Sunday, May 14, 2006

American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, the Other Opus Dei

With the novel "The DaVinci Code" being released as movie soon there has been a considerable amount of publicity regarding Opus Dei, a reactionary Catholic society.

Opus Dei isn't the only reactionary Catholic Society around.

I was going through Southern Partisan, the leading Neo-Confederate magazine, which has been around since 1979, some years back, indexing the issues and in the Vol. 13 3rd Quarter 1993 issue was a full page ad for the book "Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII: A Theme Illuminating American Social History," by Plinio Correa de Oliveira, reactionary activist in Brazil, and founder of the Brazilian Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, of which there are branches around the world such as the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, (TFP). (

The head line of the advertisment in the Southern Partisan for the book was a quote from Richard T. Hines ( stating, "A book that is a masterful compendium of the principles that true Southerners believe in." Hines is mentioned as the Chairman of the Confederate Memorial Committee of the District of Columbia. He was the associate editor of Southern Partisan until 1993.

The book is a defense of aristocracy and a rejection of modern democratic societies. In the advertisement we are told:

"Since the 18th century, generations have been schooled in utopian principles proclaiming total equality as the guarantor of liberty and justice for all. The egalitarian mything of a classless society was claimed to be the path down which mankind must ravel to reach perfect social harmony.

In Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII -- A Theme Illunimating American Social History, best-selling author Professor Plinio Correa de Oliveira forcefully argues the contrary. Drawing on papal and classical sources, the author persuasively makes the case for the necessity of a natural social hierarchy."

Antebellum Southern society is extolled as a society embodying aristocratic ideals. The North is held to be the force of industrialism and Nouveaux Riches and not aristocratic.

Part of the book is online at this link but it doesn't includ Part II, which has Appendix I which comments on the South.

(For those who somehow buy into the industrial versus agrarian myth of the Civil War, it should be noted that Iowa, Minnesota, and other Midwestern and other agrarian states were emphatically pro-Union. The Southern economy was intergrated into a global economy of trade and finance and very much of the modern capitalist world.)

It might be thought that this book of Oliveira is of a fringe and marginal group. However, it is very handsomely made. The endorsements are very noteworthy.

The forward is written by Morton C. Blackwell, who is listed as president of the Leadership Insitute and Republican National Committeeman of Virginia, and formerly Special Assistant to the President to the President for Public Liason.

The dust jacket has the endorsements of Paul M. Weyrich, and some prominent members of the Catholic church, Cardinal Mario Luigi Ciappi O.P., Cardinal Alfons M. Stickler, Fr. Victorino Rodriguez, Fr. Anastasio Guitierrez. (Incidentally the initials O.P., means Order of Preachers.)

Sometimes we might think that some issues are settled, but there are groups that hope to restore Feudalism and they have members with influence in powerful organizations.

The TFP isn't the only such organization against modern democracy. Much of the Neo-Confederate movement denounces democracy. This is a book promoted by the Mises Institute, "Democracy: The God That Failed."

The Rockford Institute, which publishes Chronicles, believes in Fuedalism as superior to democracy. One issue had the cover theme, "Turn Left at the Renaissance," with the issue devoted to denouncing the Renaissance as leftist.

The Rockford Insitute also supports a heirarchal society as does the League of the South.

A lot of people think the Confederate flag issue is about the civil rights issues of African Americans, and it does include those issues. However, the Confederate flag issue is broader and is about the larger issue of democracy. The Neo-Confederates are hostile to democracy.

It needs to be remembered that the Poll tax disenfranchised poor whites in the South, a great and substantial number of them, as well as disenfranchising African Americans.

This anti-democratic bias goes back to the Civil War. When Georgia seceded, the state constitution was rewritten to make it more anti-democratic as explained in the book "Toward a Patriarchial Republic: The Secession of Georgia," Michael P. Johnson, LSU Press, 1977.

This anti-democratic bias continues to this day. In the Southern Partisan, the Statue of Liberty has been denounces as something that should be destoryed, the Declaration of Independence is denouces as Parisian liberalism. The passage of the 19th amendment to the Constitution giving women the vote was lamented in the Southern Partisan, the defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment was celebrated.

The founder of modern Neo-Confederate thinking, M.E. Bradford, professor of English at the University of Dallas (local Catholic university), and also campaigner for George Wallace, wrote a major text in Neo-Confederate history, "Remembering Who We Are: Observations of a Southern Conservative," states in the dust jacket.

"The United States was not founded, Bradford argues, with the idea of creating a society dedicated to either justice or equality, and all attempts to turn America in that direction have resulted in a perversion of the nation's true origins in the struggle for liberty from the oppression of a remote and sometimes hostile government."

The Confederate tradition is and has been an anti-democratic tradition. It should be the concern for anyone who supports the American tradition. Opposition against the Neo-Confederate movement needs to stop being white paternalistic concern for African Americans and understood as a defense of democracy itself.
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