Steve Bannon has always wallowed in the slime. He was in charge of that muckraking online tabloid, Breitbart. He was an advisor to Donald Trump. He was a co-founder of Cambridge Analytica, that data analysis firm that scraped the scum off the Facebook barrel to skew elections. He was an investment banker, the lowest of the low.
He seemed to have reached the bottom. He could go no lower. So to meet that challenge, he teamed up with the reactionary Catholics behind an organization called the Dignitatis Humanitas Institute — you can tell it’s a con by all the pretentious Latin. The motto is also a giveaway:
Defending the Judaeo-Christian Foundations of Western Civilisation through the recognition that Man is made in the Image and Likeness of God. Bite me, Bannon.
Judaeo-Christian nonsense is always a dead give-away that you’re dealing with frauds. They also have a Declaration that is full of arrogant pieties and annoyingly capitalized words. The deeper a guy is in the cesspit, the harder he strains to elevate himself by calling on God as his bestest buddy.
A. whereas the true nature of Man is that he is not an animal, but a human being made in the image and likeness of God, his creator,
B. whereas it is precisely the imago Dei that Man acknowledges within himself with such profound awe and respect to call human life sacred; and to which the moral sense testifies certain properties as being inalienable; indelible in every single human life from conception until natural death,
C. whereas these properties have come to be known in the modern, secular state as ‘fundamental human rights’,
D. whereas the most complete expression of human dignity is therefore to be found only in recognising Man’s true anthropological and existential nature, and that this recognition lies at the foundation of all that the world calls civilisation,
E. whereas in recognising Man’s rights as intrinsic to his being, and not the product of legal charters is essential to sustaining liberty in a free society, work done to promote such a view of human dignity thereby promotes the foundation of all human rights,
F. whereas it is impossible to deny the source of Man’s transcendent dignity, and at the same time maintain that such dignity exists, yet the school of humanism tried to do just this, and with its inevitable failure, Man has been left in the precarious state of having no inherent rights other than those which the social community deigns to confer on him,
G. whereas belief that the State is the source of our human rights might be called inauthentic human dignity,
H. whereas that which is most sacred about Man is beyond human description because it comes from God – image and likeness – who is himself ineffable, and that international charters can only leave Man diminished by the attempt to literalise the ineffable,
I. whereas these insights are needed to maintain the balance between the rights of the individual and the power of the State, and that therefore recognition of Man’s dignity affects society’s ability to organise itself in a virtuous way politically, so that this balance never crosses the tipping point,
J. whereas the proper relationship between the individual and the State is that the latter exists to serve the former, not vice versa,
K. whereas it is the recognition of the dignity of Man that is most lacking in our society, not rights, and that this imbalance must be redressed,
L. whereas the mutuality of the parallel concepts of human rights and human dignity, and their interdependence, is definitively institutionalised in the Preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”,
Noble sentiments that rest entirely on the fiction of the Christian god. Too bad they’re paid for by a crude thug.
Anyway, Bannon was planning on buying up a medieval monastery in Italy — further attempts at desperately buying up some class, which he has always lacked — calling it a “gladiator school for culture warriors”. Oy, it sounds like Spartacus, only not the good movie by Stanley Kubrick, but the cheesy Starz series with oiled muscular bodies, naked slave girls, slow motion gore, and everyone yelling and making an “O” face. The whole thing reeks of over-compensation.
Alas, Bannon’s dream is not to be. Italy is evicting Steve Bannon. O Ignominy! The only thing left is for Bannon to strip, oil up, and fall upon his sword.
A sure sign of serious business is when they capitalise letters all over the place, except for the places where they’re actually supposed to, like the beginnings of their sentences.
Ray Ceeya says
LOL your previous post about Andrews reminded me that this was a thing that’s happening. And now you’re posting about this.
Mind if I ask you, as a Biologist, how that much pond scum was able to accumulate itself into an upright state and achieve the resemblance of sentience. Really the only part that makes sense is that he choose the name “Steve”.
