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The Theocons Are Coming! The Theocons Are Coming!

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Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) April 23, 2014: The classic book about the theocons is Damon Linker's The Theocons: Secular America Under Siege (2006).

However, in the hope of rallying theocons to turn out the vote for Republican candidates in the upcoming 2014 mid-term elections, and perhaps also in the 2016 elections, Joseph Bottum, a former editor of the paleo-conservative Catholic magazine First Things, has published a new book: An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America (2014). His title is designed to call to mind Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.


Basically, there are two kinds of practicing Roman Catholics in the United States today:

(1) the paleo-conservative Catholics and

(2) the non-paleo-conservative Catholics.

The paleo-conservative Catholics tend to read the magazines First Things and the National Review.

But the non-paleo-conservative Catholics gravitate towards the Jesuit-sponsored magazine America and the lay-sponsored magazine Commonweal.

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However, the paleo-conservative Catholics who tend to read First Things and the National Review are flanked on the right by their fellow paleo-conservative practicing Catholics who tend to read the newspaper known as the National Catholic Register.

Similarly, the non-paleo-conservative Catholics who tend to read America and Commonweal are flanked on their left by their fellow non-paleo-conservative practicing Catholics who tend to read the newspaper known as the National Catholic Reporter.

Certain practicing Catholics today, of various kinds, also write and/or talk about church-related issues in the secular media, as do some former Catholics as well.

In addition, there are many other conservative practicing Catholics who tend not to read any of these magazines or newspapers. For all practical purposes, they tend to be social Catholics primarily in the sense that they tend not to be heavily involved as participants in the various debates among practicing Catholics today. Perhaps we could liken them to President Richard M. Nixon's supposed silent majority.

Finally, today there are also many former Catholics who are no longer practicing Catholics. But they have in the past introjected the conservative Catholic cultural conditioning to one degree or another. Usually they tend to be culturally Catholics, even when they are not practicing Catholics, regardless of the position they may hold about God. For this reason, they tend not to join a Protestant church, because culturally they are Catholics, not Protestants.

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Now, all kinds of non-paleo-conservative Roman Catholics in the United States today tend to be a wee bit less conservative than all kinds of paleo-conservative Roman Catholics.

But all properly indoctrinated Roman Catholics are conservative because they are indoctrinated to pay homage to the Roman Catholic Tradition of thought (Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York says that Tradition should be capitalized to show its importance).

The Tradition of thought in the Roman Catholic Church is broad and expansive -- even somewhat elastic and at times subtle and nuanced. Nevertheless, the basic rule is that professional theologians are supposed to publish only thoughts that are demonstrably within the box of the Tradition, not out of the box.

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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