Intimations of a conservative revolution?

Interesting thoughts from WorldByStorm of the Cedar Lounge, in which they note the coming together of an Archbishop in the socially conservative Catholic Church, and the undenably conservative moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church is long way from the socialist millenarianism imagined by many on the left during the troubles and after.

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  • kensei

    Hmmmm. As the article points out, SF is well to the left of centre. The only alternative on the Nationalist side is the SDLP, which is also left of centre, if less so. The Church also does not weld the type of influence it once did. And while the DUP is right wing and socially conservative, there are plenty of Protstants who are much less so. And it isn’t only going to be the DUP with power in the Assembly.

    The more interesting question is what type of government do we end up with if we have largely left wing Nationalism sharing power with largely right wing Unionism. It’s hardly a recipe for coherent government, is it?

  • Greenflag

    ‘It’s hardly a recipe for coherent government, is it? ‘

    Of course not . it’s a recipe for a sharing of the ‘spoils’ of overgovernment at the expense of the English and ultimately the NI taxpayer . It’s also a recipe for cementing in ‘religion’ into the politics of Northern Ireland .

    The Scots are finding out 8 years after ‘devolution’ that it does’nt work as they expected and it’s not the solution to their economic and political woes . Having wasted 40 years already in farting around I suppose another 10 or 15 years of a ‘learning’ experience could be just what NI needs 🙁

    Northern Ireland is enough of a laughing stock around the world without being seen to have a fundamentalist cleric as it’s First Minister !

  • Henry94

    It is a trend which comes from America. Anti-Catholicism has all but disappeared from the evangelical movement because of the unifying effect of the pro-life cause and the steadfastness of Rome on the issue.

  • William Joyce

    Northern Ireland is enough of a laughing stock around the world without being seen to have a fundamentalist cleric as it’s First Minister
    Good point. Purveyors of gas and water socialism a la William Walker are hot air merchants. Paisley met Brady in private, just like after the McIlveen murder. He is going to be Duce so no sense alienating the Brady bunch.
    The writer is wrong to suggest power is always exercised openly. The Catholic Church never operated that way. Perhaps the writer feels Brady shudda whacked him. Eitehr way, a weak piece.

  • Greenflag

    ‘It is a trend which comes from America.’

    Sadly true . Americans seems to be the only developed western country that has become more religious as it has become wealthier 🙁 The reasons for this can only be that americans are a credulous people who have taken to the mass marketing of ‘religion’ in the same way they have responded to the mass marketing of cigarettes , alcohol or cornflakes . They go out to buy and shop for their ‘niche ‘ church .

    Thus the proliferation of telegenic evangelists hopping around on stage performomg all kinds of voodoo -babbling in tongues and driving away evil spirits . And yet America is the country which has put men on the moon , wins Nobel prizes routinely for Physics and other sciences ?

    I need an American to explain this apparent ‘dichotomy ‘ to me ?

    While they believe they are ‘free’ they at the same time thank God for his personal intervention in not upending their house in a hurricane but merely upending thousands of other houses ?

    It’s a mystery ? ?

    As for

    ‘Northern Ireland is enough of a laughing stock around the world’

    Not of course in the soccer world – well not recently anyway 🙂

  • Mick Fealty

    kensei,

    “It’s hardly a recipe for coherent government, is it?”

    This is precisely what the DUP has been arguing for years. Every one of their position papers since January 2004 has made precisely this point, with each including a provision for a voluntary ‘coalition of the willing’.

    However, Robinson (I think) suggested at the Tory Party Conference recently that the kinds of left/right values talked about above would only come to the fore after, and not before, a parliamentary settlement.

    In the meantime, the left/right inflections in the Nationalist/Unionist blocs are only inflections, not convictions: possibly arising from their relative pro and anti state positions.

    There is a bunch of votes to be had amongst rightist nationalist voters, and similar to be had amongst leftist unionist voters, once the national question is taken off the hob. For now, the smaller parties (undoubtedly the ones that would likely reap reward from that kind of clearer positioning), are still too conflicted to make a run for clear ground.

  • Henry94

    greenflag

    The reasons for this can only be that americans are a credulous people who have taken to the mass marketing of ‘religion’ in the same way they have responded to the mass marketing of cigarettes , alcohol or cornflakes .

    I’d be surprised if the Americans drank or smoked more than we do. Does that make us even more credulous? And we could also ask which continent found a market for fascism and communism.

