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PopeWatch: La Vanguardia Interview-Anti-Semitism

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

Continuing on with our look at the La Vanguardia interview we examine the musings of the Pope on anti-Semitism:

 

 

You told me a year ago that “within every Christian there is a Jew.”

Perhaps it would be more correct to say “you cannot live your Christianity, you cannot be a real Christian, if you do not recognize your Jewish roots.” I don’t speak of Jewish in the sense of the Semitic race but rather in the religious sense. I think that inter-religious dialogue needs to deepen in this, in Christianity’s Jewish root and in the Christian flowering of Judaism. I understand it is a challenge, a hot potato, but it can be done as brothers. I pray every day the divine office every day with the Psalms of David. We do the 150 psalms in one week. My prayer is Jewish and I have the Eucharist, which is Christian.  

How do you see anti-Semitism?

I cannot explain why it happens, but I think it is very linked, in general, and without it being a fixed rule, to the right wing.  Antisemitism usually nests better in right-wing political tendencies that in the left, right? And it still continues (like this). We even have those who deny the holocaust, which is crazy.

Go here to read the rest.  The Pope’s contention that anti-Semitism is usually found on the right is a curious one, since the most blatant anti-Semitism in the contemporary world increasingly tends to be on the left, where being against Israel is almost always an article of faith.  Indeed Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, one of the Pope’s closest advisors demonstrates how someone can be both a leftist and an anti-semite:

This from 2002:  Tiny coteries of evil investors cause starvation in the developing world, while cabals of Jewish journalists try to smear the innocent bishops. Is it all clear now? Based on Manichean, conspiratorial analyses such as these, we humble, loving “Samaritans” must reject the pharisaical Church of the past, and march forward to use the guns and prisons of the state to enforce “mercy” and “solidarity” among the classes and the nations.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

62 Comments

  1. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Joseph is the True God, the Triune God. The Chosen People were chosen to carry the True God in their heart, in the state,(a theocracy) and in their law. In this, Israel conquered. When Israel failed to acknowledge God, Israel was terribly punished.
    .
    Acknowledging the Blessed Trinity and keeping Judeo-Christian principles is still the way to know, love and serve God. Without God, as atheism claims, there is nothing but perdition, embrace of the Father of Lies and the Lord of the Flies, until God steps in and brings about peace.

  2. Right wing Protestant Evangelicals and Pentecostals are vehemently pro-Israel and pro-Jewish. What world is this Pontiff living on?

  3. The Pope’s viewpoint is either very parochial (making use of an Argentine frame of reference) or he has defined the term ‘anti-semitism’ to exclude all the salient and consequential examples of hostility to Jews you are likely to locate (some of which emanate from Vichy Jews). The soldiers who tortured Jacobo Timmerman in 1977, 1978, and 1979 are obscure and inconsequential even if they’ve gone unpunished. The string of politicians in the Hungarian Jobbik who’ve made obnoxious and malicious remarks do not have at this time the ability to do more than stink up Hungarian public discourse. Desmond Tutu is at least as ugly as the Jobbik crew, and he’s feted internationally. What’s the Pope got to say about that?

  4. “What world is this Pontiff living on?”

    I suspect the world of Argentina in which he grew up. From what I have seen he is a very provincial man. So perhaps his view is formed by rightists there. Perhaps he is also formed by the commonplace thought that National Socialism was a rightist phenomenon.

  5. The answer to the La Vanguardia interviewer’s first question here seems a clear explanation and in line with the Bible’s Old into New Testaments.

    The second -ism topic blasts the mind from clarifying religion back into the confusion of worldly perspectives – of politics, wings, and judgments therein.
    What is the word Semitism ? I object to the selling of what is good and bad according to God’s teaching with this right and left basis of thought. Whether God’s people are right wing or left wing, depending on Politics or someone’s esteemed opinion, is the wrong way to approach clarity on goodness and its antithesis. As to holocaust, mass murder for the sake of political intent, a breach of the First Commandment, the Fifth Commandment, the Eighth Commandment, (and the rest in ways); it has become a moving point on that ‘line’ from left to right rather than the stark reality of what man without God does.

    -Isms and wings are an unsound base for understanding good and bad in this chaotic world. The keepers of the clarity, depth, and richness of Catholicism are more a center point to understanding life and death.

  6. I am not. It is clear at this point that he has a very particular political outlook. This outlook has only a touching glance with reality and which is refractory to correction.

    He will continue to contaminate his office with such foolishness. That such will lead many souls away from God. It should also help those who believe in the truth of the papal office that the Holy Spirit will lead us through this.

