At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

In just a few days, countless numbers of Americans will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Many will do so with no small share of adult spirits.

Yet how many of these people genuinely know anything about Saint Patrick?

While it’s true that many of the details of his life are lost in the midst of time, and while it is equally true that some conventional accounts are purely mythological, those who have taken the time to research Patrick seem to be in essential agreement over a few things that have more less been accepted as fact.

(1)Patrick came from a relatively well-to-do Christian family of the 5th century in what is today recognized the world over as Britain.  His father was a deacon and his grandfather a priest.

(2)When Patrick was 16 years of age, Irish pirates descended upon his family’s estate, raiding it. They abducted Patrick and forced him into bondage.  For the next six years, the young man would be made to attend to animals in what is now known as Ireland.

(3)While a slave, Patrick spent much of his time alone. Lonely and fearful, he proceeded to draw closer to the God of his parents’ faith.  In his writings, Patrick remarked that it was at this juncture that, through much prayer, he became a disciple of Christ.  It was also during his captivity that Patrick subsequently claimed to have had dreams in which he made Christian converts of the people of Ireland.

(4)Patrick said that God spoke to him six years into his captivity, assuring him that he would soon return home, for his ship was about ready to sail back to Britain. So, Patrick escaped and walked approximately 200 miles to the port at which the boat that would sail him home was docked.  It took some doing on his part, but the ship’s captain reluctantly allowed Patrick to come on board.

(5)After three days of sailing, the ship landed in Britain.  Over the span of four weeks they walked, hungry and exhausted, through what Patrick would characterize as a “wilderness.”  Patrick prayed for nourishment.  Shortly afterwards, he and his group encountered a herd of wild boar. Consequently, his companions came to esteem him, for in their trials, Patrick continually implored them to trust in God.  The availability of food, in their eyes, vindicated Patrick’s faith.

Eventually, when he was in his early 20’s, Patrick made it home.

(6) After he returned to Britain, Patrick continued to study and deepen his Christian faith.  A few years after being home, he had a vision.  Patrick wrote:

“I saw a man coming, as it were, from Ireland.  His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them.  I read the heading: ‘The Voice of the Irish.’”

Patrick continued: “As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea—and they cried out, as with one voice: ‘We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.’”

As to whom “Victoricus” refers, there remains debate.  Fortunately, for our purposes, we needn’t concern ourselves with this matter, for the vision seems to have been the final catalyst to have provoked Patrick to enter the priesthood.

(7)Fifteen years later, upon his ordination, Patrick was deployed to be a missionary to the Irish.  Apparently, though, there were already some Christian communities in Ireland; Patrick was entrusted with a twofold purpose.  He was to minister to those Christians that already lived in Ireland and make new Christians from the Celtic polytheists, the majority, that resided there.

(8)Not infrequently, Patrick met with hostility on the part of the chiefs of tribes that he encountered. He would write: “Never before did they know of God except to serve idols and unclean things.”

Yet after his labors, Patrick noted the stark changes that occurred among the inhabitants of the land that once enslaved him.  “But now, they have become the people of the Lord, and are called children of God. The sons and daughters of the leaders of the Irish are seen to be monks and virgins of Christ!”

Patrick wrote that he “baptized thousands of people,” including the sons of kings.  Patrick ordained priests and endowed them with authority to preside over the burgeoning Christian communities.  Wealthy women, persuaded by his efforts, resisted pressure from their families and become nuns.

Patrick’s commitment to his mission must have been second to none.  Because he refused to accept gifts from kings, he had no legal protections.  He claimed that, on at least one occasion, he was pummeled, deprived of all of his belongings, enchained, and thrown into jail to await his execution.

Somehow, Patrick managed to dodge the fate that awaited him.  But he also said that “many years later,” he was again a captive—but this time for 60 days.  Patrick disclosed no other details regarding this incident.

Still, he persisted—and prevailed.

(9)Patrick converted Ireland into a bastion of the Christian faith.  He did so by utilizing the Irish’s own pagan traditions so as to shed light on the insights of his own faith.  To this end, since the Irish were accustomed to honoring their gods with fires, Patrick used fire to celebrate the Resurrection, Easter.  And he superimposed a sun—a rich Irish symbol—on the cross, hence giving rise to what would become the Celtic cross.

