“The last Hungarian of world-historical significance was Zsa Zsa Gabor.”

In the wake of Orban’s massive victory, Les UDs have been going at it hammer and goulash on whether they should give a shit. If you read UD, you know where she stands: Countries determined to shrink to nothingness should be allowed to do so. Hungary’s population can’t even manage ten million (Orban’s efforts to get Hungarians to reproduce are going nowhere — too drunk to get it up.), and many of those are actively trying to kill themselves.

The smartest have left — Hungary is brain-drain central. Maybe these people noticed that the country had one world-class university and it threw it out. To thunderous applause from its suicidal populace.

The UN estimates a population of only 6.4 million by the end of the century.

“Can you name one famous Hungarian dissident?” UD asked Mr UD – a Pole, and a political scientist extremely well-versed in the region. Long pause. “K-Konrad?” “You can’t even remember his first name?” No. “And I don’t want to upset you, but he died in 2019.”

“Hungary is becoming the center of the intellectual far-right world…”

“Oooh, scary. Karlovich, Vermeule… the freak show freaks in Nyíregyháza!”

Mr UD looked pissed.

“Look,” said I. “The national anthem of modern Hungary is I GOTTA BE ME. Until it invades the Rhineland, Hungary, like all other countries, has a right to drill down to its essence – hyper-conservative, rabidly anti-intellectual, radically insular – and be that thing. The upside for us is that we can safely ignore it forever. Hell, it seems to be ignoring itself. If you want to visit faded post-imperialism, go to Vienna.”

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Update: Hungary is also a big loser in the kleptocracy sweepstakes, with the EU proceeding toward possibly stripping it of the billions of dollars for public works projects that Orban has long been siphoning off for his oligarchs.

Zemmour You Look, Zemmour You See.

Or aren’t allowed to see.

La vidéo – in which far-rightist Eric Zemmour announces his presidential candidacy to the French people – is burning up the airwaves; not only does the New Yorker give it a good once-over (“one of the most bizarre videos ever offered by a would-be leader to his nation”), but theocrat Adrian Vermeule has risen to its defense as Youtube slaps an age-restriction on it.

The age-restriction is the bizarre thing; the NYer writer is wrong that the video itself is bizarre. It’s a soppy chauvinistic rendering of La France, familiar from scads of such renderings from hyper-nationalist movements around the world. There’s no dead-in-the-water patriotic trope the video doesn’t use, re-use, and then re-use one more time. The only thing mildly unusual about it is the French sourcing. France used to be so secure in its cultural superiority that it didn’t have to sink to self-pleasuring.

My Own Private Cathophate

Catholic integralism has enjoyed a small renaissance on the right in recent years, taken up by prominent apologists like Adrian Vermeule, a law professor at Harvard, and Sohrab Ahmari, the op-ed editor at the New York Post.

[In this connection, a] sort of authoritarian tourism [is emerging among] a new generation of right-wingers who, alienated from the secular liberalism of America, are attracted to illiberal alternatives. The same impulses that took [Brent Bozell] to Franco’s Spain now attract the Tucker Carlsons and Rod Drehers of the world to Orbán’s Hungary. Theorists like Vermeule and Ahmari might dream of a Christian commonwealth, but Orbán is showing how it is actually done, providing a real world model to emulate…

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Afghanistan’s caliphate will no doubt be Vermeule and company’s next stop on the authoritarian theocracy tourist trail. Excise Mohammed and you’re in the same spiritual universe, with a close to identical social ethos. Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada, with his global ambitions, is a far better tourist attraction than provincial Orbán, for while integralist Hungary contents itself with its iota of irrelevant territory, Akhundzada is just getting started.

‘[Michel] Houellebecq is among a growing number of Western intellectuals flirting with anti-liberalism: Perhaps liberalism is not the unmitigated good most of us are raised to believe it is. In an odd way, though, liberalism’s critics end up saying more about the resilience of liberalism than its demise.’

Here’s an excellent, brief, 2018 essay about the trend – especially among a group of Catholic scholars in America – to dump liberal democracy for theocracy. Shadi Hamid’s focus is fundamentalist Islam, but his argument applies as well to the emergence, here, of intellectual briefs for what UD calls a Cathophate.

Ol’ UD remains truly shocked right down to the ground that respectable American academics openly argue for a future of religious tyranny in this country, of “Christian authoritarianism — muscular paternalism, with government enforcing social solidarity for religious reasons.” I mean to say that the moment I grasped what Adrian Vermeule and Patrick Deneen and company were about, I was fucking gobsmacked, and I still am. I’m still all of a mucksweat about it. I’m like in permanent Margaret Dumont shock.

