Donald Trump is saying a lot of things and has a lot of people upset. He has been called a nationalist, among other things. This whole discussion about him highlights what I have written before — do Americans have a nation or do they have a country? Certainly the fact that Trump can rise indicates that there is a sense of nationhood amongst some people at least, and this indicates a more parochial view of the nature of America and the USA. Hillary Clinton probably more accurately reflects the idea that Americans have a country — a set of principles or ideology which directs their lives and which principles are of universal application.
The American ideology giving rise to America allows both viewpoints to exist without the society or the nation being destroyed in violent confrontations, though Trump’s nationalism is disturbing to some apparently to the point of causing physical riots and confrontations. The reality is that this sort of a dynamic will continue to keep America and the USA as a going concern. This is evidence of the resiliency of America.
And, at the same time, should Trump get elected, well, all that rhetoric he spouts about being for the little guy….it’ll go out the window as he moves to eliminate Dodd-Frank, something he said he would do.
This is a link to a discussion of the matter:
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations….” Matthew 28:19
“Rome is strangling my people and my country….” Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) from Ben-Hur (1959)
Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu seems to anger presidents. One of the most powerful presidents is Barrack Obama of the United States of America. The occasions of their conflicts have been covered by the media with “Bibi’s” disagreement over the handling of Iran and its nuclear program probably the most notable instance given his talk to a joint session of Congress on March 3. Another powerful president that Bibi has angered is the President of Israel, and fellow member of the Likud Party, Reuven Rivlin. Most recently, Rivlin criticized Bibi’s speech to the US Congress and his comments on the day of the election which were that because Arab citizens of Israel were coming out to vote in large numbers, the Likud needed to get its members to the polls. As reported by The Jerusalem Post, Rivlin issued a statement revealing that Jews like to keep their internal disputes secret. The statement was that “The President’s Residence put out a call for all of the citizens of Israel to come and vote. Everyone must be careful in their comments, especially those that the entire world hears.” Rivlin’s statement came after Bibi made a declaration that he would not allow a two state solution in the Holy Land, and it came while Rivlin was meeting with the Joint Arab List, or a group of Arabs who are citizens of Israel. The Joint Arab List also expressed concern that “The prime minister cannot be someone who chooses to use election tactics to incite against an entire population and to undermine their very citizenship. He cannot be someone who chooses to base his whole leadership on scare tactics, despair and incitement against citizens of a state that he proposes to rule over.” Josh Earnest, President Obama’s spokesman, said that “the US and the Obama administration were ‘deeply concerned’ about rhetoric that `seeks to marginalize Israeli citizens.’ ”[i]
Rivlin had months earlier spoken out against Netanyahu’s efforts to get passed and implemented something called a “basic law” or a law governing all other laws in Israel. Bernard Avishai, author and professor of government and business, writing in The New Yorker, the flagship of cultural decadence in America, explained that the basic law would have constitutional standing, and, as drafted by Ze’ev Elkin, an “ultra-rightist coalition partner”, defines Israel as the
`nation-state of the Jewish people’-not, pointedly, of its citizens, a fifth of whom are Arabs. It demotes Arabic from being an official language to having some sort of special status. Minorities, by implication, would have no right to communal expression, though presumably their rights as individuals would be assured. All state symbols would be Jewish ones. Only Jews would have the right to immigrate freely and receive citizenship. The state would cultivate only Jewish heritage and traditions; Jewish law would serve as `inspiration’ for laws.[ii]
Rivlin was not alone in his criticism of Netanyahu and what became known as the “Jewish state law.” In a poll conducted in December, 2014, about 40 percent of “Israeli Jews” said the “Jewish state” law would “damage the interests of the state” while about 31% said it would “promote the country’s interests.”[iii] Haaretz reported Netanyahu’s response which was that the law would “`legally anchor’ Israel’s status as `the nation-state of the Jewish people.’” Bibi went on to say:
Unfortunately, as we have seen recently, there are those who do not recognize this natural right and who seek to appeal the historical, legal and moral justification for the existence of the state of Israel as the nation-state of our people…I see it as one of my basic missions as prime-minister to fortify the state of Israel as the nation-state of our people.[iv]
Across the Mediterranean Sea, things were taking a similar course. Germans, French, Spanish, Italians and Greeks were taking to the streets to preserve and fortify their nations from the encroachment of outsiders, most notably the Moslems, but also the international bankers, speculators and ruthless capitalists who wanted to take over the homelands and turn them into economic fiefdoms of a new feudalistic order along the lines mentioned by Professor Michael Hudson of the University of Missouri, Kansas City. Unlike the situation in Israel, where the powerful religious leaders, the Orthodox rabbis, were supportive of Bibi’s efforts to fortify the Jewish nation, the religious leaders in Europe were attacking any attempts at keeping alive the various peoples inhabiting that Continent. The religious leaders in Europe to which I am referring are the Catholic clerics, successors to the clerics and saints who by their work, virtue and suffering proved crucial in effecting the creation of peoples with their associated homelands after the fall of the Roman Empire which had persecuted and aided the spread of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church also built Europe as Hilaire Belloc explained famously in his quote “the Faith is Europe and Europe is the Faith.” By the 21st century, the Catholic clerics and prelates were no longer interested in maintaining the handiwork of their predecessors and were decrying the natural response of the various European peoples to invasions. In sum, the Catholic Church leadership denied the ethnic groups or peoples and nations of Europe had a right to exist.
The austerity measures being forced on the Greek people by the European Union and its cartel of banks was posing the fundamental question that inspired the Greeks, Spanish, Italians, Germans, French and even English to take to the street: do each of these peoples have a right to exist? The response to that question, at least this latest time by the Conference of European Justice and Peace Commissions (COMECE) was a resounding “no!” Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg is the conference president of the COMECE and he condemned in a report called “The Nationalism of Exclusion” what was termed “racism and xenophobia” and a “nationalism of exclusion” that supposedly preceded and caused both World War I and II. “Narrow national interests” could not be allowed to triumph over “human values, international commitments and obligations”. COMECE, which “has always been a strong supporter of the European Union,” according to the Catholic Herald, was merely stating “Catholic social teaching” that “stressed the rights of `nations, cultures, and minorities within existing nation-states’.”[v]
A Catholic and Brit Member of European Parliament (MEP), Steven Woolfe fired back at the prelates. A member of the United Kingdom Independence Party he claimed that these parties were engaged in patriotism and that as St Thomas Aquinas taught, “patriotism is a virtue.” He pointed out that COMECE is a “federalist fan club based in Brussels which endorses every EU treaty and power” and that it “has done nothing over many years to stand up for Christian beliefs and values. Instead it acts as a cheerleader for the secularizing EU.”[vi]
It was a speech that laid bare the state of the Church and the nature, if not also the reason, for the EU which came about as a result of the urging of the Americans beginning with the push for a European Common Market shortly after the passage and implementation of the so-called Marshall Plan in 1947. Woolfe faltered when he started talking about the “Judeo-Christian culture” of Europe especially as the idea of “Judeo-Christian” was something without precedent until the early 20th century and was promoted by groups in the US like the National Conference of Christians and Jews, who were intent on advancing America as a way to knock down any barriers to Jewish influence, and the Rockefeller Brothers Trust Fund, who in the late 1950s and 1960s advanced a national purpose for the US which required the support of the Jews. The Americans had been behind the effort to create an EU that weakened national identities by giving Europeans, as the theory went, another identity which was the European identity. Crane Brinton, a Harvard historian and Chief of Research and Analysis for the US’ Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War II, astutely observed the dynamics that accompanied the establishment of business and political bodies in Europe in the early 1950s designed to integrate industries, to enlarge capacity so as to satisfy greater consumption, and coordinate and ally militaries for self-defense against the over-hyped Soviet Communist threat. He wrote:
I do not contend that nationalism is unchanging, eternal, but merely that it is extraordinarily persistent and slow to change…Any effective plan for an international society must, then, take into account existing national loyalties….Though the confirmed idealist will not admit it, successful reform is usually based, not on making men have nobler sentiments, but on re-directing, re-focusing, their existing sentiments, on activating some of their sentiments, and on quieting others.[vii]
The late Franjo Tudjman was the President of Croatia during the 1990s and during its fight for independence from Yugoslavia, which was a country or political entity not based on an ethnicity or nation but created in accordance with certain Enlightenment principles. Tudjman explained in his important book, Nationalism in Contemporary Europe that
the ethnic nations and their national movements, or nationalisms…have not declined in importance but rather constantly been reaffirmed as an integral part and irreplaceable cell of human society, and, moreover, as a vital necessity in the historical reality of social development which maintains harmony and balance in the international order.[viii]
He also presented a detailed historical account of how ideologies, social systems and various revolutions spurred by ideologies “with almost equal vigor one minute spoken out on behalf of nationalism and the next denounced it.” In the 1960s, the Rockefellers saw the need to create a federal Europe along the lines of the US. This federal view was supposed to be the cure for the claimed nationalities problems of Europe which supposedly lead to so much strife on the continent and throughout the world, the same supposed problem cited above by the Archbishop referenced above. Nelson Rockefeller said, referring to the exceptionalism of America, that “American experience with federalism has world historical significance” as it will “introduce order into the chaos of the national states” because the nation states are “as anachronistic as the Greek city states finally became in ancient times.”[ix]
