What’s the matter with Catholics? They are strangely over-represented in the conservative intellectual ranks. From William F. Buckley to Steve Bannon and many others, Catholics have long been the brains of the modern American right. On this holiday episode, we look at the Catholic intelligentsia, and the battle between left and right Catholic voices.
- First, in host Gordon Katic’s opening essay, he discusses his Catholic upbringing. The young atheistic Gordon waged a war of attrition against his parents, and eventually won. Now, he looks at his Catholic upbringing and the broader Catholic intelligentsia with a certain amount of pride, and a certain amount of shame.
- Next (@12:45), Kaya Oakes was raised Catholic, left the church, and then returned when she found Catholic leftists who did actually share her values. Today, Kaya is a writer, teacher, and essayist closely watching the contemporary battle for the soul of the church; a battle between a well-funded Catholic right, and a humble grassroots Catholic left.
- Then (@27:19), Patrick Allitt is an historian of the modern American conservative movement. He too has noticed Catholics dominate the intellectual ranks, and his first book was on this very subject. He discusses William F. Buckley and the anti-Communist conservative Catholics, and explains why Catholicism and conservatism has become a match made in heaven.
- Finally, (@41:45) Patrick O’Neill is a writer, journalist, and Catholic peace activist. On April 4th, 2018, he and 6 other Catholic activists broke into the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia to symbolically disarm the nuclear base. He faces 14 months in prison, which will begin in January 2021. It wouldn’t be the first time. Patrick tells us the story of his midnight sleuthing, of being in prison, and the broader movements of left-wing Catholic peace activism.
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This week, Darts and Letters was produced by Alex de Boer and Gordon Katic. The lead research assistant on this episode was Isabelle Lemelin, with consulting and support from David Moscrop and Andre Gagne.
This episode received support by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research, which provided us a research grant to look at the concept of “public intellectualism.” Professor Allen Sens at the University of British Columbia is the lead academic advisor. We are also supported by a wider project looking at the rise of far political ideologies – that project is run by Professors Andre Gagne., Ronald Beiner, and A. James McAdams.
Darts and Letters is produced in Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples. It is also produced in Vancouver, BC, which is on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.