Chalk it up to UD‘s naivete + emotional instability if you like, but I actually don’t get why all sentient Americans aren’t shitting themselves over being told by Mariolatric Madoffs that they need only invest in the Edmund Waldstein Radiant Future Fund to realize Total Happiness Now and Forever. God does not want you for an Individual Liberty friend! In Bondage and Submission lies Salvation!

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Whew. Hold on. Getting a little hot here…

… Margaret Dumont only pretended to be scandalized by the twisted Marx Brothers; similarly, maybe UD‘s sublimating her actual erotic attraction to The Story of O, Saved by Flagellants… ? To the idea of a total male total priesthood running their switches over her bum… ?

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Yet. As Hamid asks, “Is a lack of meaning really worse than a lack of freedom? … What liberalism’s critics appear unable, or unwilling, to address is whether a lack of meaning is a worse problem to have than a lack of freedom.” Maybe liberalism – “the political order that privileges non-negotiable rights, personal freedoms, and individual autonomy” – issues in some degree of conceptual confusion, and maybe even in a difficulty or refusal to commit oneself to clear philosophical/theological convictions – but is this really so unbearable a position to be in that one’s only option is rule by monks who think burning heretics at the stake is key to good governance?

“Endless free choice,” as Deneen disparagingly calls it, is a dead end. Choice needs to be a means to something else, but to what? Legally based religious systems—which only Islam among the largest religions potentially offers—quite consciously seek to restrict choice in the name of virtue and salvation…

And that’s the thing. Deneen can argue all he likes about the disabling side effects of individual liberty, but what he’s really about is damnation or salvation. The Medieval Church wafts you upward; free thought’s an express train to the abyss.

As the doorbell ringers at the beginning of The Book of Mormon put it: Have fun in hell.

Okay when you read about Andy Harris this morning, remember, he’s the ONLY Republican representative from my state!

The ONLY one; and he represents people way over THERE… over on the far right… the eastern shore… which is BARELY Maryland… Let’s call it Tidewater West Virginia or something …

Back over here, in MARYLAND, we don’t elect stinky doodoos who do a doodoo in front of the Capitol police days after a violent insurrection because they MUST be allowed to break the rules and carry their guns onto the House floor because what if there’s another insurrection and he can be of assistance to the Proud Boys? Pence is gone, but someone’s gotta pop Pelosi…

Cosmic convergence, too, with one of this blog’s perennials, His Holiness Adrian Vermeule — who shares with Andy Harris an adoration of Hungary’s dictator, Victor Orban!

Jumpin’ Jesuits! What the hell’s the deal at Georgetown University?

You name the scandal, one of America’s most Catholic educational institutions has a high-profile entry. Georgetown had more Varsity Blues bogus students than anyone else; its longtime tennis coach is just a plain old career criminal; a half dozen priests with Georgetown associations “have [recently] been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.” It took ages and lots of pressure from students for it to revoke the honorary degree it gave to super-sexed Theodore McCarrick, a regular and adored presence in Georgetown’s chapels and classrooms. And so it goes.

And I mean yeah it really goes. Like every month. This month there’s the knotty little matter of one of its football players getting arrested for first degree murder.

Clearly the Jesuits running the school are weenies. A firm hand is needed, and UD recommends as next Georgetown president Pater Edmund Waldstein, a leader of the Adrian Vermeule-sponsored Cathophate-to-Come, who would not hesitate to burn people at the stake.

“[O]ne finds herein the remarkably complex phenomenon of a plagiarist plagiarizing a plagiarizing text produced by a different plagiarist.”

Again, the same texts are predicated of differing subjects, which [M.V.] Dougherty said calls “into question the intelligibility of the texts manufactured by the two plagiarizing ghostwriters. Have they each produced coherent works of Catholic teaching, or are the plagiarizing documents simply theological word-salads?”

UD can’t wait for Adrian Vermeule’s and Edmund Waldstein’s Catholic state (see details here). UD calls it a cathophate, since it is something of a Catholic parallel to the caliphate some radical Muslims work toward.

In anticipation of that glorious day when the Catholic church is the state, UD has been reading the Catholic press.

The Catholic News Agency is a good source on the sort of discourse we can anticipate from our priest-rulers. Here is one article in that outlet about high-level Catholic preachment.

Many priests plagiarize or employ ghostwriters, or plagiarize and employ ghostwriters. The ghostwriters may themselves plagiarize. And since – again – many priests apparently plagiarize – a lot – the plagiarizers may well be plagiarizing from plagiarizers. The final product, preached by very busy important priest-rulers who use ghostwriters, may therefore be a plagiarized plagiarized ghostwritten statement of Truth to us, their subjects, from the authorities.

It is rather like the mysterious trinity, with Father being the King standing above us mouthing words he pretends to have written — words that tell us the truths we must believe and be ruled by; Son being the plagiarist who feeds stolen words to the words-mouthing Father; and Holy Ghostwriter being the ancient obscure force of originary plagiarism.

Wow. Usually the hardened career criminal on campus can be found somewhere on or around the football team.

I guess at classier, godlier, places, it’s … the tennis coach…

Now, when UD says ‘godly’ she doesn’t mean Libertine University’s Jerry Falwell Jr. I want you to rid your thoughts of President My Brothers in Christ Just Gave My Big Ol’ Dick Ten and a Half Million Dollars to Shrivel Up and Go Away. Jerry’s debauchery has ruled the airwaves for the last couple of weeks; but today I want you to turn your attention to Georgetown University’s Gordon Ernst [scroll down], a truly committed professional long-term larcenist who somehow for over a decade was allowed to swan along the courts of Georgetown impersonating an upscale (gave the Obama kids lessons) tennis coach while fraudulently admitting any kid whose parents gave him two hundred thousand dollars. His wife seems to have been his accomplice and everything… And not one of the Jesuit bros suspected a thing?

The dude just got hit with more charges today – if his criminal enterprise hadn’t been shut down, half of Georgetown’s current student body would be made up of bad tennis players with billionaire forebearers – and it’s clear from descriptions of his MO that if you didn’t fully pay up he came after you. Ask Amin Khoury about that pesky $20,000 Gordie was owed.

I mean, Georgetown really needs to sit down and ask itself why it’s so corrupt, with all its Catholic airs. Something’s deeply wrong with a flamboyantly religious school which long harbored – knowingly? unknowingly? both options are bad – so flamboyantly criminal a person. Throw in Georgetown’s difficulty breaking relations with a whole host of priestly sexual criminals on and around campus, and it makes UD wonder whether she truly wants to live in Adrian Vermeule’s Cathophate.

It’s easy to see why fervent Christians/Birthers like Jenna Ellis…

née Aaliyah Jinnah according to my sources (see post directly below this one), are so fervent about Donald Trump and so vicious about his opponents. For her, what matters most is establishing the kingdom of Christ on earth (“[T]he only Rights that exist come from God and are therefore dependent on consistency with God’s law.”), and she has identified Trump as embodying all the virtues and statecraft that will get us there.

Trump’s closest associate for many years, Michael Cohen, has, in his forthcoming book, set out Ellis’s idol’s character more knowledgeably, thoroughly, and explicitly than anyone else has been able to – since he alone had such special access to Trump over so long a time – and the word “Christlike” absolutely jumps to mind as one reads Cohen’s appraisal.

I bore witness to the real man, in strip clubs, shady business meetings, and in the unguarded moments when he revealed who he really was: a cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a racist, a predator, a con man… I stiffed contractors on his behalf, ripped off his business partners, lied to his wife Melania to hide his sexual infidelities, and bullied and screamed at anyone who threatened Trump’s path to power… From golden showers in a sex club in Vegas, to tax fraud, to deals with corrupt officials from the former Soviet Union, to catch and kill conspiracies to silence Trump’s clandestine lovers, I wasn’t just a witness to the president’s rise—I was an active and eager participant…

Cohen is “convinced that Trump knows he will follow [Cohen] to prison, calling it ‘the inevitable cold Karma to the notorious chants of “Lock Her Up!”‘  In fact, he says, he believes Trump wants to avoid jail by becoming leader for life.”

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Okay, so we clearly have a problem here. As we all knew well before Cohen spilled the beans, Trump is the anti-Christ. It is not in fact easy to explain why fanatics of the faith (this woman makes Cathophatist A. Vermeule look mild) like Ellis (if that’s her name) follow him.

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I think maybe she does it because it sexually excites her. Pious flagellants sexually excited themselves. Libertine popes sexually excited themselves and others.

Saint Teresa of Avila didn’t, uh, beat around the bush about it.

So I put forth the following suggestion: Trump is to Ellis as the holy spirit was to Teresa.

After all, this is a woman who spent her mornings, if you will, with Jerry Falwell Jr (she’s a Liberty University person who never said a peep about that school’s long-notorious president) and her afternoons with Donald Trump. She has surrounded herself with real bad boys – I mean, real, real, bad boys – even as she thinks she’s being consistent with God’s law.

