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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Smelly Little Orthodoxies

I hate socialism because it is socialist. I hate capitalism because it is capitalist. I hate Chrisitanity because it is Christian. Although George Orwell -the author of the books 1984 and Animal Farm -- only got two of these three statements right. That's not bad.

Orwell thought all abstract doctrines misled the local people from correcting obvious wrongs based on their own perceptions or common sense. Orwell referred to socialist, capitalist, Christian (ironically, especially Catholic) and other doctrines as "smelly little orthodoxies."

In the most recent issue of First Things, Paul J. Griffiths in an article titled "Orwell for Christians" points out the many things Christias can learn from Orwell.

Importantly, Griffiths points out how closely Orwell's suspicion of smelly little orthodoxies echoes that of the Roman Catholic Church. From Leo XIII's Rerum Nevorum to John Paul II's Centismus Annus, the Popes have insisted in not identifying a single political or economic doctrine to answer social questions, but instead has concentrated on identifying instances of offense against natural law and natural rights which are associated with certain political or economic doctrines.

In my opinion, Orwell and the Roman Catholic church (at its best) share similar approaches to Big Brother.

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

The unfortunate problem for the Church, however, is from time to time evil men end up in positions of power. Thus, there is always the risk of big brother with the church even if the church adheres, in general to the correct philosphy through the ages.

3:04 PM, November 25, 2004  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

The Church becoming "Big Brother" when its leaders are evil men is only a problem when the Church has temporal or secular power. Notice that the classic "bad popes" such as Alexander VI occurred when the Church was near its high point of temporal power. And this makes sense. If the papacy has worldy power, men who want worldly power will seek it. Thus the best argument for separation of church and state is not to protect the state, but to protect the Church.

11:20 PM, November 26, 2004  
Blogger King Oliver said...

This is one of ssc's most profound recurring themes. It addresses the form of culture, identifying the "coagulation" of thought into systems that provide leverage for one set of interests to outweigh another. How much damage have we done to ourselves by allowing the ideology of the free market to blind us to the full range of consequences of buying practically everything overseas? The exclusion of Christianity from schools, the acceptance of the pornography industry, abortion rights, massive culturally-incompatible immigration, and other policy errors reflect ideology weighing in at the expense of more holistic, truly centrist thought.

4:28 PM, December 02, 2004  

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