Contradictions of inclusiveness

To be like one thing is to be different from another. The things that divide are therefore the same as the things that unite. That’s so obviously true that it’s hard to imagine how anyone could ever have seen “inclusiveness” as a possible ideal.

If it’s presented as an ideal there’s a shell game going on. “Inclusiveness” is in fact a demand that we accept a particular point of view and adhere to it in all aspects of life. As such, the inclusiveness of “inclusiveness” is rather like the catholicity of Catholicism or the universality of Islam. It’s a universal that includes everybody, where “everybody” means those who accept and submit to it. A distinction is that Catholicism, at least, feels obliged to explain itself to others while “inclusiveness” does not. Those who reject the latter are simply confused, ignorant, psychologically deformed, or evil.

So what is the dogma that inclusiveness demands we accept? Simply this, that “good” has no other meaning than “desired.” Once that’s accepted we’re all equal, because we all equally have desires that equally define the good, and justice requires that our goods—which are simply our desires—be respected equally. The whole of liberalism depends on the claim that this definition of the good is special, because it equally respects all understandings of the good, and so is uniquely suited for governing a society in which understandings of the good differ. The problem is that it’s not special at all. Far from respecting understandings of the good other than itself it denounces them as bigoted, because they do not equally accept all desires, and demands that their adherents reject them in everything they do by treating what they believe to be “good” as simply their personal preference. Christian, Orthodox Jew and Muslim must all treat homosexuality as a personal taste or cultural expression no less worthy of respect than the beliefs and practices they hold sacred. Such a demand is many things, but an expression of respect for nonliberal views it is not.

And liberals? They’re not obligated to put their idea of the good, that it’s simply a matter of individual desire, on a par with those of other people. Instead, they feel called upon to force everyone to comply with it in all the affairs of life. Liberalism is thus far more intolerant that Catholicism or Islam, which have normally allowed adherents of other faiths to carry on their own communal life and made no attempt to take custody of their children and convert them. “inclusiveness” is the most intolerant of ideologies. It claims the right and duty to include everything, so it can allow other views no hiding place.

2 thoughts on “Contradictions of inclusiveness”

  1. I’m sorry to say this,

    I’m sorry to say this, Jim, but America’s Roman Catholics have gobs of explaining to do.

    I know this is offensive to some, but it must be said. Roman Catholics teach the same liberalism at Georgetown and Villanova that gets taught at State U. They hire gay men as priests then clean up the messes when they commit horrible acts. They openly tolerate everything from pop psychology to liberation theology.

    Traditionalists tell me I’m supposed to “support the pope,” yet he barely lifts a finger on any of these issues. Still, they want me to join them in supporting a currupt organization with my loyalty, my children and my money. You read, for example, Chesterton and his followers, and they hold up this romantic view of Mother Church that doesn’t match reality. Perhaps it never did.

    If Catholicism stands apart from liberalism, I want to see how. That they have a bunch of good and true teaching that sit on dusty bookshelves does us no good. I know that some Catholics fight against the evils of their time — and I sincerely do not want to offend them — but I look at today’s American RC Church like another big overfunded liberal institution, like the United Way or UNICEF.

  2. I agree with you about

    I agree with you about much actually-existing American Catholicism. What I had in mind, though, is that there’s no liberal equivalent of Catholic apologetics or of the Summa Contra Gentiles.

    I’m trying to compare various views in their best and most coherent forms, and at the highest and most serious levels I find Catholicism far more interested in opposing views than liberalism.

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