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View Diary: Bill O’Reilly Gets Smacked By Economics Professor - Nanny States Actually Do Better (VIDEO) (82 comments)

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    DSPS owl

    Yes, the places you mention are mostly Catholic (by culture; the actual percentage of practicing Catholics is in the single digits).  No, it isn't relevant, because it isn't Catholicism itself that's the problem; it's the autocracy.

    The fact is, the wealthier countries also shuffled off the autocratic power of their Church long long ago--- the power of the Church started to dissipate in the German principalities, England, and the Netherlands with the Reformation, France with the Revolution (and again with the 3rd republic).   Ireland is only now getting around to it, and is much more conservative than the other places (and not in good ways).  Spain, Portugal, and Greece [which is Orthodox, not Catholic] relied on their churches to keep the people down during their dictatorship; all three show a major generational gap in terms of religiosity.  Italy south of the Po was in thrall of the Pope himself until the mid 1800's, and much of its south still isn't industrialized.  

    Of course, autocracy is not in itself an impediment to industrialization--- Germany, Japan, and the Soviet Union are cases in point (the USSR, as rough as it was, was much better off than Tsarist Russia).  But it's interesting that religious autocracy does seem to correspond to late industrialization... Theorists like Weber put this down to mythical concepts like a "Protestant work ethic", but it simply boils down to the interplay of wealth and power.  The countries in the Mediterranean were the wealthy and powerful ones in the pre-industrial Age, via trade with the Orient and later the Indies.  Industrialization hit the north (which happened to be more Protestant), and the south didn't bother because why fix what wasn't broken?  Eventually, though, they were eclipsed, and had to change.  Who stands in the way of change?  Conservatives, namely powerful churches (who fought capitalism for a long time) and the wealthy class.  It's only recently that the countries Mr O'Reilly mentions finally got past those hurdles.

    Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

    by nominalize on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 11:15:11 AM PDT

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