Beginning with His Holiness Benedict XVI‘s description of “a peculiar Western self-hatred that is nothing short of pathological,” James Kalb describes “a narcissism of the present and the self” — The Church and the suicide of the West. An excerpt:
- That situation points to a problem more basic than moral panic or anti-Western bigotry: it is a sign of hatred of culture as such. That hatred, and not respect for other cultures, fuels multiculturalism. The goal is not to support every culture but to make it impossible for any culture to function. Multiculturalism wants to give equal status in all situations to Islam, but also to Zen Islam, non-doctrinal Islam, and LBGTQ feminist Islam. But then where is Islam?
Benedict looks for what is best in those he opposes, but I don’t see today the concern that he expressed other people’s cultures. How many fans of diversity care about Confucius, Chola sculpture, or Ibn Khaldun? And in any event the people Benedict “othered” by referring to as outsiders—Arabs, Japanese, Somalians—seem to be no less racist, sexist, and homophobic than Plato or Donald Trump. So why would up-to-date people want to learn from them?
What we are seeing, in fact, is not openness but rejection of every concrete social reality. They limit us, and are never fair or equal, which in the end means they never put us and our feelings and wishes at the center of things. We are facing a narcissism of the present and the self.
He concludes on a note of hope, one of the Theological Virtues: “The Church of the future will be the source of peace, freedom, and life in the midst of chaos, slavery, and death.”