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The Netflix Conundrum and How We Can’t Escape Modernism

If you spend very much time in the social media tradosphere, you have likely witnessed the intermittent pleas by Catholics everywhere to cancel your Netflix subscription for the good of your soul and the souls of your children. These cries have become even louder as of late. Apparently, Big Mouth (a cartoon about teen sex) and Sex Education (a live-action show about teen sex) were just not enough for brainwashing the next generation. No, indeed, we had to have something even more progressive, more woke, more patriarchy-crushing: a new show called Dancing Queen.

According to Wikipedia, this Netflix original series “follows Justin [Johnson] in his hometown of Mesquite, Texas, at his highly competitive Beyond Belief Dance Company. It is there where he prepares young students for an intensely competitive season on the stage. The multihyphenate has a lot has on his plate, as he has to juggle his dance life, drag life, family life and love life.”

There is nothing really new about Dancing Queen; it wasn’t the first assault on decency and reason, and unless Christ soon returns, it certainly will not be the last. Yet it spurs me to tackle a subject I have floundered in trying to pin down every time I’ve been faced with a blank page.

When faced with a smiling man on my family’s television set, in garish drag makeup, posing with a group of young and innocent children in skimpy dance costumes, I finally figured out the right question to ask my fellow Catholics: on what ground do you stand in opposing this degeneracy?

For the average American Catholic (those in other countries such as Canada have similar attitudes), the answer may be given as something like this: “We need to utilize the power of the free market by withdrawing our support of Netflix. This has gone too far, and the innocence of children must be protected. Every other worldview is respected and tolerated, but if I as a Catholic say that I do not want my children exposed to radical LGBT activism, I’m treated as some kind of bigot! Just because one has the right to free speech, that does not mean he should impose his beliefs on those too young to make up their own minds.”

There’s something missing here, something unspoken, an insidious and likely unwitting acceptance of the root of the cursed tree that extends its limbs of abortion, communism, atheism, feminism, LGBT advocacy, sexual immorality, immodesty, et al. until it finally blots out all sunlight from above.

In his 1907 enyclical, Pascendi Dominici Gregis, the sainted Pope Pius X states:

[For the Modernist believer] the Divine Reality does really exist in itself and quite independently of the person who believes in it. If you ask on what foundation this assertion of the Believer rests, they answer: in the experience of the individual. On this head the Modernists differ from the Rationalists only to fall into the opinion of the Protestants and pseudo-mystics[.] … If this experience is denied by some, like the rationalists, it arises from the fact that such persons are unwilling to put themselves in the moral state which is necessary to produce it. It is this experience which, when a person acquires it, makes him properly and truly a believer.

For the Modernist, achieving the “necessary moral state” involves abandoning Catholicism (not all Modernists are self-proclaimed Catholics) as it has always been understood and instead adhering to the “Holy Spirit.” Not the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, of course. The “Holy Spirit” that the Modernists believe in is in fact no more than the unholy desires of man himself – fundamentally, the interior promptings of the devil, made all the more dangerous by virtue of man’s generally unwitting cooperation. (As an aside, it could be argued that Modernists are capable of having “good” desires, but those desires are holy insofar as they conform to the actual Catholic faith and are thus rendered superfluous.)

I would hope the majority of devout Catholics would be horrified at such a characterization of their beliefs. However, I think that if we honestly examine the voting habits, consumer habits, and cultural tastes of the latter, it is undeniable that a majority of even conservative Catholics have embraced Modernism.

That should horrify us.

I remember a time not so long ago when I regarded religious liberty (as commonly understood, laid out quite well by blatantly Modernist professor Massimo Faggioli) as self-evidently necessary. As my conversion and knowledge of the Catholic faith deepened, I found myself questioning this belief, which permeated to the core of my politics. In fact, it’s probably the biggest reason why I stopped writing about politics and started writing about the Church: I needed the intellectual space to find my footing again, and I felt dishonest continuing my counter-jihad and pro-free speech work while my first principles were falling apart.

Then, as now, I knew it was beyond my pay grade to offer any far-reaching solution to this conflict between accepted “religious liberty” and Catholicism, but there was a certain feeling of relief in realizing that even my foundational political belief system would have to undergo a period of upheaval if I wanted to be fully Catholic. The truth will set you free, after all.

With my one-year anniversary in the Church fast approaching, one year of intellectual freedom to rebuild my thinking from the ground up on the foundation of Truth Himself, I finally feel capable of asking myself the question I ask of readers here.

On what ground do I stand in opposing this degeneracy? How do I respond to Dancing Queen, to Big Mouth, to Sex Education, to all of the constant assaults on precious souls that come before us, day in and day out? There are really only two possible answers, in principle if not immediate practicality. Either I stand with Satan and his demons or I stand with Jesus Christ and His angels and saints.

When it comes to Dancing Queen, I find comfort in knowing I am not insane – the world is. Netflix may be beholden to freedom of religion, to ever changing societal mores, to the free market, to whatever other measure of correctness next comes into vogue (communist totalitarianism, perhaps?), but I kneel at the altar of God, and it is to Him I will bend my will, my intellect, my everything.

Canceling Netflix is a good idea. Petitions are a good idea. Fearlessly proclaiming our disgust with the moral state of the world is a good idea. I’d say that overall, working within the system we have, without violating the teachings of the Catholic faith, is a good idea.

It’s just not enough.

I am confident that a time is coming where the battle lines will truly be drawn. Just take five minutes honestly to examine American politics of the past five years as a microcosm of a social order in near complete chaos. It’s not left versus right; it’s sanity versus insanity, reason versus unfettered emotion, and good versus evil. The fear most of us have of division and polemic is a temporary blindness, one that will be taken from us in short order. We haven’t seen anything yet.

Mark my words.

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