  7. Paul W Primavera

    “Right wing Protestant Evangelicals and Pentecostals…”
    Paul W Primavera

    I have never met a right-wing Protestant.
    I have met Russian Orthodox émigrés, staunch believers in “Orthodoxy, autocracy and nationality,” who have an icon of the Holy Royal Passion-bearers in their homes, and who attributed the fall of the Romanovs to “cosmopolitan and anti-Christian elements.” I have met French Catholics, for whom Philippe Pétain is always « Le Maréchal » who desiderate the “sacred and indissoluble alliance of Throne and Altar” and who blame all their country’s woes on Jews, Freemasons, Protestants and Métiques. I have met Spanish Catholics, who pine for the halcyon days of El Caudillo and whose proudest boast is limpieza de sangre, untainted by Moorish or Jewish blood.
    Protestants, in my experience, lack that appetite for authoritarian government or Church establishment.

    This is not to deny, of course, the anti-Zionism and covert anti-Semitism of the Left, which, as. Pierre-Andre Taguieff famously pointed out recycles old stereotypes such as the rich Jew and the dominating Jew under the “varnish of progressivism” and for which the Jew is once more the stand-in for capitalism, imperialism, cosmopolitanism, indeed the whole economic order, with “the cosmopolitan Satan – the United States/Israel/the West” on one side and, on the other, the “dominated and the oppressed.”

  8. The “right’s anti-semitism” was explained to me by my father thusly: To the Communists, the Nazis–who were the most famous anti-Semites at the time and still are today–were in fact “on the right,” although in fact the Nazis were National Socialists. It’s relative. On the political spectrum, the Communists were further left than the Nazis, just as the Democrat party of JFK was further to the right. No Democrat would ever say he was a right winger, but a hard core Nazi might have called him that.
    .
    I suspect that anti-Semitism has always been found among those most inclined to boss other people around–I call them the TTs: Totalitarian Types. That would include communists, socialists, democrats, GOP corporatist, etc. (I wonder if Bishop Williamson is a socialist.)

  9. Tito Edward
    Métique is the French form of Greek Μετοικος (lit one who had changed his home).
    In ancient Athens, it referred to resident aliens allowed to practice commerce there but who were denied citizenship.
    It was popularised by Charles Maurras, the founder of l’ Action Française.

  10. D J Hesseliuswrote, “I suspect that anti-Semitism has always been found among those most inclined to boss other people around.”

    I agree, but it would be a stretch, though to call Tsar Alexander III a Socialist, or los Reyes Católicos, for that matter, or the Catholic monarchist anti-Dréfusard officers.

    Of course, if one is a Romantic Nationalist, believing that the nation is composed of those who “speak the same language, who bear about them the impress of consanguinity, who kneel beside the same tombs, who glory in the same tradition,” one may very well exclude Jews (or any other minority of choice) from the national community.

    Similarly, if one believes in a confessional state, sacral monarchy, le roi très-chrétien, one will exclude Jews from the national community on religious grounds, along with religious dissenters of all sorts. There was a sort of mad logic to the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes.

  11. These interviews are disturbing, and yet revealing. A modernist (intentional or an unintended product of such thinking) engages in ‘constructs’ (the Hegelian method is an example) to fabricate a truth—usually a political ‘truth’ which in turn tends to be relativistic.

    Pat’s comment above provided us, with simple clarity, a Catholic and pastoral summary of applied Truth. The Pope….not so much.

  12. What stands out to me about anti-Semitism is its ability to worm its way into human thought in nearly every circumstance. Where there is hatred, there is hatred of Jews. It’s as sure a proof of the demonic as you’re ever going to find in the world. There is something evil, personal, and supernatural in the hatred of God’s chosen people.

  13. I suspect that anti-Semitism has always been found among those most inclined to boss other people around–I call them the TTs:

    In my observation, it is found in people who fancy that history is a series of malign conspiracies, who are given to social resentments (of other people’s affluence or education), and, in our own time, of the sort who are revolted by the idea that the talking cure is not omnicompetant.

    In various circumstances, cross-cultural abrasion and conflict is to be expected among distinct communal subsets. That makes the mundane deficit of charity you might read about in inter-war Poland or Roumania a good deal more forgivable (all things considered) that the gratuitous hostility you see to day (in Britain, in Norway, in palaeoconservative literature, &c).

