Because of these positions, the "radical" position—while similarly committed to the pro-life, pro-marriage teachings of the Church—is deeply critical of contemporary arrangements of market capitalism, is deeply suspicious of America's imperial ambitions, and wary of the basic premises of liberal government. It is comfortable with neither party, and holds that the basic political division in America merely represents two iterations of liberalism—the pursuit of individual autonomy in either the social/personal sphere (liberalism) or the economic realm ("conservatism"—better designated as market liberalism). Because America was founded as a liberal nation, "radical" Catholicism tends to view America as a deeply flawed project, and fears that the anthropological falsehood at the heart of the American founding is leading inexorably to civilizational catastrophe. It wavers between a defensive posture, encouraging the creation of small moral communities that exist apart from society—what Rod Dreher, following Alasdair MacIntyre, has dubbed "the Benedict Option"—and, occasionally, a more proactive posture that hopes for the conversion of the nation to a fundamentally different and truer philosophy and theology.Peter Lawler responds:
[Deneen's team] is repulsively lacking in gratitude. We Catholics criticize Lockeans for not being grateful for what they've been given by nature and God. Well, we Catholics don't want to be justly criticized for not being grateful for what we've been given by America. Not only has our church flourished in freedom in America—in some respects in unprecedented freedom, but we can't forget what Chesterton says about America being a home for a homeless, including Catholics who had to flee from grinding poverty and oppression. Patrick's great teacher, Carey McWilliams, was just as harsh as he is in criticizing America's techno-indifference to virtue or genuinely dignified egalitarianism, but he also never failed to mention that he was grateful for American freedom, as well as for his country's resolute defense of that freedom (in winning, as the French Catholic thinker Pierre Manent admits, the Cold War against repressively atheistic global communism fairly close to single-handed) throughout the world.