06 June 2014

Lots of Good Stuff on Lake Lanier

Before I left town I posted here about the Convivium Calvinisticum and its keynote speaker, Dr. James Bratt. Bratt spoke twice, first an introduction to Abraham Kuyper ("What he said, and why, and why he matters") and then "Abraham Kuyper's political theories." Both were excellent.

A couple of new bits of information: Kuyper's Anti-Revolutionary Party commanded about 10% of the national vote in parliamentary elections. It managed to form a government because it attracted the vote of the 40% of the voters who were Roman Catholic. Unlike the United States, where conservative Roman Catholic public intellectuals and political theorists provide a large portion of the the intellectual heft for conservative Evangelicals, the roles were reversed in the late 19th and most of the 20th century in the Netherlands.

Second, Kuyper's political success was due in large part to his organizational skills and mastery of the then-new form of mass communication (i.e., cheap newspapers). His ideas were important but politics then and now was a retail "get-out-the-vote" business and Kuyper was a master of creating a perpetual sense of urgency that that worked in the Netherlands where the franchise was gradually extended over the course of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Bratt provided lots of other valuable stuff, not to mention the insights of the others who presented their papers. I hope to post more over the next couple of days.

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