“I rise from the muck and shall forever henceforth be called ‘Steve'”.
I better stop because I’m wasting sick burns that would be better used trolling Bannon.
Akira MacKenzie says
The only thing left is for Bannon to strip, oil up, and fall upon his sword.
Ewwwww… I didn’t need that image burned into my brain.
As I said elsewhere this is effectively the Italians telling Bannon that only Italian crooks are allowed to operate in Italy. I kinda doubt Italy, where old school fascism seems to be on the rise, needs someone like him to tell them how to be nasty.
Exactly. The European far-right is pretty good at being arseholes without Bannon giving them lessons. They want to be their own bosses, they do not need a Yankee know-it-all.
Pierce R. Butler says
… a Declaration that is full of arrogant pieties and annoyingly capitalized words.
And dubious grammar and syntax, poor punctuation, and failure to capitalize initial letters of each clause (the sexism seems blatantly intentional).
Wrapping up by citing the decidedly secular UN Declaration nicely emphasizes the incoherence and inadequacy-of-thought implicit in the whole project.
Apparently Bannon & Co fail to grasp that gladiators existed as such only as state-sponsored entertainment, routinely hailing the power of worldly magistrates.
This was the ancient Roman version of WWE, pro wrestling.
Most gladiators were slaves, forced to fight for the forerunner of TV.
“B … from conception until natural death” – I assume everybody here knows the meaning of that, but I spell it out anyway: an absolute No to abortion and very likely also to emergency contraceptives (aka “morning after pill”).
I knew Bannon is a devout Catholic.
Still, any alliance between far-right ideas and religion (Catholicsim) is bad news for women and their reproductive rights and for LGBTQ+. Remember: The Catholic Church is against all contraceptives and all abortions (even if the woman’s life is in danger). Since the Church is against contraceptives, sure the far-right would adopt this extreme ideology in order to get the Vatican’s approval. A nasty little barter.
The Catholic Church has a long history of siding with power, from monarchy to fascist/right-wing dictators. If the right gains power, I have no doubt that there would be an “arrangement” made with the Church. Likely like this: the Church would gain the power over women’s bodies, “sexual mores” (affecting LGBTQ+) and education – the rest would be left to the right-wing politicians. I hope this nightmare will never come true.
@4/@5, Indeed. Just prior to the recent EU Parliament elections, France24 (and others) pointed out how teh le penazis didn’t want Bannon around, With friends like these: Bannon visit puts Le Pen on the defensive ahead of EU vote: “[…] Steve Bannon is making a surprise cameo in France’s European election campaign, ostensibly to help populist ally Marine Le Pen win. But he’s proving an inconvenient interloper […].”
(More extensive excerpting in poopyhead’s current Political Madness All the Time thread.)
Bruce Fuentes says
Here is the kicker of why Italy is evicting him. Fraud.
“But earlier this month, Italian newspaper Repubblica reported that a letter used to guarantee the lease was forged. The letter had the signature of an employee of Danish bank Jyske, but the bank said that employee hadn’t worked there for years, and called the letter fraudulent.”
Of course little stevie denies it all.
Rich Woods says
Yet still the Bride of Christ quietly moved so many Holy Rapers to fresh hunting grounds.
Pierce R. Butler says
… in every single human life from conception until natural death…
As alixmo points out @ # 8, this slogan is a red flag for opposition to all kinds of birth control.
It now occurs to me that this also represents a retreat from classical Catholic dogma, which held back the development of medical science for centuries by deeming the human body inviolable after death because the doctrine of resurrection required intact corpses; hence, no dissections or autopsies (for centuries, medical students wanting to learn real anatomy had to become, or hire, grave-robbers).
Also, “until natural death” = “no assisted suicide. Doesn’t matter if you’re dying in agony — suck it up the way God wants you to.”