It was eventually said that Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock of Ireland to teach his prospective converts about the Holy Trinity.  The number “three” was of significance for the Irish and, according to Wikipedia, they had many “triple deities.”  Furthermore, some suggest that the shamrock itself may have symbolized to the Irish natives the regenerative powers of nature, an idea that was then reframed within a Christian context.

(10)Patrick was among the first figures in history to publically disavow slavery.  In this respect he was centuries ahead of his time.

(11)Though the world knows him as Saint Patrick, and though this is certainly a distinction of which he is worthy, he was never canonized as a saint.

Writer Ken Concannon explains: “There was no formal canonization process in the Church during its first millennium. In the early years of the Church the title saint was bestowed first upon martyrs, and then upon individuals recognized by tradition as being exceptionally holy during their lifetimes.”

Saint Patrick obviously falls into the latter category.

Patrick became a saint “by popular acclaim, probably with the approval of the bishop.”

(12)March 17, the day that we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, is the anniversary of this great Christian missionary’s death.   Scholars place the time of his death anywhere between 460 and 493.

So, as you drink green beer and eat corn beef and cabbage this St. Patty’s Day, bear in mind that it is a great man of God to whom you’re toasting.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!




Your average American generally and your average flag-waving, parade-attending American specifically, is likely to be unaware of two facts.

First, when Republicans and Democrats, “liberals” and “conservatives,” in government and Big Media reference America, they have something very different in mind than that entertained by everyday Americans when the latter refer to their country.

Secondly, Republicans and Democrats, “liberals” and “conservatives,” in government and Big Media, despite the appearance of consistent disagreement, actually endorse one and the same conception of America.  It is the conception of America that, for reasons that will later be disclosed, is championed by the Mono-Party, the Regime, or, as I call it, the Big GAME (Government-Academic-Media-Entertainment complex).

From this stance, America is an Idea.

America is depicted as the first and only nation in all of human history to have been “founded” upon a “principle” or “proposition.”

Thus, like any other idea, like any other mental phenomenon, it is fundamentally immaterial.  What this in turn means is that while America is typically identified with certain particulars like a landmass, a government, a legal order, etc., ultimately it is a trans-historical, trans-cultural Idea that just happens to be instantiated—imperfectly instantiated—in such contingent, material forms.

In the last analysis, then, America is an Idea that, as such, is borderless.

As to the exact character of this Idea, proponents differ amongst themselves. Usually, however, America is conceived as a creed affirming “human rights,” “Democracy,” ideals of Freedom and Equality, or something along the lines of these abstractions.  But however its proponents decide to construe the Idea, they agree that America’s identity is anchored in this timeless, immutable Essence.

This Idea or Essence is also normative.  It is ethical: The Idea is something to which all human beings the planet over should aspire.

In this vision of America-as-Idea, we see ontology and ethics converge seamlessly: America, ultimately, is a moral reality.

America-as-Idea also implicates its own peculiar epistemology.  Because the Idea purports to be a timeless object of discovery, it is said, as Jefferson says of our “unalienable rights,” that it is “self-evident.”

That is, the epistemology is unmistakably and inevitably rationalist.  Knowledge of the Idea is a priori, independent of experience. Hence, in theory, it is accessible to all rational creatures in all places and at all times.

This conception of America is the official, contemporary understanding promoted by The Big GAME, the Regime.  It is the vision of leftist ideologues and the Deputized Right, of “progressivism” and Big Conservatism (the Big Con) alike.

The question as to why or how it is that partisans of seemingly different stripes have managed to coalesce around the same conception of America can be answered easily enough even on the dubious assumption that such partisans really are of different stripes:

From the vantage of America-as-Idea, America is an ideological or creedal nation.

In other words, America so conceived is an ideology.

Admittedly, America-as-Idea—an idea that is racially, culturally, ethnically, and theologically-neutral—is a potentially (but by no means necessarily) conciliatory device in the increasingly multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious America of 2018.  Nevertheless, it isn’t likely for the sake of reconciling rival racial and other interests that the movers and shakers of the GAME labor tirelessly to depict America as an ideological nation.

