Mark has chosen, near as I can determine, to embrace the fringe political movement of Ron Paul, whose both rhetoric and followers bear a great deal of resemblance to their left-wing counterparts in the Lyndon Larouche movement. In retrospect, I probably should not be surprised by this since Mark has been heading into fringe political territory for awhile now, whether it be his flirtations with the Crunchy Cons or the kookier aspects of the anti-war movement. It seems to me that for all of his warnings about a unified theory of explaining everything that he has embraced just that in his understanding of America. He believes that our representative democracy is essentially a shell game played between wealthy groups of cynical and secular elites who seek to spread abortion and godlessness around the world. While he admits that there was once a time when this was not so, he now regards America as totally identified with Babylon and as such is genuinely uncertain as to whether any of it is worth defending. After all, he is certain that it is the West that will ultimately produce the Antichrist.
The foreign policy view to which Mark now ascribes through synthesis with the likes of Ron Paul and Daniel Larison as well as its logical implications might best be summarized by John J. Reilly's blog from February 2006:
Defeat is editorial policy for American Conservative. Consider this piece, War of the Worlds, by William S. Lind, who argues that there are two great evils today, the Jihad of Fourth Generation warfare and the Brave New World of the West:
The Fourth Generation of Modern War, warfare since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, is the greatest change in armed conflict since the modern era began. It is marked by the state’s loss of the monopoly on war it established with Westphalia and the rise of non-state elements that can fight states and win...Fourth Generation war is giving rise to new forms of social organization. It should not surprise us that al-Qaeda’s goal is not taking power within states but abolishing the state altogether and replacing it with an ummah...
The march toward Brave New World is led by the United States. The main characteristics of Huxley’s dystopia are all too evident in post-1960s America (and Europe). They include a culture where the summary of the law is “you must be happy,” happiness coming from a combination of materialism, consumerism, electronic entertainment, and sexual pleasure; globalism, the elites’ “one ring to rule them all and in the darkness bind them” under de facto if not de jure world government; and endless psychological conditioning, especially through the government schools and the video-screen media. Religion is already relegated to the eccentric margins, at least among the elites, if not yet quite forbidden
Readers may amuse themselves by searching through Lind's writings to see how many times he has predicted, indeed reported, the defeat of the US in Iraq and Afghanistan during the past few years.
When Brave New World’s walls come a tumblin’ down—and they will—men of the West may have their opportunity. Bewildered, shocked, sometimes panicked societies will seek alternatives but not know where to turn.
They will, of course, turn to American Conservative's brand of tradition. It worked for Marshal Petain, didn't it?
There are confusions here. Yes, there is a Brave New World faction in the West, whose chief representatives are, perhaps, the transnationalists of the Davos type. It has little or nothing to do with the neocons. The Brave New Worlders have not prospered in recent years. Part of the story is the foundering of the European Union project; part of it is the defenestration of cultural and media elites in the US. The Brave New World is not fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, Brave New World not only could not fight a war; it could not survive in a world where war were possible.
I think that there is a lot to this that goes a long way towards understanding the worldview of Mark Shea. He correctly understands the role of religion to a viable culture and society, but he believes that the whole of American leadership is the preserve of godless secularism. At this point I think that he is so far gone that cannot hope for its victory (watch this to surface as a new theme once Iraq is no longer a factor one way or another), because to do so would only prolong the rot. In many ways, Mark is a kind of inverse to Dinesh D'Souza, the latter of whom at least understands enough about Western elites (being one of them) to recognize that there is a distinction to be made in discussing our national leadership. Mark will hear none of that however, for him the whole of any politically active social conservative leadership (which I would argue by definition includes both Neuhaus and Bottum, his denials notwithstanding) are no more than cynical tools for the GOP party machine to get the rubes to vote them into office. He also believes that the fact that Paul has not gained traction (unless he has, consistency is not one of Mark's strong points) is proof of his conspiracy of elites to Soviet-style rig the US election.
Then there is the matter of content. Mark, near as I can tell, appears to have very little in terms of news or information that is original to him. Instead, it seems that what he does is essentially a commentary of what he sees on Drudge, WorldNetDaily, Human Events, and of course the American Conservative. And rather bad commentary at that, given his utter refusal to engage in serious arguments with those he disagrees with on matters of public policy. For long time, he loudly denied being a paleocon (without exactly explaining where he parts ways with them except on illegal immigration, no trivial matter that) but now that he has begun more and more openly supporting Ron Paul, as Darth Vader says the circle is now complete. I wish him well in his embrace in the lunatic fringe of American politics, but I also don't feel nearly as obliged to engage in rapid reply to what he says now that he has descended into the kook fringe of American conservatism alongside Justin Raimondo. If he wants to continue through his fever swamp ideas about the United States planning a massive attack on Iran (with the Democrats complicit, no less) or revenge fantasies about putting Bush and Cheney on trial for war crimes, I am content to let him do so.
You'll notice I managed to say all of this without getting into the issue of interrogation. Mark labeling Victor and myself as "shills for Leviathan" aside, I would argue that by the same criteria he judges us he had best expand that list to include a great many people. Also, if the measure we use is the same that is used against us, I would suggest that his discussion of just who "shills" around Catholic blogosphere is perhaps best represented by his own 180 degree shift in rhetoric when it comes to libertarianism as soon as he pledged his fealty to Ron Paul.