Polet: We are on the way of Ninevah

From Jeffrey Polet at the Front Porch Republic:

All of this, as I say, means restating what human beings are, how we account for their lives, what they are responsible for, and the limits of a freedom so articulated. But Americans don’t like to hear about limits, and for that reason alone the conservative voice will remain one crying in the wilderness.

Until the city becomes the wilderness, as inevitably it must. We are on the way of Nineveh, and those who live on its margins will be those who survive the collapse and can reconstruct something humanly meaningful. I’ve committed myself to the idea that this culture and our politics can be saved, and that things aren’t so bad as all that. I’ve resisted the strategy of withdrawal as irresponsible and impractical.

I don’t think yesterday has changed that. I still have eager young students who seek to know the truth about human life. I would express hope that my Church could offer a helpful alternative voice in our national debates, but it is difficult to retain such hope when 50% of Catholics voted to reelect an administration that has been relentlessly hostile to Catholic beliefs and institutions. We still have venues such as the Porch and the American Conservative and First Things which continue to light candles in the midst of the darkness. I have not yet despaired. Americans like to think of themselves as optimists, but only a fool would continue down a path so featureless and unpromising.

As Plato taught us, there comes a point when a political regime is beyond saving, and then the only alternative is to retreat into communities of like-minded people and wait out the storm. Conservatives have not been able to calm the waters, but they may yet be called upon after the seas surge beyond the levees. So it remains for us to keep our ancient compasses intact.

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