In this book, " Catholic Intellectuals and Conservative Politics in America, 1950-1985," the author, Patrick Allitt, discusses the role played by Catholic intellectuals in the new political conservative movement that emerged in the 1950痴 and 1960痴 and continued until 1985. This book illustrates clearly the chronological history and transformation of Catholicism and conservatism in America since 1950痴.

The 1950痴 were the years in which American Catholics were regarded by non-Catholic Americans as politically dangerous people, as well as socially inferior ones. In the 1960痴, they had a special power to adhere to political and social opinions, and they advertised their fundamentally American character and their loyalty to American institution and to the American state. After the election of John F. Kennedy to the Presidency and after Vatican, they considered themselves less power on the political and social issues from their parish priest and from the hierarchy. Quite soon, it seemed that there was no longer a " Catholic痴 " position on any subject to the temporal issues of human activities.

Allitt follows the development of so-called Catholic positions on a variety of issues including; the Cold War, capitalism, civil rights, the sexual revolution, abortion, just-war, the use of nuclear weapons, poverty, the role of the West in the contemporary world, and school prayer. The most fundamental controversy is the relationship between the Church, the state, and the secular society. After all, the modern Church found the surrounding liberal democratic society and itself confronting one of the oldest theoretical dilemmas in its existence in confrontation with the modern state.

The problem was caused by the fact that godless Communism became a direct danger to the West. In the 1950痴, the American Catholic minority agreed with the Protestant majority that the Cold War represented evil; the American government and the Universal Church together faced a common enemy against which they were morally required to make common cause. Thus, the Catholic conservatism had the strong principles of militantly anti-communism. Brent Bozell, a founding editor of National Review, backed up the principle with the belief that the United States was being directed by God.

At that time the evolving crisis in Vietnam led many Catholics in the U.S. to urge their government to commit troops to the aid of South Vietnam and its Catholic elite; once American forces were in the field, they justified the war by the claim that it was being fought " for civilization." For Catholic liberals on the other hand, if the equation of civilization with the West was offensive, making the same meaning of the West as Christianity was against the God. Only one institution, they insisted, could properly call itself God痴 instrument on earth, and that was the Church. Denying in effect that the American people were chosen by God to do their work, the liberals further opposed the conservatives・claim that America was justified in choosing the nuclear solution of the world over terrible surrender to Communism. Therefore, two primary issues were at risk in the debate: the moral superiority of America and of the West, and the authority of the magistrates of the City of Man to take its citizens to send battle on the purpose of the City of God. It can稚 be said that the conservatives always argued these points. Allitt says in its conclusion as follows;

under the impact of the 1960s Catholic conservative intellectuals disagreed among themselves, dividing between those for whom the political issues of mobilizing conservative politicians was the most important and those for whom preservation of the church and its orthodoxy mattered more than the temporizing that practical politics made necessary ( Allitt. 305 ).

On the question of the moral superiority, the editors of Triumph were the first to see the light. By the late 1960痴, Mr. Bozell was prepared to withdraw their support of the Vietnam War, arguing the while it was one thing to wage a war of Christian sacrifice, it was another to ask Americans to die. America having outlawed prayer in the schools and abandoned itself to sexual matters, pornography, racial violence, welfare, and consumerism, hardly appealed to them as any longer a Christian nation at all, let alone the terrible swift sword of the almighty: the magazine concluded simply " law and order can no longer be a slogan for Catholics." While it was this stance that appears to have led eventually to Triumph痴 end, its depressing correctness was dramatized during and after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc in 1989 when conservatives ( and Catholics ) treated these events not just as a " victory " for the West but as a kind of divine reward for a nation for which abortion and homosexuality had become a kind of sacrament. It is one thing to argue that Ronald Reagan won the Cold War by his arms build-up.

Allitt mentions that Catholics are 25 percent of the population and tend towards conservatism ( not all Catholics ). William Buckley, Jr., Norman Podhoretz, William Bennett, Irving Kristol, Midge Decter, George Weigel, Charles Krauthammer, Mary Ann Glendon, and the list goes on - Jews and Catholics all. At the end of the period told by Allitt, conservative principles and policies were given their intellectual messages by Jews and Catholics. Patrick Allitt himself is an associate professor of history, but his historical address of the Catholic conservative movement adds the favor of Catholic faith to his conservative thought.

In chapter 1, Allitt justified the effort of Senator, Joseph McCarthy who is also Catholic and known as the most famous Communist hunter of the era. His campaign won widespread Catholic support and encouraged other leading Communist hunters as Richard Nixon. Not all American Catholics supported McCarthyism ; the major divided in the Catholic population was between anti-Communists who supported McCarthy and anti-Communists who criticized him. The one intellectual figure to defense McCarthyism is William Buckley. In chapter 1 and 2, William Buckley is located in the chief figure of the new conservative movement taking shape against the background of Communism. In his approach to the Cold War, the Catholic new conservatives took a militant anti-Soviet and anti-Communists position. He also wrote extensively about the need to maintain the sort of pressure against domestic Communists which McCarthy had led ; National Review published by Buckley took over after the death of McCarthy. He identified Communism as a Christian enemy, viewed the events of the Cold War in religious terms, and believed themselves to be the new defenders of the God痴 truth - Christianity. Allitt痴 view of these anti-Communist痴 leaders are same as the view of Dunn and Woodard. Dunn and Woodard define these leaders as Anticommunist Conservatives and place Buckley痴 significance on his book,

McCarthy and His Enemies which supported McCarthy. ( Dunn. 107 ) Meanwhile, Dolbeare grasps Buckley痴 figure as a representative of Organic Conservative. Dolbeare points out the significance of Buckley痴 journal, National Review as follows; " the National Review opened its pages to all brands of conservatism but emphasized anticommunism and the failure of liberalism." ( Dolbeare. 152 ) In fact, Buckley is the most influential figure in the rise of conservatism and in postwar American political thought so that Barry Goldwater followed Buckley痴 for purpose of fighting communism.