In their FAQ-section, Bannon and his Catholic friends go into detail what the main threats to “human dignity” are in their view. No surprise: it is abortion, it is the attack against “traditional marriage and family”. It is also euthanasia (it is advisible to throw that in, otherwise the attack against women’s free choice and bodily autonomy is to bloody obvious; so terminally ill people have to suffer till the bitter end for “the principles” – there has to be the veneer of consistency…).
And (this is brilliant) the WELFARE state is also a threat to human dignity! Who would have guessed! There I was, thinking that the state helping people to survive without begging was a good thing – I must have been stupid. Maybe it is because I am one of those “radical”, “militant secularists” that Bannon’s little club wants to fight off.
“Noble sentiments…?” Sorry, PZ, I personally cannot detect them. This is just another disguise for the same old anti-women, anti-LGBTQ+ religous crap. Reactionary, regressive bullshit hiding behind language borrowed from the rights movement.
I have to admit that I admire the persistence and the chuzpe of the international religious right. Whilst secularist humanists shut up and tiptoe around precious religious feelings in order to avoid insulting the believers – Bannon’s reactionary bunch says outright that there is “nothing wrong in proselytizing”. In fact, Jesus commended it! Good to know.
SC (Salty Current) says
Mountains of evidence compiled over centuries show that human beings are animals. Our true nature is that of animals, because we are animals.
In contrast, there is no evidence for the pathetic claims being made in this ridiculous declaration.
Modern right wing conservatism pretty much amounts to a big exercise in special pleading and ignoring science, so there.
I am surprised that Italy hasn’t welcome Bannon with a red carpet, there’s plenty fans of his.
In particular, I’m surprised Salvini didn’t go meete him meet him to publicly lick his boots.
Seems like even Orban has dumped Salvini.
One can only hope…
Their Latin is a bit off-center. If they mean “Dignity of Humanity” it should be “Dignitas Humanitatis”.
It bears repeating. “the Judaeo-Christian Foundations of Western Civilisation” consisted of neverending pogroms.
“indelible in every single human life from conception until natural death,”
So war and the death penalty are right out. Also universal health care is a human right. I’m glad we’ve got that settled.
When you read Latin, it doesn’t sound so fancy anymore.
Particularly given the peculiar grammatical choices they’ve made. I mean, if you’re going for Latin then why leave “institute” in English, when there’s a perfectly good Latin root in “institutio”. You might also want to put a “de colendo” in the middle, since that’s how you would express “for the promotion of” in more natural Latin. “institute of human dignity” sounds right in English, but you wouldn’t go making a poor old genitive do all that work in Latin, oh no.
(I must point out that PZ cited the name wrong though – it’s “dignitatis humanae”, not “dignitatis humanitas”. Though, again, more usual would be something like “dignitatis hominum”).
Not to mention that the Judeo-xian foundations of Western Civilization isn’t even all that much.
The foundations of Western Civilization date back to the Middle East with the invention of agriculture, metal working, and writing. Try running a society without those.
Then the Pagan Greeks and Romans contributed a lot of philosophy, technology, math, engineering, logic, and the beginnngs of science.
The xians presided over the fall of the western Roman empire.
The time when they had real power was known as the Dark Ages.
Things picked up during the Renaissance and especially the Enlightenment.
The era we live in now is dominated by the rise of…Science.
“Dignitas humanae” is the name of the Declaration of Religious Freedom that was issued during the Second Vatican Council in 1965:
http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651207_dignitatis-humanae_en.html (the entire text of the document)
Like all documents from the Vatican, it is named after the first two words in the original Latin version of the document. “Dignitas humanae” is one of the most important documents released by the Catholic Church in the twentieth century, and also one of the most contentious, because it says that the Church is in favor of religious freedom as opposed to religious tolerance. This is a big difference, because religious tolerance as defined by the pre-Vatican II Catholic Church was, “non-Catholics can practice their religions privately in Catholic countries, but they can’t proselytize or be public about their religion because Catholicism is the true religion and a Catholic state cannot act like all religions are equally true.” In comparison, religious freedom implies that all religions should be more or less equal in the marketplace of ideas and the state shouldn’t restrict the ability for them to operate, including doing missionary work or advertising their services or programs. Catholic traditionalists have disliked “Dignitatis humane” because it contradicts the earlier claim found in documents like the infamous Syllabus of Errors (1864) that says that the state should promote Catholicism and only Catholicism. Thus, the fact that a bunch of reactionaries are using “Dignitatis humane” as the name of their group is a sort of neat bait and switch, since they’re working against the more outward looking orientation that the document in question was trying to produce.
