The Catholic social tradition–enemy of the state?
Here’s a provocative take on unions, collective bargaining, the social net, and the decline thereof in the United States. The author, Lew Daly, writing in Democracy, has much to say about the Catholic social tradition as the impetus for their development in the thirties, forties, and fifties, and the role of conservative politics, market liberalism, and the separation of church and state for their demise in recent decades.
A taste: “The twist at the end of this story is that collective bargaining is, ultimately, a victim not just of America’s right-leaning politics and market liberalism, but of America’s pervasive institutional and legal secularism—our so-called “wall of separation” between church and state. Contrary to the mythology of American religious exceptionalism, no democratic country (not even France, at least in some key respects) has been more extreme in its policing of the church-state divide and its privatization of religious faith, and at the same time none has been more hostile to the collective rights of labor and labor’s dignity in a religious sense. It is no coincidence that the country with the strictest separation of church and state also has the lowest collective bargaining rates. In the United States, religious bodies were increasingly excluded from public life even as collective bargaining, as a public right, went into terminal decline.”