Henry Luce and George Kennan, the Father of Containment of the Soviet Union, realized by the end of the 1940s that for continuing US economic and political hegemony, it was necessary to increase consumption (or enlarge markets) as well as economic capacity in Europe. Hence arose the idea that to expand European markets, the removal of barriers between the various nations was essential.[x] This dynamic was consistent with what Amintore Fanfani considered the growth of capitalism, and it was consistent with another dynamic which was the long-standing American dislike of Europe and things European. The latter was most likely so because Catholicism, which was based on Jesus Christ, was averse to the American Experiment, which was, and remains, based on the rejection of Jesus Christ. One sees the American antipathy to Europe in the letters of the American Founders, and also in the pages of The Federalist Papers written primarily by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison to garner support for ratification of the US Constitution. Thomas Paine rejected Jesus as the Messiah in The Age of Reason because the Jews, according to Paine, said He was not the Messiah.[xi]
The Catholic bishops by 2015 had inculcated the American antipathy for Europe and its many nationalities as a result of the intense American psychological warfare and doctrinal warfare waged against the Church and the various nationalities in Europe after the commencement of the Cold War, or what I term World War III. More about this can be read in my forthcoming book with the short title of John Courtney Murray, Time/Life, and the American Proposition. In any event, the American manipulation of ideas and symbols brought the leadership of the Catholic Church into what I term The American Captivity which means that the prelates, and even the Popes to include Francis, endorse the universalist, individualist ideas begun in America about 240 years ago and that have served as a solvent of all societies, groups, ethnicities, and now families, in which these ideas come in contact. The Pope, prelates and priests continue doing what they had been doing for so long – betraying their own people by forgetting their own doctrine and wisdom all of which came from Jesus Christ Who, for the most part, the Church leadership is really no longer interested in serving.
Ethnicity versus civil society
The US Government, American society, and the Catholic Church have become fellow travelers in their quest to remake the world in the image of the Anglo-American Enlightenment or Liberalism. This occurred as a result of the concerted efforts of the US Government and American societal and media leaders during the first half of the Cold War in particular. Former US Ambassador to the Vatican, Francis Rooney, wrote a book entitled The Global Vatican: An Inside Look at the Catholic Church, World Politics, and the Extraordinary Relationship Between the United States and the Holy See, and that book supports the position I developed with my forthcoming book. He explains that the Church is needed for the US to be able to project power around the globe by, most importantly, spreading the idea of religious freedom or religious liberty which means the disestablishment of any state churches and the rejection of any theology or God-given morality as the basis of public policies.[xii] Citing to “historian and foreign policy expert Robert Kagan,” Rooney claims there is in the world a “toxic nationalism” which consists of “violence and tribalism” where societies are based on “race, blood and radicalized faith” to the exclusion of other races and religions, and against which battles the forces of “integration based on civil society and human rights” best exemplified by the US and America.[xiii]
Ambassador Rooney’s comments, whether he knows it or not, puts America and its political construct, the US, at odds with not only the nation-states in Europe thereby supporting the European federalism of the Rockefellers for the peoples of Europe, but it also puts America and the US at odds with Bibi Netanyahu’s efforts to make Israel a stronger nation-state by purging it of the Anglo-American Enlightenment which to the hoi polloi in America goes under the code-word of “democracy.” Israel, we are told, is a democracy like the US and that is supposed to mean that the Jews have bought into the Enlightenment and organized their society along the same lines as America did. Ambassador Rooney explained in his book that America puts forth the idea of “integration based on civil society and human rights,” which as I mentioned earlier, means nothing more than dissolving all bonds between people not authorized by the powerful private and financial interests. That means ethnicity, religious solidarity, and even the family are targeted for change or dissolution as these things pose barriers to the spread of capitalism and the capitalist spirit as Fanfani might put it, and society is remade to create and maintain markets. Without digressing too much further, the American Civil Rights Movement and resulting legislation was based on and advanced the American ideology of Paine by elevating the individual and serving to remove unauthorized bonds between people.
The Anglo-American Enlightenment is now under serious stress by virtue of the efforts of the Jews, lead by Netanyahu who gained an electoral victory on March 17, to formalize the existence of a nation-state in lieu of the Anglo-American Liberal country that existed since May, 1948. Previously, in the November, 2014 issue of this magazine, I explained the tenets of the ideology which underlay the American experiment or the American society also known as the Anglo-American Enlightenment or Liberalism. This ideology, especially given its emphasis on the individual, the eschewing of ethnicity, and the marginalization of religion, cuts against the Natural Law which is seeking to reassert itself in European societies, and in Israel. However, that ideology is really all about giving power to the powerful private business and financial capitalist interests who use society for their own benefits.
When what is called the State of Israel was founded in 1948, there was established a clear tension in the organizing documents best represented by the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel. This document recounted in summary form the efforts beginning in 1897 with Theodore Herzl and continuing through the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate of the League of Nations of the “Jewish people” to “rebuild its National Home” in the “Land of Israel.” The Land of Israel was the “birthplace of the Jewish people” where “their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped.” After this the Declaration gets confusing when it states that the State of Israel ”will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel.” Then in the immediately following sentence, the founders of Israel wrote “it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race, or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Place of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.” The Declaration appealed to the “Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding [sic] of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.”[xiv] This is what Americans and others in the West could reasonably expect would be the situation in Israel given such high-sounding words and the belief Israel is a “democracy,” but there is too much evidence pointing to the contrary.
The Charter of the United Nations was itself a mixture of Anglo-American thought and acceptance of the reality of the existence of nations and peoples which is part of the Natural Law. The Preamble acknowledged the existence of peoples and the “equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small” to “promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.”[xv] The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Jacques Maritain and, indirectly, John Courtney Murray, SJ contributed,[xvi] is a work of Anglo-American Enlightenment. Article 1 states that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” and throughout the document is the repeated theme of equality of all persons. Each is entitled to a nationality (Art. 15) and to his own country (Art. 13). However, it is in this document that we start to see the interplay of a number of important concepts – such as nation and country and state[xvii] — that are central to the current discussion about the creation and maintenance of nation states in Europe, and something which the Jews are deeply concerned about and wish for themselves in Israel.
Emily Harris of National Public Radio did a number of reports on the interplay in Israel between the idea of Jewish identity, the state, the country, and the Anglo-American Enlightenment though she does not always use those exact words. She asks at one point, “how Jewish this democratic country should be“ when discussing the Basic Law that Netanyahu was advancing. She interviewed a number of people in Israel over the course of her reporting and one, a Daniella Weiss, explained how the people were tied to the soil: “the hills of Judea and Samaria…are the biblical hills of the land of Israel, the areas from where our tradition our religion, our history, our culture stem.” Later on Weiss is quoted as saying “I will not let any Democratic technicality harm the basis of our life as a nation. This is above democracy…the state of Israel is a state of Jews.” A student, Hagai Efrat, held a different view and annunciated the Anglo-American Enlightenment ideas that found their way into the UN and into the Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel: “”the people that are already here should have the rights that they deserve, making sure that this country stays true to a certain ethnicity. Saying that Jewish people here have more rights than Arab people, that is not a democratic thing to say.”[xviii]
Harris gets to the heart of an issue that is essential for the Anglo-American political construct – the creation of countries. She speaks with 91 year old Uzzi Ornan who “built bombs to fight the British” rulers before Israel “gained statehood in 1948.” Ornan insisted that he should be listed as Israeli in his official identification documents, but in 2013 the Israeli Supreme Court “refused his request to list his ethnicity as `Israeli’ on his government ID. Justices ruled,” Harris reported, “that there is no evidence of a uniquely Israeli people.”[xix]
At this point I am reminded of a conversation that I had the other day with the clerk at a bakery not far from my office. I went to get a doughnut and engaged her in conversation. She was a pleasant lady who spoke broken English. It was clear that her native tongue was Spanish and I asked her from where she came. She replied Mexico, but then quickly added that she was American now. I said that anyone can be American, and she agreed, but not everyone can be Mexican to which she also agreed. The reason for this, I said, was that an American is an ideological construct and so there really does not exist an American ethnicity, just an identity based on an ideology articulated by Thomas Paine in 1776. A Mexican has ethnic roots going back to the Aztecs, Mayans, and other tribes that the Spanish kept in existence and did not seek to exterminate which is something the Americans repeatedly did with the unfortunate natives of North America beginning with George Washington’s war against the Iroquois.