America-as-Idea serves purposes that are at once political and economic.

America-as-Idea, given its character as an ideology, can be concisely reduced to a small handful of propositions that, with minimal effort, virtually any person can learn by rote. Given that it consists of abstractions, and abstractions, by their nature, are general and vague, America-as-Idea readily lends itself to conscription in the service of virtually any agenda that its proponents seek to advance.

By annexing to itself the Nation of Immigrants myth, America-as-Idea not only permits endless immigration from everywhere on the planet; it positively encourages it.  While it’s true that relatively few of its proponents explicitly advocate on behalf of a literally borderless America, and while it’s undoubtedly true that most proponents of this vision of America recognize the undesirability, or at least the impracticality, of welcoming the world’s population into their country, it’s no less true that any restrictions they seek to impose on immigration can’t but appear as arbitrary and, therefore, unfair:

If America is an Idea that, like every other mental entity, is literally borderless, comprised as it is of a principle or small set of principles that can effortlessly be confined to memory and affirmed by anyone with the inclination to do so, then any person in any location of the world in effect becomes an American the moment he or she pledges allegiance to these principles.  Immigration law designed to impose caps and quotas, to say nothing of bans on immigrants from certain countries, can only appear as, at best, a practical and temporary expedient.  Or maybe it will strike observers as a necessary evil.

At worst, restrictions on immigration will be viewed as unjustified, the expression of “discrimination,” “racism,” “xenophobia,” and so forth.

Even legislation regarding the steps for citizenship must appear morally suspect from the perspective of the champions of America-as-Idea, for, to reiterate, a person becomes an American the moment that he or she embraces the Principle that is America. The bipartisan chorus regarding the “brokenness” of America’s immigration system, I submit, reflects this belief. After all, it is virtually always and only those who want more immigration and amnesty (by some euphemistic name or other) who most loudly bemoan our “broken” system.

So, America-as-Idea, vis-à-vis endless, Third World immigration, serves the economic interests of Big Business and the Chamber of Commerce by way of supplying cheap labor, and it serves the political interests of Democrats and leftists by supplying votes.

Yet there is also an ideological interest advanced on this front: The “Anti-Racism/Diversity” offensive of the GAME requires America-as-Idea.

Since America is an Idea, it no more belongs to a person or exclusive set of people than do Plato’s Forms, Augustine’s Divine Ideas, or any other ontological or moral propositions purporting to be timeless, universal, and objective.

America-as-Idea, that is, is not a creation; it’s an object of discovery.

America-as-Idea, by way of the massive planetary immigration that it encourages, serves the ideological end of combatting “White Privilege” and “institutional racism” and promoting Diversity, Tolerance, and Inclusion.  It as well facilitates “free trade” and “capitalism.”

On the foreign policy front, America-as-Idea provides the ideological underpinning for limitless military interventionism. If proponents deem that governments have insufficiently affirmed the Idea that is America—the ideal of Democracy, say, or Human Rights—then “regime change” is a moral necessity and the regime’s subjects ripe for “liberation.”

The policy of interventionism, like immigration, speaks to the ideological, economic, and political ambitions of the agents of the GAME.

Ideologically, the ideals of Freedom, Equality, human rights, and Democracy get an assist from the enterprise of going to war in their name.

Economically speaking, the Military-Industrial-Complex against which President Eisenhower long ago warned his fellow Americans is enriched.  Not only do military contractors profit enormously, but so too do those in the media profit via ratings and circulation.

Politically, those in government can use the occasion of war to drum up fear and impress upon their constituents a sense of national “crisis,” which is a Godsend for politicians in that a crisis is always pregnant with possibilities for the consolidation of power, further centralization of government authority, and, of course, reelection.

And there is no crisis like that of war, the penultimate call for the mobilization and collectivization of human resources.

So, your garden-variety, patriotic American will do himself a good turn to bear in mind the many uses and interests that this ahistorical fiction of America serves the next time he hears a politician or pundit refer to America as an Idea.





Big Conservatism, or the Big Con, having long ago fused with the GOP, embodies its vision in the Republican Party platform.  One of the planks of the latter is the Big Con’s “pro-life” position on abortion.