  14. Art Deco

    Alain Finkielkraut offers an important distinction between absolute anti-Zionism and traditional anti-Semitism. He argues that, traditionally, anti-Semites were Nationalists: “the French who worship a cult of their identity and who love each other in opposition to Jews.” “Contemporary anti-Semitism,” however, is the domain of the French who “do not love each other, who think in terms of a post-national future, who rid themselves of their Frenchness the better to identify with the poor of the Earth, and who, through Israel, group Jews in the camp of the oppressors.” (L’Arche mars 2002)

    Similarly, Robert Redeker suggests that, post Cold War, the Left has replaced “sovietophilia” with “islamophilia,” and that “Palestinians and the contemporary Muslim masses replace the proletariat in the intellectuals’ imagination” as the pure, ideal alternative to Western capitalism. (Le Monde, 11/21/01). In other words, absolute anti-Zionism is French contrition coupled with a fetishisation of the ‘innocent’ Palestinians, which in turn results from the ideological need to fill the post-Soviet vacuum.

  15. I think Art and Michael both touch on some important aspects.
    .
    Another element which may tie in with this is that Israel itself was fairly socialist until the 1970s, since which a more nationalist consensus has tended to hold sway more. There was a fascinating book review in the WSJ a few weeks back about how right-wing Zionist Vladimir Jabotinsky, whom David Ben-Gurion had compared to Hitler, had arguably become the father of Israeli policy on the Arabs. (link)
    .
    It may not be a complete coincidence that it was also around the 1970s that the left turned against Israel and the right began to support it. And with that, you saw a sharp upswing in leftie anti-semitism.
    .
    There are still a few (mostly European) right wing anti-Semite cranks. I had one show up and accuse me of being a “Jewfriend” at one point (guilty, I guess, on my part). But then, the degree to which this is non-mainstream is underscored by the fact that he then started to argue for a geocentric view of the solar system.
    .
    All I can think of is that Francis’s context on this is still very much of the pre-Vatican II European and South American variety. Which is, to say the least, a bit odd…

  16. If you go to the Wikipedia entry on Pope Francis and look up his family history, you will see a statement by his sister that his family left Italy because of Mussolini. Find the relevant footnote and then read the linked article of this interview with his sister (BTW, here it is: http://www.lastampa.it/2013/03/17/esteri/vatican-insider/en/translate-to-english-jorge-e-contro-i-regimi-colpa-del-fascismo-se-nostro-padre-emigro-dsLa2d3qBmg6w2j0djj5qK/pagina.html ). It is quite clear that Francis’ family hated European right wing politics and were very glad to have reached Argentina. The apple does not fall far from the tree.

    Of course, the fact is that Americans of all political outlooks dislike European right wing politics, and rightly so. Most European right wingers ARE anti-Semites.

    American conservatives are actually classical liberals. We need to get back to our roots and acknowledge the fact that very few Americans are truly ‘right wing’ in the European sense and thus we don’t really fall into the categories that Francis is criticizing here.

  17. I’d guess he’s talking Euro right-wing, not USA right-wing.

    IIRC, the idea that Nazis are right wing was Stalin’s.

    Sarah Hoyt actually did a post on this disconnect between what those folks mean by “right wing” and what WE mean by “right wing,” here:
    http://accordingtohoyt.com/2014/06/11/no-more-cringing-now/
    1- I’ve seen Portuguese parties referred to here as “far right” which are in fact undefinable in the American spectrum. What passes for “far right” in Portugal is, economically social-democrat, if not socialist. It’s also morally extremely social-conservative with overtones of heavy Catholic enforcement. Now, several things about that squeak me (pretty much all of it, actually, which is why when I was in Portugal, I voted monarchist, because they had no chance. It was a “none of the above” vote.) but NONE OF THEM fit into American politics. We have socialists and we have socons, but the two don’t normally unite (save in a fringe of the Democratic party. Yes, I’ve met some.) America simply doesn’t have a “right wing” like Europe’s “right wing.” Heck, I’m not sure “Right wing” translates between various countries in Europe. (More on that later.)

  18. Shorter: their “back to the roots of the country” is going to exclude outsiders like, say, that group of folks who are really religious, and really easy to beat up.
    Our “back to the roots of the country” is more a recognize-the-natural-rights-of-man idea, and if you’re into it then you’re cool thing.

  19. Pope Francis does not know the difference between right wing and left wing. National socialism was left wing, but the Holy Father can’t accept that.

    The most anti-semitic bunch today are Muslims. How would the Holy Father define them?

    Piece by piece, bit by bit, more and more people are seeing why Argentina is such a mess. Pope Francis’ worldview is shaped entirely by where he lived all his life and rarely ventured out of before he became Pope.

  20. We might be dealing with a third definition here: not European or American (US) but South American. I don’t know much about them, but I’m guessing militaristic, crony capitalist, and strongly opposed to nationalization.

