I came across an interesting blog the other day from America. Most of the American Catholic blogs I read seem to come from what I suspect is a republican leaning. I avoid the use of terms like conservative and liberal deliberately because I don’t find them helpful. American politics doesn’t seem to be definable in terms of right and left in the way that politics, in this country for example, is more commonly defined. I suspect that in America, and it is only a suspicion since I am no expert on politics, I suspect that American politics is more clearly defined in terms of the extent to which they embrace a libertarian philosophy.
Looking at the majority of Catholic blogs I have come across, I think that most of them would vote republican and that I think is not so much out of conviction about republican politics as because they think the Democrats have moved to much down the line of a libertarian approach to ethics and morality. The unquestioning approval of Abortion and civil rights of any and every description of the Democratic Party have left them nowhere to turn to express their political views other than the Republican party, which at least in some quarters, though it would seem not the ones that matter, has left a door open to expressing one’s contrary views. The problem with republicans however is that by and large they are associated with out and out capitalism. Perhaps the most famous example of a libertarian republican is Alan Greenspan who was the Chairman of the federal reserve. He is also a follower of the philosophy of Ayn Rand which is at odds with Christianity. It places Catholics with a social conscience in a difficult position in America. If they want to support the democratic social reforms, they find themselves at odds with their conscience because of the democrats’ inclusion of elements that to their consciences are morally repugnant. If they want to take refuge in the Republican wing that also finds those elements morally repugnant, their conscience baulks at the out and out capitalism. There seems no where left to turn. It sounds a familiar place to find oneself. In our country holding certain moral views is an automatic disqualifier to having a chance at being nominated or even considered for a seat in one of the political parties.
So I found it interesting to come across a site, ‘tradinista.com’ which contained a political manifest from leftist Catholics. They are a new breed of activists who are taking seriously the Church’s social teaching as well as its moral teaching. They offer an alternative to the Republican Capitalist outlook and the Democratic Libertarian approach. It is an interesting development and might even be the beginning of a change in American politics, but probably not in the near future. It will not be an easy battle for them since it is going against the prevailing winds of Capitalism and libertarianism, but they at least have the courage to stand up and say something radically new is needed to save their country. I hope they find support of many like-minded people. I’m sure also that there would be support for a similar move in this country. A move away from a money centred economy to a people centred economy, a move towards a more human society and one that remembered what it means to be a human being.