Cooler heads don't prevail at the New Oxford Review. At least most of the time. My, when I received the July-August issue yesterday, I considered writing an angry letter and requesting they cancel my subscription.
Sometimes, in a Trad's effort to show he's not just a blind follower of the often compromising and ignorant New Right, they go overboard by completely anathemizing the Grand Old Party and the Bush administration, even when they do something right. Such is the flaw of the New Oxford Review. In the article "Dissecting the Partial Birth Abortion Ban", the Supreme Court victory which illegalized a method of abortion for the first time- the most gruesome method- is analyzed until it looks like a complete rout for the pro-life movement. Cited are passages in the majority decision which call abortion a right, and which would still allow for partial birth abortions if the mother's life was in danger. The theme of the article is that the dicision is a sham victory. First of all, the writer has forgotten that Justices Scalia and Thomas have a clear record of opposing legalized abortion. If they had felt the decision written by Justice Kennedy was an inadequate compromise, they would have written a second majority opinion in partial dissent, a common Supreme Court practice. Instead, they concurred, stating that the majority opinion agreed with their view that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided. Secondly, the writer forgot that Justice Kennedy, who wrote the decision, supports a constitutional right to abortion, and may have joined the other side if the decision contained wording that could later be cited in favor of reversing Roe v. Wade. As was obvious to all, we'll have to wait for another day to gain our greatest victory.
Even worse, NOR featured a "New Oxford Note" called "Disconnect", which attacks an anonymous Republican candidate who sent the magazine a campaign mailing. He is criticized for believing in both traditional values and small government. The New Oxford Review claims that cracking down on back alley abortions would require higher taxes for law enforcement, and that the homosexual lobby essentially wants to "privatize" marriage. Okay, I've never heard that one before. If the writer were not clueless, they would know that one third of the US Budget is taken up by Social Security and Medicare, socialist entitlements that should be eliminated (if not by this candidate, by Ron Paul). But instead of saying that (or attacking Congress for its wasteful practice of pork barreling, or attacking the G.O.P. for supporting the Iraq War, which it is guilty of), the writer apparently supports such wastes of tax dollars [gee, What Would Jesus Do? He never held the publicans upside down and shook them for charity denarii]. If Washington could get its act together, and return to the role of merely promoting the public welfare as the Founding Fathers intended, the Federal government could drastically increase the police force and still save probably more than a half trillion dollars. Secondly, the writer's assertion about gay "marriage" is just the opposite of the reality. Certainly he- like most Traditionalists- must support eventually returning control of marriage laws to the Catholic Church's direct control, just like it was in pre-1789 European Christendom. That would be true privatizing, on the model of how Canada's postal service is now controlled by a corporation. Whereas gays in liberal Massachusetts are quite happy marrying in City Hall, I and all good Catholics should support handing over control of marriage law to the Church, incorporated c. AD 30. The article ends with
The Democrats want to keep the state out of the bedroom, and the Republicans want to keep the state out of the boardroom. What's the difference between laissez-faire sex and do-your-own-thing capitalism? Catholic social teaching wants to keep the state in the bedroom and in the boardroom.
Okay, I am really getting tired of these distributist hot shots. They don't have a monopoly on "Catholic social teaching". Just a few days ago, I was reading another distributist, who compared charging interest on loans to slavery. Hmm, that's not quite what I found in the Catholic Encyclopedia, 1912 edition. Sorry, but it increasingly seems to me that the economic ideas of most Catholic Traditionalists have no more moral authority than the beliefs of Lew Rockwell, not to mention that they aren't sound economics because of the reduced availability of investment capital that would occur if they were ever carried out.
That does not exhaust the number of dumb features; I have left untouched a wimpy attempt to reconcile Genesis with the evolution myth, and a letter by a reader which attacked Bush as akin to Hitler (not their fault, but they left it unanswered). All right, to be fair, the New Oxford Review has many fine articles promoting the Mass of the Ages, attacking Balthasar's theory of universal salvation, and exposing the queer agenda (though missing a fine opportunity to thank President Bush and most other Republicans for their desire to limit marriage to one man and one woman). I won't cancel my subscription; the Traditionalist movement is divided enough as it is. But honestly, we're supposed to be friendly Catholic intellectuals, not Kool Aid drinkers!