Writings by Dr. John C. Rao

Blinded By the Right: “Conservatives" & the Carpet Bombing of Christendom

“The ‘conservative’ majorities have not conserved anything.”

(Louis Veuillot, Mélanges (Paris: 1933), xii, p. 236)

The antics of many “conservative” American Catholics regularly call to mind unpleasant historical personalities and images. Every time I hear an Austin Ruse and his fellow Americanists of National Catholic Prayer Breakfast fame idol worship the Republican Party, the Fourth Century face of Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea emerges from the late ancient shadows to plague me. Eusebius was the man who laid out the twisted theological ground rules for Caesaro-Papism: a recipe for manipulating the Church for political purposes used not just by the Roman Empire and later monarchies, but by every single form of government through the centuries, especially our own--which, of course, swears never to do such things. Our contemporary Eusebians cherish and regularly resort to Caeasaro-Papism and its unchanging principles of back-door secularization. They, too, force the Church to adore a fallible political and social Regime, in this case, one of Protestant and Enlightenment origins, as though it were under the special protection of God. They, too, reinterpret Catholicism to fit the will of the current emperor, God’s chosen one, the New Constantine, His Most Catholic Majesty, George W. Bush.

Then there is Lew Rockwell and the Catholic Libertarians. Whenever they belt out some cheery ditty on the need for victims of capitalist injustice to appreciate the future improvements their present suffering will guarantee, it is another, earlier image which comes sharply into focus: that of Alexandrian physicians and medical researchers of the Hellenistic Era. These philanthropists were permitted to build their “better future” through the live dissection of criminals sent to them straight from their prison cells. Perhaps they lectured the wretches they were ripping limb from limb on the need to stop their petty whining and begin considering just how much subsequent generations’ knowledge of the digestive system would be enhanced by the removal and study of their small intestines while they were still fresh and functioning. Maybe they also consoled their victims by arguing that the only reason they felt any agony at all was because they had been handed over to their fate through the nefarious intervention of the State rather than through private entrepreneurs operating by means of the unfailingly beneficent mechanisms of a totally free market economy.

Nevertheless, at the present moment, after two months back in the Old World, it is the European antics of a wide network of “conservative” American individuals and groups, both privately and publicly funded, which is uppermost in my mind. Moreover, it is the fact that Catholics and Catholic organizations are prominent among this well-provided lot that really preoccupies me. And the battery of historical images which irresistibly pops up when meditating upon the unfortunate consequences of their labors are this time modern ones, all connected with the carpet bombing of Europe in the 1940’s.

Allow me to dwell in some detail on the history and character of that abominable form of combat. Aerial bombardment at the beginning of the Second World War, even when it involved brutal attacks on civilian targets such as at Rotterdam, still nevertheless remained an undertaking basically subordinated to military maneuvers of immediate importance on the ground. Unfortunately, both Britain and Germany began to change the rules of the game in the summer of 1940, when they turned their attention to terrorizing one another’s cities, Berlin and London among them.

As time went on, and it became more and more obvious to the British that aerial bombardment was, at least temporarily, the only serious weapon that they had at their disposal, Bomber Command’s thought regarding what constituted an acceptable use of the air arm underwent a truly drastic revision. Attempts to carry out precision sallies, the kind of bombing tied to clear targets directly connected with what everyone unanimously considered to be part of the war effort, were deemed to be too costly in men and aircraft to maintain. An excessive amount of time, skill and moonlight, dangerous to the survival of limited numbers of pilots and planes, was required to get at the highly specific objectives in question. A desire to save aircraft and airmen, while continuing to fight effectively against a Germany which boasted of having already won the war, seemed to be dependent upon the opening up of a far wider geographical area for the bomber to devastate more quickly and freely than the older, slower, suicidal hunt for the proverbial needle in the haystack offered.

This expansion of terrain in turn called for a redefinition of what entered into the realm of justifiable military targets in urban centers. Such a redefinition ended by pinpointing for valid bombardment not merely traditionally recognized sites of military importance, and not simply the homes of the men and women laboring at them, but also the dwellings, shops and tools of all other persons providing war workers with bread, milk, transport, and every type of “morale-building” aid and comfort as well. In other words, a safer assault on the foe necessitated the opening up as permissible bombing sites of everyone and everything in every city in the land of the enemy, of his allies and even of his unwilling satellites.

