Catholic Corporatism Made Simple
From the treasure trove of Lux Occulta, another interesting vintage booklet in economic and social matters, “A Christian Alternative to Communism and Fascism”.
The book has his own little faults and read with today’s mentality, calls for administered prices and a minute description of the corporative structure do seem more than a bit naive. Still, the booklet makes a good job of explaining the basic idea of Catholic corporatism and whilst the preoccupation of separating it from Fascist corporatism – unjustly vilified and actually much more similar in his day-to-day reality to the model herein described than to the nazi-ish, totalitarian apparatus described – is evident and clearly due to the openly stated necessity of avoiding any identification with the Fascist experience, there is no denying that a lot of sound and easily doable ideas transpire from this little work.
The first is that the omnipresent State activity must be controlled if it is not to stifle the freedom of the citizen. These words were prophetic many decades ago but are tragically true today, after the advent of the “social state” (better said: socialist state) has created the idea that it be not only normal, but good that state nannyism should put its dirty nose in every activity of its citizens.
The second is the concept of subsidiarity: that the citizens should come together and create organisations meant to deal with those matters by which the citizens cannot adequately provide autonomously but do not want to leave to a pachydermic, bureaucratic, wasteful, invading State. Matters like wages, hours of work, regulation of competition, pension contribution, social care for the ill and disabled come to mind. This is a very modern concept, some aspects of which are highly developed and highly efficient in countries like Germany, and that should be given much bigger consideration today.
The third one (closely linked to the second) is the concept of proper corporativism: that such activities should be regulated by professional organisations similar to the guilds of old (and actually very similar to the corporazioni of Fascist memory), left free to regulate their own matters in a way able to make their industry at the same time competitive and worthwhile to work in. The bakers have different hours than the transport industry, but as they are all interested in the prosperity of their respective sector they will decide within their own professional guild how they want to have their own wages, working hours, pension, social security & Co. regulated, with a fair sharing of the burdens and profits making the industry attractive for both employers and employees and able to withstand the competition for skilled workforce aspiring to a decent wage and to a decent life.
All this – and this is the basic message – can be regulated and decided within the relevant guilds much more efficiently than through an all-pervasive State intervention imposing rules and obstacles (as the Italians beautifully say: lacci e lacciuoli) which are burdensome and counterproductive. If we think of Blighty, the recent proliferation of asphyxiating health and safety regulations and the even more recent tsunami of “equality” legislation are the best example of a self-serving, ever-expanding State apparatus only interested in creating jobs for their own protegees at the expense of the working – and risking – businesses of the country.
There is much to say for a wise, gradual delegation of powers to the professional organisations and to the local communities. When such systems are implemented, they tend to work well. The German health care system is broadly based on such principles and is infinitely more efficient and less expensive than the NHS Behemoth; so was the Italian health care system until the Sixties, when the cooperative-based, corporative health care system was replaced by a state monster of NHS inspiration. Professional bodies (say: for lawyers, chartered accountants & Co) have a good track record of being able to regulate themselves in a rather effective and efficient manner. Mutual help organisations like the Knights of Columbus in the United States show with what success individuals can organise themselves to provide for self-regulated social services. All this with a degree of efficiency and social justice unknown to Western European bureaucracies purely bent on creating consensus and job for potential voters who are, interestingly enough, never the ones who have to foot the bill.
There is a lot to say for this kind of Catholic corporatism. Not only from a moral and christian point of view, but also from a practical one. The reason that such a model is neglected is that – in this country as elsewhere – the citizens have been brainwashed into thinking that there is no alternative to a huge nosy aunt wanting to regulate your life and matters in the most minute details, allegedly for your good but in reality to procure jobs and favours for her own friends.
Posted on February 15, 2011, in Catholicism and tagged Benito Mussolini, Catholic, Catholic Church, Catholicism, Conservative Catholic, conservative catholicism, Corporation, Corporatism, Fascism, Politics, United States. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.
Mundabor, very interesting. And some of your insights are fascinating. I always love your reviews of these pamphlets.
Connie Lucey at that time was chair of political science at Maynooth and later went on to become the Bishop of Cork and Ross. An extremely formidable and fascinating character with a real interest in the welfare of Corkonians. Still very highly thought of in Cork. He was a real pain in the ___ to politicians. He once got the notorious industrial schools Greenmount and Upton closed down by instructing parents to rip up the government’s transfer cards!!!
When he was 78 he retired and went off to become a missionary in Kenya. A fun-filled character with a real sense of humour.
the NHS Behemoth
Can I ask for your opinion on this article, Mundabor? Hamish Fraser (later a prominent traditionalist) refers to the NHS as ‘totalitarian’ back in 1951:
Click to access maynoothlaymensannual.pdf
(starts at page 75: “Where is Britain going?”)
Re: Connie Lucey, this is an extract from a recent editorial in Church and State magazine – organ of the old Campaign to Seperate Church and State:
“[…]The early issues of this magazine carried a series of articles on The Rise Of Papal Power In Ireland, explaining it more or less as it is explained here. They were issued as a pamphlet, under that title, on the occasion of the Pope’s visit in 1979. Again they were widely distributed for review. One curt notice, dismissing the subject as inappropriate, was published, in Books Ireland.
So the Pope came and he was received with mindless adulation, lay and clerical, with only two noticeable expressions of dissent—this magazine and the Bishop of Cork, who is now taken to be a by-word for obscurantist reaction, Con Lucey.
The Taoiseach was Cork City politician Jack Lynch, who had won an overall majority in 1977 in an election campaign which was unusually Catholic clericalist for Fianna Fail. But, two years later, the Pope did not visit the second city in the state because the Bishop did not invite him. And, some time later, Lucey retired and went off to be a missionary in Africa. He did not ever explain his failure to invite the Pope to Cork, but it is not hard to see a reason for it.
Vatican 2 Catholicism undermined and trivialised the earnest Catholicism of Pius IX on which the Irish Church had formed itself, in association with the developing national movement, since the mid-19th century. That phase of development was not exhausted in Ireland when it was halted by Vatican 2. It was still filling itself out when it was ordered to stop. If the original impulse given by the triumph of Anti-Vetoism in the Veto Controversy was running out of momentum, there would have been evidence of this in the appearance of a sceptical intelligentsia to dispute certain areas of ground with the Hierarchy, and by so doing to provide for an evolutionary transition to a new relationship of Church and State.
What happened instead was that the new Church formed in Ireland in the mid-19th century—by O’Connell’s Roman colleague, Cardinal Cullen—was stopped in its tracks by the Vatican, while there was still no social development against it to take its place. The Vatican 2 changes had to be imposed on Ireland. And their imposition devalued the values to which the generations then in their prime had dedicated themselves.
Religious development in Ireland, with which social development was connected, was suddenly written off as an aberration. My Lord Bishop suddenly became Bishop Jack or Bishop Jim. Communion and Confirmation became occasions for display of fashion. Hell was abolished—and Heaven along with it, for all that was said to the contrary. And convents and monasteries were deprived of meaning.
The ersatz intelligentsia, which is now kicking the Church because it is down, did nothing to bring it down. It was the Vatican that undermined it. But that is an inadmissible thought in the fashion of the moment because the futile scepticism which is the outcome of Vatican 2 must have it that Vatican 2 was a good thing. (The creature must love its creator.)[…]“
“The ersatz intelligentsia, which is now kicking the Church because it is down, did nothing to bring it down. It was the Vatican that undermined it”.
I think this is largely true. The damage made from within was by far larger than any damage which could have been inflicted from without.