Even more importantly, says Ryn, Catholics recognize in Straussians figures who share their own “alienation” about living in a predominantly Protestant country. As Canadian philosophy professor Grant Havers documents in a forthcoming book about the studied avoidance by Straussian interpreters of America’s Protestant heritage, Straussians provide a narrative about the American founding that make ethnic Catholics feel secure about their Americanness.
According to the Straussians, America was founded on secular, materialist and democratic principles, but in no way on Protestant ones. Thus, if the Straussians try to de-Christianize and de-ethnicize America, they also conveniently cover up the Protestant aspects of a specifically American tradition.
Catholic Straussians (of whom there are many in Conservatism, Inc.) feel safe living in a “propositional nation” and “global democracy” in which they don’t feel threatened by the real American Protestant (and/or Northern European) American past, extending back to the colonial period. It’s more convenient to jettison such associations for the vision of a constantly changing hybrid society that is held together by universal, egalitarian propositions.
See also: How Russell Kirk (And The Right) Went Wrong