The neo-medieval beliefs of Senator Josh Hawley

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2021/01/12/the-neo-medieval-beliefs-of-senator-josh-hawley.html

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GTFOH with that BS forever and ever, amen.

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I suppose I’d be more on board with the whole “Jesus” thing if he could at least arguably be seen to be a part of the process.

Like if Jesus called in occasionally from heaven, which is apparently fully within his powers to do, and it could be verified it’s him, then sure. Let’s hear him out.

Right now it’s a bunch of “good feelings” with a significant amount of “religious fascism” over the top.

It would be interesting for Mr Hawley to debate an islamic fundamentalist on TV. I think they’d agree on more than they’d differ

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Nope. Hard pass on that. It will all be “I’m more hardcore evangelical than you” posturing. Bet he doesn’t believe it anyway. Git.

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I wish people would stop using the Middle Ages as shorthand for “the bad times”. There was nothing medieval about Pelagius or his reception. He lived in the 4th and 5th century, i.e. in late antiquity. He was born in the Roman empire. And backlash to his teachings is something that happened at the same time and then later in the reformation.

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“Chilling” is the apt word. I’ve been keeping an eye on Hawley ever since he emerged as an aspiring leader of American fascism post-Biff, and this article shows exactly why he’s so dangerous. It’s not only that he gives salutes to violent insurrectionists and champions conspiracy theorists, but also that he’s deeply enmeshed in what is essentially “dark Enlightenment” neo-feudal philosophy (or the sort championed and bankrolled by Peter Thiel) as well as Xtianist Dominionism. He’s smart enough to see the Venn diagram of all these toxic groups and clever enough to position himself at the overlap. He’s also sneaky enough to couch his right-wing populism as the more general sort (e.g. taking a stance against Big Tech or supporting $2000 relief cheques without being explicit about why and on whose behalf he’s taking those positions).

There’s an element of hope that he’s over-reached himself by supporting the insurrectionists, that he’s lost mainstream platforms and support. However, he’s already leveraging it into a narrative of his oppression and censorship by “secular humanist elites” and dark cabals of media and moneymen (most of us know where this eventually leads).

Watch this scumbag. He’s not done yet.

He does believe this stuff, as long as it serves his ambitions and ends with himself in a position of power in the new order. He’s not a run-of-the-mill GOP opportunist and panderer or a cartoonishly transparent grifter like Biff, but a true believer who’s gone to the trouble of studying up an intellectual grounding – if only because it benefits him. Articles like this are really important to read if we’re going to fight these fascists.

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Man, I haven’t thought about the “faith vs good works” debate since I had an existential crisis over Santa Claus a few weeks ago.

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I really shouldn’t read this stuff so early in the morning. That NYT article is goign to give me heartburn all day long. FFS. Terrifying.

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He is correct in thinking that there is a sizeable percentage of the population who are “authoritarian followers” - they want someone to tell them (a) that their lives are horrible (b) that it’s all the fault of ‘them’ (c ) that this is what they need to believe and often (d) I alone can save you (in the extreme fundamentalist evangelical tradition, the “I” here is supposed to be Jesus but alarmingly often it is usually actually the pastor.)

I really don’t think this is a particularly ideological or religious position, in that we know that authoritarianism is not really a left/right thing. There is always a space for this sort of demagogue; what we are learning (rapid) is that it’s this brief period of democracy that has fooled us into thinking that they are not really a threat.

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Give him a transcript of a speech given by an Islamic fundamentalist with the sole changes being the substitution of the Christian equivalents for Islamic terms and an attribution to a prominent Christian or “Christian” speaker and see what he says.

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I don’t need a PhD in theology to know that Hawley is a wanker

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‘authoritarian followers’ = ‘suckers for a grifter with a charismatic cult’

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I taught history in the US South, where the majority of my students came from conservative Christian churches. They have the kind of church education that leads them to believe that Jesus was a Baptist (Baptists were the original Christians dontchaknow–“John the Baptist,” right?) and that there are other, non-Christian religions like Buddhism, Islam, and Catholicism (Jews are simply Christians who believe all the same things, but haven’t “accepted Jesus into their hearts.”).

So, imagine the section on the Reformation. I write on the chalkboard “Justification by Faith,” and “Justification by Works.” Then I ask the class: “Do you have to do good works to get into heaven?” and most of the class says “yes.” Then, “Well, isn’t faith alone enough to do it?” Again, the class says “yes.” So we discuss. They settle on “You have to go to church, and you have to contribute to charity, and you have to have a pastor who knows a lot about the Bible, and you have to follow all the rules of the Church.” But, then, they also say “Well, accepting Jesus is all you need.” So, I ask, “If you accept Jesus but then go out an murder people and fornicate and steal, is it all good?” “Yes, because Jesus will forgive you.”

And the conclusion I draw, from more than two decades of playing this game with hundreds of college students, is that Catholics are incredibly well-educated about Christianity in general, and their own faith in particular, and Southern Baptists have no idea what they believe but take comfort that simply saying they accept Jesus means that they get a ticket to the Good Place when they die, regardless of how they act.

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Especially when their teachers are Jesuits. Those guys don’t mess around when it comes to casuistry, which means that they have to be very knowledable about all the fine details (I’m still kind of amazed the Vatican broke with tradition and made a member of the order Pope).

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That’s what always made the Jesuits so dangerous.

I’m still kind of amazed the Vatican broke with tradition and made a member of the order Pope

Yeah . . . I was trying to explain to people why that was such an amazing thing . . . A Jesuit Pope. Clement XIV is rolling in his . . . well, wherever he is.

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Thanks…I think you just helped me understand why 5 out of 9 SCOTUS justices are Catholic

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He can’t imagine living in a country where he doesn’t have the right to decide which religious authorities he must obey.

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It hardly matters if he does or not, if he’s actively working to bring that about in some way.

We really need to start taking these people seriously since they just tried to overthrow our government. That’s how we got to this point in the first place, not taking them seriously.

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Anthony Burgess (author of A Clockwork Orange) wrote a fascinating book set in an undefined future called The Wanting Seed, which had as a central theme the struggle of the Augustinian viewpoint (that humans are fundamentally depraved) vs the Pelagian viewpoint (that humans are basically good), which basically corresponds to Faith vs Works and all that.

He even went so far as to posit history going endlessly back and forth between Pelagian and Augustinian phases, sometimes quite dramatically or even violently.

In light of current events, I’m going to give it a re-read.

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Benedictine teachers are pretty good, too.

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