Thus began the career of “carpet-bombing”, and, with it, the obliteration of the long-established distinction between civilians and military personnel. Some precision bombing did, admittedly, continue throughout the remainder of the conflict: partly because it could, as in the case of dam-busting, also bring on mass destruction; partly because it took a good deal of time for the Americans to embrace its unseemly counterpart with any real enthusiasm. Nevertheless, as my father, a G.I. working with displaced persons in Frankfurt after the war explained to me, precision bombing then sometimes came to signify something quite different than what it had before. Rather than meaning the designation of a legitimate war target to be destroyed, it could indicate the exact opposite: the identification of specific buildings which were to be kept entirely intact, as centers for the Occupational Army’s future work of pacification.

Der Brand (The Fire) by Jörg Friedrich (Propyläen, 2002), describes in excruciating detail the gruesome practical consequences of the allied carpet bombing of men, women and children in both French and Dutch as well as in German cities during the course of the Second World War. It outlines, in addition, the self-deceptive arguments used by otherwise decent individuals to sanction the unfathomable butchery this kind of bombing entailed; the use of empty, conscience-salving phrases which included the claim that victims in the doomed cities had themselves opted of their own free will to remain where they were to aid the war effort, and therefore eminently deserved the death or maiming which came to them as punishment; the suggestion that anything and everything was moral where undeniably Absolute Good locked horns with evil. Friedrich shows, however, that even some of those most directly implicated in the slaughter and the sloganeering wished that they could shake off their fear of being labeled “traitors” and “Nazi-sympathizers” in order to expose the mental and spiritual lies rationalizing the use of this highly immoral carpet-bombing tactic:

“I felt sick from what I knew. I had many times made the decision that I had the moral duty to run down to the street in order to tell the British people what stupidities were being done in their name. But I did not have the courage to do so. I sat in my office right through until the end {of the Second World War} and calculated how one could murder another one hundred thousand persons in the most economical manner”. (Professor Freeman Dyson, physicist for the Operational Research Center of British Bomber Command, in Der Brand, p. 100).

It is by no means easy for any Englishman or American--in whose name, after all, the carpet-bombing was done--to pick up and read Der Brand from cover to cover. It is an especially painful book for believing English and American Catholics to read, since, quite aside from its account of a mountain of individual human misery, it presents a blow-by-blow description of the destruction of chapels, monasteries, convents, churches, cathedrals, palaces, universities and libraries embodying much of the cultural heritage of the Catholic world---and this from Paleochristian times, across the Merovingian, Carolingian, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque eras, right down through to the present. As a sidelight, it is interesting to note that the air war over Italy scarred the Basilica of San Lorenzo on the outskirts of Rome---the burial site of Blessed Pius IX, the pontiff loathed by Americanists as an anachronistic “obscurantist”. His “obscurantism”, you will remember, consisted in putting us on prescient warning against the knowledge-gone-mad of a liberal constitutional age of twisted rational and scientific “progress”.

Still, it seems to me that the broader message of Der Brand, with its very much understated attack on the wartime evils perpetrated not just by the Nazis, but by all of the belligerent nations, not a single one of which represented Absolute Good, ought to be most painful for the army of contemporary “conservative” American activists abroad to read and ponder--the Catholic ones first and foremost. Why? Because, quite simply put, they are promoting the carpet-bombing of contemporary Europe, laboring to annihilate everything that is still left of Catholic Christendom. Moreover, many of their casuists work to defend their activities with the same sort of self-deceptive, self-righteous arguments as the apologists for the uncontrolled air war of the 1940's.

Some exasperated Remnant readers may ask how, in all seriousness, I can talk of Bomber Harris and “conservative” Americans, Catholic or otherwise, in the same breath. Is not such a connection an irresponsible rhetorical flight of fancy? After all, has anyone seen any of the participants in the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast climbing into the cockpit of a plane headed for St. Peter’s Square or Notre Dame after the taking of their toast and tea?

Permit me to limit myself to three very broad reasons for sticking by this imagery, the first of which is “conservative” use of a specific strategy beloved by carpet bombers of the past. This strategy is centered round effecting a fundamental change in the nature of things themselves; seeking so to readjust the very ground rules of life in a particular place that its bewildered inhabitants stumble madly amidst the unnatural ruins of their normal environment with no hope of ever regaining their lost bearings.

