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Excellent Video Series on Antonio Salazar September 26, 2019

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Christendom, General Catholic, Glory, history, Restoration, Society, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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Antonio de Oliveira Salazar was the leader, some would say dictator, of Portugal from 1934 until his death in 1968.  Unlike Franco’s Spain, his Catholic corporatist Estado Novo (New State) survived him by several years, finally being wrecked by a coup of mid-grade hard leftist officers of Portugal’s military in 1974.

Salazar and the Estado Novo offer an interesting, and much more Catholic, alternative to what the predominant culture tells us are possible viable forms of government since the mid-20th century – hard leftism or liberal/libertine capitalism.  I’ve never been fully on board with such corporatist/distributist economic systems as outlined by Chesterton and Belloc (among many others) in the first half of the 20th century, as they seemed a bit too utopian to be practical.  But Salazar’s Portugal probably came the closest of any deliberately Catholic state (deliberate in the sense of being constructed to comport as closely as possible to the Church’s social and general magisterial beliefs up to that point in time) in achieving a reasonable mean – being Catholic, but also relatively prosperous, relatively free, and relatively non-tyrannical.  Some of my primary complaints against distributism is that it seemed a fine system for the late 18th century, but probably not too well suited for the 21st century.  Salazar’s Portugal serves as probably the best argument against that complaint.

Regarding a tyrannical state, Salazar’s Portugal was much less violent, as a government, than was the corollary next door in Franco’s Spain.  Of course, the Estado Novo had the incalculable benefit of not being founded in the midst of a brutal civil war.  Even still, however, there was a very powerful leftist faction in Portugal, which had held power several times in the decades preceding 1934, and remained a serious threat through much of Salazar’s time in power.  However, by judicously practicing Catholic Doctrine, the Salazar regime only put about 5 souls to death throughout it’s nearly 40  year existence – a far cry from the tens of thousands that died, or were killed, in Spain, even after the end of the Spanish Civil War.  Now, I’m quite sympathetic to Franco’s government and think its hand was forced by the radical, unyielding leftists it had to deal with – these leftists started the Civl War by attacking the Catholic Faith and massacring hundreds of priests and religious – but it is still an impressive achievement.  Salazar had very nearly as divided and fractious a country to manage as did Franco, but managed to do so with far less bloodshed.

Unfortunately, the quite-detailed video series I post below is not complete.  It only goes until about World War II.  Many of Salazar’s greatest social achievements – the economic rebuilding of Portugal along Catholic corporatist lines – had to wait until after World War II.  The author of the series promises that some new uploads will be coming this fall and winter – I will be sure to share those when they become available.

For now, you can learn a great deal about an important, but deliberately forgotten, leader on the world stage for much of the 20th century.  I say he was deliberately forgotten, because Salazar’s Portugal, like (to varying degrees) Franco’s Spain, and Dolfuss’ and Schussnigg’s Austria, and a few other locales, truly do serve as contrary examples to what we are told was the “only sane choice” in the “inevitable” liberal capitalist state.  Not just contrary examples, but examples that, in many ways, are more just, more moral, and – it can be argued – much  more conducive to the good of souls than the  decaying, decadent, corrupt states we find ourselves in throughout the West today.  In terms of tyranny, how many people does the United States kill each year, either here at home or abroad?  I’m no opponent of the death penalty, but it does make for an illuminating contrast.

I hope you enjoy these videos as much as I have.  Since these videos are difficult to find on Youtube, and since, for some reason, many do not show up on the channel’s playlist, I post them all below.  I knew comparitively little about Salazar’s Portugal before watching these, and most of what I had learned was harshly critical, so these videos will hopefully prove enlightening for you as well.  I know you’ll think, there’s too many, it’ll take too long, history is boooring!!!  Do yourself a favor and watch these, at one sitting or over several months, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised, especially if you have any interest in Church history: