Bleeding Heart Conservative

Bleeding Heart of Jesus in Catholic traditional French iconography.

Today, there is simply a small section from my upcoming book [UPDATE: now available from Amazon here!]The section comes from early in the book where I define the way I use terms, including the word liberal.

Thus it serves to orient the reader to my book. Ripping things from their context for this blog is tricky, but I thought placing it here could also help to orient readers to the conservative nature of this site:

The public sphere is now filled by a kind of secular religion, which proclaims tolerance as its most sacred dogma. It is a tolerance, which all too easily sanctions materialistic, capitalist and hedonistic excess – yet of course, is remarkably intolerant of traditional and moral values associated with religion.

Through a vast multitude of means, we have created a society wherein God is pushed to the margins. God is acceptable only within the private sphere of the individual’s choice.

But in the public sphere, the individual is not given choice: Materialism is foisted on him in countless ways.

Much of this materialism is overwhelmingly obvious. But perhaps it is the subtler, insidious ways that are the most dangerous. With the insistence on a society geared to proofs and data, few realise how much an overarching ideology has been established, which dominates and hypnotises people.

The ideology becomes the norm. We fail to see how much it rules our lives. And thus hypnotised, we fail to imagine how any other option could be conceivable.

Yes, a materialistic ideology now rules our lives. Precise words to encapsulate that ideology are hard to come by.

It is with a certain regret that I have turned to the words “liberal” and “liberalism” in this book. But why regret?

Does not liberalism sum up perfectly the trajectory of the last centuries towards ever more destructive “freedoms”? Economic liberalism – does this not describe those who want unlimited freedom for the market – with which to crush people?

Theological liberalism – does this not describe those theologians who seek freedom from the “constraints” of tradition – and who then set out to crush the tradition (e.g. by attempting to ‘demythologise’  it)?

Social liberalism – has this not resulted in such travesties as the ‘right’ to an abortion and flooding the world with a heretofore unimaginable filth in the name of free speech?

Is it not natural that conservatives such as myself should use the word ‘liberal’ to describe the ‘enemy’?

My regret is this. I do not relish making enemies with polarising binaries such as conservative-liberal.

Moreover, from my youth, I recall with a shudder that uniquely American pejorative: “Bleeding heart liberal” – as though a heart which cared were a sorry thing! People actually spoke of a bleeding heart in sneering terms!

Yet a bleeding heart is all to do with the Sacred Heart of Jesus! There was in fact once a Catholic Order of the Bleeding Heart. The exact origin of the American pejorative “bleeding heart liberal” is lost to us – but it is certainly not impossible that it has roots in the anti-Catholicism that once thoroughly pervaded the United States.

At any rate, I pray that there would be more bleeding heart conservatives. And this traditional book aspires to such: a bleeding heart conservatism that realises that our flight from tradition is hurting people, every bit as much as capitalist oppression is hurting people. Indeed for the Catholic of Faith, it is clear that the liberal destruction of tradition is hurting people – real living, breathing people – even more than the brutal capitalism of our age.

Here then is what I mean by liberalism: An exaggerated emphasis, even idolatry of liberty – to the exclusion and suppression of Faith, Tradition and so much else – which has advanced across the world since 1789, at least.

It is an idolatry that in our day has culminated in things like the “right to the abortion”, vicious gore and pornography permitted under the right to freedom of speech as well as the active suppression of religion in the public sphere.

This last is because liberal idolaters say that the public presence of religion amounts to oppression. Meanwhile the fact that many people feel dreadfully oppressed by a difficult-to-name secular and materialistic ideology is scarcely noticed at all.

There is a monster here and the monster must be named. The fact that it is hard to name is part of the problem. The monster draws strength from the fact that it is not named – and people are ravaged in the process. Lacking better words, I will frequently name this monster liberalism – in the sense indicated above. Such language will inevitably polarise.

All the while, I cannot help but admire genuine bleeding heart liberals everywhere, because to the extent that their hearts truly bleed, to that same extent, they imitate the Cor Jesu Sacratissimum

2017 Update: As indicated above, the book from which this has been extracted is now published – under the title Cor Jesu Sacratissimum: From Secularism and the New Age to Christendom renewed.

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2 responses to “Bleeding Heart Conservative”

  1. Edwin Shendelman Avatar
    Edwin Shendelman

    Good piece! I have long noted as well the contradictions of liberal secular democracy in the way it relentlessly indoctrinates in it’s unhealthy ideology while suppressing counter-ideologies such as religion. It suppresses in such a subtle way as you note we are flooded with filth in the name of freedom at every turn yet public religion is more and more marginalized.

    1. roger Avatar

      Thank you so much Edwin. It is very good to hear your voice here, once more.

      Yes: secularism very frequently amounts to ideological indoctrination quite ruthlessly “suppressing” as you say counter voices.

      It scares me.

      It really scares me.

      I would encourage people to look here at a report about Apple, Google etc suppressing Christianity:

      Again, I am very grateful to have your insight here again …