Friedrich begins his discussion of this “readjustment strategy” with the First World War, by calling attention to the quite different response of the troops in the trenches to the new types of powerful, ear-splitting artillery pounding them regularly on the one hand, and to the poison gases calmly wafting in with the afternoon wind on the other. The former weapon could still be recognized by them as a technologically advanced version of the recoiled fist of the childhood brat down the street suddenly thrust forward to pummel at their faces. The latter could not. Gas was uncanny, turning all soldiers’ assumptions regarding the basic functioning of nature against them on a grand scale. Instead of filling their lungs and refreshing them as it was supposed to do, the very air that they breathed, and under the very canopy of the heavens, was transformed by it into the cause of their perdition.

It was, Friedrich continues, precisely this chilling overturning of the obvious ground rules of the open-air environment, the transformation of the familiar into the unfathomable, that British scientists and technicians working for carpet-bombing success sought to guarantee as well. This was because they had discovered that the most complete devastation was brought about by effecting a basic alteration in the very atmosphere breathed by all those under air attack and suffering its after-effects. This atmospheric transformation was accomplished through the creation of what is called a “firestorm”.

Firestorms could not be conjured up by a snap of the fingers. They required much too exact a combination of the kind of combustible material provided by the tightly-packed wooden buildings of many a lovely medieval town center, correct proportions of explosive and incendiary bombs and highly accommodating weather conditions. When all these conditions did come together, however---as, for example, in Hamburg or Dresden---the unfortunate inhabitants of the brutalized targets, like soldiers on the Somme or at Verdun breathing in that ungodly mustard gas, felt that the most unquestioned element of daily life had been transformed into a merciless and unknown alien monster. Again, the open air was there not to replenish a man’s breath but to suffocate him. The winds created to feed the aberrant carpet-bombing firestorm literally sucked unsuspecting citizens walking in the surrounding untouched countryside (and thinking that they were safe) into the science-fiction like apocalypse raging in the center city. What would, on normal occasions, have been a gentle summer breeze was now an uncontrollable and vicious whirling torch, reducing a grandfather, a month old baby boy, a beloved wife into that tiny bit of spine, eyeball, or vein which survivors lined up in large numbers along major urban thoroughfares on the Day After to be readied for their pathetic burial.

“Nothing was in its recognized place. Everything around us had flipped topsy-turvy”, an elderly German friend told me recently when I asked him about Der Brand. How, I wondered, could any human being possibly have endured such a firestorm, or, perhaps even more, the two hundred plus carpet bombing raids a given city might experience in the effort to bring one into being? “We reached such a state of utter confusion regarding what was and was not real that we could no longer react”, my friend continued. “In fact, we even began to approve of the intensification of our own destruction, just so long as the torture would end as soon as possible”.

Many “conservative” Americans, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, are creating a firestorm in our own day which, in certain respects, is even more thorough-going than that of the 1940’s. They are creating a spiritual and mental firestorm that fundamentally readjusts the basic elements of the only environment in which Catholic Christendom can live and prosper. In the process of doing so, they are sowing such a confusion regarding what is and is not Catholic that European men and women will never be able to regain their bearings amidst the utter ruins of their religion and their reason.

How, exactly, are our contemporary pyromaniacs going about their business? Suffice it to say for the moment that they are obliterating three principles absolutely crucial to Christendom’s birth, flowering and continued survival: 1) the concept of the necessary complementarity of individual and society; the realization that the human person can only be perfected and fulfilled through membership in the wide variety of communities, natural and supernatural, in which God intends him to live; communities to whose clear authorities God meant the individual to be subject; 2) the belief that Christ and Christ’s work are the single most important factors in the proper development of world history and civilization; and 3) the conviction that Catholicism is of absolutely unique value for the practical defense of natural truths which reason alone may indeed be able to establish and explain, but can never effectively protect on its own.

“Conservative” pyromaniacs are “readjusting” the remaining Christian political and social environment of Europe in order to reflect a quite different trinity of ground rules: 1) an eighteenth-century Enlightenment-inspired understanding of the supremacy of the raw act of uncontrolled personal liberty. This wipes out the notion of the importance of communal life for teaching, guidance, growth and perfection. It preaches the dismantling of all serious social authority, and leaves what are for all intents and purposes individual “human animals” on their own in search of victims to “dissect” for the building of their “better future”; 2) a glorification not of Christ, but of a similarly Enlightenment-inspired Americanism as the most important formative force in human history; as the most perfect instrument for promoting the victory of the libertine and criminal vision of “freedom” noted above; and 3) a consequent denigration of the unique and irreplaceable role of Catholicism in the protection of nature and reason. Informed faith in Catholicism is being replaced by blind faith in the value of the “common-sense” machinery of American “freedom” and “pluralism”. But that machinery, in Europe as in America, works to remove all objective, authoritative signposts capable of identifying for both individuals and societies the mistakes that they have made; all signposts capable of directing them away from madness and back to sanity. Hopeless confusion as to what is true, good and beautiful is the direct by-product of “faith” in this mythological, reality-disrupting mechanism. And the special evil brought about by Catholic involvement in stirring up such a mind-bending firestorm is that this entire unholy and seriously obscurantist mess is brazenly presented as the sole political and social order truly compatible with Christianity.

