Friday, September 26, 2008

The Political Life of American Catholics, Part II

IMAGINE A BEACH: sunny, pleasant, and popular, with vacationers playing in the surf and strolling up and down the sand.

Now imagine that you are a shopkeeper: you own a small stand, not much more than a kiosk really, where you sell suntan lotion, snacks, drinks, and so forth to these beach vacationers. Furthermore, since it is rather small, you can easily move it wherever you please along the sandy shore.

Imagine further that you have a competitor on the beach, who sells the same goods as you do, and who also has a small, portable stand. Vacationers walk to the closest stand to make their purchase: either yours or your competitor's.

Your problem: what position along the beach is best for business? Please keep in mind that your competitor has the identical problem.

The answer: both stands will most likely end up right next to each other, right in the middle of the beach. If you move your stand further along the beach, your competitor will follow you, capturing a greater share of the middle.

This is of course a political analogy. Politicians position themselves in the middle because that is where the votes are.

Some vacationers, who prefer the left or right ends of the beach, may resent having to walk so far to get to the shops. AS LONG AS they make the long walk, the shopkeepers could hardly care. Likewise in politics, the 'kook fringe' of the left and right is of little consequence to politicians as long as they will vote.  The voting takes place in the middle.

We could say that American Catholics used to live along one section of the beach, as once they lived around their parish churches.  They were loyal to their party and politicians, and in return, the politicians were loyal to them.  Shopkeepers will move to where they can sell their goods, and keeping a return customer is far easier than finding a new one.

Everything changed after the worldwide revolutions of the Summer of Hate in 1968, with Satan unbound:  old loyalties dissolved, heresy's inferno devastated our churches, and new policies were imposed against the will of the people.  It was as if an angry mob picked up one of the kiosks and forced it to relocate to an unprofitable section of the beach.

A political system imposed against the will — and most critically beyond the control — of the electorate is likely to cause anger, resentment, and apathy, none of which are virtues.  These disenfranchised are then placated with 'bread and circuses', leading society into sharp decline.

Catholics and others of good will cannot hope to change society through the political process, but must rather pray and work for the conversion of hearts.  Obviously, we must be active in politics so as to protect our rights at a minimum, but we must not copy the strategies of the Culture of Death, which imposes policy by force.  In other words, we have to restore our center, and the politicians will want to follow.


  1. Mark, these two posts are so on target that, try as I will, I can't find anything to quibble about.

    Except for this trivial item: personally, I don't think 1968 was any different than any other year. This is from someone who lived through a great many years both before and after. You are younger, so denied the perspective of personal acquaintance with the world before. I don't see any change. Satan was active and unbound before, just as he was during and after, 1968.

  2. Irene, I'm confused...your Blogger profile says you're 21, but this comment says you lived "a great many years" before 1968. Just wondering.

  3. anonymous --

    Very astute. The internet is a dangerous place, so I do not care to be identified in fact. Therefore, rather than give my legal name, I use a pseudonym (just as you use "anonymous").

    The profile is factually accurate, but displaced in time by a good many years. I'm afraid I really was around a "great many years" before 1968.

    Occasionally I do share my legal identity, but only after I have carried on an extensive correspondance with the other person, and perhaps met in person.