Ironies of history: Paul Blanshard was right

Catholicism did destroy American freedom, but not the way Blanshard expected.  He thought that vast numbers of Catholics with reactionary beliefs would impose their authoritarian popery on the rest of the country.  In fact, Catholics in America completely surrendered to the Leftist zeitgeist and became a model wedge minority for the Democratic Party, giving progressives the support they needed to wipe out America’s Protestant social mores and impose today’s centralized therapeutic State.

The sad story of American Catholicism illustrates an important truth–all immigrant groups quickly become tools of the Left, regardless of their behavior in their native lands.  It’s always in the interests of newcomers for there to be no cohesive common culture in the host country.  Muslims, for example, are reliable communist voters in some European countries, if I remember correctly.  If anyone could have resisted this rule, it would have been the Catholics:  rigidly hierarchical and dogmatic, possessing an elaborate intellectual heritage in opposition to liberalism, and with a clergy that fought the instrumentation of Catholics by the Left at every turn.  All to no avail.  When the show-down finally came between Rome and the Kennedys over the latter’s abortion and lechery promotion, the vast majority of Catholics sided with the Kennedys and other heretics, with the authority of the church being discarded as carelessly as one might discard a used kleenex.  Oh, the sweet springtime of Vatican II!

And so here is the biggest irony:  Catholics were no threat to Protestant America as long as they remained aloof and scornful of other religions; it was only when they decided to assimilate and bow before the world that they became a useful tool for the majority culture’s destruction.

9 Responses

  1. [i]Muslims, for example, are reliable communist voters in some European countries, if I remember correctly[/i]

    They’re overwhelmingly Labour voters over here. I live in a borough of London with a large Labour-voting Muslim community – rather surprisingly, since many of them are highly entrepreneurial and there is a strong Muslim business community who would more naturally vote Conservative or Lib Dem.

    The Jewish community (another entrepreneurial and prosperous demographic) used to be tribally Labour too. It was said that young Jewish boys were given their party card at their Bar Mitzvah.

  2. Hi Reggie,

    would have thought Lib Dem would have been a better fit for the Jews myself. (Maybe I don’t have a good idea of the differences between your two Left parties.) Perhaps they just always go with whichever party is perceived as farthest Left and, therefore, presumed most hostile to the historic majority culture. Muslims and Labour seem like a more natural fit, if nothing else because of that masculine vibe you were talking about earlier.

  3. Hi again, Bonald.

    I suspect that economic interests have a lot to do with it. Labour was historically a working-class socialist party, and immigrants, who generally passed into low-income jobs, would naturally look to it to protect them.

    The Lib Dems are a middle-class party from the liberal rather than the socialist tradition (and to some extent have a right-leaning freemarket streak, though the party is centre-left overall). They probably don’t seem to have much to offer a chap from (say) Pakistan who’s just stepped off the boat and is working somewhere cleaning out toilets.

    Another interesting British immigrant community is African-Caribbeans. Many of these are deeply conservative, family-oriented Christians (though some, sadly, are not). They would be natural Conservative voters, but I’m not aware that the Tories have made many inroads into this community.

  4. Bonald, the identification of immigrants with an economically leftist position makes perfect sense, since they are the landless, often unskilled, laborers.

    The real question is, how did the cultural left coopt the party of the economic left?

    The Populist Party for example, was economically progressive while standing for conservative culture. Instead, we got a party that claimed to represent the interests of the small guy while at the same time destroying his culture and family. Definitely a hidden virus in that political payload.

  5. At the risk of banging on about British politics, as you may know, there is a small movement over here that is seeking to unite (or reunite) progressive economics with traditional religious conservatism. It is centred around Phillip Blond, a theologian and author of “Red Tory”, in which he argues that the Conservative Party took a wrong turn towards liberalism in adopting Thatcherite economic policies.

    In Ireland, this same combination of the economic left and the conservative religious right used to be represented by De Valera and Fianna Fáil, but that tradition is largely extinct now.

  6. Reggie and Justin both point out that recent immigrants often have strong economic reasons for supporting an (economically) Leftist party. The fact that I didn’t bring up such an obvious issue shows what a blind spot economics is for this blog. Oh well, we can’t do everything, and my cultural explanation might help explain why wealthy minorities like the Jews are so strongly Leftist. Basically, it’s always in the interests of outsiders for there to be no “inside”–no common culture. It brings everyone to their level.

    I will also not let my national coreligionists off as easily as my generous Protestant and liberal friends. We should have starved before supporting an abortion-rights party.

  7. You are too quick to press American Catholicism into an immigration / outgroup resentment paradigm.

    Blanshard´s main concerns about the Church included her ability to keep Hollywood degeneracy in check and to keep birth control out of favor. He´d love what Catholicism has become today, and he probably helped organize some of the subversion efforts. From his point of view, Catholicism threatened to become the cohesive ingroup so that cohesion had to be destroyed.

    A better explanation is that American Catholics made too many enemies and then became easy pickings for subversion when, as you say, Vatican II shook things up and the aftermath destroyed Catholics´ immune system.

    Think of the Church´s enemies:

    Communists and anti-anti-communists
    Hollywood pornographers
    Planned Parenthood
    Industrialists (recall Catholic dominance of labor unions in the Northeast)

    Added to this problem were the Supreme Court decisions taking away communities’ abilities to defend themselves from obscenity and crime; the establishment of feminist-favoring quotas in the Democratic Party; busing and so-called integration of neighborhoods; and the federal establishment of racial quotas in cities whose urban machines were run by white Catholics.

    While some of the subversion efforts certainly involved depicting Catholic morals as elite WASP stuffiness, these other issues were more significant I think.

  8. Hi Kevin,

    Thank you for giving me your take on this, since I know it’s something that you’ve thought deeply about. From my point of view, this is the irony of the situation: that Catholics became enemies of America’s Protestant culture by doing exactly what Blanshard wanted them to.

    On the other hand, one could argue that American Protestant culture was in an anomalous position by mid-century anyway. I’ve argued before that by this time Catholics had taken over most of the onerous work of enforcing social standards. The Catholic Church was keeping America Protestant (as opposed to atheist, as it is now), while atheists like Sanger and Blandshard had set themselves up as defenders of American Protestant freedom. There’s just no end to the bizarreness of the religious history of the last century.

  9. […] prejudice still exists in the United States? I am well aware that it used to and I can well imagine Paul Blanshard‘s jaws tightening if he were to encounter Douthat while surfing the Times’ webpages. […]

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