This issue of identity – ideological or ethnic — is an important issue for the Jews, probably the most powerful ethnic group in the world. Currently and at least in theory based on its Declaration of Independence, Israel is a country or civil society as it insures certain rights for all who are a member of it – whether Arab or Jew. But the Jews are an ethnicity and they seek to make Israel a Jewish nation-state which is fundamentally different from the conception of a civil society formed in accordance with Liberalism or Enlightenment principles. This distinction is also an important issue for the Catholics who seem to have forgotten their roots when they went into the American Captivity.
The idea of a country and that of a nation have to be examined to eliminate a lot of confusion. Furthermore, an important Jew, David Gelernter, a computer science professor at Yale and author of Americanism: The Fourth Great Western Religion, wrote in a recent edition of First Things that the US is the first secular state in history from which came the French Revolution and Continental Liberalism.[xx] Catholics may feel authorized that they can now critically look at America and realize that it is the same Liberalism that afflicted Continental Europe thereby rolling back the effect of sixty years of the American Proposition being drilled in their heads. However, there is a real danger that Catholics will now come to the defense of the idea of Jewish Supremacy as a good in itself due to a corrupt theology favored by the Jews and developed, with Jewish backing, by Protestant minister Cyrus I. Scofield about 120 years ago, but I am getting ahead of myself.
Let’s move into a discussion or differentiation of a nation from a country as the two should not be synonymous. Once the distinction is seen, then the idea of a country becomes clear – as a way for the wealthy and powerful private interests to rule the rest of society, through the government, primarily for their own benefit.
Nation v Country
The internet is really something, and I can claim some involvement with its origination. I won’t be as proud as Al Gore to say I invented it, but I can say that I helped to install its “backbone” all the way back in 1982. Well, if you conduct a Google® search of “nation versus country” there should quickly pop up on your screen a small box on a webpage that explains the difference. It is:
There is a difference between the terms nation, state, and country, even though the words are often used interchangeably. Country and State are synonymous terms that both apply to self-governing political entities. A nation, however, is a group of people who share the same culture but do not have sovereignty.[xxi]
That is a good explanation of the two terms, nation and country. The definition of “state” is not so good because “state” refers to civil authorities and later in the article I will provide further elaboration of this. The critical inquiry at this point concerns nation and country. This explanation of these terms tracks or complies with an authoritative source of the English language – what is known in shorthand as the Oxford Dictionary or in longer verse, A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles. The Oxford Dictionary is an authoritative voice for the meaning of words in the English language which language is shared by the English, the Scots, the Irish, the Welsh, the citizens of the US, and the inhabitants of the countries of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
According to the aforesaid Oxford Dictionary, the word “nation” has as its root the Latin word nasci which is to be born to a breed or stock or race. It means a group of people in essence. The commentary for that word in the Oxford Dictionary for 1893, shortly after closing of the American frontier, “nation” means:
An extensive aggregate of persons, so closely associated with each other by common descent, language, or history, as to form a distinct race or people, usually organized as a separate political state and occupying a definite territory. In early examples the racial idea is usually stronger than the political; in recent use, the notion of political unity and independence is more prominent.[xxii]
The word “country” is from the root word contra which means “against opposite, lt., that which lies opposite or fronting the view, the landscape spread out before one…region, f. gegen against, formed (according to Kluge) after the Romanic word.”[xxiii]
Nations then deal with people and country deals with things the most important being the land. This is the brilliant insight that German Jurist and thinker Carl Schmitt had and developed in his work describing the geopolitical organization of the earth from ancient times to the mid 20th century, Der Nomos der Erde im Völkerrecht des Jus Publicum Europaeum (The Nomos of the Earth in the International Law of the Jus Publicum Europaeum). The “earth,” he wrote, is “the mother of law” for three reasons. First, the earth rewards human toil; second, as the earth is cleared for this human toil, “definite divisions become apparent” and the “standards and rules of human cultivation of the earth become discernible”; and third,
the solid ground of the earth is delineated by fences, enclosures, boundaries, walls, houses, and other constructs. Then, the orders and orientations of human life become apparent. Then, obviously, families, clans, tribes, estates, forms of ownership and human proximity, also forms of power and domination, become visible.[xxiv]
Country then refers to the organization of society or life and not the society or people itself. During the course of this enlightening work, Schmitt explains how the center of world order has shifted away from Europe, formed by the Catholic Church and composed of res publica’s, and shifted to the US where politics and economics and morality all became separated from each other, as principle was separated from “the concrete unity of a complex intellectual structure and from the complex historical situation.”[xxv]
The political entity known as the US protects and advances the society known as America which in turn is based on an ideology which is fundamentally opposed to both the Natural Law, as it is understood by Catholics, and the Divine Positive Law. That break presented itself in a number of important areas. First, the rejection of Christ and His religion, or some form of it, as a religion of the state and as necessary for informing the public policy of the civil authorities or state. Second, as I previously wrote and with which David Gelernter apparently agrees, the US represented the creation of the first secular state in human history. Third, for reasons that are most important to this discussion, America was not based on an ethnicity (Paine eschewed ethnicity and instead argued for a “European” or racial basis of America) nor does it have an ethnic identity even though as Tudjman noted, it had a vague cultural root in the Anglo-Saxon tradition and it also used the English language, or a modified form of it, in the course of its official dealings.
The US is a country, not a nation. It is not based on ethnicity, but is based on and advances an ideology which is itself a radical departure from thousands of years of human history and experience. This reality is present in the US law of citizenship which is that one either is naturalized, or goes through a process by which one is legally made a citizen, or one is born on the soil. The US is one of few political entities that bases citizenship on a principle called jus soli, and that is consistent with its nature as a civic society and not an ethnic or national society. One’s blood relatives are not determinative of one’s citizenship, and so one’s citizenship, to put it in the words of someone who goes by the name of Lucian Tudor for fear of retribution in free 21st century America, is “in the sense of `civic nation,’ where membership is defined simply by political membership, stripped of all ethnic or cultural aspects.”[xxvi]
Peggy Noonan understands all of this and she made it clear in an article about the US surveillance state brought to light by Edward Snowden. That is why Noonan wrote in her June, 2013 article published in the Wall Street Journal, “The surveillance state threatens Americans’ love of country”. She continued with the “NSA is only one of many recent revelations and events that have the ability to damage the ties Americans feel toward their country.”[xxvii] In other words, the US, a country (and neither a nation nor a nation-state), is based on an ideology, and the actions of the NSA went against that ideology in the eyes of many Americans, or holders of the American ideology. America is a creedal construct, not a nation, not one based on ethnicity. The US is the political entity protecting, preserving and advancing the society known as America, and it is a country, not a nation-state for it does not exist for any one ethnicity and is not bound together by any state religion. The absence of a state religion in the name of “religious liberty” removes any check on the power of these powerful private interests who exercise inordinate influence over government, the media, the culture, and society in general. Perhaps most significantly, the public policies and laws need not be based on any understanding of Divine morality when it comes to countries, or political entities organized in accordance with and based upon principles of the Anglo-American Enlightenment or Liberalism.
