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The Problem of Kuypers Legacy: The Crisis of the Anti-Revolutionary Party in Post-War Holland

James C. Kennedy


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 Kuypers 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 Kohnstamms version. It is not that they rediscovered a Socialist Kuyper in any doctrinaire sensesocialism remained problematicbut 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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