And here I was thinking that the Christian Democratic Party had already existed in America, thriving until destroyed, ironically, by a sea change in social order brought about during the administration of the first Catholic President.
Alas the New Deal coalition — now the Old Deal — cannot rise again, certainly not without some equally comprehensive and multi-generational national calamity. If anything has been proven a fraud when coming from the GOP post-Roosevelt, it’s “big-government conservatism,” which, in a social sense, has been the only thing to keep Democrats nationally electable in districts with a lot of elderly people.
One could argue that big government itself tends to erode the classical conservative fiber of a free people, but the more compelling observation, I think, is that big government conservatism drives a nauseous reaction among large portions of free people such that “Establishment” culture and “Establishment” bureaucracy are understood to be conjoined twins. Which turns out to be fatal to the authoritative culture, because throwing a social revolution is so easy and painless nowadays relative to throwing a genuinely political revolution that it’s virtually been institutionalized — largely owing to the success of neocapitalism, I might add. But what is “neocapitalism” other than the idea that things once held sacred or private are to be made into new public commodities?
The faith in authority, secular and otherwise, that has passed out of the mass public consciousness, with regard to politics and culture, is a necessary precondition of Christian Democracy, and probably even moreso Christian Socialism. I’d say: don’t hold your breath. Who wants to go back to the days of Adlai Stevenson anyhow? That faith crumbled for deeper reasons than the incredible persuasiveness of the Beat movement.