If you want to know where this all leads, take a look at a couple of current events. One is happening right now here in Indiana and it is the local and national brouhaha surrounding the passage and signature into law by Governor Mike Pence of what is known as the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration law, or IC 34-13-9-1 et seq. and which is scheduled to take effect on July 1 of this year. The media has branded it as a license to discriminate and to discriminate against “gays and lesbians” and therefore a bad law, bad especially because it is bad for business, or perhaps more properly, because business considers it a bad law. On the front page of the South Bend Tribune is an article with a quote from a Bill Oesterle, the CEO of Angie’s List which cancelled plans to expand in Indianapolis after hearing the bill passed and was signed into law. He said:
They’re scrambling to put a good face on a bad issue. What puzzles me is how this effort came to the top of the legislative agenda when clearly the business community doesn’t support it.[xxviii]
As if to drive home the point that businesses drive the social and political agenda in Indiana, if not also America, on the last page of Section A of the same edition of the South Bend Tribune is a one page letter to “Our State and Local Leaders” by Patrick T. Ryan, the CEO of Press Ganey Associates, Inc., and the son of Irish Catholics. Press Ganey is a South Bend firm whose self-proclaimed mission is to “provide high quality efficient care and to improve the patient experience.”[xxix] Ryan wrote to express his opposition to the
signing of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that permits discriminatory practices. It is our shared belief that enabling discrimination, whether it is based on sexual orientation, gender, race or religion, is simply unacceptable. We cannot stand by in our own community and allow any individual to be persecuted because of his or her sexual preferences.[xxx]
Ryan sent a clear message to the Indiana Governor and Legislature – don’t do anything that allows the “gays and lesbians” to be uncomfortable or we, the business community, will punish you by pulling our operations from Indiana where we have 500 employees. It was a form of intimidation coupled with the clear statement by Oesterle that in countries – those political entities organized along the lines of Anglo-American Enlightenment principles, or Liberalism, or the American Ideology, might makes right and the mighty are the ones with the money. That’s where countries lead because countries are designed to mask the reality which is that private business interests rule society and then in accord with their wishes, not what is good for society.
There is another instance of the same lesson only on a national scale. It involved a meeting in 2013 between Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase & Company. When Warren discussed the need for regulation of the financial industry, Dimon raised his voice and the “exchange heated up quickly.” Warren told Dimon that if his bank was not in compliance with Dodd-Frank, they would be fined, to which Dimon replied, “So hit me with a fine. We can afford it.”[xxxi]
The bank was hit with $ 20 billion in fines but Dimon got a raise, and now Warren is being threatened by the banks. The banks, according to The Huffington Post, will withhold campaign donations to Warren’s “fellow Senate Democrats in protest of her advocacy for Wall Street accountability and greater oversight and regulation of financial services institutions.”[xxxii] In the society known as America, the powerful private interests rule, a reality made more possible and likely by the American ideology and a political system that is based on the idea of a country, as that word came to be devised.
Samuel Johnson was an Englishmen born in somewhat humble circumstances in 1709, stood rather tall for his day, and he was a voracious reader. That, and the fact he had a fierce look about him and he exhibited a variety of strange mannerisms with his hands, something akin to a tick, would probably put him in the category of what we would call a nerd today. He is the fellow who coined the phrase, and many other like it because he was given to numerous strident ejaculations with little or no explanation, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” His chief biographer was a barrister, or English lawyer, by the name of Thomas Boswell who wrote the authoritative biography of Johnson based on daily contacts with the man until his death in December, 1784.
“I believe I shall not undertake it [the project of writing a dictionary]” Johnson ejaculated one day to his brother. That statement came after his brother suggested he do so, and in reality, Johnson had been interested in undertaking the project as he told his chief biographer, James Boswell. The work was one the “world contemplated with wonder so stupendous aw work atchieved by one man, while other countries had thought such undertakings fit only for whole academies” but Johnson believed he could complete the task in three years by “constant application.”[xxxiii] A number of private persons had gathered to put up the money to start the project, something that was sorely needed for every undertaking in England at the time, but which is very instructive about the English language. Previously, in other articles, I indicated that the English language is determined largely by private elements in society. This was exactly the situation in the 1740s when Johnson undertook the writing of the dictionary. There had been other dictionaries of the English language prepared before Johnson undertook the work, but they were not as extensive nor as thorough and like his endeavor were funded by private interests, thereby posing a real threat to the scholarly quality, and usefulness of the dictionary. The Italians and the French had dictionaries that were “created by national academies” that were funded by the government such as the Academie Francaise founded by Cardinal Richelieu in 1635. The dictionaries of the Continental languages “set the language in stone.” Without the establishment of government academies that could lock down the meaning of words by virtue of the government’s patronage and force of law, the English language was subject to change and evolution in both the contents of the words and the meanings and usages of the words. Johnson understood this, and so did his eventual prime benefactor, Philip Dormer Stanhope, the Fourth Earl of Chesterfield.[xxxiv]
Chesterfield, like the love of Johnson’s life, Molly Astin, were both Whigs.[xxxv] Whigs believed in a constitutional monarchy or, in other words, a limited monarchy and not the one with absolute powers that characterized the English government for hundreds of years. The efforts of the Whigs to limit the power of the Crown who established the various business enterprises that became states in North America was all part of a dynamic observed by Amintore Fanfani in the growth of the capitalist spirit and capitalism. To help that process along, words were important.
Johnson’s dictionary finally came out in 1755, about 10 years after he started working on it. It was given an impressive title: A Dictionary of the English Language: In Which the Words are deduced from their originals, and Illustrated in their Different significations by Examples from the best writers, to which are prefixed, A History of the Language, and an English Grammar, by Samuel Johnson, A.M. in Two Volumes. The absence of certain words is worthy of note. For instance, there was no entry for “patriotism” nor was there any entry for the word “state”. The word “country” was held to have four meanings: “1. Ruftick; rural; villatick….2. Remote from cities or courts, and of an intereft oppofite to that of courts….3. Peculiar to a region or people….4. Rude; ignorant; untaught. “[xxxvi] Nation, derived from the Latin “natio” or birth was defined as “A people diftinguisfhed from another people; generally by their language, original or government. If Edward III, had profpered in his French wars, and peopled with Englifh the towns which he won, as he began at Calais driving out the French, his fuccessors holding the same courfe, would have filled all France with our nation….A nation properly signifies a great number of families derived from the fame blood, born in the fame country, and living under the fame government.”[xxxvii]
As everyone knows, the American Revolution occurred about 20 years later. Johnson was staunchly opposed to it, wrote tracks against it (notably, Taxation Not Tyranny) and reminded the colonists that they were indeed British and subjects of the Crown.[xxxviii] By 1770, as the American Revolution was making its first faint rumblings, Johnson commenced a revision of his dictionary. Published a year after his death, it contained changes that affected at least four key words. One word was “country.” Johnson had added the following definition: “4. The place of one’s birth; the native foil.” The second was “patriot”: “1. One whofe ruling paffion is the love of his country.” The third was “patriotism”: “Love for one’s country; zeal for one’s country.” Fourth, “state” was defined as “civil power; not ecclefiaftical” as well as “a republic; a government: not monarchical” and “the community; the publick; the commonwealth.”[xxxix]
With the emergence of these four words, the groundwork had been laid for the creation of political entities that were based on ideologies that did not properly account for all the people or did not adequately care for all the people primarily. The nation-state, created by the Catholic Church, was on the way out for the English now had the words to effectively combat it. The focus went from the people and what was good for them to abstract, vague, equivocal principles and processes which defied any clear definition and were subject to manipulation by those with the means and will to so do.
Dr. Jeff Langan in his brilliant and short work, The Influence of the French Revolution on the Lives and Thought of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Edmund Burke, Mary Wollstonecraft, Immanuel Kant, and Pius VI, begins with a statement by John Adams in a letter to his colleague Benjamin Rush in 1811: “Did not the American Revolution produce the French Revolution? And did not the French Revolution produce all the calamities and desolation to the human race and the whole globe ever since? I meant well, however…and awful, dreadful, and deplorable as the consequences have been, I cannot but hope that the ultimate good of the world, of the human race, and our beloved country is intended and will be accomplished by it.”[xl] The American ideology was spreading around the world with the help of Paine’s involvement in the French Revolution. His ideas, and the ideas underlying America, lodged in France and were spread throughout the continent by Napoleon Bonaparte. These ideas underwent some adaptation but they found homes in the nation-states and started to reorder those societies so as to do away with the benefits, if not also the entire concept, of the nation-state for the various European peoples. From Europe, and from the US, the ideas went to Latin America, Africa and parts of Asia as well as Australia.
