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The Problem of Kuyper’s Legacy: The Crisis of the Anti-Revolutionary Party in Post-War Holland



Since the 1890s, the great bulk of anti-revolutionaries preferred an interpretation of Kuyper far closer to their ARP comrade Smeenk than to the maverick Kohnstamm. More specifically, most anti-revolutionaries had interpreted both sphere sovereignty and Christian social thought through the lens of Kuyper’s “apocalyptic fear of the State,” as the theologian Albert Van Ruler put it in the 1960s.3 After 1947, however, the “Smeenk interpretation” of Kuyper became increasingly problematic, as time-tested anti-revolutionary principles seemed to resonate ever less among both traditional ARP voters and Dutch society. This prompted some key anti-revolutionaries to belatedly “rediscover” a Kuyper more like Kohnstamm’s version. It is not that they rediscovered a “Socialist” Kuyper in any doctrinaire sense—“socialism” remained problematic—but they did find a Kuyper much less-inhibited about the role of the State as a champion of social justice.

James C. Kennedy, "The Problem of Kuyper's Legacy: The Crisis of the Anti-Revolutionary Party in Post-War Holland," Journal of Markets & Morality 5, no. 1 (Spring 2002): 45-56

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