BTW, in case anyone is wondering, I’m doing my doctoral dissertation on Vatican II and black Catholics, so I probably know more about Catholic history and theology than most priests, even though I don’t consider myself to be Catholic or a theist.
Aziraphale, as so often happens here Monty Python has us covered:
ck, the Irate Lump says
You missed one of Steve Bannon’s careers: World of Warcraft gold seller
Having zero principals or concerns for other people is quite profitable, it seems.
So, not even pretending not to be fascist any more.
Whoops, I misread that line, got my latters and formers mixed up. Funny though how they say that but their rhetoric is heavily into reducing the emphasis on human rights.
I’ve never understood why a “transcendent source” is necessary for anything to have dignity, worth, meaning, rights, and so forth. If someone can just proclaim that such values are inherent in God, then why can’t someone else insist that no, they’re inherent in human beings? They’re no more transcendent than any abstraction or principle informed by equitable relationships and sympathy.
The only reason people think they can get away with equating “dignity” with “God” is because other people let them. Settling a question through definition though is cheating. They should instead argue for it. Demonstrate that God has dignity, with examples. They’re going to have to start off then using the common ground of dignity as we know it in the non transcendent sense — which would be an undignified position to begin from, considering.
The religious use it often.
This is such a common fallacy that it was first known in…Latin.
Quod grātīs asseritur, grātīs negātur translated as “what is freely asserted, is freely dismissed”.
I usually say it as, “An assertion without proof or data may be dismissed without proof or data”.
@ chrislawson, 26
Hiding their real agenda behind phrases that mirror the language of genuine rights activist is a strategy of the religious right. Other phrases to hide their anti-women, anti-LGBTQ+ agenda are e.g. “natural rights”, as seen here: https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2019/05/31/lgbtq-people-have-reason-to-fear-state-depts-new-committee-on-natural-rights/
Look at the FAQ-section of Bannon’s little “human dignity” club; there they are more open about what they see as the greatest threats to human dignity today: e.g. abortion, gay marriage, euthanasia – and the welfare state.
One always has to read the fine print – even if their talk about human dignity from “conception” to a “natural death” was a give-away.
chigau (違う) says
Doesinclude execution for committing a ?
‘Judeochristian’ is not a thing. It doesn’t exist. Just like the meme that ‘the USA was founded on Christian principles’
Out of all of the self-contradictory things mentioned, one is obscene in its self-contradition.
“H. whereas that which is most sacred about Man is beyond human description because it comes from God – image and likeness – who is himself ineffable,” and by mentioning image and likeness, has rendered the ineffable, ever so effable.
If I can describe image and likeness, the ununutterably complex suddenly is utterably complex. Hence, trivially describable.
Whereas, K and L, when juxtaposed, cancel one another.
Steve Bannon, turning food into shit with his mere touch, save that Midas he is not!
Yes, it’s very clever use of words to hide a horrifying agenda. I mean they say they want to increase human dignity and make the State serve the interests of the individual not the other way around…but they want to keep gay marriage, abortion, and euthanasia as illegal or even criminal even though this means the State using force to prevent people making choices for themselves. The fact that they feel the need to “balance” human rights with human dignity is the tip-off. In any decent moral system, these two principles would not be in conflict.
(I also notice conservatives are now skewing the word “sustainable” to justify cutting funding to government services, including environmental services.)
