Mike Lewis of Where Peter Is Chronicles the Disintegration of Crisis Magazine

I missed this when it came out, but I am utterly unsurprised at the level of dementia in CRISIS!!!!!!! coming out against letting women vote. Catholic conservatives in the Age of MAGA are generally ahead of the curve when it comes to insane retrograde weirdness on the cutting edge of 8th century thought.

No wonder these lunatics hate the Holy Father:

On August 18, 2020—the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution, giving women the right to vote in the US—Crisis Magazine published an article entitled “Against Women’s Suffrage,” by editor-in-chief Michael Warren Davis.

When the headline appeared on my Facebook feed, I could not believe what I was seeing. I hoped it was a work of satire. All hope that the essay was a farce dissolved by the second paragraph when I read the words, “Any sober and dispassionate mind must conclude that giving ladies the right to vote was the single greatest catastrophe in the history of our storied republic” (emphasis added).

Oh, it gets worse:

“Does anyone—conservative or progressive—believe that our laws have become more sound, and our government more useful, over the last one hundred years? If not, we should do one really sound and sensible thing: take away women’s right to vote.”

And worse:

“It was a return to the dark, Hobbesian view of society as the bellum omnium contra omnes: an endless, all-consuming struggle between men and women for privilege and power. The sanctuary of the hearth was abolished entirely.”

And (creepily) worse:

“Once the carnal act is complete, both parties become totally irrelevant. Jill can happily frolic with Jack out by the well, knowing that if she should fall pregnant there exists a massive welfare apparatus to support her. Or she can simply abort the child.”

I want to emphasize this point: this article is a thing that exists in reality. The present. Literally. As in Tuesday of this week. August 18, 2020. (Don’t let the old-timey photo at the top of the article throw you.)

There are no limits—there are no words.

Yes, Crisis has always been conservative, but not like this. The name “Crisis” was originally meant to be satirical, a subtle jab by neoconservatives at their more reactionary political counterparts who always seem to be running around like their hair is on fire and going on about the downfall of civilization.

This is a magazine that was launched in 1982 by two legendary conservative academics: philosopher Michael Novak and Notre Dame professor (and author of the famous Father Dowling novels) Ralph McInerny. This is a magazine to which the celebrated American novelist and Catholic convert Walker Percy contributed, as did the famous labor priest Msgr George Higgins. Some serious academics (including Phyllis Zagano and many other women) also wrote for them. Even during the Deal Hudson years (1995-2011), the magazine maintained a serious and influential presence in the political sphere.

All that has changed, however. In 2012, Crisis was bought by Sophia Institute Press, the same publishing house that brought us Taylor Marshall’s Infiltration, and who partnered with EWTN in 2015 to serve as the global media network’s book publishing arm. Today, the name Crisis is no longer ironic. Its masthead boasts some of the most bombastic, outrageous, and reactionary names in Catholic media today.

MAGA has consistently destroyed everything it touches and the tragic spectacle of CRISIS!!!!!!!!! is Exhibit A. The abandonment of anything like the Catholic intellectual birthright for a pot of MAGA message is a tale so Faustian and so utterly certain of ending in moral wreckage that Rod Serling would call it too hamfisted and obvious.

Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Mt 10:28). (2006).


18 Responses

  1. All these guys seem to absolutely love a few things in particular:

    Tweed jackets
    Meticulous hair parting
    Women in kitchens

    Things they don’t like:

    The French Revolution, or anything continental European really, unless it’s edible.
    Women, not in Kitchens
    Anything that happened after the date they consider the beginning of all things Modern

    Taliban with a sartorial twist.

  2. Of the literally thousands of societal influences and trends, including the pre-existing decline in the “usefulness” of government, women voting is somehow the one singular cause of all societal ill?