All this is obvious from the waterfall of ever more perplexed comments I have personally heard pouring out of good-willed but baffled European Catholic mouths in recent years. “Are we not obliged to have faith in ‘freedom’ to prove that we are not supporters of Communism or Fascism or Moslem terrorism? Isn’t America the true home of freedom? Isn’t freedom infallibly provided by American democracy? Aren’t freedom and democracy all about becoming rich? How can we become democratically rich if we do not cram our roads full of billboards with directions to the newest shopping mall, where the deepest aspirations of ordinary people can be satisfied? Isn’t economics a morally neutral ‘science’? Doesn’t a pragmatic society have to be morally neutral to be true to freedom? Isn’t recent change leading to the construction of a global, free, democratic, morally-neutral, materialist civilization absolutely irresistible?”

There is really no reason to dwell any further on such statements, since they have all long been the normal coin of the realm in the highly restricted political and social dialogue permitted on our side of the Freedom Pond. What bothers me most, once again, is the Catholicizing of this mish-mash of ultimately Hegelian mumbo-jumbo. That work is done through three well-heeled channels: those of the “Scottish/American Enlightenment=Catholicism” Weigel-Neuhaus-Novak fraternity; the Caesaro-Papist Breakfast Club Gang; and, last but not least, the libertarian Acton Institute and its allies. Each adds its strange bit to Catholic Christendom’s self-destruction, sometimes in union with its two other “allies”; sometimes, at least for the moment, in an ultimately illogical conflict with them.

Hence the spread of the following sequence of obfuscating arguments all too familiar to those of us who live here in Paradise already: “Wasn’t Catholic Social Doctrine ultimately rather silly? Haven’t the ideas of Leo XIII on the subject been rejected for a more pragmatic outlook? Isn’t pluralism what Second Vatican Council was all about? Didn’t it show that the Church finally approved of freedom? And isn’t the whole history of Christianity completely and accurately summarized in Second Vatican Council?” Or how about this question, obviously emerging due to libertarian influence--“How can we hope to claim liberty for Catholics if we don’t leave the homosexuals freedom to do their thing?”

Trying to fight this firestorm-bred confusion would, of course, require leading people back to the fullness of Catholic and Catholic-friendly sources: Scriptures, the Church Fathers, St. Augustine, St. Thomas, papal encyclicals, the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, and even, for that matter, anti-libertarian, anti-Americanist and anti-globalist arguments which can be found in the work of Pope Benedict XVI himself. But it is really only popular journals like The Remnant which are ready to encourage Europeans to return to the study of Catholic roots, and for this crime they can never be forgiven by the “conservative” casuists. Hold a copy of The Remnant in front of Austin Ruse’s eyes and only the miraculous intercession of the American Founders can save him from apoplexy. Why would he instruct a European to look at it? In fact, he does the exact opposite.

“All monsters must die!”, the old Japanese science fiction movies used to scream out in the 1950’s. “All substantive historical Catholic signposts must be obliterated!”, “conservative” Catholics now, in effect, command. “The intellectual and spiritual lamps of Catholic Christendom are going out all over Europe”, one ought to paraphrase Lord Grey saying to summarize the effects of their carpet-bombing activity. “We will never be shown how to re-light them again within our lifetime”. “We reached such a state of utter confusion regarding what was and was not real that we could no longer react”, one can easily picture some European victim of this firestorm saying to an acquaintance in the future. “In fact, we even began to approve of the intensification of our own destruction, just so long as the torture would end as soon as possible”.

That brings me to a second reason for standing by the use of my wartime images: the fact that the same physical effects of carpet-bombing a landscape can be accomplished without the sight of a single Flying Fortress or Lancaster on the horizon. As a Rumanian friend of mine once noted, American real estate developers and the former dictator of her country, Nicholas Ceaucescu, have both succeeded in annihilating similarly extensive terrains through the peaceful use of bulldozers alone. And both have had ideologues claiming to speak for progress and popular will to egg them on in their destruction of a nation’s history and environment--free market enthusiasts on the one hand and Marxist philosophers on the other.

