The following comes from a May 6 interview by Mary Rose with James Hanink, American Solidarity Party candidate for California governor.
Why are you running for governor?
Hanink: I think that the American Solidarity Party has a great deal to offer the people of California and I want to make that known to as many people as possible. The party is neither right, nor left. We are a party that’s committed to a consistent ethics of life. We’re a party that’s committed to the common good as understood in Catholic social teaching.
What is your background?
Hanink: My wife, Elizabeth, and I have six children. I taught philosophy for 40 years at a faux Jesuit institution called Loyola Marymount. My wife and I have worked with the New Oxford Review for at least 35 years. We’ve long been active in the pro-life effort. During the Vietnam War I was a conscientious objector.
Can you talk about the American Solidarity Party platform’s economic section?
Hanink: To put it in a nutshell – where no philosophy belongs – we are distributists in the noble tradition launched by Pope Leo XIII, who talked about the danger of an unbridled capitalism and the danger of a materialistic, unchecked socialism, and spoke in terms of cooperation at every level. The pope talked about the need to have ownership at every level. Part of having a rich civil society is having as many people as possible own, starting with their homes with some land, and with what they use to do their work.
How do you get there from here?
Hanink: Start. You start with your own family and look for ways that the role of the family can be expanded. The role of the family can be expanded in growing food. It can be expanded in family ventures in business. It can be expanded in family recognition in local politics. All of these things, people could start on tomorrow.
If the way to get to this American Solidarity Party ideal is for individual families to do it, what role does the American Solidarity Party running the government play? What would they do?
Hanink: We would look at state-mandated public education that promotes gender ideology, that promotes abortion, that promotes a spirit of division, and that restricts and limits local education. The public education system is such that one ought to avoid it as it currently exists. Another thing that the state does that affects families, is that it suggests that homelessness can be cured at one level and it ignores the responsibility that we have to fight homelessness at a more local level and a familial level. One thing that has to be done at the state level is the freeway system. It’s the same for climate issues. We can do things at a personal level, a local level, but when it comes to land and water and basic communications, there are some things that can only be done on a state level and the state should show leadership and vision in doing that.
Part of the platform says that funding of public higher education should be increased; do you agree with that?
Hanink: In so far as public education does what it’s supposed to do, yes.
How would the American Solidarity Party prevent the waste of money given to schools?
Hanink: One thing the party would say loud and clear is that education is really education of the whole person. That does not mean taking over the person’s private life. But a tech education is not enough. A STEM education is not enough. The sense of civic friendship is more critical than either of those. A real sense of history is absolutely essential. Right now, in the humanities, which include literature, languages, history, philosophy, theology – only 7-8 percent of full-time undergraduates are majors. So you have less than 10 percent majoring in what a society really can’t live without.
How would the American Solidarity Party solve that problem?
Hanink: We would solve that problem by identifying it loudly and clearly, by giving people a political home who recognize it to be a problem, and by challenging the excesses that we have of one fashion or another. For example, the understanding of the human person that Hollywood presents us with is grotesque. I think what the American Solidarity Party could do is say, “One of the things that’s important in education is art, real art.”
Do you have anything else that you would like to say to the readers of Cal Catholic?
Hanink: If you’re serious, read the platform. Email me at email@example.com.