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But you don’t have to spiritualize it. Easier, perhaps, to recall Sylvia Plath.

Every woman adores a Fascist,   
The boot in the face, the brute   
Brute heart of a brute like you.

Haitham al Haddad, meet America’s Catholic Integralists.

It’s always fun to watch dueling religious fanatics. In this corner, impressively featured in a new University of Manchester book, HaH and his followers preach death to apostates, the removal of female genitalia, the right of husbands to beat their wives, and of course the necessity of replacing godless states with caliphates. In this corner, Edmund Waldstein and his followers also preach death to the godless liberal state and the necessity of replacing it with a … cathophate and if people don’t like that idea there’s always burning at the stake. “Rather than enter the fray to persuade citizens, they instead wish to put their citizens under the control of a Catholic administrative state that degrades free association of citizens into the solemn submission of subjects to their spiritual and temporal superiors.”

Because the Church is not a “human power” but a supernatural one, it is permitted to use coercion. And Catholic doctrine on the duty of societies toward Catholicism, as formulated by Pius IX, Leo XIII, and others, is that they must recognize it as the one true religion.

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[The dominant theologian of integralism] is a monarchist who argues that the Church has the right to punish baptized heretics (Protestants), including by burning them at the stake... “[We must] recognize the truth of the revealed religion not only as individuals but also corporately, as societies.

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It is an internet aesthetic of mostly young men alienated from the public life and consumed with the libido dominandi.

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Er let’s see which was that last one? Right, the integralists… And they may be young, but they have a Big Daddy – Harvard’s Adrian Vermeule.

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So… you go, girls! Put on your Sunday or Friday best and (pant pant) submit…

The good news is Steve King lost.

The bad news is that his voice – which always brightened UD‘s day – has now been stilled.

Who else in our political culture will justify no abortion even in cases of rape or incest because there wouldn’t be “any population of the world left” if it weren’t for rape and incest?

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But when God closes a door, he opens a window: Adrian Vermeule is just getting started.

‘In a clip released by police, an ultra-Orthodox man, asked whether he knows he is breaking regulations, says that he does not recognize the state or any of its instruments.’

Once this pandemic has run its course, Israel will begin finally to reckon – to its eternal shame – with its cynical cultivation of huge, fast-growing numbers of violent ignorant religious fanatics. It didn’t have to be this way.

Every day, I thank … my lucky stars? … that as an American Jew, I was born into an actually secular republic, where we can afford to promote religious nut cases to the highest levels of society and everyone will just laugh at them. We laugh at them because they don’t threaten us; because, as Jon Meacham and others point out in regard to the current global crisis, we really do live in Enlightenment Country here. There’s not much good ol’ UD is willing to say about our current president, but the fact that he doesn’t even pretend to give a shit about religion (UD loved watching him cringe as holy rollers put their hands all over him) does speak well for him. When the person running the coronavirus show – Anthony Fauci – tells us he’s left the Catholic church, people don’t head into the streets with pitchforks, run him through, and demand to be led only by a person of faith.

Israelis are immediately, materially, and microbially, threatened by their government-sponsored fanatics; and now, as anyone could have predicted, ultraorthodox neighborhoods are fighting among themselves – a situation of escalating anarchy for which, again, the Israeli state can take a bow.

Significant numbers of secular Israelis have been bailing on that country for some time; secular American and European Jews also have eyes in their heads. You can see, demographically, where this is going.

Well, it takes all kinds.

Harvard law professor Adrian Vermeule, currently enjoying his three minutes of fame onaccounta this concentration camp witticism, offers Alan Dershowitz serious competition in the Most Fucked Up Harvard Law Professor contest.

Since converting to Catholicism, Vermeule is now an advocate of integralism, a Roman Catholic political doctrine which calls for the abolition of the division between church and state, in order that the resulting state – which integralists deny would be a theocracy – can promote a religiously-determined “Highest Good” in place of the personal autonomy of a liberal democracy. Their ideal is to create this new confessional Catholic regime through “strategic raillement,” or transformation from within institutions and bureaucracies, rather than by winning elections. The groundwork for a full integralist regime would then be in place when liberal democracy dies. The new state would “exercise coercion over baptized citizens in a manner different from non-baptized citizens.” To achieve this end, Vermeule advocates giving confirmed Catholics priority in immigration, allowing them to “jump immediately to the head of the queue.” Vermeule describes this as being essential to “the eventual formation of the Empire of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and ultimately the world government required by natural law.”

Gloriosky.

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