This Hemisphere of Liberty: A Philosophy of the Americas
(Washington, D.C.: AEI Press, 1990 & 1992)
To call attention to the distinctive complex of mental tendencies that speaks to the... American condition, in this book Michael Novak coins the phrase "the Catholic Whig tradition." Lord Acton called Thomas Aquinas the first Whig. The ancient Whig pedigree, far older than the now defunct British and American parties of that name, includes Bellarmine, Alexis de Tocqueville, Acton himself, Jacques Maritain, Yves R. Simon, and others. Catholic Whigs, like Progressives, believe in the dignity of the human person, in human liberty, in institutional reform, in gradual progress. But they also have a deep respect for language, law, liturgy, custom, habit, and tradition that marks them, simultaneously, as conservatives. With the conservatives, the Catholic Whigs have an awareness of the force of cultural habit and the role of passion and sin in human affairs. With the liberals, they give central importance to human liberty, especially the slow building of institutions of liberty. The Catholic Whigs see liberty as ordered liberty - not the liberty to do what one wishes, but the liberty to do what one ought.In 1990 (or 89?) there was Communio conference at Notre Dame entitled "Nature, Grace and Culture: On Being Catholic in America." Our Sunday Visitor Books published a book of essays edited by David L. Schindler from this conference. It's title is Catholicism and Secularization in America, but unforunately it's out of print. It's an incredible book with essays from Louis Bouyer, Louis Dupre, Walter Kasper, Glenn W. Olsen, Kenneth L. Schimitz and of course David L. Schindler. Michael Novak also gave a paper at this conference (it's included in the book as well) entitled "Priority of Person, Priority of Community." In this paper he also specifically addresses the Catholic Whig Tradition.
Considering this is Novak's own term describing "his" tradition, why not use this term (Catholic Whig or Whig Thomist) to describe those who favor the positions which he and many others (i.e. Frs. Richard John Neuhaus & Robert A. Sirico, George Weigel, etc.) advocate for? The Acton Inst. picked up this term and uses it regularly since Novak first "coined" it. I think it's more appropriate than Neocon or Theocon. When describing Schindler's camp, I agree with Tracey Rowland that we should use the term "Augustinian Thomists" in lieu of Dr. Lowery's term of "Cultural Radicals."
Would you not agree? I would like to set this as the ground-rules for discussing these two camps of orthodox Catholic thinkers for this blog.