Now, the most fundamental reason for opposing abortion is that it consists in the killing of an innocent, defenseless human being, a yet-to-be-born child.  This being so, the circumstances in which a child in the womb is conceived are about as morally relevant to the fate of that child as are the circumstances surrounding the conception of the reader of this essay morally relevant to determining his fate.

The circumstances of a human being’s entrance into this world have utterly zero relevance to whether he should live or die.

Yet the merchants of the Big Con, for all of their rhetorical hosannas (particularly during election season) to the sanctity of human life, have a decidedly different track record.

Take the Big Con’s Patron Saint, Ronald Reagan. The 40th POTUS continues to be tirelessly depicted as pro-life.  Yet Reagan opposed abortion except for when he didn’t oppose it.  In other words, he claimed to oppose abortion in all instances except those of rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is endangered.

Unsurprisingly, this tends to be the Big Con’s default position on abortion.  That it is at once a cop-out and inconsistent should be obvious to anyone who slows down the three seconds necessary to see it for what it is.  It is the logical and moral equivalent of the view that the death penalty is wrong—except for when it is administered to murderers, rapists, and child sex predators, etc.

Obviously, anyone who holds this view is not opposed to the death penalty.  Since the whole point of capital punishment is to reserve its use only for those who are convicted of the most egregious of offenses, anyone who favors its use in these “exceptional” cases is a proponent, not an opponent, of it.

Similarly, the whole point of opposing abortion is to protect innocent human life. Thus, those who claim to be protectors of the most innocent and defenseless among us while simultaneously relinquishing that protection due to circumstances—like the violence in which conception occurred—that don’t in any way undercut that innocence and defenselessness undermine the principle reason for opposing abortion in the first place.

This, though, was Reagan’s position.

Nor should this surprise anyone when it is considered that as governor of California—several years before Roe v. Wade, mind you—Reagan legalized abortion via the “Therapeutic Abortion Act.”  Courtesy of the Gipper’s move, approximately one million babies were killed in their mothers’ wombs.

Reagan would later blame this ghastly phenomenon on…doctors.  Physicians, he insisted, misinterpreted the law that he signed.  Yet even before the legalized slaughtering got under way and after he had signed the bill into law, Reagan remarked that had he been more experienced in the art of governing, he would not have signed it.

Lou Cannon, a Reagan biographer, said that Reagan did in fact come to regret his decision.  It’s not clear, though, exactly what it is about this decision that Reagan regretted, for Cannon quickly added that Reagan “knew that the [previous] California law [on abortion] was overly restrictive” and “was particularly bothered that it made no exception for rape or incest” (emphases added).

Furthermore, for the eight years of his Presidency, Reagan proposed not a single piece of pro-life legislation.

George W. Bush, another two-term “conservative” Republican president who was widely hailed as a champion of the unborn, was no more pro-life than Reagan. It’s true that he signed a ban on so-called “partial-birth abortion,” as well as signing the Born Alive Infants Protection Act and the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.  It’s equally true that none of these actions made an iota’s worth of difference when it came to preventing a single scheduled abortion.

But matters were even worse than this.

For starters, Bush continually insisted throughout his presidency that he does not have a “litmus” test for nominating judges. In other words—follow the logic here—although he ostensibly viewed abortion, the killing of a defenseless child in the womb, as a great evil, Bush refused to hold it against judicial prospects if they disagreed with him on this score.

Although he supposedly regarded the act of destroying innocent human beings as unjust, Bush had no moral or other objections to endowing judges with the authority and power to rule in favor of those who would destroy these human beings.

If you can’t see that this position is as intellectually incoherent as it is morally contradictory, then there’s nothing more that can be said.

Second, Bush refused to lend support to South Dakota’s ban on abortion in all instances except for when the mother’s life was endangered by her pregnancy.   As he told ABC news at the time: “Well…my position has always been three exceptions: rape, incest and the life of the mother.”

The South Dakota ban, in short, was too “restrictive” for Bush’s taste.

