Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson

3/13/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Goldwater, Buckley, Reagan - is past, and the only dynamic forces at work on the conservative side are the Tea Party, Libertarian, and, mostly Christian, religious activists.

Why do I bring up this story about National Review?  It confirmed the direction I have been moving in for some time, one that is being guided by my Catholic understanding of the relationship between politics and culture, and particularly the impact of culture on moral convictions.  Those, like Ponnuru, who regard themselves as the champions of conservatism, no longer know who their friends are, and, thus, are no longer interested in rebuilding the movement represented by National Review. As a result, conservatives, whether religiously or philosophically inspired, are looking elsewhere for leadership and inspiration.

Aunt Lucile had been a longtime friend of Buckley's father and mother, William F. and Aliose Buckley, who were closely connected to the University of Texas in Austin, as was my great aunt.

Aunt Lucile had been a longtime friend of Buckley's father and mother, William F. and Aliose Buckley, who were closely connected to the University of Texas in Austin, as was my great aunt.

Highlights

By Deal W. Hudson

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/13/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: conservatism, social conservatism, fiscal conservatism, William F Buckley, Ronald Reagan, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Catholics, religious right, Deal W. Hudson


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - After my column arguing that "cultural conservatism" should supplant social conservatism, the man whom I regard as the most important Catholic layman in the nation emailed to say,

Agreed.the social speaks to institutions; the culture to norms and values. It's the latter that molds the former.

Another prominent layman, who for many years represented the Holy See at the United Nations, wrote in support saying the pro-life position should be seen as "caring for the most vulnerable regardless of their disenfranchisement." That perception is precisely what declaring oneself a social conservative cannot accomplish. 

Finally, an Evangelical leader, Rod Martin, wrote to say, "You have rung my bells." 

His email was quite long, filled with action items to launch an effort under the banner of cultural conservatism, saying the place to start is prison reform. Echoing the message of philanthropist Foster Friess, Martin explained,

We have the biggest prison population in the world, mostly nonviolent. How can we say we're pro-family when we're breaking up these families, even though their imprisoned family member(s) are no threat to anyone's safety?"

Food for thought, indeed, and precisely the kind of thinking that can be let loose placing the social conservative issues, on which we will not compromise, under the larger banner and larger vision of cultural conservatism.

My Evangelical friend went even further, underscoring the kind of activist network that a cultural focus would make possible:

We should go into black and Hispanic churches and communities to build support for it:  we'll find a ready audience there.  To our own crowd, we should explain that we'll be requiring these people to be productive members of society, who for the first time are expected to literally pay their debts, and who won't be living off taxpayers and getting several years of free X-Box anymore.  That should resonate if nothing else does.  We should leave the Left with nothing to say.  And we should, in the process, radically improve the human condition and life in America and around the world.

I quote that passage in full due to both its genuine probity and persuasiveness. Rod Martin and I have agreed to think more about this together, and I am certain others will want to join us. 

Note that I did not entitle this column "Is Cultural Conservatism the Future of Conservatism?"

There are several reasons, the most important being the heyday of conservatism - Goldwater, Buckley, Reagan - is past, and the only dynamic forces at work on the conservative side are the Tea Party, Libertarian, and, mostly Christian, religious activists. 

No one rallies under the banner of conservatism anymore - it's become the property of political philosophers and a few pundits who try to set the agenda, but nobody follows.  The action is elsewhere, a fact that even the GOP wants to ignore. 

I was raised on National Review. My great Aunt Lucile Morley of Austin was one of the original group of Texans who underwrote Bill Buckley's launch of the magazine in 1955. Aunt Lucile had been a longtime friend of Buckley's father and mother, William F. and Aliose Buckley, who were closely connected to the University of Texas in Austin, as was my great aunt.

She kept National Review arriving in my mailbox from my senior year of high school through my last year of graduate school.  I'll admit it was NR that showed me the error of my ways in 1972 when, as a seminary student, I volunteered for McGovern.

Given this connection to NR, I was very pleased when the then publisher, Ed Capano, offered to teach me the basics of magazine publishing when I took over Crisis Magazine in 1995.  After a series of lunches with Capano in New York City, I considered myself armed with a realistic view of the challenges ahead.  Capano was right on the money with every piece of advice. 

Thus, it was with some sadness that I was the target of an attack in National Review not long ago, authored by Ramesh Pannuru.

Why do I bring up this story about National Review?  It confirmed the direction I have been moving in for some time, one that is being guided by my Catholic understanding of the relationship between politics and culture, and particularly the impact of culture on moral convictions. 

Those, like Ponnuru, who regard themselves as the champions of conservatism, no longer know who their friends are, and, thus, are no longer interested in rebuilding the movement represented by National Review. As a result, conservatives, whether religiously or philosophically inspired, are looking elsewhere for leadership and inspiration.