  21. Mr. Paterson-Seymour, you stated that you had never met a “right-wing” Protestant. You, sir, have not spent time in the American Bible Belt South.

    Much of this region is descended from the Scots Irish (really, Scots who left the Six Counties for the New World). Most of them could not tell you who their ancestors were who left Scotland.

  22. But then, the degree to which this is non-mainstream is underscored by the fact that he then started to argue for a geocentric view of the solar system.

    Fond as I am of the traditionalist strain in the Church, one is reminded that vociferous people in it commonly have an affinity for fringe thought of various kinds. Conspirazoid political literature, anti-semitism, “Austrian” economics, neo-Confederate historiography, Robert Sungenis’ astrophysics….

  23. Penguins fan is correct. My whole family is Assembly of God Pentecostal and many of my co-workers orthodox Presbyterian or Southern Baptists and all are strongly right wing and all hold in disdain and contempt main stream liberal Protestantism.

  24. And PS, contrary to Pope Francis, all my right wing Protestant family and friends are strongly pro-Israel, pro-Jewish and vehemently opposed to anti-Semitism.

  25. We might be dealing with a third definition here: not European or American (US) but South American. I don’t know much about them, but I’m guessing militaristic, crony capitalist, and strongly opposed to nationalization.

    Now that you mention it, there was a strand of political thought in Argentina conventionally termed ‘Nationalist’ or ‘Catholic-Nationalist’ which purportedly influenced Gen. Ongania, who was the military President from 1966 to 1970. I did read a monograph on the subject about 20 years ago, but having completed it I was really no smarter about the contents of ‘Argentine Nationalism’ than I was at the beginning, other than they were opposed to Argentine ‘liberals’ of the sort modal in Argentine politics prior to 1943 and that their intellectual pedigree extended into the latter 19th c. The book may have been from an academic press but it was housed in the central public library. Sort of like the literature on Distributism. You get through the article or the volume and you say, “what’s this about, brass tacks?”

    Timmerman’s credibility has been questioned (re in his memoir neglecting to mention that there is evidence his business partner had ties to Peronist or Trotskyist terror groups). He contended the interrogation sessions he was subject to contained masses of questions about his Zionist affiliations, fictional plans attributed to the Argentine Jewish community to seize control of Patagonia, questions about Menachem Begin’s ties to the Montoneros, &c.

    In Timmerman’s account, this element in the military was influential but not universal and did not include either of the men who held the presidency from 1976 through the end of 1981. The Argentine military was humiliated in 1982 and other than some barracks mutinies more than 25 years ago, has not rebelled against the civilian government and accepted it when Raul Alfonsin cashiered most of the high command and when two waves of tribunals jailed salient portions of the senior officer corps in charge prior to 1980. It commands less of the country’s resources than the Canadian military does of Canada’s. Could the Pope seriously be thinking of cabals in the military? In electoral politics, the starboard in Argentina is manifest in a business party which is good for 17% of the vote. (Of course, the Pope does not care for ‘neo-liberalism’ either).

  26. Clearly Pope Francis has bought into the leftist propaganda that national socialism is right wing.

  27. It’s not just a matter of whether one considers Nazis to be right wing (clearly, they’re not to anyone but Stalinists). There really is a European right (and to a lesser extent a South American one) which is “right wing” in the sense of being aristocratic/oligarchic (as in, against “liberalism” such as free trade, capitalism, and the universal voter franchise), kleptocratic, admiring of the Church in certain ways, and often fairly anti-semitic.

    We never really had this in the US because we never had the big land holder vs. peasant dynamic here (unless you count slavery in the South.)

  28. That also ties in to whether there are “right wing” Protestants. In the somewhat nationalistic, anti-capitalism, big land owner, anti-democracy sense — I think you arguably don’t see much of any.

  29. Recognizing our Jewish roots, in the religious sense, as the pope describes it, would have to do with Christians really reading and drinking in the Book of Moses, and the history of Israel to the time of Christ.
    Pope Francis mentions the weekly prayer of the 150 psalms, which is wonderful, and to be expected of him, but his comments do not seem to indicate a study of Hebrew cum Jewish social responsibility; the relationship of the individual and the nation with God and with each other.
    Jesus of course, and his family and followers, was very conversant with the book of Moses. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and of course Stephen in the 7th chapter Acts of the Apostles naturally weave together Christianity with Moses and with the remembered history of Israel.
    The political movements of Jews, or their enemies in the last two centuries do not necessarily reveal the Jew within the Christian person. They also have little to do with Jews “in the religious sense”.
    .
    The same people who did not want diaspora, or Jews in their neighborhoods in nations around the world, also do not seem to want the Jews to have a homeland.
    God has shown His mighty hand in the history of the Hebrews- Israelites, Jews,Israelis- and I expect He will continue to do so.
    Christians are grafted on to the Jewish roots, not to the modern Jewish state esp if it abandons its own roots.
    Israel is called by God to be faithful and I should pray more for the peace of Jerusalem and the worldwide acceptance of Christ.