The Catholic Church did try to deal with this situation by virtue of a number of encyclicals issued from Pius VII through Pius XII, and with Catholic Action, but for a variety of reasons, to include betrayals by the Vatican, to no avail. Monsignor Joseph C Fenton was the editor of the American Ecclesiastical Review during the crucial period of 1944 through 1963 and he served as a periti during the Vatican II Council. He was also in close contact with Bishop and later Cardinal John Wright who Fenton at one point during the Council called him a “queer bird” but who did a good job in defending the Catholic doctrine on church and state, considering, and I paraphrase, he didn’t know what he was talking about.[xli]
Well, about twenty years before Vatican II convened, and on the eve of the US Declarations of War against the Axis Powers, Bishop Wright wrote a book dealing with the issue of patriotism, and he examined a number of the concepts that have been touched upon in this article. He dealt with the US and its organization, and his comments reveal that the verdict, so to speak, was still out as to whether the US is a good thing or not. He wrote, using the word “nation” not in its traditional meaning, but in the terms of it as a word of art in the “sociological sense” of a group of people in a certain geographic area:
…in the case of the people of the United States, there may be seen and studied the rise of a new nation and a new patriotism out of peoples gathered together from many other nations and united in the love and pursuit of a distinct res publica or common good, characterized by a new ingenium specifically American, and, if properly subordinated to the order of virtue, the legitimate specific principle of a new nation and an new patriotism.[xlii]
Wright was of the view that a new people could be created in America – not that it did form a new people– from those that formed it; however, it had to be organized along the lines of the “order of virtue.” This was necessary to establish what he later wrote consisted of “elements [that] comprise the material, moral, and religious social benesere by which individuals seek to secure in society with others the perfection on these plans which they cannot attain unaided.”[xliii] This means what Fr. Francis J Connell, C.Ss.R. would call the Divine Positive Law of Christ, in addition to the Natural Law, but this form of organization is not in existence in America which is based on an ideology that conflicts with both the Divine Positive Law and the Natural Law.
There have been brief moments in US history when it looked like a right order may prevail domestically, but those hopes were dashed largely by the failure of Catholic prelates to do their job. Since 1776, the Anglo-American Liberalism project continues to march around the globe. The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) in the mid 1990s issued a statement in which it sought to “shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests” and to pursue a “foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad.”[xliv] That means spreading the Anglo-American Enlightenment or Liberalism, around the globe.
Bibi Netanyahu and the Jews have already figured out that is bad for them and so they are working to return to the idea of the nation-state for their own ethnic group, something the Catholics adhered to and defended for a long time. The idea of a country, with a secular state, and “civic nationalism” as the basis of membership, is being shown for what it is and was always intended to be. The initiative by Netanyahu is the surest sign that entire Enlightenment project is in trouble, and that Anglo-American Liberalism is failing. For the sixty plus years since the founding of Israel, the society has been effectively governed by Jewish religious law set out by the Orthodox Jewish Rabbis, and the population of the Jews has been growing with women’s fertility about 50 to 100% above that of the various peoples of Europe.[xlv] Bibi is just formalizing the reality, which makes sense, though he is risking “blowing the cover” of Israel and alienating the large body of people in the West who still hold to the Anglo-American Liberalism and the Enlightenment. Indeed, if Israel becomes a nation-state, the concern is it can never be known as a “democracy” again which is code for accepting Anglo-American Liberalism, and the US may grow more estranged from this small but powerful entity with nuclear weapons.
Perhaps things will change now amongst the Catholic intellectuals who depend so heavily on the Jews to tell them what to think. For instance, at the University of Notre Dame Wilson Miscamble, CSC, determined the nuclear bombings of Japan were evil but right because of his acceptance of the logic of Jewish Professor Isaiah Berlin who reviewed or interpreted the work of the Catholic Niccolo Machiavelli. Dr. Patrick Deneen, also from the University of Notre Dame, like Miscamble does not conduct his own assessment of an original source, in his particular case, Thomas Paine. Deneen, who is teaching a class on Liberalism while also providing columns in The American Conservative, instead quotes the Yuval Levin, founder and editor of National Affairs. Catholic intellectuals, especially at Notre Dame, now are looking at existence through Jewish eyes, or like some, are relegated to defending the Anglo-American Enlightenment, or Liberalism, as something good if not something that is Catholic – which it is not.
But now David Gelernter has spoken, and he said that America was a break with the past, and hence cannot be Catholic, that Catholics and Christianity are in decline in Europe, and that he wants to see Christianity flourish there. The Catholics and all who call themselves Christians now have permission to live, only, it must be assumed that they cannot do anything to question or hurt the Jews. That may be tough, because for Christianity to resurge it will require a purification of the doctrine that is being and has been spread about for the last 50 years as a result of the twisting of the Vatican II Documents and other falsehoods. When that pure doctrine is again preached and lived, the Jews probably won’t like it because it calls for the establishment of confessional states, with the Catholic Church as the established Church and the Faith as the established religion, both of which are the surest ways to preserve and encourage the growth of the peoples of Europe. In addition, the idea of the nation-state will have to be revived for the Germans, Italians, French, Greeks and the other peoples that inhabit the continent of Europe as they throw off the idea of living in a country which is an ideological construct inimical to their existence as a people. And, state institutions will have to be established to insure the life of the nation-state – a state controlled culture, state controlled or owned central bank that manages the currency, a state controlled press, and the institution of public policy in accordance with the Divine Positive Law and the Natural Law. Of course all of these institutions will have to be operated primarily and mainly for the benefit of the nation as a whole. The European nations would be getting what Bibi and the Jews want for themselves. Maybe David Gelernter wants to rethink his position.
[i] “Rivlin criticizes Netanyahu’s election day comments about Arab voters,” The Jerusalem Post, dated March 22, 2015 as accessed March 28, 1015 http://www.jpost.com/Israel-Elections/Rivlin-criticizes-Netanyahus-election-day-comments-about-Arab-voters-394709.
[ii] Bernard Avishai, “Netanyahu’s Inflammatory New Bill,” The New Yorker, accessed March 11, 2015 from http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/netanyahus-nation-state.
[iii] Jeremy Sharon, “Poll: 40% of Israelis think `Jewish State’ law would damage the country,” The Jerusalem Post, December 9, 2014 as accessed March 11, 2015 from http://www.jpost.com/landedpages/prinarticle.aspx?id=384109.
[iv] Baraik Ravid, Jonathan Lis, Jack Khoury, “Netanyahu pushing Basic Law defining Israel as Jewish state,” Haaretz from haaretz.com May 1, 2014 as accessed March 11, 2015 from http://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page/1.588478?trainlingPath=2.169%2C2.216%.
[v] Jonathan Luxmoore, “Bishops condemn rise of nationalist parties in Europe,” Catholic Herald February 20, 2015, as accessed February 23, 2015 from http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2015/02/20/bishops-condemn-rise of nationalist-parties
[vi] “Ukip MEP clashes with European bishops after report on `belligerent’ politics,” Catholic Herald, February 23, 2015 as accessed February 23, 2015 from http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2015/02/23/ukip-mep-clashes-with-european-bishops
[vii] Don D. Humphrey, The United States and the Common Market: A Background Study (Frederick A. Praeger, New York:1962), 170.
[viii] Franjo Tudjman, Nationalism in Contemporary Europe, (Boulder Colorado: East European Monographs, 1981), 233.
[ix] Franjo Tudjman, Nationalism in Contemporary Europe, (Boulder Colorado: East European Monographs, 1981), 232, 275.
[x] David Wemhoff, “The Cold War as World War Against Catholics,” Culture Wars June 2011 and my forthcoming book short-titled “John Courtney Murray, Time/Life, and the American Proposition.”
[xi] Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason.
[xii] Ambassador Francis Rooney, The Global Vatican: An Inside Look at the Catholic Church, World Politics, and the Extraordinary Relationship between the United States and the Holy See (New York: Sheed and Ward Book Rowman and Littlefield, 2013), 224-227.
[xiii] Ibid., 228.
[xiv] “The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel,” from http://www.knesset.gov.il/docs/eng/megilat_eng.htm as accessed September 1, 2014.
[xv] “Charter of the United Nations,” as accessed March 29, 2015 from http://www.un.org
[xvi] Patrick Hayes, A Catholic Brain Trust: The History of the Catholic Commission on Intellectual and Cultural Affairs 1945-1965 (Notre Dame Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 2011).
[xvii] “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights” accessed October 26, 2014 from http://www.un.org.
[xviii] Emily Harris, “How Jewish Should Israel Be? 2 Israelis Voters Have Answers,” March 4, 2015 National Public Radio.
[xix] Emily Harris, “In Israel, a Vote to Choose a Leader and An Identity,” March 5, 2015, National Public Radio..
[xx] David Gelertner, “Why Should a Jew Care about whether Christianity Lives or Dies? “ March 24, 2015, First Things as accessed March 30, 2015 at http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2015/03/why-should-a-jew-care-whether-christianity-lives-or-dies.
