We should always bear in mind that the Church and ochlocracy cooperated badly in Europe, that the forces inimical to the Church always fostered ochlocratic tendencies. One cannot dismiss the latter fact as purely accidental. Of course there is no incompatibility on dogmatic grounds. The question moves on a plain where in dubiis libertas is written in flaming letters: “In doubtful matters, liberty.” Yet the atmosphere, the parfum of the Church and that of “democracy,” when blended in the political and cultural sphere, emits a bad stench. A parallel reading of the works of our authoritative “democratic” essayists, poets, and other creative writers (from the Leaves of Grass to the City of Man) with the encyclicals of Gregory XVI and Pius IX would give a mortal shock to many “progressive” Catholics who think that the Church ought to come to terms with the spirit of our time . . , (which may, overnight, become the spirit of yesterday). These encyclicals at least express the spirit and policy of the Church in unmistakable directness and clearness.

Efforts have never been wanting to bring Catholicism and ochlocracy under the same denominator, and these efforts can easily be traced back to two specific sources: (1) wishful thinking influenced by the desire to meet certain situations, and (2) wishful thinking due to environmental and personal circumstances…Our great Catholic democratists, who are such excellent logicians, lack frequently the insight into the Catholic mentality of the rank and file in Catholic countries. The “typical” Catholic of the Mundus Catholicus is certainly not a communitarian. While not hostile to a personal attachment, he resents excessive legal ties at the same time. Neither is he free of a healthy cynicism and worldly pessimism, which traits are rare in the (more naïve) Protestant. If medieval man would have been told that he could “appoint” his kings or superiors, he might have become quite interested in the proposition. Yet on discovering that his vote was scheduled to be drowned in an ocean of millions of other votes his reaction would have been that of a man whose leg had been pulled successfully.

Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, The Menace of the Herd, or Procrustes at Large (1943)


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