  30. “From what I have seen he is a very provincial man” or “parochial”.
    I think the majority of your comments seem very provincial since you are all making comments as if the USA politics are the framework of all the politics in the world.
    This interview was made to a spanish newspaper. Spain is in Europe. Europe had European elections some weeks ago in which right wing and anti-semitists increased their %. Of course that the Pope was referring specially to European extrem-right wing tendencies.
    I know the blog is about American Politics and “Catholicism (!?)” but the world is a little more then the USA.

  31. Art, I think you do a grave disservice to the readers of this blog when you include Austrian economics in a list of fringe thought that includes anti-Semitism and neo-Confederate historiography.
    .
    From what I’ve read so far, I think Mises and Hayek offer a highly moral approach to reasoning about economic problems in a way that respects the dignity and freedom of all men in keeping with Christ’s teachings, and has NOTHING to do with pushing down one race or promoting another race, as inclusion in your list suggests.
    .
    Which puts me in mind of Jason Riley writing in an op-ed today, quoting Frederick Douglass: “Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us! Do nothing with us!” Sounds like a call for smaller government to me.

  32. This is what Mises, the most famous “Austrian” economist has to say about anti-Semitism. I’m reading and reading and I’m still not finding the badness. I could start quoting at length, but will refrain.
    .
    BTW the quote of the day on the site is “Man is not, like the animals, an obsequious puppet of instincts and sensual impulses. Man has the power to suppress instinctive desires, he has a will of his own, he chooses between incompatible ends.”

  33. Art, I think you do a grave disservice to the readers of this blog when you include Austrian economics in a list of fringe thought that includes anti-Semitism and neo-Confederate historiography.

    I am not referring to v. Hayek, who I do not recall adhered to eccentric understandings of microeconomics or to peculiar policy nostrums. Again, contemporary ‘Austrianism’ – with its rejection of common and garden understandings of utility, its rejection of statistical method in verifying economic theory, its signature theory of the business cycle, and its policy prescriptions (currency board, &c) is promoted by the v Mises Institute and now popularized by Thos. Woods. I think there are a scatter of academic economists who follow an Austrian research program, but it’s hardly taught anywhere. Here is Bryan Caplan on the problems with it.

    http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/bcaplan/whyaust.htm

  34. Pope Francis does not know the difference between right wing and left wing. National socialism was left wing,

    Political terminology has to have conventional meanings, or it ceases to communicate. The conventions are odd and sometimes misleading short-hand. I would not blame the Pope for regarding the various European fascist movements as ‘right wing’. No one other than someone who read Jonah Goldberg’s book would make sense of it if he said something other than that. One might dispense with left and right and just say ‘out’. The communist parties were antagonists of every political force they could not suborn. ** The fascist parties were antagonists of everyone. The same could not be said of the social democratic parties, who both competed and co-operated with agrarian parties and some liberal parties; it could not be said of agrarian or Christian-democratic parties, who competed and collaborated with everyone; it could not be said of the whig-liberal parties; it could not be said even of alienated and abrasive conservative parties, who also had their occasional allies and were not monolithic in the manner of fascist movements.

    **(Remind your social-democratic friends that France, Roumania, and Finland were the only socialist parties in those parts of Europe with consequential communist parties that were not in the immediate post-war period; it’s amazing that the European socialist parties have not been the least bit tainted by their collaborationism).

  35. I do not know what the American equivalent of the European New Right is.

    Basically, this regards Liberalism as a secularised form of Christianity. The most succinct statement is that of Alain de Benoist and Charles Champetier:

    “In most respects, it represents a secularization of ideas and perspectives borrowed from Christian metaphysics, which spread into secular life following a rejection of any transcendent dimension. Actually, one finds in Christianity the seeds of the great mutations that gave birth to the secular ideologies of the first post-revolutionary era. Individualism was already present in the notion of individual salvation and of an intimate and privileged relation between an individual and God that surpasses any relation on earth. Egalitarianism is rooted in the idea that redemption is equally available to all mankind, since all are endowed with an individual soul whose absolute value is shared by all humanity. Progressivism is born of the idea that history has an absolute beginning and a necessary end, and that it unfolds globally according to a divine plan. Finally, universalism is the natural expression of a religion that claims to manifest a revealed truth which, valid for all men, summons them to conversion. Modern political life itself is founded on secularized theological concepts.”