Those peaceful bulldozers are busier today than ever before, “saving” Europe from the curse of taking its Catholic Christian pillars seriously. They are, in the first instance, attacking the countryside. This is not to demolish rural poverty and technological backwardness. It is to build the ever-increasing number of globally identical malls offering globally identical “individualists” the globally identical “freedom” to buy just that extra bit of cheaper junk which will finally enable them to live like the harmless docile automatons the new order requires for its stability. These malls are killing the stunning, up-to-date, economically-advanced village centers of rich provinces like Lombardy in Italy, which, even just twenty years ago, still were home to the vibrant community life that Christendom desperately needs to survive. My European friends are well aware that the economic and ideological arguments of “individual freedom” and “pragmatism” used to justify this destruction, while born in Europe under the aegis of nineteenth century liberalism, were perfected in America by those who now call themselves “conservatives”.

Do American “conservatives” who are Catholics really think that the same kind of spiritually and intellectually developed man and culture once produced in a Christendom shaped by a variegated social life will emerge from a village-and-town-less existence? Where the only community experience provided is that offered while purchasing trinkets or by participating in a chat group on the Internet? Where a raw individual freedom focused on material concerns reigns supreme in individuals’ minds? If my “conservative” fellow believers do think so, that proves to me one of two things: either that they never really understood what Greco-Roman-Catholic civilization was all about to begin with, or that the damage done by the Enlightenment to their own psyche is now so far gone that they, like their current victims, cannot ever hope to heal it.

Libertarian, Americanist, Pluralist man and culture are a wholly different phenomenon than their Catholic counterparts. Under the influence of such a “civilization”, every single lovely church in Manhattan in which one of my family members has been married, myself included, has been torn down over the past decade for entrepreneurial money-making purposes or to pay the price of libertine crimes. My grandmother was wedded in a nineteenth-century neo-Gothic structure which has now become a billiard parlor. It will not be long before the new pragmatic individualists being formed throughout Europe bulldoze many of their last grand Catholic monuments as well. After all, why should the freedom of an entrepreneur, the entertainment of youth and the will of the People be restrained by a San Marco in Venice if it doesn’t yield as many big time bucks and please as many customers as a disco might? Besides, who knows what kind of lawsuits it may someday have to be sold to pay off?

Finally, wartime images hold firm in my mind because the “conservative” firestorm is always capable of transmuting from a mental and spiritual one into an outright physical conflagration, and this not just in Europe, but the world over. Fire-eater and former Catholic, Rod “Crunchy” Dreher, already seems just about ready to hop on board any aircraft available to aid an Israel that can be guilty of no wrong, no matter who it bombs and how it does so. Given the right conditions, all too many of my “conservative” Catholic acquaintances would leap up there with him.

Now I admit that most “conservative” American Catholics active abroad today, just like their counterparts at home, will shake their heads in disbelief regarding my description of their firestorm-producing principles. They will claim not to recognize themselves in them. If they were to accept and argue with me on the basis of my wartime images at all, they would say that they were actually “precision bombers”, fighting bravely for Catholic truths in specific European trouble spots. In fact, they would most likely contend that they were precision bombers in my father’s use of the term: people who identified familiar Catholic citadels in Europe, such as pro-life and anti-communists organizations, which they saved and eventually “moved into” with aid and counsel to help eliminate the final results of liberal or Marxist evil-doing. The libertarians among them would most certainly disculpate themselves with reference to their admittedly praiseworthy work in the current battle against imperialism.

Such a disbelieving rejection of my criticism may certainly reflect the good intentions of the people expressing it, but it is a mistake. On the one hand, this “Mr. Smith Goes to Europe” mentality ignores the fact that there are a good number of such “conservative” activists who know exactly what they are doing: foisting the Enlightenment and the American Empire down Catholic throats, using bridgeheads from inside the Camp of the Saints itself to do so. On the other, it also manifests an uncritical self-deception based upon making terms like “conservative” into “good words” that save one from the work of investigating the error sneaking into the Catholic world under their passports; a veritable “blinding by the Right” valuing rhetoric above reason.

