The United States: A Christian Nation, But Not A Christian Government

Classical Values » How I Feel About The Republicans These Days

What brought this on? I just got told by ANOTHER Republican that I can’t be a fiscal conservative if I’m not a social conservative. Fine. I will no longer be a fiscal conservative. You don’t want my vote? You won’t get it. And no surprise – I got told direct that my vote is unwanted. By more than one socon. Funny way to win elections.

The crux of the matter is simple: Social conservatives, whose beliefs are almost entirely derived from religious conviction, are really not all that interested in winning elections or garnering votes. Ask any of them and most will tell you that they answer to a “higher power,” which invariably means some nonexistent god or another.

Now, this is an irrational belief system, so one should not find it surprising that believers act in irrational ways. A rational question to ask of them might be, “Why do you care about votes at all, since by your own teachings, your god is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent? If they are honest, they will tell you that they are required to force you to conform to their religious beliefs because their god requires them to do so – and if that means using the state to apply that force, well, the Bible told them so. And while most social conservatives will deny that they are trying to impose their beliefs on others through the power of the state, in fact both Christianity and Islam have long, long histories of doing exactly that. Merely because the political power of the Catholic Church was effectively broken in the past few centuries since The Enlightenment does not mean that the underlying urges that created effective theocracies all over the world no longer exist, and we have real-time evidence that Islam is as much a political ideology as it is a religion.

An especially weird aspect of this is that non-religious libertarians don’t hold similar views about socons. We tend to take the approach that the religious should have perfect freedom to practice their own religions – for themselves, and within the constraints provided by the Constitution. That is never enough for many socons, though, because they regard attempts to keep them from imposing their beliefs on others as “infringing” their “freedom of religion.”

The bottom line is that in the majority of cases, it does no good to offer rational arguments to socons about their peculiar convictions, because those convictions are not rational. When the response to “Why can’t I be a fiscal conservative without being a social conservative” is “because God,” you really don’t have much of a basis for discussion or agreement or even live and let live. God is the big trump card for believers, and, short of destroying a believer’s faith, you can’t do anything to counter that card.  In the meantime, take your heathen, sinner vote and shove it.

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About Bill Quick

I am a small-l libertarian. My primary concern is to increase individual liberty as much as possible in the face of statist efforts to restrict it from both the right and the left. If I had to sum up my beliefs as concisely as possible, I would say, "Stay out of my wallet and my bedroom," "your liberty stops at my nose," and "don't tread on me." I will believe that things are taking a turn for the better in America when married gays are able to, and do, maintain large arsenals of automatic weapons, and tax collectors are, and do, not.


The United States: A Christian Nation, But Not A Christian Government — 8 Comments

  1. I see no point in repeating myself here or at Eric’s place. My position is liberty-oriented, but I am fully aware that too many of my socon brethren are of the Huckabee mold. I do not know how to fix that problem. All I can do is to start small and try to instill the love of liberty in my children. Hopefully it will rub off.

  2. I’ve had a bit of luck with SoCons quoting from Cal Thomas’s book “Blinded by the Might”, and various columns where he’s reinforced the point. Amazon link here.
    Basic message: It’s not only bad politics, but bad theology, as well. “Render Unto Caesar …”

  3. The bottom line is that in the majority of cases, it does no good to offer rational arguments

    You could have put a period right there. Most people are not reasoned into their positions — their beliefs — and won’t be reasoned out of them.

    I haven’t wasted a breath or a keystroke arguing why the recent spate of gun grabbing laws are unConstitutional and won’t be effective in their stated aim. Those pushing the laws are either afraid or they are would-be tyrants. Neither group cares about Constitutionality and either don’t care about or won’t believe statistics.

  4. Pingback: Classical Values » Reverse Gramscianism

  5. MSimon,

    I get that same feedback from Bill. My positions are stereotypically socon, but if I can’t convince you with my arguments (hey, I’m a smart guy), I will not try to use the club of the state to enforce my beliefs. Unfortunately, that is not true of everyone.

    Tangentially related question: why is so hard to find more liberty-oriented people in this country? Is it because too many are a) already suckling at the government teat or b) because they want to force other people to conform to their views? And yes, I realize that those groups have substantial overlap.

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