    What characterises the Right, in all its manifestations, is its rejection of individualism in favour of corporatism, egalitarianism in favour of hierarchy, progressivism in favour of tradition and universalism in favour of nationalism.

    That is why DarwinCatholic is right when he speaks of “admiring of the Church,” but only” in certain ways”

    One recalls the Jesuit Descoque’s paean of praise for the “Catholic atheist,” Charles Maurras, “Against all those who take umbrage at the Church of Rome, against all these “barbarians” who only seem born to destroy, he declares himself “Roman.” There lies his true faith, and this faith he expresses in a “symbol,” known to all, that he intends to be above all a hymn of praise to the Church, guardian of order: “Order, tradition, discipline, hierarchy, authority, continuity, unity, work, family, corporation, decentralization, autonomy, labour organization,” she alone has known how to preserve for societies the elements, [and] for intelligence the ideas, that found their life”

  36. “I think the majority of your comments seem very provincial since you are all making comments as if the USA politics are the framework of all the politics in the world.”

    “This interview was made to a spanish newspaper. Spain is in Europe. Europe had European elections some weeks ago in which right wing and anti-semitists increased their %.”

    MRC,

    Having lived in Spain myself for years and one who still reads the Spanish papers, I do understand whay you are talking about. Having lived there, and having traveled extensively in Europe as well as Asia and Africa, I find all people, including this Pope, rather provincial. That includes most educated Europeans. Everyone knows well what they are exposed to daily and not what goes on in the rest of the world. The very provincial statements by Europeans about America that I heard in my travels boggled the mind at times.

    What you are ignoring is all that has been posted about the falsehood of the assertion by the Pope that anti-Semitism is primarily a right wing phenomenon. This does not deny that there are some on the right who are anti-Semitic. Just stating the truth (which is not American nor provincial) that the Left are far more guilty of the sin.

  37. M P-S:

    “What characterises the Right, in all its manifestations, is its rejection of individualism in favour of corporatism, egalitarianism in favour of hierarchy, progressivism in favour of tradition and universalism in favour of nationalism.”

    There’s our problem. The people who identify as right-wing in the US largely support economic individualism, egalitarianism in rights, tradition, and nationalism. Even that last one is iffy, as there are a lot of pro-internationalist right-wingers.

  38. M P-S: I quick-clicked that comment just to make sure I was the first one to respond to you. Let me flesh this out a bit.

    The left in America largely supports economic statism, egalitarianism in rights, progressivism, and internationalism (with a strong nationalistic minority). No one in the US backs hierarchy; it’s completely foreign to our blood. Our elitism is meritocratic. You won’t find many admitted corporatists, although there is enough of it in under terms like “public-private partnership” and “stakeholders”.

    And just to go back to an earlier observation, remember that a lot of our right-wing is Protestant, and a lot more Zwingli than Luther. You just don’t seem to find that kind of hierarchical thinking.

  39. Pinky

    I think the corporatism and nationalism of the European Right, at least, are two sides of the same coin.

    For them, the body politic is more than a metaphor; they think of the nation as an organism, of which individuals are the cells and organs. Now, just as an individual’s stance, gait, gestures and tone of voice expresses his character, so they believe that the national character pervades the nature of the individuals who make it up and expresses itself in their actions.

    For them, nationality does not refer to citizenship and legal status, but to ethnic characteristics that are transmitted through descent, a unit of common descent and blood and not of voluntary adherence and association. From this, the legal definition of minorities as permanent aliens logically follows.

    It is the antithesis of the French Revolutionary notion of the nation is based on a “plébiscite de tous les jours” – on a daily vote of confidence by its citizens, their voluntary and revocable loyalty.

  40. Interesting. I’d never been able to figure out the commonality between the different forms of the European right.

    The American right adheres to something like subsidiarity, although it may be motivated by distrust more than a Thomistic vision of an ordered society. The most striking thing about America is that we’re a country of losers, complete failures who were thrown out of or had to flee our native lands. Zero instinctive trust of authority. We also, weirdly, are the world’s biggest winner, with the greatest economy and the coolest weapons, but we instinctively root for the underdog. This creates a tension. The right supports states’ rights, but mainly at the expense of the central government, and supports community rights out of distrust for the state. About the highest level of authority we can support is the family, and even then, we’d move to the other coast for a decent job.

