Showing posts with label cancel culture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cancel culture. Show all posts

Sunday, March 14, 2021

It’s Iimi! Problematic Assumptions? (Part III)

What are we to think about the concept of “cancel culture” that there is so much debate over? Thea Iscra and Anne Baculum discuss the concept and the the real danger behind it. The problem is not in trying to prevent the literal extremists from causing harm. The problem is using the existence of extremists to target those who stand up for their unpopular but non-extremist beliefs about moral beliefs.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

“Are We Forgetting George Floyd?” Thoughts on Moral Obligation During These Times

As I watch the protests unfold, I find myself noticing a few things. First, the death of George Floyd seems to be increasingly forgotten in the protests… or at least the media coverage of the protests. Second, as they move forward, they seem to be focusing less about the treatment of African-Americans in this country and more about whatever the demagogues leading the movement want to cancel next in our “cancel culture.”
I don’t say this out of any political bias. Regardless of whether the people who called the Police had a valid reason to do so, Mr. Floyd’s killing was entirely in opposition to the Catholic teaching on the reasonable use of force. We should demand a just reform of those things that made it possible.
The problem is, the current protests don’t seem to have anything to do with these things. Now they appear to be largely about “canceling” statues and the people they represent. As I wrote in a previous article, some of those objections are valid… but some are not.
Unfortunately, we are an easily distracted people. So I suspect—and I pray that I am wrong—that if anybody remembers the protests at all five years from now, they will remember it for the stupid things some extremists among the protestors are doing, while remaining utterly convinced that whatever the full (non-extremist) movement does in the future can be written off as more of the same extremism.
This can’t be the Catholic attitude. No, we can’t condone it when certain demagogues try to attack our saints and their statues. We can’t condone it when some turn to rioting and risk the lives of others. But we can and must stand up for true justice. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes justice as:
1807 Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called the “virtue of religion.” Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good. The just man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures, is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbor. “You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.”
It means that, since each human being is created in the image and likeness of God, we must treat them as such, not in a way that we would be unwilling experience (cf. Matthew 7:12). Justice cannot have benefits for one group in a way that harms others. Unfortunately, people sometimes confuse which is which, and deny one’s person’s rights in the name of an injustice they call “rights.” For example, the “right” to abortion absolutely negates the right to life for some, and in recent Court rulings, “Gay rights” are infringing on the freedom of religion recognized in the US Constitution.
So, White Supremacy is unjust because it benefits one ethnic group at the expense of other ethnic groups. Any semblance of it must be stamped out. But Abortion is not a right, but unjust because it benefits one group at the expense of those who are not yet born. “Gay marriage” is unjust because it dictates to a religious group what moral beliefs they can and cannot practice§ to the benefit of those who want to make the religious group accept different morals.
Recognizing that distinction, we would work for justice for ethnic minorities. Racial discrimination is against our Catholic beliefs. But, while we cannot support abortion or same sex “marriage,” we can work to make sure women have support and real health care when they are in a crisis pregnancy—this is justice to the woman and the unborn child. We cannot support attempts to redefine marriage, but we can work to protect people with same sex attraction from being attacked or otherwise maltreated on the grounds of their sexual inclination. The promotion of wrongdoing as a “right” by others never excuses us from doing what is actually right and just.
Bringing this back to my introduction to this article, what we have is certain set of demagogues and extremists who are hijacking a legitimate and urgent need for social justice in favor of their own antipathies. But their own injustice does not excuse us from working for real social justice. The George Floyd case reminds us that real injustice does exist and must be addressed. We cannot lose sight of that just because certain individuals in that call for justice are behaving unjustly towards us.
(†) This may be the fault of media coverage. For example (to pick two extremes), CNN seems to focus on what Trump does, while Fox seems primarily focused on the CHAZ/CHOP zone. If any of this has anything to do with reforming the very real problems going on right now, the media isn’t showing it.
(‡) As St. John Paul II pointed out: 
The inviolability of the person which is a reflection of the absolute inviolability of God, finds its primary and fundamental expression in the inviolability of human life. Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights—for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture—is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination. (St. John Paul II, Christifideles Laici #38)
(§) To expand without bogging down or diverting the article: If a religion believes that Same Sex “marriage” is a sin and those members of the religion who openly practice that sin are causing scandal, the state is violating the rights of freedom of religion in favor of the benefit of a small group by forcing the religion and individual practitioners to do what they think is morally wrong.