The Mysterious Conservative Loathing of Francis

The Mysterious Conservative Loathing of Francis July 24, 2015

A reader writes:

Have you read Pope Francis’ speech at the World Meeting of Popular Movements in Bolivia? Full text here.

It was a real eye-opener for me. I had heard plenty of negative things about it, so I braced myself for a lot of leftist politics & economics. But after having read the whole thing for myself, I wonder if American conservative commentators were even reading the same speech.

I don’t get how anyone could read it as an endorsement of any Latin American leader’s policies, leftist, populist or otherwise. Most of it was about the people not waiting around for the political or economic powers to give them permission to rise out of poverty, and commended them for taking their destiny in their own hands – a message that would have been applauded by a business entrepreneur or a libertarian, had it been addressed to a different crowd. The rest was about the purpose of economics itself, again not a promotion for any particular theory or school.

I’m thinking, “Nobody needs a lecture on the evils of leftist dictators. But if this is what passes for ‘leftist / populist demagoguery’ among rank & file Latin Americans, then there are a lot of talking heads in the U.S. trying to keep us afraid of a boogeyman. Heck, I wish our leftists up North were more like that.”

I do not understand the mindless malice so much of the Right has for this pope. But then I do not understand much of the mindlessness of the Right these days. A subculture that frowns at Pope Francis as some kind of menace to the faith while giving a 57% approval rating to a creature like Donald Trump is one that needs conversion, not one that should be patting itself on the back.

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