Quid quid latine dictum sit, altum sonatur.
(Anything said in Latin sounds profound.)
This simplistic nonsense is almost as bad as Jesus mythicism. The power of the Papacy was at its height between, roughly, 1000 and 1500 CE (that is, including just about the whole of what is normally referred to as the Renaissance). At the start of this period, western Europe was a cultural backwater, far less advanced in science, technology and socio-economic institutions than Islam, let alone China. By its end, while China was probably still ahead, western Europe was advancing far more rapidly. Almost all of the scientific and technical progress during that period was down to churchmen either inventing ideas and techniques themselves, or importing them from elsewhere, generally Islam. Yes, the Church was oppressive (particularly to women), and in some specific instances opposed scientific advances, but to claim that it was in general a block on progress simply shows ignorance if nothing worse. As far as the Renaissance is concerned, it’s arguable that in over-valuing the achievements of the classical world in relation to the progress being made by the medievals themselves, it was less unambiguously positive than 19th-century historiography would suggest. And the Enlightenment, for all its achievements, also produced the modern forms of racism and antisemitism (take a look at the views of Voltaire, Hume and Kant, for example).
I don’t think this is simply thrown in for political purposes: it is a fundamental aspect of the Catholic (and more generally, Abrahamic, although of course there are believers who don’t go along with it) notion that your body belongs not to you, but to God. So if God is torturing you with cancer or dementia or ALS or some other dreadful malady, you have no right to escape the torturer’s grasp – and in fact, will not do so, since he’ll send you straight to Hell for the attempt. In the UK, polls show a large majority in favour of the right to die in the case of terminal illness, but “religious leaders” (with honourable exceptions) have led the resistance to a change in the law, so far, successfully. Mostly they pretend their motivation is concern that such a change might lead to pressure on people to end their lives, ignoring the clear evidence that this does not happen if the law is properly drafted from jurisdictions where such a change has already taken place.
I’ve heard people say this before, but I don’t understand it. How is it not a thing? Christians worship a Jew who was on board with Jewish laws and traditions, except when he wasn’t (Jesus Going His Own Way?). The first part is the “judeo-” and the second the “christian.” Christians use the Torah as part of their bible, and added on the Jesus stuff.
Now Christojewish is probably not a thing, except maybe among Jews for Jesus. But for Christians, cherry-picking aside, Judaism is inextricable from their teachings. So why do you say ‘Judeochristian’ doesn’t exist? Unless you meant grammatically, since it’s an adjective and not a noun, so therefore it’s not a “thing.” But I don’t think that’s what you and others who’ve said that were getting at.
The point is that Christians have spent much of the past 1700 years persecuting Jews (who I should have mentioned as a special taget of Church oppression alongside women during the medieval period @35), but those using the “Judeo-Christian” terminology in effect pretend that never happened, and Christians and Jews have always been allies (against Muslims andor secularists). Standard Christian theology is that the Jews rejected the Messiah (Jesus), and hence are no longer God’s “chosen people” – that distinction has passed to Christians. That line has been less prominent since the Holocaust, and particularly in the USA, right-wing Christians are now keen for an alliance with right-wing Jews, and with Israel, but scratch an RTC (Real True Christian), and you’ll find an antisemite.
Apologies for mistyping your nym@38.
Pretty much all of the above, but, who decided that in pompous declarations like this, you have to put it all in one long sentence? Why not one ore more sentences per point?
They didn’t invent this “whereas, whereas, whereas” practice, but i find it annoying anywhere.
I agree in part with you. But I really DO have my doubts about the sincerity of the Vatican’s anti-euthanasia stance. I see a possibility that the modern Church would have been more lenient on this point, given the wide public support for it, if they did not have to defend their dogma of “live begins at conception”.
If the Church wants to promote the idea of “sanctity” of all human life in order to give personhood (more correctly, the mythical “soul”) to even a fertilized egg, they have to be consistent in their argumentation, to withstand scrutiny. Therefore, euthanasia has to be banned and all executions condemned. This makes sense.
