“In the reciprocal relations between Protestants and Catholics, the most striking thing is that the latter ignore the former completely and no longer give them a thought: they perceive the Protestant principle as a minus of themselves, something they have clearly penetrated once and for all and have found to be too light, something that basically is not worth the trouble. By contrast, the Catholic is for Protestants an annoyance, a constant object of curiosity: they feel in him the presence of a plus that irritates them, something that they cannot get at and that consequently is always challenging them to produce a contradiction.”
~ Hans Urs von Balthasar, The Grain of Wheat, 125.
Daniel Larison has some great comments about the relationship between the American neoconservative right and the issue of globalization/secularization. The American right constantly laments the secular erosion of the distinctively American. What Larison rightly points out is that it is incongruous for the right to embrace the economics of globalization and then decry its cultural outworking:
It seems to me that globalists would argue that national economies and regulatory schemes will tend to become more like one another as globalization continues, but so far as I can tell there are very few people on the right at the moment criticizing the policies that foster and encourage globalization, which is the process that will lead to the increasing convergence of our economic model and the European economic model insofar as one can generalize about a European model. To the extent that there is a distinctive American model, that distinctiveness will be eroded by globalization (just as the once far more socially democratic western Europe has become more like the U.S. in the last 30 years). Left-liberals in America and the modern center-left in Germany and Britain are simply embracing the full logic of that process both culturally and politically. Those who want to shore up and preserve distinctive national economic and political systems cannot simultaneously endorse the main force erasing differences between national systems.
Here is the basic contradiction at the heart of the American right’s embrace of technological progress and globalist trade policies: the cultural and political values and the economic model that conservatives claim they wish to preserve are necessarily going to be changed by globalization, and this process is going to be quickened by technological change. To a large extent, conservatives will have brought this fate upon themselves with their embrace of the economic (and, through hegemonism, the political) side of globalization. Like their predecessors forty years ago, the American right wants to have it both ways by enjoying the economic benefits of globalization, real or imagined, while insisting that no cultural price has to be paid and no political sacrifices need to be made.