[xxi] Nationversuscountry – Google search conducted March 28, 2015.
[xxii] James A H Murray, Editor, A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles: Founded Mainly on the Materials collected by the Philoogical Society (The Clarendon Press: Oxford, England, 1893), Volume ?, 30.
[xxiii] Ibid., Vol. II.C., 1078.
[xxiv] Carl Schmitt, The Nomos of the Earth in the International Law of the Jus Publicum Europaeum (New York: Telos Press Publishing, 2006), 42.
[xxv] Ibid., 255-257, 115.
[xxvi] Lucian Tudor, “The Philosophy of Identity: Ethnicity Culture and Race In Identitarian Thought,” The Occidental Quarterly Vol. 14 No. 3 Fall 2014, 85-86.
[xxvii] Peggy Noonan, “Noonan: Privacy Isn’t all We’re Losing; The surveillance state threatens Americans’ love of country,” The Wall Street Journal updated June 14, 2013, as accessed December 6, 2013 from http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324188604578543721259199626
[xxviii] Tom Davies, “Feeling the heat: Lawmakers scramble to `fix’ controversial law,” South Bend Tribune March 31, 2015.
[xxx] South Bend Tribune March 31, 2015, p. A10.
[xxxi] Samantha Lachman, “Guess What Happened When JP Morgan’s CEO Visited Elizabeth Warren’s Office,” The Huffington Post March 31 2015.
[xxxiii] James Boswell, Esq., The Life of Samuel Johnson LLD (New York: The Modern Library, 1931), 176.
[xxxiv] Peter Martin, Samuel Johnson: A Biography (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2008), 193-201.
[xxxv] Martin, 113, 198; “Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield,” Wikipedia accessed April 1, 2015.
[xxxvi] “Country” from A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson, accessed December 21, 2014 from http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/dictionary/493.gif
[xxxvii] “Nation”, ibid, from http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/dictionary/1349/gif
[xxxviii] Martin, 393-395.
[xxxix] Samuel Johnson, Dictionary of the English Language (1785), as accessed March 10, 2015and December 21, 2014 from https://ia801409.us.archive.org/BookReader/BookReaderImages.php?zip=/9/items/dictionary and https://ia801406.us.archive.org/BookReader/BookReaderImages.php?zip=/21/items/dictionary and March 31, 2015 from https://archive.org/stream/dictionaryofengl02johnuoft#page/n733/mode/2up
[xl] Jeffrey J. Langan, The Influence of the French Revolution on the Lives and Thoughts of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Edmund Burke, Mary Wollstonecraft, Immanuel Kant, and Pius VI: The End of Conservatism, (Lewiston, United Kingdom: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2012), 9.
[xli] Diaries of Joseph C Fenton
[xlii] John J. Wright, DD, National Patriotism in Papal Teaching (Westminster Maryland: The Newman Press, 1956), 16.
[xliii] Ibid., 63.
[xliv] “Context of `June 3, 1997: PNAC Think Tank Issues Statement of Principles,’” as accessed February 28, 2015 from http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a060397pnacprinciples
[xlv] “Israel,” Wikipedia compared with other Wikipedia entries for European countries.
From John Courtney Murray, Time/Life, and The American Proposition by David Wemhoff
Luce Delivers the American Proposition
Henry Luce, the son of a Presbyterian missionary, put his publishing might at the service of the American empire by touting the idea of America’s “adherence to the moral law” and the “American Holy Alliance with God” in a 500-word document that became known as the “Ridgefield Memorandum,” which committed Time, Inc. to teaching the world about the special relationship between God and America contained in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.[i]
The Presbyterians had a long history of subjugating Catholics. Under King George II, the Presbyterians collaborated with the English in eradicating the Catholic presence from Scotland, particularly the Highlands, and establishing in its place loyalty to Protestantism, English commercial and industrial practices and theory, and the English language. After this early form of social engineering proved successful in the Highlands, it was introduced to the Mediterranean and North America.[ii]
James Madison, author of the US Constitution and in particular the Bill of Rights, which includes the famous First Amendment, was himself a product of Presbyterian schooling. One of his most important tutors was the “Scottish Presbyterian minister Donald Robertson,” of whom Madison later said that “all that I have been in life I owe largely to that man.” Madison also was tutored by Thomas Martin, an Anglican rector and graduate of the Presbyterian College of New Jersey, and John Witherspoon, a Presbyterian minister who came to be President of the College of New Jersey. Harvard historian Sydney Ahlstrom claimed that “the religious heritage of three-fourths of the American people in 1776” was the Reformed tradition, in other words Calvinism or Presbyterianism, which viewed Catholicism or “popery” as whereby the power of Satan established tyranny, persecution, and “arbitrary government” on earth. [iii]
The Presbyterian animus against the Catholic Church continued unabated into the 20th century, but now it was “American style institutions,” not Calvinism, which they attempted to impose on peoples they encountered, with the Catholics being one of the most important targets. The new campaign of Presbyterian proselytism met enormous success because of the covert nature of how it was imposed. That is, by stealth the American media, which promoted crypto-Presbyterian American values to Catholics who thought of themselves as Americans, worked in tandem with the US Government, which by Summer, 1953 was deeply involved in promoting its Doctrinal Warfare Program. PSB D-33, the top secret government document authorizing Doctrinal Warfare gave the CIA a number of tasks as we have seen, not the least of which included inserting its agents into “foreign associations and organizations with doctrinal potential (newspapers, universities, etc.) to influence their actions and output.” The CIA’s agents were then to “create, when advisable, deviationist movements designed to split organizations promulgating hostile ideologies so long as they would not develop into a threat to U. S. security.” The CIA was also supposed to “Exploit local divergencies, heresies or policy disagreements within opposition systems.”[iv]
Luce’s American Proposition was an integral part of the Doctrinal Warfare that was then being waged against the Catholic Church. Written largely by Murray, the American Proposition promoted ideas compatible with Protestantism, Calvinism, and Presbyterianism in particular, reminiscent of Thomas Paine’s ideology, and perfectly consistent with John Locke’s political philosophy.[v] Flush with America’s victory over fascism and engaged in an equally dire struggle with the Soviet Union, Luce proposed the American Proposition as America’s magic formula which could bring about a prosperous and good society in every country in the world where it was implemented. In proposing the American Proposition, Luce established a moral standard by which every society in the world was to be evaluated. It is no coincidence that Luce delivered his American Proposition speech in Rome because Luce, with Murray’s help, wanted to use the Catholic Church to disseminate his message to “free” societies so that these societies refashion themselves in America’s image, turning the Church thereby into a missionary for America and not for Christ.