    Credulity may be the eye of the beholder.

  • Greenflag

    Henry 94,

    Good point re

    ‘which continent found a market for fascism and communism. ‘

    Perhaps the above is the reason why Americans are so trusting of their ‘Government ‘ that they like to be able to defend themselves by having more guns per person than any other developed western or eastern country and also the highest percentage of people behind bars ?

    Not the answer I was looking for BTW .

    ‘Credulity may be the eye of the beholder. ‘

    I used to believe half of what I saw and only quarter of what I heard . Now due to ‘advances’ in internet technology I hardly believe anything I see . My eyes don’t see what I hear and my ears don’t hear what I see 🙁

  • Greenflag

    ‘once the national question is taken off the hob.’

    Or in plain english -never 🙁 Was’nt the GFA supposed to achieve that ?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Greenflag: “Perhaps the above is the reason why Americans are so trusting of their ‘Government ‘ that they like to be able to defend themselves by having more guns per person than any other developed western or eastern country and also the highest percentage of people behind bars ? ”

    Strangely enough, last I checked, the trended per capita for gun violence between the US and the UK were crossing — i.e. the US, despite “more guns per person than any other developed western or eastern country,” were decreasing whilst the UK, with some of the most draconian firearms laws, were actually increasing — something on the order of 35% in 2003, iirc. Arguably, privately held weapons are hedge against violence, both governmental and criminal.

    As for credulity, I would humbly submit it is more a matter of population — assuming a bell-curve distribution, the larger population in the US simply allows for a greater number of people at the tails. This, combined with the freedom one has to pursue one’s “happiness,” as opposed to, say, the dreary conformity of mainland China, you have a combination of follies and breakthroughs from the same national source. America goes through its occasional unfortunate phases, but never really seemed to have the European fascination for shiny boots and striking uniforms.

  • Greenflag

    DC ,

    ‘America goes through its occasional unfortunate phases, but never really seemed to have the European fascination for shiny boots and striking uniforms. ‘

    Fair enough but in the matter of shiny boots we are talking 1930’s/1940’s Europe but 2006 America ?

    Europeans are not running to ‘religion’ to solve their economic and social problems ? Faith based ‘initiatives’ as a cure for social problems iare not looked upon by europeans as either fixes or even desirable ?

    As for the population size and bell distriutions ? The EU is now home to some 425 million people almost 50 % more than the USA yet I doubt if the entire EU could summon up even 5% of the number of televangelists and fundamentalis preachers that the USA could ? So unless somebody else can convince me I tend still to the belief that Americans are still overwhelmingly more credulous at least in the department of religious affairs than other developed countries ?

    As to America’s achievements in the sciences etc ? Obviously most of these people must be drawn from the least credulous section of the USA population ?

    It does not compute ?;)

  • Americans seems to be the only developed western country that has become more religious as it has become wealthier.

    I’m not sure America has become more religious. America was essentially founded by two separate blocks of people: the religiously driven and the entrepreneurally (word?) driven. These two groups have sometimes worked together and sometimes been in conflict, but I don’t think there’s all that much difference between what we have today and what we had when manifest destiny was all the rage or when colonies were being born. Often those who succeeded in one field (say business) learned a lot from understanding what worked in the other field (religion).

  • Greenflag

    ‘I’m not sure America has become more religious.’

    Europe certainly has . And it’s been almost a straight line decline since the early 20th century .

    ‘Often those who succeeded in one field (say business) learned a lot from understanding what worked in the other field (religion). ‘

    Are you suggesting that this could be the source of Europes relative less then dynamic economy ? Not enough of our businessmen made their money from ‘religion’ or not enough successful business people start their own religion ?

  • Greenflag

    Correction to above post

    Should read

    ‘Europe has certainly become more irreligious ‘.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Greenflag: “Europeans are not running to ‘religion’ to solve their economic and social problems ? Faith based ‘initiatives’ as a cure for social problems iare not looked upon by europeans as either fixes or even desirable ? ”

    You are mis-reading the label. The intent of the “faith-based” initiatives is to put the tools and resources as close to those in need. One possibly benefit to using religion to meet these ends is, unlike government bureaucracies and NGO’s, they lack most of the incentive in maintaining a base level of the problem to ensure continued funding.

    Greenflag: “As for the population size and bell distriutions ? The EU is now home to some 425 million people almost 50 % more than the USA yet I doubt if the entire EU could summon up even 5% of the number of televangelists and fundamentalis preachers that the USA could ?”