Now, while this view of Bush’s is fatally problematic for the reasons already disclosed, it’s likely deceptive by design.  To put it another way, that Bush—like Big Cons generally—is driven primarily by political considerations, not moral conviction or the constraints of logic, is all but obvious given that South Dakota legislators did wind up adding his exceptions to their legislation.

The President, though, still refused to come out in support of their ban.

Most tellingly, Bush is the first President in all of American history to approve of federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research.

It’s no wonder that the agents of the Big Con hailed Bush II as a great conservative President, and that they continue to do the same and then some with respect to Reagan.  Among other things, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush represent the Big Con’s version of the pro-life stance.

In short, Reagan and Bush provide the template for how the Big Cons can fool their constituents in the conservative movement—and possibly fool themselves—into thinking that Big Conservatism is pro-life.



During a recent exchange with some essentially like-minded friends, someone—a Republican voter who is typically and appropriately critical of the conservative movement, or what I call the Big Con—suggested that we would spend our time more wisely if we reserved our harshest criticisms for the left.

After all, as Barack Hussein Obama, in a rare moment of candor, revealed nearly a decade ago, it is the left that aims to achieve nothing less than “the fundamental transformation” of America.

This comment of my friend’s deserves a response.  Fortunately, several are in the coming.

First, thankfully, criticism of the Big Con does not preclude criticism of the left.  We can walk and chew gum at the same time.

Second, while there are admittedly some differences between the Big Con and the left, they are differences in degree, not in kind.  And herein lay the fundamental misconception in which my friend’s objection is rooted, the misconception that the resources spent on critiquing the Big Con are resources diverted from critiquing the left.

The truth of the matter is that those of us on what Paul Gottfried calls “the unauthorized,” “non-aligned,” or “independent” right—and what I prefer to call the unprofessional or non-careerist right—are  as critical as we are of the Big Con precisely because it is a species of the left.

In other words, the problem that my friend identified, the problem of critiquing either the Big Con or the left, is a false dichotomy.  Ultimately, there is but a single target here, and it is leftism, Political Correctness, “progressivism,” or whatever else we choose to call it.

Thirdly, this last point shouldn’t obscure the fact there is a difference between the Big Con and garden variety leftism.  Yet the difference is that while the Obamas, Pelosis, and CNN blabber- mouths of the world are unmistakably leftist, the Bushes, Romneys, and Fox News blabber-mouths, though left-leaning, are not unmistakably so.

And this is why it is at least as important, and arguably more so, to expose the Big Con than expend energy revisiting the same usual suspects on the hard left.

Leftists are (for the most part) recognized for who they are.  Yet as long as tens of millions of Americans continue to believe that talk radio hosts, Fox News all-stars, and National Review, Commentary, and Weekly Standard writers are “conservative” or “right-wing,” the left will continue to make the kinds of cultural and political advances that it has been making for decades.

In other words, the Big Con right is in reality the stealth left.

Consider this point in light of an analogy:

If a person wants to avoid contracting a lethal disease, or if he has already contracted it but wants to eradicate it, he will need to know all that he can know about it—its causes and symptoms, certainly, but also the treatments to which he’ll have recourse in combatting it.

Now, suppose that the “experts” in the medical and pharmaceutical industries, for whatever reasons, present as an antidote this disease a drug that, while decelerating the rate at which the disease advances, nevertheless enables it to proceed along its fatal trajectory.  Three things should be apparent:

(a)The drug would be preferable to no drug at all.  However, inasmuch as it posed no insurmountable obstacle to the disease, it would clearly be mortally dishonest for the experts to depict it as if it did, to depict it as if it was something fundamentally different than what it is in fact.

(b)Moreover, it would be the height of recklessness and injustice for those of who recognized both the terminal disease for what it is and the fake remedy not to call attention to these facts.

(c)The whole reason that we should scream from the rooftops that the public and patients are being scammed is that the authorities are abetting this terminal illness by presenting a fake as a cure.

To repeat, the choice faced by the whistleblowers is not a choice between calling attention to the terminal nature of the disease and calling attention to the pseudo-cure promoted by the experts.  In the last analysis, there is but one problem, one target, on which critics’ attention focuses: the terminal illness.  The drug is newsworthy only because it is promoted as if it poses real opposition to the disease when it does no such thing.

