9/3/2018 Assorted Links

  1. The Facebookification of Local Politics: Extending the Wall of the Bathroom Stall A short commentary on social media’s effects on local politics mixed with a review of Cass Sunstein’s #Republic, which paints a rather optimistic picture of the future of social media and democracy. However, the book fails to take into account that local politics requires local knowledge, while social media is inevitably focused on national or international subjects.
  2. Sexual Libertinism Won’t Save the Church Classic wisdom from David French. He spends a few short paragraphs unpacking the idiocy of the modern ethic that claims that libertinism is the solution to the scandals facing the Church. File the NYT article he reviews and its pleasantly modern interpretation of Christ to the recent NowThis special on the beer-drinking all-lifestyle-affirming hipster church in California (from where else could it come?).
  3. Facebook Flags, Censors NPR Report on Inflated Government School Shooting Statistics Another disturbing instance of social media malfeasance–as well as report one would not usually expect from NPR. Good journalism lives, apparently.
  4. End of History Author Francis Fukuyama Thinks Leftist Identity Politics Helped Create Trump We all love to hate Fukuyama, but he affirms some common right-wing opinions on the darkness behind Trump (on both sides of the aisle). Plus a dig at Derrida, which never hurts.
  5. The Predator, the Diplomat, and the Pope I’ve found Michael Brendan Dougherty to be a welcome Catholic voice in these trying times–always looking for reform, untainted by the kind of traditionalism that allows abuses to go unchallenged, but still committed to the Church in its orthodox form. A few key paragraphs:


The next thing that can be said of Viganò’s letter is that it is rather obviously the work of a man with grievances against the current pope, and an open detestation of the set of people the pope has elevated in the Church, including Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, Cardinal Wuerl, and Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark. Viganò’s letter is written in a way that inextricably links the sexual-abuse and blackmail crisis to beloved figures on the progressive side.

However, the Viganò letter is a sprawling, long, detailed set of accusations and claims. He names so many bishops and cardinals, and describes so many discrete events, that it will be relatively easy for reporters to begin digging through it and verifying or discrediting many of its claims. It is astonishing that so few of the bishops and cardinals who have responded to it — even those who deny individual facts — have contested its main damning accusation against Pope Francis.

In short, there are politcs at play, but the response of the Pope thus far (and of supporters like Cardinal Wuerl) mean that this conversation is far from over.

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