    I could easily use the same “reasoning” for any number of things – the expansion of the suburbs, cheap oil, mass PTSD in males from a couple different wars, warmer temperatures, Hitler (literally Hitler), employer-sponsored health insurance, popularization of the automobile … I could be making this list forever and if I knew I could make money out of writing an article blaming all social decline on (insert random cause here), I might actually do it just for fun and profit.

    1. @ Athena

      In post WWII Belgium it was first the catholic party that opposed universal suffrage (‘the end of the traditional family’) and closer to the actual law of 1949 it was the liberals and the socialists who opposed it (‘women were suspected of voting too conservatively’)

      It’s easy to find a stick to beat a dog.

    2. If only Michael Warren Davis had written his article as logically as your response–we would have nothing to talk about. Really, this seems to be the societal equivalent of Hollow Earth theory. It is so wacky, I am not sure Donald Trump even deserves the blame. This is almost sui generis crazy. And when I read about the former writers and editors of Crisis, I just feel sad.

  3. The really sad, ironic thing with articles like this is that every single statement made in favour of abolishing women’s suffrage could just as easily be turned around and used for abolishing MEN’S suffrage as well. To wit:

    ‘Once the carnal act is complete, both parties become totally irrelevant. JACK can happily frolic with JILL by the well, knowing that, if she should fall pregnant, there exists a massive welfare apparatus ON WHICH HE CAN DUMP HER. Or HE can simply PRESSURE HER TO abort the child.’ (Sorry for the all caps, I can’t type in italics in this combox.)

    Chesterton may have been right that bringing women into the realm of politics would brutalise them – just look at Sarah Palin or Ann Coulter if you don’t believe that – but the only reason it did that is because MEN allowed it to brutalise them first. Anyone who would argue that this or that group should be kept out of the process for their own good and/or the good of the system needs to really stop and think about how much the system has warped them already and whether or not it’s even worth maintaining. (IMHO, it’s not and hasn’t been since the beginning, but what am I going to do about it?)

      1. @ joel

        And after that, evening curfew for men. Less crime, less rape, less abortions, less alcohol abuse. Conservatives should CHEER for a society in which men are denied many rights.

  4. Back when the article came out, I was sure there would be reaction. I guess it’s a good thing that nobody cared enough. If I recall correctly, New Advent linked to it. I went from disbelief to amusement to laughing out loud.

    What next?They should bring back bejeweled codpieces, it would be less shameful than bringing your wife and family to the capitol riot like Austin Ruse did. It’s good they’ve gone completely bonkers, but bad for the fed up millennials that are losing their faith because of them.

    I read CRISIS! from time to time to see what they’re up to, for the same reason my husband peeks at Fox News. It’s oddly satisfying.

  5. Isn’t the idea of “our storied republic” fairly radical? Maybe the real problem happened in 1776 – or further back. I have heard some trads say – seriously – that the only proper Christian form of government is a monarchy/theocracy.

    1. @JJ

      Help me out here 🙂

      As far as I understand Catholic doctrine:

      – the system of government doesn’t matter, as long as the demands of justice etc. are met. Basically a matter of as long as the cat catches mice, its color doesn’t matter. In that sense, a Catholic is not beholden to democracy.

      – On the other hand, there have to be legitimate reasons to overthrow a government. In that sense, actively trying to overthrow a constitutional republic might not exactly be the Catholic thing to do.

      Is that more or less correct?

      1. @ JJ

        I understood it as irony, but it made me think: the trad may be wrong in their search of ”that point in time where it all went wrong”, but I bet some Catholics would also be quite surprised when they read what the catechism says about the ”moral acceptability of the diversity of political regimes”.

  6. Why should this be surprising at all?
    Many of us have been saying for years that there is not a hairs difference between the Christian Right and Taliban Wahabbist Islam.

  7. @Artevelde:

    …I bet some Catholics would also be quite surprised when they read what the catechism says about the ”moral acceptability of the diversity of political regimes”.

    Read the Catechism?? Surely not! 🙂

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