Similarly, it is imperative that those who want to prevent the fundamental transformation—the death—of their country to focus on the leftist illness that threatens to bring it about.  To this end, they have neither the moral nor the logical option to remain silent on the fake drug of the Big Con or the Deputized Right, a controlled opposition permitted by the left but which is promoted as an antidote to leftism by “the experts,” the agents and peddlers of the Big Con themselves.

Doubtless, there are several objections that apologists for the Big Con or the Deputized Right will raise to this thesis. The most basic of them, the one objection of which every other will prove to be a variant, is that my thesis is simply wrong.  Of course, the counter-objectors will exclaim, the Rush Limbaughs, Sean Hannitys, and Laura Ingrahams of the conservative movement are not left-wing!

Undoubtedly, many (though certainly not all) Big Con celebrities genuinely think that they are the conservative enemies of leftism that they style themselves as being.  This, though, is neither here nor there, for thinking one is such-and-such isn’t the same as being such-and-such.

Furthermore, the “conservatism” of the Big Cons is in effect a ramshackle construction, a kaleidoscopic ala’ carte of views on topical issues that, if distinguishable at all from those of their leftist counterparts, is distinguished on account of its differing in details from those positions taken by leftists at the moment.  Examples of this abound.

Not all that long ago, it was the “conservative” position to favor same-sex “unions,” but oppose same-sex “marriage.” Now, as to how this was uniquely or even distinctively conservative is anyone’s guess, for it was also the Democratic left’s position as recently as seven years ago.  But once the Supreme Court discovered a Constitutional right to homosexual marriage, the “conservative” position changed.  Today, it is considered “conservative” to either explicitly affirm same-sex “marriage” or implicitly affirm it by way of such smokescreens as “States’ Rights” or deference to “the rule of law.”

In the case of abortion, most Big Cons maintain that they’re pro-life. Yet they’re willing to allow for the killing of the unborn if the child was conceived in rape or through incest, hence militating decisively against the very ground—the innocence of the prenatal human being—on which they profess their opposition to abortion.  Or Big Cons claim that less money than that which leftists want to give it should be given to Planned Parenthood.

When it comes to immigration, the “conservative” position has been that while illegal immigration is bad, potentially limitless immigration—from anywhere in the world—is good.  In a good number of instances, the “conservative” position has been amnesty—though always packaged under a different label designed to conceal the fact that it’s amnesty that “conservatives” advocate.

We could go on.

Nor should it be any surprise that Big Cons abet the left in the latter’s long march through the institutions when it is considered that both trade in the same sorts of abstractions within which they couch their positions on contemporary issues.

The Deputized Right and the social Democratic left regularly espouse the rhetoric of “human rights.”

They both speak as if America is ahistorical, the first and only country in all of history to have been founded on some universal abstraction.  The Big Con/Deputized Right calls this the doctrine of “American Exceptionalism.”

Both the Big Con and the left endorse the Ellis Island/Melting Pot myth, the fiction that America had no founding stock and that, from its inception, it has been and was always meant to be a rest area for the planet.

And the Big Con specifically insists upon America’s “Judeo-Christian” heritage.  Yet this is a term that appeared nowhere in our political-cultural lexicon until quite recently, as far as the life of America is measured.

In short, the Big Con and their leftist sparring partners have labored tirelessly engaging in unabashed historical revisionism and amateur philosophy regarding the origins and character of America.

I have no doubts that at least some of the Big Cons are unaware of the consequences of their actions.  Nevertheless, there can be no denying that the Big Con, the Deputized Right, functions as an accomplice to the left.  The Big Con is as much, and possibly even more, responsible for the leftward drift of America than is the recognized left, and it most definitely is exponentially more responsible than is the militant left that would have otherwise remained a joke, a freak show, or a danger to be dealt with had it not been for the Big Con’s capitulation to the left’s machinations.

So, to my friend who questioned the utility of criticizing the Big Con, I underscore the importance—the duty—of those of us on the unprofessional right to expose the fake antidote of the Big Con for what it is.  Only in doing so can we hope to mount the resistance to the left that it warrants.