granted privileges and a flowering of old-fashioned Americanrnvoluntarism.rnDuring the heyday of modern American liberalism, thern1930’s, when Big Brother supposedK’ wore his friendliest phiz,rnDay and flie Catholic Workers said No. Thev bore a certain resemblancernto those old progressives (retroprogressives) — SenatorsrnBurton K. Wlieeler, Gerald Nye, and Hiram Johnson —rnwho turned against FDR for what they saw as the bureaucratic,rnmilitaristic, centralizing thrust of his New Deal. The antitheticalrntendencies of the Catholic Worker and the 30’s Americanrnleft were juxtaposed in the November 1936 issue of thernCatholic Worker. Under the heading “Catholic Worker Oppositionrnto Projected Farm-Labor Party,” the box read:rnFarm-Labor Parts’ stands for:rnProgressrnhidustrialismrnMachinernCaesarism (bureaucracy)rnSocialismrnOrganizations.rnCatholic Worker stands for:rnTraditionrnRuralismrnHandicraftsrnPersonalismrnConimunitarianismrnOrganisms.rnAnd never the twain shall meet.rnAn anarchistic distrust of the state, even in its putativelyrnbenevolent role as giver of alms, pervaded the Catholic Workers,rnas it did the 1930’s right. But then as the late Karl Hess,rnonetime Barry Goldwater speechwriter turned Wobbly homesteader,rnwrote, the American right had been “individualistic,rnisolationist, decentralist—even anarchistic,” until the ColdrnWar reconciled conservatives to the leviathan state.rnThe 1930’s dissenters—the old-fashioned liberals now malignedrnas conservatives; the unreconstructed libertarians; therncornbelt radicals —proposed cooperatives and revitalized villagerneconomies as the alternative to government welfare. ThernCatholic Workers agreed. The holy fool Peter Maurin, Day’srnFrench peasant comrade, asserted that “he who is a pensionerrnof the state is a slave of the state.” Day, in her memoir The LongrnIjoneliness, complained.rnThe state had entered to solve [unemployment] by dolernand work relief, by setting up so many bureaus that wernwere swamped with initials. .. . Labor was aiding in therncreation of the Welfare State, the Servile State, instead ofrnaiming for the ownership of the means of production andrnacceptance of the responsibility’ that it entailed.rn”Bigness itself in organization precludes real liberty,” wroternHenr^ Clay Evans, Jr., in the American Review, a Distributistrnjournal. The home—the family—was the right size for mostrnundertakings. And so the home must be made productive oncernmore. In the April 1945 Catholic Worker, Janet Kalven of thernCraiiville Agricultural School for Women in Loveland, Ohio,rncalled for “an education that will give young women a vision ofrnthe fantil- as the vital cell of the social organism, and that willrninspire them with the great ambitions of being queens in thernhome.” By which she did not mean a sequacious helpmeet tornthe Man of the House, picking up his dirt)’ underwear and sen.’-rning him Budweisers during commercials, but rather a partnerrnill the management of a “small, diversified family farm,” who isrnskilled in evervthing “from bread-making to bee-keeping.” Forrn”the homestead is on a human scale”—the onl’ scale that canrnreally measure a person’s weight.rnThe Agrarians and Distributists dreamed of a (voluntary, ofrncourse) dispersion of the population, and Day, despite her residencernin what most decentralists regarded then and now as thernlocus of evil, agreed: “If the city is the occasion of sin, as FatherrnVincent McNabb points out, should not families, men andrnwomen, begin to aim at an exodus, a new migration, a goingrnout from Egypt with its flesh pots?” asked Day in Septemberrn1946. This revulsion against urbanism seems odd in a womanrnwhose base was Manhattan, symbol of congestion, of concentration,rnof cosmopolitanism rampant. Yet she wrote of thernfumes from cars stinging her eyes as she walked to Mass, of thern”prison-gray walls” and parking lots of broken glass. “We onlyrnknow that it is not human to live in a city often million. It is notrnonly not human, it is not possible.” The Southern Agrariansrnwould not demur.rnWorld War II destroyed agrarianism as an active force inrnAmerican intellectual life—just as it fortified the urbanrncitadels of power and money. Foes of America’s involvementrnin the war, heirs to the non-interventionist legacy of CeorgernWashington, were slandered, most notably Charles Lindbergh,rnwhom the Catholic Worker defended against the smears of thernWhite House.rnDespite Day’s disavowal of the “isolationist” label, thernCatholic Worker of 1939-1941 spoke the diction of the Americanrnanti-war movement, which, because it was anti-FDR, wasrndeemed “right-wing.” Sentences like “We should like to knowrnin just what measure the British Foreign Office is dictating thernforeign policy of the United States!” could have come straightrnfrom the pages of Colonel McCormick’s Chicago Tribune. Sorncould rtie objection to tire “English and Communist Propaganda”rnof the New York papers, and the reverence toward the traditionalrn”neutrality of the United States” and the keeping ofrn”our countr)’ aloof from the European war.”rn”The Catholic Worker does not adhere to an isolationist policy,”rneditorialized the paper in February 1939, though in fact itsrnposition, and often its phraseology, was within the Americanrnisolationist grain. The editorial sought to distinguish the paperrnfrom the bogeymen “isolationists” by urging “that the doors ofrnthe United States be thrown open to all political and religiousrnrefugees”—a position also taken by many isolationists, for instancernH.L. Mencken, who wanted our country to be a havenrnfor the persecuted Jews of Europe.rnDay and the Workers dug in for a tooth-and-nail fight againstrnconscription —”the most important issue of these times,” asrnthey saw it. Day replied to those who noted fliat Joseph andrnMary went to Bethlehem to register with the census that “it wasrnnot so that St. Joseph could be drafted into the Roman Army,rnand so that the Blessed Mother could put the Holy Child into arnday nursery and go to work in an ammunition plant.”rnOr as Peter Maurin put it:rnThe child does not belong to the state;rnit belongs to the parents.rnNOVEMBER 1998/19rnrnrn