Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts takes a look at Mark Shea’s ongoing debate with strawmen:
I must admit, one reason I left Patheos was so that I could keep better track of Mark Shea. When I came on board Patheos, our editor asked me to leave Mark alone and cease and desist arguments with him. I more or less behaved myself, usually confining any references to Mark to the praise and ‘well done’ category.
That didn’t stop Mark, however, from visiting my blog a few times and throwing out his usual preemptive accusations, and then leaving. Since Mark banned me from his own sites, I couldn’t respond, and he never returned to dialogue with me.
That became frustrating to be sure. I tried to behave on my part, and yet felt I was coming out on the short end. Therefore one of many reasons to leave Patheos was so I could speak more openly about Mark’s descent into the deepest levels of the modern Left.
This post is a grand example. First of all, there is nothing wrong with the substance of what Mark says about Church teaching. The Church condemns racism. If you only oppose immigration because you are a racist, then that is bad. Likewise, our salvation does not rest in blood or soil or nation. The Church is not America, nor is it Western Civilization.
But that’s not the problem. First, Mark used a rather poor example to illustrate the opposing side of the debate. Assuming this all came to Mark as he indicates – and knowing how Mark falsely accused me of saying things about him, I must wonder – it is obviously a poorly written, poorly thought out piece. There are other, better pieces explaining the problems with open borders and post-national Christianity. The biggest problem is that whatever negative results occur, it won’t be us who pay the price. It will be future generations. A sort of martyrdom by proxy: By the degree to which future generations pay for our opinions have we declared our righteousness.
Mark doesn’t address those. He takes something written by what could pass as a high school Facebook rant. And he uses it to subtly suggest this is par for the course for those who don’t agree with the Church’s current approach to the subject.
He then does the really, super duper bad thing. He ascribes only the most vile and evil motives to those who oppose open border immigration. And then, to add salt to the wound, he takes it to the next level:
“…is (like all these Alt Right guys) obsessed with his sperm. That’s why he bizarrely speaks of “cuckolds” as he insults celibate “Catholic leaders”. It’s all about the weird fear these guys have that darkskins will inseminate “their” white women. The sexual insecurity of these wretched bully boys just leaps off the page every time they write.”
Go here to read the rest. Saint Thomas Aquinas would take arguments he rejected, make them stronger than their adherents did, and only then subject the arguments to his powerful analysis. Of course the Angelic Doctor didn’t post on the internet and his goal was not to get hits from red meat fans. His whole purpose was to arrive at the truth of any subject he wrote about, as best as he could. Unfortunately the attitude of most internet posters to truth is summed up in the beginning of Francis Bacon’s essay Of Truth:
We can do better than that, and not just Mark Shea. This is a duty especially for those of us who follow Truth Incarnate.