The American Proposition
Luce gave his address on November 29, 1953 at the opening of the academic year at Dominican Felix Morlion’s Pro Deo University. John Courtney Murray wrote the speech. In an October 28 letter to Life editor Jack Jessup, Luce wrote “I send you herewith an essay by Rev. John Courtney Murray, SJ. I think you will agree it is superb. John, very kindly and very rashly, offered to write a `rough draft of my Roman speech on the basis of a few notes which I had discussed with him. This is the result. You will note that I have borrowed from him wholesale.”[vi]
Luce was so happy with Murray’s essay he wanted to share it with the world and, most especially, with the American people. “It seems to me,” he wrote, “that something important ought to be done about Murray’s essay. Perhaps it ought to be run in FORTUNE as a two-part piece…. It is important to tell foreigners about the American Proposition but obviously we believe it is first of all important that Americans should constantly review their Proposition….” Luce thought it could even be expanded by Murray and published in a special edition of “FORTUNE or even in LIFE for perhaps the July 4, 1954 issue, though there would have to be “a number of changes of emphasis and allusions…for an American audience”[vii] because “this particular essay is directed in some details to a European Catholic audience. I don’t know enough to agree with Murray on the high estate of political philosophy in the high Middle Ages – in other words, I don’t agree. I do however agree with the operative effect of the natural law doctrine.”[viii]
Luce told Jessup he was sending a “first draft of my attempt to present the philosophical basis of the American Proposition to the Papal School of Political and Social Studies….My `lead,’ the Gettysburg Speech, and the pap about the Founding Fathers is prompted by my hunch that most of my audience, however distinguished, is not well-acquainted with the `facts’ of American history. If they have perhaps heard of the Gettysburg Speech, they have never heard it.” Luce continued “Over here one feels that the integrity of the American Proposition better make itself felt soon.”[ix]
After Willi Schlamm, a Time Inc. contributor and advisor, sent comments on the speech, Luce responded in a November 1, 1953 letter, which explained that “the main thing I felt about that, was that `they’ probably were not well-acquainted with `what every American school boy knows.’ That’s why, as you’ll see, I open with the Gettysburg speech and talk about the Supreme Court and the Founding Fathers and give them the national hymn.” However, Luce knew he had to do more, and that is where Murray came in. “I wanted to balance this with reasonably `professional philosophic talk – especially, e.g., about `natural law’ – so as to show a certain philosophic identity between the American Proposition and traditional Western political philosophy. At this point Father Murray’s paper arrived, and I lifted heavily from it.”[x]
“You may have seen the Monstrous Document I put together for Harry,” Murray wrote to Clare on the same day. “He sent me a most complementary cable, which I greatly appreciated. I only hope that the thing was of some use to him. As with most things I do, it got sort of out of hand and went on and on.” Murray then revealed his involvement in the push for academic freedom in universities and ended the letter with “much love…many blessings…yours always” and a word on how he spent two nights and a day at “dear old 450” (the Luce’s New York apartment) where he was “Pretty lonesome, I must say. Missed you terribly. The bottle of Scotch I found in your bar was a very poor substitute!”[xi]
Billings read the talk and commented on it in his diary of November 16:
A mild summer day [Monday]….Office. Haircut at my desk. Luce is making a speech at the Vatican on `The American Proposition’. His draft checked by Wardell, passed over my desk and I took 30 minutes off to read it. All of Luce’s old familiar themes about God and the Constitution and natural law etc – but very well done – simple and eloquent. I passed it along to him in Rome, with a note praising his speech. (Still he does not write me – and I doubt if flattery will work, either).[xii]
Billings sent Luce his comments on the same day he made is diary entry, wondering whether citing the “Unitarian John Adams properly representing the serious `Christian’ as contrasted with Jefferson’s Deism.” As to the speech itself, Billings wrote, “it was just about the finest thing you have done. It is simple, logical and eloquent. From past experience, I knew all the themes you had used to weave it together, but in the end the result was a new and brilliant tapestry of thought.” As to the Catholics, Billings thought it “eminently fair – almost too fair, Wardell seems to think.” All in all, the talk would “do much to help that vague something called `understanding of America.’”[xiii] “Wardell” referred to Elsa Wardell who provided Luce with additional information in the form of additional classical philosophers the American Founders read. She sent him the names of Younger Pliny, Plutarch, Livy, Tacitus, Demosthenes and Seneca for use in his talk.[xiv]
On November 29, 1953 in Rome, at the Pro Deo University, an institution started by Dominican Felix Morlion who received backing and support from American elites and the CIA, Henry Luce injected The American Proposition, a doctrinal weapon that he developed along with John Courtney Murray, SJ, into the veins of the Catholic Church. Before a crowd of thousands of expectant dignitaries, clerics, academics, and students, Luce delivered his address entitled “The American Proposition” on the opening of the academic year. Morlion described the scene:
It was at the inauguration ceremony of the Academic year 1953…of our university. As usual there was an international panel: His Excellency De Gasperi treating an European proposition and Ambassador Montalvo treating a Latin-American proposition. The great surprise was: The American proposition expected to be very pragmatical [sic], was sown by Mr. Henry Luce to be the most universal. The four thousand persons present discovered that American Democracy has a solid, perennial philosophy, profoundly united with the principles of living faith in God common to all authentic religious denominations. This time nobody said “Americans are different.”[xv]
Luce began by admitting he was not Catholic and that America was a religion: “In the form of worship in which I was brought up, it is customary for the minister to read a passage from the Holy Scriptures and to select from it a `text.’ I should like to read to you today an item of our National Scriptures which nearly every American boy and girl has learned by heart.”[xvi] Luce then proceeded to read from Lincoln’s November, 1863 Gettysburg address, in which Lincoln stated the famous lines “Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Luce emphasized that “The United States is a nation which depends for its existence on a proposition and that this is the unique and distinguishing fact about the United States.”[xvii] America and its political entity, the United States, were founded on an ideology.
Union in America was achieved through the Constitution of the United States, which is preserved by “Supreme Court of the United States,” a body which Luce described as “almost sacred” because it is the “Keeper of the Ark of the Covenant.” The “American Proposition is the Constitution interpreted in the light of certain first principles.” While the Constitution dealt with the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government it provided “valuable notions of government written into this text and some profounder concepts written between the lines and beneath them.” These are a “government of limited powers,” the separation of powers, and the idea of a federation.[xviii]
The “first principles” that “inform the Constitution” are contained in the Declaration of Independence. The first is the idea that “We hold these truths to be self-evident”, though, of course, Luce “put aside the question whether the enumerated truths are really self-evident or not.” The identification of certain truths was also something open for discussion, but the key point according to Luce was “there are truths” and “we hold them.”[xix]
The next principle was “the sovereignty of God over nations as well as over individual man.” Closely allied to this is the idea that “there is one only source of Authority and that is God, Who is both ultimate and immanent.” God is “fundamental to the American Proposition both in the sense of historical interpretation and in the sense of intellectual coherence and in the sense of dynamic present reality.”[xx] Luce mentioned “George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison. Forty or fifty men in all… [who]were the most remarkable group of men who ever came together anywhere to make or re-make a government or a nation.” According to Luce, “their specialty was political philosophy,” in the cause of which they “literally ransacked the pages of antiquity” studying Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Gaius. The Founders were also “serious Christians…. They subscribed, most of them, to the Apostles Creed.” Others were deists. John Adams represented the “serious Christian” while Thomas Jefferson was a Deist, but they could agree that “God reigned and, directly or indirectly, ruled.”[xxi]
The Founders were therefore “conscious heirs of a political tradition….the tradition of natural law.” America kept alive the natural law tradition because in “reaction to the rise of absolutism, Protestant Christianity tended to substitute for natural law the revealed law of God as found in the Scriptures.” Fifty years after the creation of the American Constitution, Professor Gabriel taught that the “basic postulate of the American democratic faith affirmed that God, the Creator of Man, has also created a moral law for his government and has endowed him with a conscience with which to apprehend it.” Luce quoted the Third Council of Catholic Bishops that met in Baltimore in 1887 as Catholic approval of the American socio-political system: “`We consider the establishment of or country’s independence, the shaping of its liberties and laws, as a work of special Providence, its framers building better than they knew, the Almighty’s hand guiding them’.”[xxii]
Then Luce shifted gears and started talking about freedom. After mentioning a group of Blacks who came to sing the National Anthem at the American Embassy in Rome, he said “Freedom is holy, sacred.” At the same time, and in consonance with the idea alluded to earlier in the talk that the “self-evident truths” are not so self-evident, Luce said. “There is a multitude of corollaries! In fact we may say that the whole of American life consists in a more or less conscious – and argumentative –working out of the corollaries of the American Proposition.”[xxiii]
According to Luce, “in the American Proposition there is no vacuum. For Law pervades all.” Law is not only a prohibition but a command to act in America. This was consistent with the idea of political freedom which required “virtuous citizens” and a “dynamic sense of responsibility for achieving the good, not only in personal life but… as good citizen.” Religion, irrespective of the kind, provided an “indispensable support” for the “body politic.” Further, “Freedom of religion in the American constitutional sense, is not the freedom to exclude religion from public life.… It means the freedom to make society religious.” Government works with the people by way of “formal or legal alliance” through “governmental policy.”[xxiv]
Luce proceeded to speak in “concrete detail of many, many large areas of American life” which he described as the “voluntary organized social action.” He mentioned the effort of private groups to eradicate tuberculosis, and he said this demonstrated the Americans’ sense of “personal civic responsibility” because it showed that government, which was “essentially inefficient,” was not needed to achieve the good. Luce mentioned that Catholic education was “primarily an expression of supernatural faith” as well as an “heroic example of American voluntary organized action.” American business life was also a “form of voluntary social action” and the “American Corporation today is a very self-conscious, socially responsible entity.”[xxv]
Building up to the climax of his talk, Luce explained that the “function of the virtuous citizen applies to the relations between America and the world” and that good relations between the US and the rest of the world can only be established “in large part by the virtuous citizen and his purposeful voluntary associations. This follows from the very nature of the American Proposition.” Americans were “missionaries, tourists, businessmen, teachers” and “strongly felt and often explored their rights and duties as citizens of the world.” Americans expected only one thing from their government: “to remove the obstacles that governments have in these last bloody decades been increasingly erecting between people and people – obstacles to their free movement, information, trade, and human contact,” because Americans believed that “the first function of government as they see it is not to score points of power but to open doors through which the citizen in all his multiform voluntary capacities, can go about his work in the world God gave to him and to all his fellow-creatures.”[xxvi] All Americans share “common principles, aspirations, and ideals” and the “unity of this community is strong enough to support much pluralism in religious beliefs, political opinions, and local customs.” The American way of life could not be exported, but the:
intelligent American can legitimately long for a world in which all men will think his political thoughts and talk his political language…. The language expresses the thoughts of humanity itself when it reflects on the natural and rational structure and processes of political and economic life. I mean the language of unalienable rights, constitutionalism, and the rule of law as the moral basis of government, consent and popular participation in rule and therefore limited government, separation of powers, free election, minority rights in the face of majority decision, an organic organization of the economic order with a view to its self-government under the minimum of governmental interference, a dispersal of economic power, a high degree of public prosperity achieved mainly by the principle of voluntary cooperation, etc. These are words current in America; but they are translatable into any language.
