Same view of the middle...


This is an old email I never got to — I’ve been combing through the backlog. I thought it was worth posting even though it’s more than a month old.

Jonah,   It’s slightly obscure, but one of the more interesting Christian theology blogs out there (to those of us who have an interest in academic theology, at least) has stumbled into your territory.  I won’t burden you with a summary of John Milbank’s work, but a blog post that goes like this might have some interest:  
One of the fascinating features of the contemporary intellectual landscape is the appearance of surprising convergences between the political left and right. You can see it, for instance, in the retrieval of Carl Schmitt by contemporary leftist theorists; or you can see it in a conference like this one, where theologians and radical Marxist philosophers rally together around the Pope’s infamous Regensburg address.

In his delightful book on Paul, Jacob Taubes offers a humorous comment on this tendency in political theory. Referring to the fascist theorist Armin Mohler, he remarks (p. 99): “He was, so to speak, the right-wing extremist and I was the left extremist. Les extrèmes se touchent – in any event, we shared the same views about the middle.”

In the latest instance of “sharing the same views about the middle,” Dave Belcher refers us to John Milbank’s short piece in The Guardian. Milbank gets straight to the point, and calls for a “red Toryism”: “In the face of the secret alliance of cultural with economic liberalism, we need now to invent a new sort of politics which links egalitarianism to the pursuit of objective values and virtues: a ‘traditionalist socialism’ or a ‘red Toryism’. After all, what counts as radical is not the new, but the good.”

  Not the first time I’ve seen Carl Schmitt mentioned on Myers’ blog.  Personally, what I find so creepy about this rehabilitation of fascism is that the folks doing the intellectual heavy lifting for it seem so completely unaware of potential pitfalls.  Leads to very lazy argumentation:  there’s usually some kind of flaccid “critique of capitalism” offered, followed by invocation of anyone who’s ever made a similar-sounding comment.  Almost magically, the ideas of those invoked (whatever horrors they might have been apologists for) are now considered appropriate conversation partners for Christian political theology.   Obviously, love the book.  Thanks,


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