    Is that a function of credulity or simply state domination of the television apparatus? The latter would seem to be a more realistic explanation.

  • Are you suggesting that this could be the source of Europes relative less then dynamic economy ? Not enough of our businessmen made their money from ‘religion’ or not enough successful business people start their own religion ?

    I was trying to address your point about televangelists. Those people are a great example of religious go-getters seeing how a business idea – television, in this case – works and making use of it. In the 19th century the traveling salesman got a lot of ideas from the traveling ministers.

    Europe is just more staid – economically and spiritually. Things just drift more here. Americans are more action-oriented, which I think affects religion. I’m not saying religion causes that I’m saying religion benefits from it.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Irish_eagle: “Europe is just more staid – economically and spiritually. Things just drift more here. Americans are more action-oriented, which I think affects religion. I’m not saying religion causes that I’m saying religion benefits from it. ”

    I’ll take that arguement one further — the collection of religious near-monocultures in Europe has led not to merely a staid existence but to stagnation. For example, look at the explosive growth of the Embassies of God, a Pentacostal group, in the Ukraine. Founded by an African man escaping superstition and violence in Africa, its now planning a large church — a “crystal cathedral,” perhaps? — in Kiev, with much objection and bunched skirts from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

    Additionally, Europe’s flirtation with anti-religious “-ism,” such as Communism and Nazism, has done little for the vitality of the various churches.

  • Greenflag

    DC,

    ‘simply state domination of the television apparatus? The latter would seem to be a more realistic explanation. ‘

    I don’t believe so . 20 years ago perhaps but now europeans have as great a choice in cable tv as Americans admittedly not in all states but certainly in the older EU member states.

    The ‘intent’ of ‘faith based initiatives sounds admirable and probably even practical . The reality is that some clerics avail of these initiatives to purloin personal fortunes for themselves .

    irish eagle ,

    Televangelists are just aspect of american religiosity which stands out from it’s european equivalent IMO.

    ‘Americans are more action-oriented, which I think affects religion.’

    As is their Government’s response to actual and perceived ‘threats’ as we have seen from Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea , Iran etc etc ?

    When was the last time you heard a British Prime Minister or French President or German Chancellor call for God’s help and make such callings part of his/her election campaign ? Apart from in Northern Ireland such an appeal would fall on deaf ears and would translate into negative votes -IMO.
    |
    Anyway thanks for the input -This is an area which I’m sure could provide enough ‘ammo’ to activate several hundred sociological theses .

    Or else I could just re read Alistair Cooke’s ‘letters from america ‘ 🙂 I’m sure he must have covered the topic ?

  • Greenflag

    ‘Founded by an African man escaping superstition and violence in Africa, ‘

    Not a Nigerian by any chance ? Escaped from it in Africa only to reperpetrate it somewhere else .

    Elmer Gantry’s of the world unite . You have nothing to lose except your market share !

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Greenflag: “I don’t believe so . 20 years ago perhaps but now europeans have as great a choice in cable tv as Americans admittedly not in all states but certainly in the older EU member states. ”

    Ah, but combine the initial lack of access with the European pechant for “-isms” and history religious perseuction of those believers not subscribing to the local monopsomy and you have an environment where it is unlikely that televangelism is likely to take root. Realize, the televangelist is simply the most recent exponent of a long tradition of religion with access to media in America.

    As for your arguement re: cable, shows that appear exclusively on cable do not usually command vast audiences — the best on cable don’t usually perfom as well as mediocre to poor broadcast shows.

    Greenflag: “The ‘intent’ of ‘faith based initiatives sounds admirable and probably even practical . The reality is that some clerics avail of these initiatives to purloin personal fortunes for themselves . ”

    And just how does this make them any different from governmental bureaucrats, secular charities or even those who all these groups propose to help? Each of those populations has its percentage of crooks.

  • Greenflag

    DC ,

    ‘And just how does this make them (Faith based Initiatives) any different from governmental bureaucrats, secular charities or even those who all these groups propose to help?’

    I have to presume that these others are not offering the 5 star road, gilded welcome and angels’ chorus at the pearly gates when the less fortunate on earth shake off their mortal coil ?

    Some good points DC but I remaiin convinced that the USA is altogether a more credulous nation at least in the religious sense than any in the EU at least in 2006 .

    I accept that europeans have been far more ‘credulous’ in suspending belief of the ‘rational ‘ in favour of the false political pananceas of fascism , communism and imperialist colonialism in the past .