Luce again stressed supposed American ties to tradition: “Insofar as the American way of life rests upon these principles, understood in their Western traditional sense, it is exportable, but only because it is, or ought to be, indigenous everywhere.”[xxvii]
The enemy of these ideals was Soviet Communism, which Luce mentioned as one of the two great powers on earth. This enemy had to be fought not just by a “contest of arms. More importantly it was a duel of ideas. Hence, the `complete social process’ undertaken against our Enemy must involve more than military preparedness.” What was needed was imbuing society with a “more positive function – this is a good American first principle. To sustain true religion, to promote education, to advance social justice, to contribute to public prosperity, to insure equal justice for all, and more than anything else, to protect fundamental human rights and freedom – these too are the functions of society. They are functions of international society….” An international juridical community could only function under the reign of law, and that was America’s long-term goal. Essential to this idea of the rule of law was the idea that “the writ of natural law may run in all countries in the form of respect for human rights.”[xxviii]
After the talk was given, Luce directed copies of the text be given to the pro-Deo International University of Social Studies. Pro Deo then taught the American Proposition to its students and they in turn went throughout the world spreading American ideas and ideals. All of this occurred with the apparent approval of the Catholic Church. The American prelates certainly approved of Pro Deo as did the Dominican order and Msgr. Giovanni Montini, later known as Pope Paul VI. The American Proposition justified the American socio-political philosophy as good in principle. The basis of this philosophy was an adherence by societal authorities to a vague, ambiguous, and ill-defined natural law. The Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were elevated to the level of sacred documents, and freedom, whatever that meant, was the guiding light of American activities. The American Proposition was quintessential American psychological warfare and it served to advance the US Government’s Doctrinal Warfare Program. Once target societies accepted the American Proposition as true, and American socio-political philosophy as good in principle, then that society underwent a re-organization or re-engineering that marginalized spiritual values and permitted the elevation of materialism. This was made possible by the relegation of religion to a private concern and its prohibition from informing the policies of the state. The legal principles of the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the US Constitution implemented and protected this philosophy. At this point, then the powerful come to rule society, and the most powerful in American, and similar societies, are the monied elites. Acceptance of the American Proposition led to the creation of the proper social and political environment for American capital and investment to enter societies around the globe.
Luce had additional copies of his speech sent to Murray and C D Jackson. Luce’s assistant Kelly Laute was impressed, calling it “a very fine speech indeed, and I was very much impressed by his delivery of it. So restrained yet so forceful – a very different style from what we generally get over her and all the more interesting and revealing to my half-Latin, half-Nordic mentality.”[xxix]
On March 4, 1963, at a party celebrating the birthday of Time, Inc., Luce said in no uncertain terms his publications existed to spread The American Proposition by shaping a certain understanding or view of history. By explaining “what Time believes,” and “what Time stands for,” Luce provided the “inside story of Time,” noting that the magazine “may often seem to be arbitrary…whimsical, even as they used to say, flippant. And yet through all the huge tapestry of 20th century history which Time has woven, there is a clear pattern of belief, a pattern which has become clearer and stronger with the years. Time believes.”[xxx] The lack of object in the final sentence bespoke a philosophical problem not a grammatical lapse. A few minutes farther into his speech Luce tried again:
What, then, does Time now believe?… The whole of the American Proposition has been epitomized by Fortune in this formula: `The American Proposition consists of a word, a tendency and a method. The word is liberty. The tendency is equality. The method is constitutionalism.’ That is the core and essence of what Time believes. How well has Time served the American Proposition? And one way to answer that question is to ask another: How well is the United States living up to its historic faith? I give you my answer quickly: since Time’s last birthday party, our twentieth , in the midst of the first truly global war, the United States has been doing well, very well.[xxxi]
Luce used Time as a powerful tool to spread the American Proposition around the globe and to convince the Americans, including many Catholics, that America with its Liberal, Enlightenment, Age of Reason foundations was the ideal form of social organization. In a speech to the Army War College, C.D. Jackson praised the American Proposition and Pro Deo University’s delivery of it, as the philosophical platform from which the CIA and Time, Inc. launched its psychological warfare campaign. It was an “effective new educational activity” and “one of the few that is working and his [sic] immense potentialities. It is helping to infuse the concept of the American Proposition through young, fervent Latin American disciples instead of relying exclusively on officials from this country.”[xxxii]
[i] Swanberg, Luce and His Empire, 503-507.
[ii] Geoffrey Plank, Rebellion and Savagery: The Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 and the Rise of the British Empire. (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006), 113, 115, 157, 165, 182, 184
[iii] Mark David Hall, Roger Sherman and the Creation of the American Republic. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), 27-28, 30, 52-53.
[iv] Annex “B” to PSB D-33 June 29, 1953, “U.S. Doctrinal Program”, Psychological Strategy Board, declassified December 19, 2013.
[v] Hall, Roger Sherman and the Creation of the American Republic, 24, 26.
[vi] Henry R. Luce to Jack Jessup, Letter dated October 28, 1953, Henry R. Luce Papers Box 75 Folder 10, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
[vii] Luce to Jessup Letter dated October 28, 1953.
[viii] Luce to Jessup Letter dated October 28, 1953.
[ix] Luce to Jessup Letter dated October 28, 1953.
[x] Henry R. Luce to Willi Schlamm, Letter dated November 1, 1953, Henry R. Luce Papers Box 75 Folder 10, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
[xi] John Courtney Murray to Clare Boothe Luce, Letter dated November 1, 1953, Clare Boothe Luce Papers Box 795 Folder 10, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
[xii] John Shaw Billings, Diary Entry for November 16, 1953, John Shaw Billings Papers Diaries Vol. 36, 259, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.
[xiii] John Shaw Billings to Henry R. Luce, Letter dated November 16, 1953, Henry R. Luce Papers Box 75 Folder 10, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C..
[xiv]Elsa Wardell to Henry R. Luce, undated note, Henry R. Luce Papers Box 75 Folder 10, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
[xv] “Address delivered by Rev. Felix A. Morlion OP President of the International Unviersity of Social Studies Pro Deo, Rome at the ceremony honoring of Henry Luce, Editor in chief of Time, Life, Fortune in New York, May 22, 1957,” Henry R. Luce Papers Box 52 Folder 7, Library of Congress, Washingotn, D.C.
[xvi] Henry R. Luce, “The American Proposition,” Henry R. Luce Papers Box 75 Folder 10, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
[xvii] Luce, “The American Proposition.”
[xviii] Luce, “The American Proposition.”
[xix] Luce, “The American Proposition.”
[xx] Luce, “The American Proposition.”
[xxi] Luce, “The American Proposition.”
[xxii] Luce, “The American Proposition.”
[xxiii] Luce, “The American Proposition.”
[xxiv] Luce, “The American Proposition.”
[xxv] Luce, “The American Proposition.”
[xxvi] Luce, “The American Proposition.”
[xxvii] Luce, “The American Proposition.”
[xxviii] Luce, “The American Proposition.”
[xxix] Kelly Laute to Allen Grover, Letter dated November 30, 1953, Henry R. Luce Papers Box 75 Folder 10, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
[xxx] Henry Luce, “A Definition of Time,” The Ideas of Henry Luce ed. Jessup, 81.
[xxxi] Luce, “A Definition of Time,” The Ideas of Henry Luce ed. Jessup, 83-84.
[xxxii] CD Jackson Papers Box 90 Folder “Pro Deo 1962,” Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Abilene, Kansas.
Endnotes for Chapter 41