Very shortly after the 9/11 attacks on the United States, Marquette Theology Professor Daniel Maguire published a reaction in a little-known journal called Cross Currents
It has been little noticed, but we think it deserves attention, given the light it sheds on the thinking of the pro-abortion liberal theologian.
Maguire begins by recording his movements on that morning, and his joy at finding out that America had lost its “superpower” status.
Cell phones and television at the Columbus airport told us the news, that our superpower status was a myth. In a superpower, the president would not have to hide out in Louisiana and Nebraska because of “credible evidence” that he could not return to the Capital; the congress would not be running from the Capitol Building; schools and businesses throughout a superpower could not be forced shut; I would not suddenly be looking up into a sky where no airplane would dare fly. These were the facts of this new world order. The Defense Department could not defend us — or its main temple, the Pentagon — from a hatred and a mode of power that we had never known before.
Maguire then rhetorically asks: “Why are they killing themselves and killing all those people?” His answer, of course, is that it’s America’s fault.
The government’s answer was that we are good and love freedom and these people are bad and hate it. That vapid answer came from an arrogant national culture that has lost its talent for healthy guilt. The hatred that could so easily paralyze our nation has a history, and as Teilhard de Chardin said, “nothing is intelligible outside of its history.”
Why do the deprived of the world hate us so?
To give an honest answer to the little girl’s question, to start some meaningful reflection and move out of the morass of American jingoism, I look to some thoughtful witnesses and diagnosticians of humankind.
Maguire then quotes an essay he wrote in 1993 as follows:
Can we sit now in our First World comfort at a table with a view of the golf course, and ignore starvation in the Third World and joblessness and homelessness in our cities? The prophets of Israel would answer “no.” In Jeremiah’s words, there is no hiding from the effects of guilt and morally malignant neglect: “Do you think that you can be exempt? No, you cannot be exempt” (Jer. 25). Injustice will come home to roost, whether in wars of redistribution (the most likely military threat of the future), or in crime and terrorism, or in far-reaching economic shockwaves. The planet will not forever endure our insults. If the prophets’ law is correct — and the facts of history endorse it — we will not be exempt.
Clearly, Maguire thinks that the West, and particularly America, is responsible for all the evil in the world.
It could not be that Third-World countries have backward societies that have never advanced to capitalism. It could not be that they have corrupt governments. It must be that we
Maguire continues with the hate-America rhetoric, spitting out the following choice nuggets.
- The attackers pinpointed the reasons for their outrage. They struck at what they saw as the twin towers of our indifference and at our haughty military heart.
- . . . many Muslims see us as incapable of an even-handed policy in the Middle East.
- The Muslim world has a nation-transcending unity that we little understand. The UMMAH, the community of believing Muslims, melts borders between races and nations. That is why so many African Americans were drawn to Islam. All Muslims feel the pain of the reported half million innocent children dead in Iraq due to our sanctions.
- Our hubris shines through our imperfectly disguised attitudes toward Islam, attitudes that befoul our policies in the Middle East.
- Tightening security at the airports as we should have done years ago is as late as it is inadequate. (Biological, chemical, and small atomic weapons are probably already in preparation.) All these are efforts to plug the faucet. What is needed is to turn off the faucet. The faucet is perceived injustice in the Middle East, the need for separate states for Israel and for the Palestinians. The faucet is the disastrous maldistribution of wealth in the world and the proliferation of starvation.
- We can pretend that we are purely innocent and that their hatred of us is “unfathomable.” But the fact remains that the solution to the problems of poor, enslaved, or occupied people is not nuclear physics. All that is needed is the moral and political will.
So Maguire has nothing to suggest but to stop supporting Israel — he could never admit that many Muslims have an irrational hatred of the Jewish state — and have huge new taxes in order to send more money to poor countries.
Which means send it to corrupt governments that have already squandered trillions in foreign aid.
Of course, the 9/11 attackers were not the wretched poor of the Third-World. They were from affluent backgrounds, mostly in Saudi Arabia. It was not poverty that motivated them, but a fundamentalist reading of Islam.
But Maguire has to think as he does, because to think differently would require him to consider the defects of Third-World societies, economies and governments.
It would deprive him of the thrill of self-righteous feelings of moral superiority.
Which is what this sort of politically correct rhetoric is all about. Actually helping poor people requires a bit more intellectual effort.