Looking at the Church’s doctrines and their politics in modern times, their overwhelming focus on the issue of women’s role in society and on sexuality becomes obvious. That is the foundation of modern Catholicsim, their “trademark” (one could argue “obsession”). From this perspective, everything else seems like an afterthought, an addendum. The abortion/contraceptive issue seems so important, everything else has to fit in.
That is why I conclude that the suffering of the terminally ill is just the consequence of defending the dogma of “life begins at conception” – which is in turn an elegant way to force women back into their “Godgiven” role as mothers and wives and to undo emancipation and the equality of men and women, to bring back patriarchal hierarchies.
I may have too bleak a view of the Church but, sadly, so far I have not seen evidence to prove me wrong.
Yes! The (religious) right is misusing language that serves the purpose of doing good in this world to actually undo that good that real activists achieved through hard struggle.
Did you look at the homepage of Bannon’ s group, read their FAQ? There, they even explicitly talk about fighting against the welfare state – because welfare and hand-outs diminish human dignity. So much for the state serving the people and not the other way round…
One really has to be alert; reactionary groups who want to take people’s rights away are now skillful in presenting themselves in a positive light. We cannot make short-cuts and take their often nice sounding words for being true, we have to do research and look deeper into their agenda. Tiresome, but necessary.
Pierce R. Butler@12,
Thank you for recognizing the crucial “red flag”, the use of the phrase “from conception”. If you check out the FAQ of Bannon’s group, they are much more specific about this, confirming our suspicion. Yes, they see abortion (and, by consequence, euthanasia) as main threats to human dignity in our time. They are mentioned first in their (typically reactionary) list of societal ills.
Reading that list, I found not a single issue which was not completely contrary to any progressive agenda. This seemingly “humane” language they use is but a facade.
Human rights are a humanist/secularist issue. All attempts of the religious right to pretend the contrary are just a charade. Traditional, patriarchal religiosity is not compatible with the rights of women, LGBTQ+ and freethinkers. When one reads the “fine print” sections of groups like Bannon’s, this becomes painfully obvious.
I forgot to mention a possible reason for the anti-welfare-state attitude of this group of religious zealots: it is the welfare state and its “hand-outs” that make the (often precarious) existence of single mother households even possible.
Anti-women activists like Jordan Peterson see single mothers as one of the great societal ills of our time; many religious right-wingers agree with that. They all want a renaissance of patriarchal hierarchies and families. The state and its beneficial influence (in this case: freeing women from unwanted or dysfunctional marriages) is the main obstacle to achieving that goal.
This issue is rarely talked about in leftist/progressive circles, but freely admitted by the (religious) right.
Without in any way disagreeing with what you say about the centrality of keeping women down in Catholic doctrine and practice, I think the “God owns your body” dogma is also important in its own right. Without this, they could consistently say that the problem with abortion is that the zygote/fetus/embryo has not consented to die, while those who want to die to end their suffering have.
On #44, there’s a strong correlation across societies between personal security (to which the strength of state welfare provision contributes enormously), and the decline of religion. The religious right know this: their opposition to the welfare state is motivated by this, as well as opposition to isingle mother households.
Yes, you are right. I agree with the points you made.
“Welfare=slavery” is also a common idea of the libertarian crowd, part of their perverse concept of freedom. They believe taxation to pay for government functions other than the military and law enforcement is theft, and that most government regulation interferes with their freedom to do what they want. How much Bannon feels kinship to them is an obvious question.
There are good bits, like the State existing to serve humanity. However those good bits seem to be lifted from ‘faiiled humanism’.
Rob Grigjanis says
Well, when they weren’t persecuting other Christians. Are those using the “Christian” terminology in effect pretending that never happened? Maybe.
Well it’s certainly not something the people who use “Judeo-Christian” like to talk about, is it?