ern individualism has to do primarilyrnwith philosophy —Hobbes, Descartes,rnPaine, Mill —but it was Protestantism’srnemphasis on personal salvation, and especiallyrnprivate interpretation of Scripture,rnthat laid the groundwork for thern”modern ethic of autonomy” identifiedrnby Livingston,rnThe dominant Protestant image of religiousrndevotion, it has been said, is arnman sitting alone studying his Bible; therndominant Catholic image (“Catholic”rndefined broadly to include not onlyrnRome but all the apostolic and liturgicalrnchurches) is a parish communit)’ standingrnin line together to receive die Eucharist.rnProtestantism made history’s firstrnsustained attack on the corporate, hierarchicalrnorder of medieval Christendom,rnand from this source flowed the modernrnideals that have gradually destroyedrnWestern civilizafion: equality, democracy,rnthe “free market,” the “open society.”rnAnd most importantly. Protestantismrn(unlike political philosophy) directlyrntransformed the li’es of millions of earlymodernrnEuropeans. It did not ask a manrnto read Leviathan, but it did tell him itrnwas acceptable (indeed imperative) torndecide for himself the meaning of SacredrnScripture.rnI am not denying the importance ofrnHobbes. But let us remember (as cartoonistrnBill Watterson seems to have understood)rnthat Hobbes comes alive onlyrnthrough the power of Calvin’s imagina-rnHon.rn— Daniel CrosbyrnSt. I/mis, MOrnDr. Livingston Replies:rnIt is true that Protestantism is an importantrnpart of the story of how the ethic ofrnmodern autonomy arose, but I doubt thatrnit is the most important part. If we proberndeeply into the subatomic physics of thernculture of individualism, we find thernphilosophic act, not Protestantism. It wasrnthe Catholic tradition that first unitedrnphilosophy with non-philosophic biblicalrntradition. St. Augustine sought to understandrnhis biblical faith through neoplatonism;rnSt Thomas Aquinas, throughrnAristotle; Catholic liberation theory,rndirough Marx. The possibilities were asrnendless as the number of philosophicalrnsects. The medieval Church encouragedrnphilosophic-theological disputation. AsrnCatholic doctrine became more andrnmore theoretical, the philosophic act beganrnto break free from biblical andrnChurch tradition. In fime. Church traditionrncould no longer contain the dispositionrnof philosophy to independence.rnProtestant questioning of authority wasrnonly one expression of this dispositionrnof philosophy to seek radical autonomy.rnThe rationalism of the Catholic Descartesrnwas another. Protestanfism (especiallyrnin its more radical forms, such asrnPuritanism) is simply the emergence ofrnthe philosophic act in its religious aspect.rnThe incorporation of philosophy isrnone of the glories of Catholicism, butrnwhen the Church took philosophy intornher bosom, she was saddled with a troublesomernservant that could not be controlled.rnIt is no good complaining thatrnProtestantism subverted the unity ofrnChristendom when the source of thatrnsubversion had been cidtivated in thernChurch all along. The most powerful argumentsrnfor atheism ever were given byrnFrench Jesuits in the 17th century. To bernsure, they were presented to be refuted,rnbut is it any wonder that many would notrnbe convinced? Had there been nornProtestantism at all, Catholicism wouldrnhave generated as many secular rationalismsrnas we have today. This is not truernof Eastern Chrisfianit)-. The Orthodoxrntradition never took on the theoreticalrnmode of the Western Church. And so itrnnever spawned a Reformation or rationalisms.rnWlien rationalisms came, theyrnwere imports from the West. I make nornjudgment about any of this, for I knowrnthat E’e was the first philosopher.rnCULTURAL REVOLUTIONSrnP A T BUCHANAN’S October 25 announcementrnthat he would seek the presidenfialrnnomination of the Reform Part)-rnwas greeted with contempt by Republicanrncommentators. After all, Buchananrnhas twice failed to capture the Republicanrnnomination, and in his third timernout, he barely registered in the polls. Hisrnmoment had passed, they argued, or perhapsrnhe’d never had one; and this latestrnmove v’as only about Pat’s ego—oh, andrnmaybe the $12.5 million in federalrnmatching fmids that the Reform Partyrnwill receive in 2000. And yet. ..rn”Go, Pat, Go!” screamed the crowdsrnthat gathered at Buchanan campaignrnstops from Minnesota to Louisiana, fromrnNew York City to Macomb County,rnMichigan. The local press in each townrnhas been stunned. Buchanan has beenrn”mobbed” by “hundreds of supporters”rn—many former Republicans, almostrnas many former Democrats—and enthusiasticallvrnembraced by state and localrnReform Parh’ officials (and not a few nationalrnones — former Reform vice presidentialrncandidate Pat Choate is co-chairingrnBuchanan’s campaign, and MattrnSawyer, an expert in election law whornserved as liouse counsel to Ross Perot inrn1992 and 1996, is performing the samernfunction for Pat). In Louisiana, tlic staternReform Party chairman reported that thernnumber of registered Reform Part}- membersrnin die Bayou State doubled in therntwo weeks after Buchanan’s announcement.rnIn Macomb Counh-, home to therncountry’s largest concentrafion of “ReaganrnDemocrats” (most of whom have returnedrnto die part)’ of the jackass for tliernpast two presidential elections), the messagernwas clear: Pat could have broughtrnthe Reagan Democrats back into the Republicanrnfold; now, the majoritv intendrnto follow him to the Reform Part)’.rnPolitical scientists have noted that thernrise of any significant new polifical part)’rnis always preceded by a period ofrn”dealignment,” of dissatisfaction with therndominant parties. Here in WinnebagornCount)’, Illinois, two Republican officeholdersrnrecently commissioned arnpoll which asked voters, among otherrnthings, to state their partv affiliation.rnOver 40 percent replied “independent”;rnneither die Democrats nor the Republicansrnbroke 25 percent. Does this meanrnWinnebago Count)’ is a hotbed of Buchananism?rnNo. But it does indicate arnbroad-based discontent with the “twopart)’rnS)’stem,” a discontent which, for thernforeseeable future, onlv Pat Buchanan isrnin a position to exploit.rnStill, Pat has an uphill batde even tornmatch Ross Perot’s vote totals in 1992.rnTurning out crowds at campaign stops isrnone thing; turning out voters in a generalrnelection is quite another. Of course,rnBuchanan does have some advantagesrnthat Perot did not. The Reform Parh’ willrnalmost certainly be on the ballot in everyrnstate, which will make it hard (thoughrnJANUARY 2000/5rnrnrn