Friday, April 01, 2005

John Paul II and the Internet

I've been reading James Lileks' blog, with which I have a love-hate relationship. It turned out to be his last entry for a while. He writes:

I’m tired of reading blogs and bulletin boards and noting that it’s OK to joke about one dead person, perfectly fine to kick the Pope when he’s about to give up the ghost, but a breach of human decency to be less than reverential about the passing of a comic who specialized in dope humor. That sort of thing is expected on the internet, but what makes me weary is the blogligation to have an opinion about it and bang it out so the whole world knows I stand four-square against bashing near-dead Popes.

I'm not giving up the blog, but I know what he means. The jeering hasn't really upset me. I always knew that when this day came, the usual bores and boors would step forward to grind their axes. I do have a couple of observations, however:

  • As expected, lots of people have accused the Church of keeping poor countries poor by opposing birth control. Now, leaving to one side the fact that many of the world's poorest countries aren't Catholic, have these people thought about the implications of what they're saying? Those countries aren't poor because of corrupt governments or unfair trade; they're poor because those brown people are having too many babies. No need to share our resources; let them shrink their numbers till they can live on what they've got.
    Also, historically a society's birth rate has fallen as a reaction to greater wealth (and has done so since long before the days of the contraceptive pill); there's no evidence that the process works in reverse.

  • On one message board, an anti-Pope poster identifies herself as an 'ex-member of the British Communist Party and proud.' I mention this because it illustrates the strange inconsistency of the far left: They'll excuse Lenin for spawning the gulags, but they won't forgive the Pope for opposing condoms.
    (Note also that if someone says, 'Hitler had the right idea but went about it the wrong way,' people see through it instantly; but saying the same thing about Stalin or Mao is somehow legitimate. But that's a whole other rant.)

Beyond that, not much to say. I sent a comment to the BBC this morning (it's near the bottom of the page), and I'm anxiously checking the news like everyone else.


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