By David Rock
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Additional info for Authoritarian Argentina: The Nationalist Movement, Its History and Its Impact
53 They petitioned congress for legislation to make Sundays an obligatory day of rest, for the regulation of female and child labor, for compulsory arbitration of labor disputes, and for workers' housing programs. Several other Catholic institutions of a similar kind appeared during this period. "54 The Christian Democratic League founded in 1902 declared itself equally apart from both liberal individualism and socialist collectivism, two different forms of the same tyranny, [and supported] a reconstruction of society on the basis of the corporations [gremios] and professions adapted to the requirements of progress and modern civilization; the kind of organization in which the individual will lose none of his liberty but will receive full protection against the strong.
In the nineteenth century, the French clerical historian, Fustel de Coulanges, attempted to resolve the conflict between the clericals and the Nationalists by presenting the church as the chief agent of national identity. He sought to demonstrate the "spiritual," and therefore clerical, foundations of France, arguing that the church had served as the leading institutional nucleus of the evolving national community. 77 The scheme created by Coulanges also provided a way of reconciling clerical doctrine with positivist and even Darwinist thought since the history of each nation could now be viewed as a process of ascent and selection, as positivists and Darwinists insisted it should, except that henceforth, religion and the church held center stage in the whole process.
80 In Argentina, Barrè's influence paralleled that of Menéndez Pelayo's. Using historical myth in much the same way, but omitting Menéndez Pelayo's strong, typically Spanish clerical emphasis, Barrès contended that France had stood at its peak in the seventeenth century under Louis XIV. 82 The works of Gustave Le Bon, a French contemporary of Barrès, were republished decade after decade in Spanish and Argentine editions, and he, too, became another strong influence on the Nationalists. Le Bon stood out as one of the early theorists of irrationalism, stressing instinct and intuition as opposed to reason as motivating forces in human behavior.