Yes, good-willed “conservative” missionaries have indeed chosen to fight for certain Catholic ideas in Europe. Nevertheless, they have also chosen to do so with the aid of an Enlightenment-inspired, pluralist language of freedom and America-worship which blatantly contradicts Catholicism. And when they try to defend the former by tying their cart to the latter they are trapped in a totally illogical position. The precision bombing which has allowed them to work as recognized Movers and Shakers in Catholic citadels of the Old World permits them to use these strongholds to weaken defenses against the impending mental and spiritual firestorm.

Thus, for example, aid to European pro-life organizations which is combined together with adulation of American freedom transforms these true forces for good into a house divided against themselves. It gives a right of passage to arguments for an anti-Catholic use of “liberty” removing intellectual “fire-walls” blocking the conflagration to come. It makes the “free choice for life” opposing the “free choice for abortion” appear to be nothing more than a hypocritical and stubborn whimsy.

Similarly, the noble support given by Catholic libertarians to the anti-war movement is badly flawed. It is largely based on opposition to Statism and not the realization that individuals as well as governments can do wicked things. The “freedom” that libertarianism promotes unleashes a private “war of all against all” of horrific proportions, and one which, historically, leads right back to the seizing of the power of the State to be used for imperialist purposes.

Eventually, either the “gut Catholicism” or the amoralism and America Worship of those “blinded by the Right” has to go by the boards. Unfortunately, my experience has been that it is their “gut Catholicism” which dissolves when push comes to shove. I have personally seen this happen in spectacular fashion, especially at parties after the drink begins to flow and tongues are loosened. How many times have I then heard skillful debaters get “conservatives” to admit the logic of their first principles, and the fact that they want their religion to keep its mouth shut when it stands in the way of their pet desires about capitalist economic theory or Reason of State. Quite frankly, they simply love the Imperial Regime more than they do Catholic Truth. This is the chief reason why they have ended up becoming attached to a justification of “fruits of the Second Vatican Council” which they at first “chose” to reject. The more they have seen that a failure to embrace the Council and its aftermath causes problems for their “freedom-loving” American Pluralist credentials, the more they have opted for changes that they once loathed. The more that their Americanism is challenged, the more they have been forced to tighten up their allegiance to all of its constituent elements. Ultimately, they believe and accept whatever the God they call America has commanded them. In this light, it is clear that the fate of the pro-life movement itself really ultimately hangs on whether the Republican Dynasty of the American Empire stamps its passport for survival or not.

It seems to me, with the situation in the Middle East being what it is today, that a final “either-or” moment for all such unintentional carpet bombers is approaching. What if the Church actually had the courage to apply her clear teaching on the just war to a forthright condemnation of our imperialist warmongering policy in the Middle East? After all, it seems to me that she only refuses to do so out of cowardice and fear of losing American money. There are plenty of historical precedents for the hope that Rome will finally shake off her lethargy and do the job she has temporarily and spinelessly let others—like The Remnant, Chronicles and the New Oxford Review--do for her. What would the attitude of “conservative” Catholics be towards Rome (dealing, on this issue, not with some debatable pastoral tactic, but with the application of an undeniable question of moral integrity) under those circumstances?

“Why, I would ignore Rome entirely!”, was the immediate response of one “conservative” whom I know, an otherwise stalwart and contemptuous opponent of “cafeteria Catholicism”. We know what he would have done in the 1940’s. Such a fellow would not have the slightest qualms about nuclear carpet-bombing Europe, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, China, Russia and the whole editorial staff and subscription list of The Remnant as well. Let those live innocent babies die. Why should he care? For he would be certain that, by fighting on the side of America, he was fighting on the side of Absolute Good.

Still, good-willed “conservatives” do not have to go down this pathway. As 2006 looks more and more like 1914, perhaps Traditionalists should put their pennies together to send copies of Der Brand --unfortunately not yet translated into English--to all “conservative” Catholic activists for their after Prayer Breakfast digestion. I say this because I hope some of them secretly harbor a bit of the soul of a Professor Dyson, quoted above. Maybe--just maybe-a book like this could stir them to re-explore their Catholic roots, and shake off for once and for all the fear that even a pipsqueak of criticism of libertarian freedom, Americanism and pluralism will mark them off forever as traitors and Nazis. Maybe one of them might so awaken to the truth that he will run out into the streets to tell the world of the firestorm raging through the remnants of European Christendom due to “conservative” Catholic action. The voice of any one of these men today would mean a lot more than that of a history professor writing in a newspaper which is too well known for the unforgivable sin of trying, in the words of G.K. Chesterton after the assassination of Engelbert Dollfuss in 1934, “to keep just a tiny bit of Europe Catholic”.

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