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Greenflag: “I have to presume that these others are not offering the 5 star road, gilded welcome and angels’ chorus at the pearly gates when the less fortunate on earth shake off their mortal coil ? ”

    For the purposes of the initiiative, neither are the religious institutions that participate. Regardless, color commentary and “flavor text” is neither here nor there. They are no worse than traditional channels of relief / welfare and likely more efficient than the traditional government bureaucracy.

    Greenflag: “Some good points DC but I remaiin convinced that the USA is altogether a more credulous nation at least in the religious sense than any in the EU at least in 2006 . ”

    Comfort in one’s preconceived notions is not an all-together healthy thing. Given the choice of the ravages of, say, Protestantism vs., oh, Marxism/Leninism/Stalinism, I would have to say that the former has any number of attractions over the latter.

    Greenflag: “I accept that europeans have been far more ‘credulous’ in suspending belief of the ‘rational ‘ in favour of the false political pananceas of fascism , communism and imperialist colonialism in the past . ”

    Ever consider that, in the long run, Europe might have been better off with a few more “crystal cathedrals” and a few fewer concentration camps and gulags? If for no other reason, the Church is at least occasionally ashamed of its behavior, whereas politicians have none.

  • Greenflag

    DC ,
    I’m not sure what your point here is but it would seem to be that the USA is not in 2006 an altogether more ‘credulous’ part of the world than Europe ?

    ‘Given the choice of the ravages of, say, Protestantism vs., oh, Marxism/Leninism/Stalinism, I would have to say that the former has any number of attractions over the latter. ‘

    Full marks for the obvious .

    ‘Ever consider that, in the long run, Europe might have been better off with a few more “crystal cathedrals” and a few fewer concentration camps and gulags? ‘

    Ever consider that in the long run Europe might have been better off with no wars of religion and no concentration camps and gulags ?

  • kensei

    “‘Given the choice of the ravages of, say, Protestantism vs., oh, Marxism/Leninism/Stalinism, I would have to say that the former has any number of attractions over the latter. ‘”

    It depends how extreme Protestantism gets, really.

    And really, “We aren’t as bad as the Nazis” is possibly the weakest defense there is ever.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Greenflag: “Ever consider that in the long run Europe might have been better off with no wars of religion and no concentration camps and gulags ? ”

    Wars of religion are a misnomer. Religion is usually a red herring — a rhetorical stalking horse used to inspire the masses. Even the Crusades had more to do with wealth, access to trading routes and structural flaws in the fuedal system than it did with religion. Likewise, Communism and Nazism needed to religion for their camps and gulags.

    kensei: “And really, “We aren’t as bad as the Nazis” is possibly the weakest defense there is ever. ”

    Now, kensei, let’s be accurate — the Protestants are far better than the Communists, at lest in the main. Compared to Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, Dr. Reverand No and Lord Craigavon were souls of innocence. The RUC, even on its best day, were not the NKVD or KGB, not the RUC’s various and sundry chiefs equal to a single Laverty Beria

    And if the best one can do is challenge a rhetorical flourish…

  • kensei

    “Now, kensei, let’s be accurate—the Protestants are far better than the Communists, at lest in the main. Compared to Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, Dr. Reverand No and Lord Craigavon were souls of innocence. The RUC, even on its best day, were not the NKVD or KGB, not the RUC’s various and sundry chiefs equal to a single Laverty Beria”

    Sure. Is it ok to point out how little that means? And how little it excuses?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    kensei: “Sure. Is it ok to point out how little that means? And how little it excuses? ”

    You were the one suggesting the dangers of “extreme Protestantism,” kensei.

    It excuses nothing. But, then, it never sought to excuse anything in the first place. It does, however, show just how high the bar is before “extreme Protestantism” would even wander into the same league as Europe’s inexplicable taste for extreme political movements.

  • As Kensei notes, it’s really a question of how the two blocs interact. Is it through a sort of shared sub-technocratic populism, or do we see the development of a different sort of class politics, one which is submerged and initially cloaked by nationalist/unionist divide but ultimately leads to a left of social democrat SF being a magnet for leftist votes and a right of centre populist DUP being a magnet for right votes. The problem of course is that it’s hard to impossible to envisage SF having serious traction within the Unionist/Loyalist working class, at least for the near future. Although when one thinks of the Arthur Griffith incarnation in the early years… 🙂