Monday, January 30, 2012

American Dictators and Catholics

I know a older lady that is quite involved with Republican politics . She is so conservative she makes me look like a raging liberal. She has a strong opinion of Huey Long who she encountered in her youth in Winn parish . That is he was a SAINT.

He also was a raging Dictator.

American Catholic engages an George Will Column at George Will on Obama’s Militaristic Rhetoric . This part struck me:

...In his first inaugural address, FDR demanded “broad executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.” He said Americans must “move as a trained and loyal army” with “a unity of duty hitherto evoked only in time of armed strife.” The next day, addressing the American Legion, Roosevelt said it was “a mistake to assume that the virtues of war differ essentially from the virtues of peace.” In such a time, dissent is disloyalty.

Yearnings for a command society were common and respectable then. Commonweal, a magazine for liberal Catholics, said that Roosevelt should have “the powers of a virtual dictatorship to reorganize the government.” Walter Lippmann, then America’s preeminent columnist, said: “A mild species of dictatorship will help us over the roughest spots in the road ahead.” The New York Daily News, then the nation’s largest-circulation newspaper, cheerfully editorialized: “A lot of us have been asking for a dictator. Now we have one. . . . It is Roosevelt. . . . Dictatorship in crises was ancient Rome’s best era.” The New York Herald Tribune titled an editorial “For Dictatorship if Necessary.......”

I suspect that was common. This was also the era that gave us the movie Gabriel Over the White House.

I wonder who in Catholic Social Justice and political tradition opposed people like Huey Long and indeed maybe even Roosevelt. Anyone?


Carlos said...

Then it is not surprising that FDR's presidency marked the beginning of the "imperial presidency" and the start of the erosion of our Constitutional order (although some locate that start in Woodrow Wilson's time.) We now have Progressive Liberals and Conservative Liberals. A true Conservative should abide by this now famous dictum: "Real progress consists in the movement of mankind toward the understanding of norms, and toward conformity to norms. Real decadence consists in the movement of mankind away from the understanding of norms, and away from obedience to norms." Russell Kirk, Enemies of the Permanent Things, 1969

James H said...

So true and that is a great Russel Kirk quote

Kurt said...

Well, I guess your friend Father Coughlin is the example of an anti-FDR Catholic that you are looking for.

Looking back, FDR advanced democracy maybe more than any other president.