
In a post-Christian world gods don’t disappear. Christ is simply replaced by the apparatus of the nation-state. [Mike: Notice, folks, we wind up talking about the same thing almost every time we have these discussions. You might have noticed that here is a trend. Whether I say nation-state or civil religion, we’re all talking about the same thing.] Political leaders assume to themselves the powers and prerogatives formerly associated with deities, above all, powers over life and death and reproduction.
The very same politicians who feign moral outrage over the Church’s moral advice to Catholic couples use coercive state power to venture further into bedrooms than any encyclical.
Mike: Think about that. How many of my brothers and sisters out there in Christ have embraced or practiced some form of now US federal court-approved or legislature-approved contraception or birth control? There have been three or four, three popes now in succession that have all denounced this with papal encyclicals. They don’t get into your bedroom. Yet the American government and federal judges that occupy alleged positions of power have gone farther and deeper into the bedrooms than any pope ever tried to go. Yet people are saying, [mocking] “We have to embrace this. These people just need a chance. They just need to be loved the way the rest of us” blah, blah, blah.
The fact of the matter is the LGBTQ crowd has gotten further into the bedrooms than any pope ever imagined intervening. But let’s all run in horror from the popes, from the pontiffs. Why does the pontiff do it? Does he do it to hear himself talk, to prattle on for his own ego, or does he do it because he fears, with mortal dread, being judged that many millions upon millions of humans alive at the same time as he was, in his pontificate, did not hear the word, did not heed it if they did hear it? As Our Lady prophesied at Fatima in 1917, their souls fell like snowflakes into hell. Why does the LGBT person do it? Do they do it to get souls to Heaven, or do they do it to get certain body parts inserted into other body parts? See Choice B for a clue.
If I’m boring you to tears, don’t worry, I promise Wisdom Wednesday’s show will be better. Back to Tracy Rowland:
The very same politicians who feign moral outrage over the Church’s moral advice to Catholic couples . . . The worst outcome for her is that she is left with an uneasy conscience. She won’t be sent to prison, she won’t be named in public and she won’t be forced to pay higher taxation. But if a woman happens to be Chinese and conceives a second child and is marched off to an abortion clinic then that is not her choice. That is state generated oppression.
The attempt to use the powers of the state to control human reproduction did not begin with Barack Obama [Mike: By the way, see the lawsuit against the Little Sisters of the Poor.] and his friends at the Planned Parenthood Federation. It goes at least as far back as Joseph Stalin and his Bolshevik comrades who wanted more Soviet babies for more Soviet cannon fodder, and like a lot of Soviet practices it had an analogue in the Nazi regime. In 1936 Heinrich Himmler set up a network of copulation camps to make genetically sound women available for fertilization by SS alpha males.
These kinds of policies tend to see-saw between those designed to promote the birth rate and those designed to reduce the birth rate.
Just last week the Singapore government decided to embark on a baby boom program. This followed a scary report in which Singapore came in last on a fertility table listing 103 nations. Singapore showed a fertility rate of 0.78. The response of the government was to engage the mint sweets company Mentos to sponsor a “National Night” commercial to persuade Singaporeans to conceive. [Mike: People have to be bribed now to perform natural acts on one another.] On August 9, (the Singaporean national day) Singaporeans were exhorted to “manufacture life” and “make the birth-rate spike.” The three minute hip-hop commercial included the phrase: “Just don’t wake the kids: cos they’ll be appalled by the stuff we gon’ do up in that bedroom.” The commercial addressed its human subjects as though they were rutting reindeers.
When a culture ceases to be Christian, human dignity becomes an alien concept. We no longer “make love” and “have a family,” we do “appalling stuff,” we “manufacture life.”
Meanwhile, across the globe, social engineers have decided that the next great human problem to be addressed is circumcision. Everywhere from Germany to the tiny “Apple Island” of Tasmania politicians are either banning the practice of male circumcision or promoting legislation to do so.
I can remember asking my grandmother about this tradition when I was a child. I thought it was painful for baby boys and wondered why people did it. My grandmother’s reply was that it makes a lot of sense in hot climates. It’s much easier to be circumcised as a baby then to have more radical surgery later on if the boy keeps getting infections. As far as she was concerned it was not a theological issue, just a common sense practice in places like outback Australia and the Middle East—places that can be hot, humid and sandy. For Jews and Muslims however it is also a religious rite.
A Deeper Theological Question
One of the deeper theological issues raised by politicians who behave like gods is what is their motivation?
Mike: I just talked about this a moment ago. What do you think is the motivation of an Obama? Some of you are going to say he just wants to be a socialist, he’s a Marxist. What’s the motivation of a Marxist? Why is someone a Marxist? What do they get out of Marxism? What do they get out of practicing Marxism? What possibly could they get? Well, if you answer that they got access to power, then pat yourself on the back; you answered correctly. They want to rule the world. They want to play many gods.
Perhaps once we achieve the Nietzschean paradise of life beyond good and evil we acquire new spiritual pathologies? There is an inverted association of eros with death, the attractive with the vulgar.
How can we deal with this?
First, I think we must recognize that the liberal tradition can take a totalitarian form. (Alasdair MacIntyre and Stanley Hauerwas have been making this point for some time). [Mike: If you don’t think that the religion state, the civil religion state of ‘Murica, if you don’t think that’s a totalitarian form, then perhaps you and I have different definitions of what totalitarian is.] Second, when it does, it usually tries to offer us a state apparatus as our new savior—our replacement for Christ.
End Mike Church Show Transcript