The Turnabout Credo

Turnabout is:

  • Antimodernist, and rejects the stripped-down understanding of knowledge, reason and reality that has led to the current intellectual, social, and spiritual dead end,
  • Hierarchical, and accepts that man is a composite being—free and bound, individual and social, physical and spiritual—and each aspect of what he is must be given weight within an ordered whole.
  • Traditionalist, and views particular attachments, the development of social habit, and informal refinement and transmission of past acquisitions as essential to a reliable understanding of almost anything,
  • Catholic, and accepts the authority, sacraments, and teaching of the Church as an ultimate reference point.

We recognize that the great enemy today of Catholicism, a tolerable human existence, and even reason itself is a technocratic view of man and society. That view takes human desire, know-how, and purely formal—and therefore empty—concepts like equality as its final standards. It rules out all thought of a precedent order of things that is given by God, nature, or culture, and so must be respected. The “dignity of the individual” becomes identified with an equal right to the satisfaction of desire, and everything becomes a means to that end.

The technocratic outlook thus aims at comprehensive transformation of human life on simple principles. Equality, rationality, and efficiency become the highest goals. Traditional distinctions and standards are done away with in favor of universal technically-rational organization designed to secure the equal satisfaction of desire.

The self-contained perfection to which the outlook aspires demands that all things be subordinated to a universal administrative scheme that pervades and controls everything. The creation of such a system, and the abolition of principles of order not based solely on human will and formal rationality (for example, the particularities of religion, historical community and sex), become overriding political goals.

The attempt to establish such a system leads to self-seeking hedonism, politically-correct bureaucratic tyranny, and in the end utter irrationality due to its inability to recognize any principle of order or judgment outside itself. To avoid such an outcome, renewed emphasis is needed on man’s transcendent setting, on the natural basis of human life, and on the relative mutual autonomy of the various spheres of life.

The good life is possible only with the aid of the principles of well-ordered freedom, which Catholics sometimes call subsidiarity—limited government, decentralization, tradition, and public recognition of transcendent religious authority. Catholics should therefore promote those principles, and reject whatever fundamentally opposes them: liberalism, the welfare state, “human rights” as now understood, radical secularism, and contemporary ideologies such as feminism and inclusiveness.

By taking such a position. we put ourselves at odds with the functionaries and apologists of the technocratic order: the experts, educators, academics, lawyers, bureaucrats and media people who provide and make authoritative the asserted facts, concepts, and principles that order relies on.

Turnabout will develop facts and arguments relating to these issues and propose considerations relevant to their understanding. Criticism and debate is of course welcome—there’s nothing necessarily correct about what any of us say, and what’s worthwhile in it can only become apparent if it’s questioned and tested. I hope you join us!

6 thoughts on “The Turnabout Credo”

  1. Since these discussions tend to

    Since these discussions tend to relate heavily toward politics, conservatism vs liberalism, what is the specific political form being advocated? Throughout history, though less so recently, the Church has always endorsed monarchy, even calling it the “best of all governments”. How can a devout Catholic truly support a democratic republic, especially one founded by Deists and Masons? Authority descends from God, not up from man, most of whom, God says, are corrupt and wicked while only a few try to do good. Moreover, how can a Catholic support one system of government (democracy) for their country while also upholding an opposite government (spiritual monarchy/heirarchy) for the Church?
    What are your thoughts on the subject?

    • Aquinas supported democracy
      Have a look at what St. Thomas Aquinas said about democracy in the Summa:

      Two points are to be observed concerning the right ordering of rulers in a state or nation. One is that all should take some share in the government: for this form of constitution ensures peace among the people, commends itself to all, and is most enduring, as stated in Polit. ii, 6. The other point is to be observed in respect of the kinds of government, or the different ways in which the constitutions are established. For whereas these differ in kind, as the Philosopher states (Polit. iii, 5), nevertheless the first place is held by the “kingdom,” where the power of government is vested in one; and “aristocracy,” which signifies government by the best, where the power of government is vested in a few. Accordingly, the best form of government is in a state or kingdom, where one is given the power to preside over all; while under him are others having governing powers: and yet a government of this kind is shared by all, both because all are eligible to govern, and because the rules are chosen by all. For this is the best form of polity, being partly kingdom, since there is one at the head of all; partly aristocracy, in so far as a number of persons are set in authority; partly democracy, i.e. government by the people, in so far as the rulers can be chosen from the people, and the people have the right to choose their rulers.

      Such was the form of government established by the Divine Law. For Moses and his successors governed the people in such a way that each of them was ruler over all; so that there was a kind of kingdom. Moreover, seventy-two men were chosen, who were elders in virtue: for it is written (Dt. 1:15): “I took out of your tribes wise and honorable, and appointed them rulers”: so that there was an element of aristocracy. But it was a democratical government in so far as the rulers were chosen from all the people; for it is written (Ex. 18:21): “Provide out of all the people wise men,” etc.; and, again, in so far as they were chosen by the people; wherefore it is written (Dt. 1:13): “Let me have from among you wise men,” etc.

