Jesuit Fr. Antonio “2+2=5” Spadaro, in his attack on Americans, especially American conservatives, in Inciviltà cattolica, along with his coauthor from Argentina, left a curious omission.
Spadaro tars two American presidents with the brush of “Manichaenism”.
At times this mingling of politics, morals and religion has taken on a Manichaean language that divides reality between absolute Good and absolute Evil. In fact, after President George W. Bush spoke in his day about challenging the “axis of evil” and stated it was the USA’s duty to “free the world from evil” following the events of September 11, 2001. Today President Trump steers the fight against a wider, generic collective entity of the “bad” or even the “very bad.” Sometimes the tones used by his supporters in some campaigns take on meanings that we could define as “epic.”
Who is missing? How about the modern American president, an iconic president, who provided us with the quintessential “evil” label: Ronald Reagan famously, unforgettably, dubbed the Soviet Union as the “evil empire”.
Pres. Reagan is mentioned a couple times in the rest of the attack article, but not in such a way that he receives the “Manichean” slur.
Why would “2+2” purposely exclude Reagan from that important early paragraph, in which he sets up the rest of his, for lack of a better word, “argument”?
The answer is clear.
Spadaro doesn’t want to link Pope Francis to insults aimed at the universally, highly admired Ronald Reagan.
Presidents Bush and Trump are unpopular, especially by Europeans, who ape liberal Dimocrats. It’s okay to insult those American presidents. In fact, it is obligatory to insult them.
But Reagan? No way.
In the Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dishonest Arguments, find Fr. Spadaro’s picture next to the entry for “Double Standard”.
Here is the video of the famous “Evil Empire” Speech. When Reagan is introduced, he is even praised for his “love of the Bible”. This was an Address to the National Association of – wait for it – Evangelicals in Orlando, Florida. He opens, saying that a friend of his would rather see his young daughters die believing in God than see them grow up under Communism, no longer believing in God.
Watch this video and tell me if this doesn’t – by orders of magnitude – far outstrip the alleged “Manichaen” rhetoric and hate-speech that Spadaro, Figueroa and their ilk are reviling in President Trump and American conservatives.
But touching Reagan is like stepping on the third rail. They can’t risk linking Pope Francis to that.
A bit of the speech here…
The entire speech here…
The “Evil Empire” is Russia (the Soviet Union, fine… Russia). Today, Russia is Putin. Dimocrats and their Euromimics hate Putin. Hence, Spadaro, et al., can’t call out the Evil Empire as “Manichaen”.
Instead, Spadaro, etc., call out only those conservatives who are not Ronald Reagan as “Manichaens”.
Let me spell this out. The La Civiltà Cattolica attack article was artfully written. It’s not just a rant with arguments. There is a strategy behind it.