Flannery Will Get You Everywhere


Superb essay by Dana Gioia–keynote speaker at September’s Front Porch Republic conference–on the Catholic writer in America today.


  1. Fascinating article, really.

    The decline of the Catholic writer really dates from the middle 1970s when the Boom Generation – a generation dominated by attitudes of radical individualism – took control of American culture.

    It was also when the economic decline of the United States and Europe in favour of Australia and the Gulf oil states, which meant that the non-Catholic population became less responsive to the very things the Decadents and Beats were railing against. Extreme lack of resources (their one resource, young and very fertile soils, had long lost its economic value with the discovery of artificial fertilisers) entrenched a culture of envy and radical egalitarianism, whereby the masses wanted nothing more than extreme comfort and the ability to do what the very rich did. It also fostered a culture of being different from everybody else in the individual.

    By the time of Bush Senior’s inauguration as President, these trends had entrenched so much that the core beliefs and moral standards of Catholicism could not even grasp, let alone speak to, the urban populations of Eurasia, the Americas and New Zealand. It was and is seemingly beyond Catholicism to understand what drives the attitudes of radical egalitarinism and extreme individualism among these people, and until that can change (which I do not believe it can) Catholicism will remain more and more isolated in the Enriched World – or forced to move to the Unenriched where much more traditional attitudes remain due to abundant natural resources.

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