  2. On the whole, I think

    On the whole, I think it’s best to work with what you have. Government involves common habits, understandings, mutual loyalties and so on that can’t be easily replaced. Also, there are advantages and disadvantages to almost any government. Catholicism has problems in America but so far as I can tell it has the same problems in Europe even where they have a monarchy. So I don’t think it’s form of government that’s the problem as much as something deeper.

    So I’d say Catholics can support American government in the same way they supported Caesar’s government — obey the laws, pay taxes, perform their civic duties, pray for the constituted authorities, etc.

    I’d agree there are problems. America is said to be “dedicated to a proposition.” To the extent that’s true American patriotism involves ideological attachments, and there are problems with the ideology. Also, American government is supposed to be based on consent so American institutions are set up to get people to accept the ideology — otherwise there won’t be consent, and the institutions will run into big trouble. The schools show what the consequences are. What they do today is nonstop indoctination. The civil rights laws are another example. In their operation they require businesses, schools, nonprofit institutions etc. to buy into the notion of “celebrating diversity,” which means that all questions of the truth and goodness of various religions, ways of life etc. have to be kept strictly out of sight.

    Again, though, I don’t think any of this today has much to do with form. It’s the substance of modern government that’s the problem.

  3. Dear Mr. Crisp,

    To answer your

    Dear Mr. Crisp,

    To answer your question directly: perhaps American Catholics should support the non-Catholic American government for the same reasons you encourage Vietnamese Catholics to support the non-Catholic Nguyen Monarchy: because it has been, and remains in large degree, a protector of Catholic liberties.

    By the way — I have found excellent resources and commentary on your web pages (via Mr. Theodore Harvey). Thanks for the good work you have done.

  4. Thanks for the response. It

    Thanks for the response. It sounds like something my good friend Charles Coulombe would say (glad to see his link) though he is certainly an old style Catholic monarchist all-the-way. However, I agree that for the government of this country to improve would require first a very fundamental change in attitude before any change in government would be successful. I don’t really make the comparrison with Europe because there are so few monarchies left in which power is actually divided between elected and traditional figures, most are essentially “crowned republics”.

    For me, it is simply a matter of principle, even if purely argumentative, that the form of government I support will be one I believe to be the most ideal and in keeping with my beliefs and principles, which will always be monarchy over republic. Personally, I would say we need to reevaluate everything done since the liberal snow ball began rolling in the “Age of Reason” (so-called), though even then I could go back farther to the Protestant Revolt when personal opinions were declared to have priority over established truths.

    As I said, it is largely a matter of principle, but in my more jaded moments I cannot hold out much hope for a political system that was founded, in my opinion, by moderate to radical liberals and based on “whatever the people want or think they want is right” rather than being based on authority descending from God through the traditional heirarchy of Pope, monarch, subject.

    And to the point about the Vietnamese, it is worth remembering that the last Nguyen Emperor converted to Christianity and had he not been deposed, Vietnam would today have a Catholic Emperor in the person of Prince Imperiale Bao Long. There is one page on that subject on the website I have linked to here.

    Thanks for the compliments too.

    “My son, fear thou the Lord and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change.”
    Proverbs 24:21

  5. Church
    Roman Catholic doctrine teaches tradition of the church equal in authority of Scripture. This means that if a doctrine is being considered, that both tradition and/or scripture can be used to justify and adopt that doctrine. It is precisely this reasoning that led to the doctrine of immaculate conception.
    The “tradition equivalent to scripture” doctrine assumes church tradition has/will not be corrupted by sinful man and/or Scripture is already corrupted by sinful man. I can accept neither. Christ rails against tradition, calling those supporting the traditions whitewashed tombs, the epitome of insult.
    The scriptures were written by men, but that does not mean that the scriptures are not most trustworthy and authoritative. Paul explains that the scriptures were inspired by God, and Christ endorses the old testament.
    Also, I greatly respect tradition, and will gladly adopt it until it conflicts with scripture. As a historian, I know history does not repeat itself explicitly, but I concur that we who fail to learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them.
    The danger of the tradition = scripture doctrine is that it allows adoption of error introduced by corrupted man. We are corrupt in our thinking. The fear of the Lord is the begining of wisdom. Only humbly seeking His wisdom, with fear and trembling, as it is revealed in scripture, can we ever hope to know Truth. We will never get it right (be Holy) on this side of life, but to assert church tradition has authority equal to scripture seems destined to failure.
    When we disagree on understanding of scriptural teaching, we must be able to agree on key principles. The creed quoted in the mass seems adequate. All else can be debated, but there should never be a need to divide over it. Why then may I not partake of the Roman Catholic Eucharist? The answer is that I cannot accept the tradition = scripture doctrine, and therefore am prohibited from being Catholic.
    It is His story, every major decision a man makes will be faulty until he gains a proper perspective of the whole world as God sees it. That perspective is through His Word. And the Word became flesh, and we beheld His glory, as of the only begotten, full of grace and truth.
    Pray for the church.
    God bless

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