© Deal W. Hudson, Ph.D

-----
Deal W. Hudson is president of the Morley Institute of Church and Culture, Senior Editor and Movie Critic at Catholic Online, and former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine.This column and subsequent contributions are an excerpt from a forthcoming book. Dr. Hudson's new radio show, Church and Culture, is heard on the Ave Maria Radio Network.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
Universal:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

Trump, Sanders win with commanding leads in New Hampshire - but what happens next? Watch

Image of Trump and Sanders easily won the New Hampshire primary with large margins.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Both Trump and Sanders are riding high this morning following stunning victories in New Hampshire. Republicans reported massive turnout, shattering any previous turnout record. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The New Hampshire primary has finished with Donald ... continue reading


Deal with the Devil or practical politics? Is there a pro-life case for Bernie Sanders? Watch

Image of Would a pro-life strategy that involves Bernie Sanders be a deal with the devil, or a practical strategy?

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A lot of Catholics like Bernie Sanders. Recently, we saw an outpouring of support of the candidate in the comments under an excellent article written by Deacon Keith Fournier. Many Catholics appreciate Sander's stance on some social issues - after all, he is a ... continue reading


Bernie Sanders surprises many with sudden surge in New Hampshire Watch

Image of Maintaining a low profile for presidential candidate Bernie sanders is more difficult now, as he comes to the forefront. Photo courtesy of Reuters.

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Seen by many as a humble Senator with big ideas, the relatively unknown, until recently, Bernie Sanders seemed at first to pose no threat to Hilary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in the 2016 presidential race. That has changed noticeably - Sanders is ... continue reading


What's going on with the New Hampshire primary? Watch

Image of New Hampshire kicked off the primaries this year and so far Bernie Sanders is in the lead (iStock).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The first votes have been cast in the New Hampshire primary. In keeping with tradition, the voting began at midnight, as it has for every primary since 1960.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Today marks the beginning of an exciting political shift in the ... continue reading


CURTAIN CALLED: GOP debate starts hilariously as candidates fail to appear on cue Watch

Image of When candidates Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush's names were announced, the two men were still blocking their way. Sneaking past, Jeb grinned and bumped Donald Trump. Photo courtesy of ABC News.

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

It is a bit trivial to say about such an important event - but the GOP presidential debate in New Hampshire this weekend could have done with a bit more rehearsal. Candidate Ben Carson came out too early, Donald Trump stood with Carson, and candidates Marco ... continue reading


'Faith is the great cure for fear': Obama speaks at annual National Prayer Breakfast in WA Watch

Image of At the annual National Prayer Breakfast, Obama spoke against Muslim stereotypes and hatred (AP).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

During the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, President Barack Obama spoke of God, fear and love. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - At the breakfast, both Democrats and republicans set aside their differences to build relationships based on their ... continue reading


After Iowa fail, Donald Trump vows to 'beat the ____ out of ISIS' Watch

Image of Many noted that Donald Trump seemed unusually subdued in New Hampshire. He claimed that he remained optimistic after his second place finish in the Iowa primary. Photo courtesy of Reuters.

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

While he faced defeat in the Iowa caucuses, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump was full of his usual bluster in New Hampshire. Never one to mince words, he vowed to "beat the ___ out of ISIS" if he was elected president. LOS ANGELS, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


'Ted Cruz didn't win Iowa, he stole it': Trump furiously rants on Twitter about Cruz's win demanding a new Iowa 'election' Watch

Image of Donald Trump calls for a new election or to nullify Cruz's results (Reuters).

By Thomas Heed (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

When news of the Cruz campaign "mistake" concerning Ben Carson at the Iowa caucus reached Donald Trump, he was furious. The business tycoon took to Twitter to call for a new election or to nullify Cruz's results. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Despite his initial ... continue reading


Republican Candidate Drops Out of Presidential Race: But who was it? Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Following a disappointing show in the Iowa caucus, with only 4.5 percent of the votes, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has officially dropped out of the 2016 presidential race. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "It's been an incredible honor to run a principled campaign ... continue reading


Political sabotage: Ted Cruz pleads GUILTY to wronging Ben Carson at Iowa caucus Watch

Image of Ted Cruz admitted his campaign started the lie that Ben Carson was dropping out of the race prior to the Iowa caucus (NY Times).

By Thomas Heed (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In a shocking admission, Ted Cruz admits his staff spread rumors of Ben Carson dropping out of the runnings just before the Iowa caucus voting began. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - As previously reported, the Iowa caucus was filled with surprises that included ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Saint Valentine and why we offer roses
  • Prayer in Time of Anger HD Video
  • Stations of the Cross - Fifth Station: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to ...
  • St. Valentine: Saint of the Day for Sunday, February 14, 2016
  • Can you answer these four challenging questions about Lent?
  • 5 of the best non-traditional ways to celebrate Valentine's Day
  • Daily Readings for Sunday, February 14, 2016

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Deuteronomy 26:4-10
4 'The priest will then take the basket from your hand and lay it before ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 91:1-2, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15
1 You who live in the secret place of Elyon, spend your nights in the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:1-13
1 Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus left the Jordan and was led by the ... Read More

Reading 2, Romans 10:8-13
8 What does it say, then? The word is very near to you; it is in your ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 14th, 2016 Image

St. Valentine
February 14: Click Here for St. Valentine Prayer's Saint ... Read More