    And the American left may have collectivist tendencies, but it markets itself as a proponent of individual rights: a liberality in opposition to sexism/racism/classism, and a social libertinism.

  41. Distrust of ability to perform the stated function, more than anything; gov’t abuses are not just abuses, they’re a failure to perform the intended function well enough.

  42. “And just to go back to an earlier observation, remember that a lot of our right-wing is Protestant, and a lot more Zwingli than Luther.”

    Right you are Pinky, or at least more Calvin than Luther. It should be observed that prior to the American Revolution the places where political philosophies closest to the traditional American ideals where lived out in one form or another were all Calvinistic to one degree or another: Scotland (and Ulster), the Netherlands, and Switzerland. One of the most influential members of the U.S. Constitutional Convention, James Wilson, was born in Scotland.

    Even today, most Americans, even Catholics, have a little bit of Calvinistic republicanism under their skin. It’s just part of the culture, or at least the culture seen before the “march through the institutions” of the 1960’s radicals.

  43. It is unfortunate that Pope Francis himself got caught up in the ‘right/left’ lingo. Just take a look at how the two terms have been used in the combox here and see how fluid it is. Anti-Semitism is an ongoing phenomenon which sadly rears its head under all sorts of headings and ideologies. Hitler had his Final Solution but Stalin had his purge of all the Jewish doctors etc at the end of his life-and his successors made it particularly difficult for Jews in the 1970’s and early 80’s leading to a mass exodus of Soviet Jewry-a good deal of whom came to America.

    People have commented that National Socialism is not ‘rightist’ [I must say I was a bit surprised by those comments, but I won’t argue] How about the Klu Klux Klan, are they right wing enough for everyone? And yes sadly there is antisemitism in some elements of Catholic fringe groups even today-who are constantly spouting off about Vatican II and the recent popes specifically on the issue of Nostra Aetate. I don’t care if anti-semites are called rightists or leftists, the sin remains. That’s the issue here.

  44. Truth is not right or left.
    I like the term conservative for myself. I remember my dad saying back in the late 50’s that the nasties were so far right they had circled around back to the far left
    He was saying that the so called continuum of political leanings could be seen not just a line that extends outward (how far? infinity?) but a great circle orbiting truth.
    In other words he didn’t thank that line continuum was a useful tool for us.
    I wonder if the Pope would replace the “right” with conservative, he would still be of the same opinion about the genesis of anti-semitism. I don’t think so, though I could be wrong about how Europeans or South Americans take the meaning of conservative.
    It seems progressives and liberals (are they the same thing?) think that all such prejudices originate in conservatism.They just don’t think conservatives are generous.

  45. How about the Klu Klux Klan, are they right wing enough for everyone?

    Democrats are on the “Right,” now? It’s not like it’s even vaguely secret, and it’s not like Byrd has been dead THAT long.

  46. I do not know what the American equivalent of the European New Right is. Basically, this regards Liberalism as a secularised form of Christianity… Progressivism is born of the idea that history has an absolute beginning and a necessary end, and that it unfolds globally according to a divine plan. Finally, universalism is the natural expression of a religion that claims to manifest a revealed truth which, valid for all men, summons them to conversion. Modern political life itself is founded on secularized theological concepts.

    MPS, I can’t tell if this is an ideal or a criticism. If it is an ideal then it is much more representative of American liberals than American conservatives. If a criticism then yes, the American conservatives sometimes espouses this against the liberals, partly due to conservatives’ anti-utopian stance, but also because the religious conservatives tend to see it as idolatry.

  47. Dear William P. Walsh
    Henrique Cymerman is a portuguese jewish journalist who is now living for many years in Isreal. He is, therefore, a jew or jewish journalist. If he was from England he would be a english journalist.
    I really don’t understand the problem of saying that he is a “jew journalist”.
    Pope Francis is a very very clever men and he is very well informed by the Vatican Diplomacy, he knows what he is speaking when he refers to the influence of bad things such as arm industry lobbying in global economy and he usually uses words and expressions that work as intelligent missiles just like S.Paul did and said things according to the profile of the people to whom he was speaking with.
    It’s a pitty that the majority of the comments (except the ones from foxfier) keep on interpreting the Popes remarks according to american political standards.

  48. We’ve determined that the rough labels of “left” and “right” point to different belief systems depending on the country. The added problem is that the policy environments of countries are so different that you can’t relate policies to ideologies across borders either. Health care is an obvious example – the US has long had an enormous, expensive national health care system for the poor, but we don’t get much credit for it in international comparisons, because it’s not universal, and most people only look at the federal spending on it and don’t notice the state spending. But look at some other issues: secularized Europe is arguing over crucifixes in public classrooms, and whether to allow Muslim dress and mosques. You’d get thrown out of a party in America for thinking that those issues were debatable. We’ve seen unemployment benefits somewhat take over the role of welfare benefits in the US, but how would you compare something like that to, say, the UK system?

