The Silent Majority needs to find its voice

Author: Brian T. Hickey
Issue: 24 – April 2008

The Silent Majority needs to find its voice
Michael McGrade, writing in a recent edition of Christian Order, touches on a theme familiar to traditional Catholics: the mainstream print and broadcast media�s strong left-liberal bias and hostility to traditional values.

The author quotes an impressive set of statistics, such as the fact that 74% of BBC staff who declared their political allegiance on the website Facebook described themselves as liberal, or that the media constantly downplay the numbers of homosexual men infected with AIDS, to avoid stigmatising the �gay community�.

The article is well-written and informative. Reading it, however, I could not help finding it rather depressing. Its tone is all doom and gloom. The author piles on example after example of left-wing propagandising in the BBC (or �British Bias Corporation�) and the American news networks, and concludes with the dreary recommendation that the best thing conservative Catholics can do is throw out their televisions. In essence, he seems to be saying �See how anti-Christian out culture is. Isn�t it awful!� He does not suggest that Catholics should push their cause forward more, perhaps by getting involved in the media themselves.

And this is one of the great weaknesses of conservatives today; a natural timidity, a fear of pushing our own case too much. Left-liberals, by contrast, have no such qualms. They are extremely aggressive with their opinions, likes and dislikes and do not hesitate to air them, even if it means harassing other people. I remember when the right-wing Austrian politician Joerg Haider came to speak to the Trinity College Philosophical Society in 2003. A rabble of socialists and Communists protested outside throughout the entire debate, screaming, chanting, blowing whistles and getting on the nerves of everyone present. There had been no such protests from conservatives earlier that year when a member of the Communist Party of Ireland addressed the same society. Nor should there have been – that kind of protest is really counter-productive. But the point is that if the leftists were not utterly sure of being listened to and heeded, they would not be able to disrupt public life with such impunity. (Certainly they do not have to fear a bad press; the day after the debacle, an Irish Times headline announced �Haider Heckled by Students at Trinity�, thus giving the impression that most of the students who came to the debate were hostile, even though far more came to hear Haider than to protest against him.)

Dr Karlheinz Weissmann, one of the leading intellectuals on the German right, divides conservative into two categories which he calls �Helmsmen� and �Passengers�. Helmsmen are the activists, action-men who canvass and campaign and get things done. But most conservatives are not of that type. Rather, they are �passengers�. They prefer traditional ways of doing things, value politeness, culture, and the family, believe in honesty and hard work, go to church. But they are not assertive about these values. They do not write letters to newspapers or go on demonstrations. If they vote at all, it is for phoney �conservative� parties like Fianna Fail or its European Christian Democrat counterparts. They do not seek to bring others round to the conservative cause because in their heart of hearts they think the conservative cause is doomed. Like those fatalistic Catholics who think the church should be ever more conformed to the secular world because �that�s the way society�s going�, these conservatives see their position as a personal decision, but one that is irrelevant to the great mass of men and not one which they should try to impose. I even know some conservatives who take a perverse pleasure in the fact that their way of life is so out of sync with society in general; it makes them feel part of a special elite.

But our opponents on the liberal left have a very different attitude. They are loud, pushy and dogmatic, and this is why with relatively small numbers they manage to have such a huge impact on the way the world is run. Over the last few years, poll after poll showed that a majority of people in the West were in favour of Mass in the Tridentine rite being available to anyone who wanted it. Even in strongly secular France, that figure was 55%. But the liberals in the Church had other ideas, and so it was only when the Holy Father stepped in with Summorum Pontificum that their stranglehold on the liturgy could be weakened and the Latin Mass made more generally available.

Speaking of France, the Irish Times (10/3/08) contains an article by Paris correspondent Lara Marlowe in which she reports a speech made in Rome by President Sarkozy which �raised an outcry� in France and proved �enraging to French secularists�. Monsieur le President�s crime was to praise Christian morality in his speech. �But� says Ms Marlowe, �his compatriots were most shocked to hear Sarkozy mention God 13 times in the same speech – something none of his predecessors would have dared.�

This is an interesting choice of words on Ms Marlowe�s part. She could have written that Sarkozy�s mentioning God was �something none of his predecessors would have done� or �something none of his predecessors would have dreamed of� or �something none of his predecessors would have wanted to do.� But instead she says it was something they wouldn�t have dared to do. That shows nicely how the liberal secularists rule by taboo rather than by argument, and how people give way to them out of fear rather than conviction. In Ireland, we�re not yet so far gone that we are enraged if our president mentions God in a speech. But few readers of The Hibernian will doubt that we are well on the way.

Now, however, Irish Catholic patriots have a golden opportunity to find their voice and take the battle to the liberals, rather than constantly being on the defensive. That opportunity is the upcoming referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. If we can get out in large numbers and make our voice heard in defence of Irish national sovereignty and in defiance of the liberals in government and in the media. we will have shown them that there is life in us yet, and that we are a force to be reckoned with. It could put us on the map and be the start of a whole new era in Irish political life. Let all Catholic patriots resolve to be as active as they can in this campaign. As Karl Marx wrote with something very different in mind, they have a world to win.


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