Besides William Buckley, Allitt points out the significance of the two principle journals of the new conservatism, National Review and Modern Age founded in the mid - 1950痴. They were not Catholic journals but a striking number of Catholic writers worked for them. Among them are journalists; Brent Bozell, James Mcfadden, Gary Potter, and Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, political scientists; Willmoore Kendall, Anthovy Bouscaren, and Francis Graham Wilson, philosophers; Frederick Wilhelmsen and Thomas Molnar, and historians; Ross Hoffman, John Lukacs, Stephen Tonsor, and Garry Wills. Many of these men - Hoffman, Wilson, Kendall, Bozell, Potter, and later Russell Kirk, Frank Meyer, and Jeffrey Hart - were identified as Catholic intellectuals and political conservatives. They expressed admiration for the Catholic church , which they described as an conservative basis principle in order to defend Western civilization. This group of intellectuals are also the examples of the anticommunist and neoconservative categories.

From the mid - 1960痴, on a wide range of issues, Catholic identity lost its determinative character. William Buckley believed that compromises with other conservatives and other Christians were essential to Catholic conservative political movement. On the other hand, Brent Bozell disagreed. In his Catholic Journal, Triumph, Bozell declared in 1970 that a conflict between religious and politics must be resolved in favor of the religious, even if that resolution meant a virtual declaration of war against the state. Many other responses to the challenges of the 1960痴 developed. For example, Garry Wills, a former anticommunist journalist, isolated himself by protesting radical ideas on the Vietnam War.

As continued 1970痴, other Catholic conservatives decided to devote themselves to specific issues. Especially, philosophical, legal, and institutional questions relating to sexuality and the family were central to Catholic controversy. In chapter 5, Allitt analyzed the Catholic response toward sexual revolution and its consequences. The Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade set off a reconfiguration of Catholic conservative activists, some of whom dedicated themselves to anti abortion work as the issue for political action. The work of legal scholars, John T. Noonan, Jr., and Charles Rice, and the other women who opposed abortion are singled out here. Their belief toward such issues are against homosexuality and against abortion. For instance, Charles Rice adopted a constitutional amendment declaring, " this nation is in fact under the God who has created all human beings and endowed the with unalienable rights." When Ronald Reagan won the 1980痴 election, Catholic conservatives hoped for a sexual counterrevolution. The case against homosexuality and abortion rested on arguments from a natural law, but Buckley, Noonan, and other Catholic conservatives argued against the traditional natural law teaching. However, in this point, libertarians are placed on the opposite position. According to the explanation Dunn and Woodard, the idea of libertarians are influenced by the basis of the traditional natural law. ( Dunn. 40 ) They think that individuals should be free from government intervention so that they supported broader freedom in the practice of abortion and homosexuality. In 1980痴, this group became much more aggressive and became the Catholic conservative痴 enemy.

Allitt discussed the history of Catholicism and conservative movement from 1950痴 and 1960痴 to 1980痴. In other wards, he discussed the history of these four decades - the Cold War era. Anti-Communism and new conservative movement set off confronting the emergence of the godless communism and continued until the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc in 1989. However, the collapse of the Soviet Union caused the end of anti-communism. There became no enemy for Catholic politicians and intellectuals. The important point is that this book was written at that time.

At the same time, Republican Party ended their regimes which had been dominant for twelve years, and Democrats Party came to power with the election of 1992. It is naturally thought that the end of the Cold War forced Republican Party to lose the election of 1992, but Republican痴 defeat was also caused by the split of Republicans themselves. The emergence of populist and Christian Right accelerated it痴 split. They emphasized domestic policy, especially, focused on the social issue such as prayer, abortion, and traditional gender roles. ( Dolbeare. 133 ) This circumstance, a historical significant moment, may have Allitt writing this book in order to inform how Catholic intellectuals came to play the part they do in the conservative politics.

Since 1950痴 candidates identified as conservative have won seven out of eleven presidential elections. Allitt emphasizes America is a politically conservative country, and it becoming more so. Especially, the remarkable attention has been paid in recent years to " the culture wars." Populist, Christian Right, and Fundamental Right are agitating most Americans for the question such as abortion, gender role, homosexuality, family policy, crime, and moral training. In America, culture politics is directly related to morality, and morality is directly related to religion. That is why religious thought had been influenced the history of Catholicism during the Cold War. It is very difficult to determine the thesis of this book because the book is strongly historical - Allitt痴 story is so faithful to the history. However, it is not too much to say that Catholic intellectuals such as William Buckley and Brent Bozell joined with other conservatives in advocating a more militant anti-communism during the Cold War and an end to domestic liberalism, so that their Christian faith and principles led the winning of Western bloc and its civilization.


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