  49. Anzlyne wrote, “I could be wrong about how Europeans or South Americans take the meaning of conservative.”

    For Europeans a conservative means a supporter of “the sacred and indissoluble alliance between Throne and Altar,” who supports sacral monarch, an established church, a Concordat and so on. They reject “liberty, equality, fraternity” in favour of “work, family, fatherland,” refer to the Republic and its symbol “Marianne” as « la gueuse » [The beggar woman/Slut] and attend a Mass of Reparation on 21 January, the anniversary of the execution of Louis XVI, « roi très-Chrétien » [Most Christian King, the official title of the kings of France]

    TomD wrote, “I can’t tell if this is an ideal or a criticism.”
    Very much a criticism. The European right detest individualism and egalitarianism, progressivism and universalism. For them, the nation is an organic whole, they believe in hierarchy and authority (hence, they commonly boast of being “the party of order”) they value tradition and local cultures.

  50. “The European right detest individualism and egalitarianism, progressivism and universalism.”

    On the continent, yes–and in Western Europe, where there were strong (or at least idealized) monarchies. Britain is a major exception, and Central and Eastern Europe had different experiences. The latter has some shared features with continental conservatism, but less admiration for monarchical institutions per se.

  51. I think MRC that we correctly call citizens of Jerusalem Israeli. The terms Jewish or Jew indicate religion, not State.

  52. Anzlyne, Henrique Cymerman is Jewish or Jew because he practices Jewish religion and also lives in Israel. But I won’t mind of identifying him as Israeli journalist since I have the strong feeling that Donald will keep on making comments out of the context of this interview..

  53. M P-S: How would you reconcile the atheistic or non-religious right to your definition? I think the reason that some of us American commenters see fascism as a creature of the left is that, by our definition, just about any government interference is left-wing.

    If I understand what you mean by the European New Right, I think its US equivalent is the fairly small strain of evangelical Protestantism that wants (or claims to want) a return to a mythic Christian governmental foundation. You see hints of it among those who talk about America as a Christian nation, count the number of Founding Fathers by denomination, comb Jefferson’s writings for theism, et cetera. Is there an equivalent among American Catholics? I’m not sure. You’ll find an occasional constitutional monarchist or someone who idealizes pre-revolution France. I think (maybe hope) that any real thinking about the church and state working together among American right-wing Catholics is from a healthy natural-law perspective.

  54. Pinky asked, “How would you reconcile the atheistic or non-religious right to your definition?”

    The New Right tend to be anti-Christian for the same reason they are anti-Liberal: they believe Christianity introduced the notions of individualism, egalitarianism, progressivism and universalism (which they detest) and that liberalism is, in fact, a secularised version of it. They are either atheist or they embrace a sort of State Shinto.

    Thus, Alain de Benoist – “Individualism was already present in the notion of individual salvation and of an intimate and privileged relation between an individual and God that surpasses any relation on earth. Egalitarianism is rooted in the idea that redemption is equally available to all mankind, since all are endowed with an individual soul whose absolute value is shared by all humanity. Progressivism is born of the idea that history has an absolute beginning and a necessary end, and that it unfolds globally according to a divine plan. Finally, universalism is the natural expression of a religion that claims to manifest a revealed truth which, valid for all men, summons them to conversion.”

    For them the “autonomous individual” is as meaningless as an autonomous kidney.

  55. Wow. Then no, there’s nothing corresponding to that in the States. We’d deny the existence of kidneys before we’d deny the existence of the autonomous individual. Even our materialism is individualistic, more id than super-ego.

  56. Thank you Michael Paterson for interjecting the underlining meaning and intent of such classical statements … where we also become too parochial in our understanding and discourse.

  57. “anti-semitism mostly on the right”??? How wrong can the Pope be…it is the left in this country and in Europe that is pro-Islam, anti-Israel and anti-semitic (although Arabs are semites). The pope visited and heard the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who would like to kill all Jews and likened them to progeny of monkeys and dogs. It is the evangelical right in this country who support Israel and who oppose anti-semitism.
    Some of his Holiness’s advisors should really give him a lesson in when to talk and when to listen.

  58. A further note–like many liberals/leftists (our present USA administration, for example) His Holiness and his advisors have not been well educated and are very poorly informed–they let their feelings rather than their cognitive processes form their attitudes.

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