Commentary on the Catholic side of my title. The retirement of Kennedy is an oddly subdued yet momentous moment. Everyone’s looking at what’s to come, but of greatest import is looking at what may be lost – the rank nihilism of a centrist who doesn’t believe in anything:
I can think of few sentences in our language more chillingly nihilistic than the one from Pennsylvania v. Casey in which Kennedy asserts that “at the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” It’s almost impossible to describe just how terrifying a suggestion this is. In a mere 26 words, it would, if it were possible for any sentient adult to take it seriously, reduce ontology, epistemology, ethics, and biology into a matter of taste; it would make a quasi-commercial preference for one thing — the life of an infant, say — as opposed to another. That it has possessed, for nearly my entire life, the absolute force of law in this country seems to me almost unimaginable.
And see PJ Smith on “The demise of the American King“.
For a Pulp example of this sort “nihilism for peace”, see Remender’s otherwise fun Captain America.