Secular Right | Reality & Reason

Nov/08

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The Political Viability of Religious Conservatism

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It doesn’t have much, according to Alex Knepper in this post from another blog, date about two weeks ago.  I particularly liked the Tenth Amendment point (towards the end).

19 comments

  • Author comment by FarRightDemocrat · November 30, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Not to state the obvious, but won’t a successful candidate need support from both the secular AND the religious? Either side disrespecting and being discourteous to the other (either side, not blaming anyone here) is a recipe for failure. Either side picking up their marbles and going home guarantees failure. Ms. Parker and Mr. Huckabee should both take a break, and tone down their rhetoric, before they do any more harm.

    Which, by the way, makes this site so valuable – - secularists can get their act together and blow off some steam before joining / before deciding whether to join a coalition behind any one candidate or issue.

  • Author comment by Bradlaugh · November 30, 2008 at 11:58 am

    “Won’t a successful candidate need support from both …?”

    Well yes. That’s what the guy says.

    Obviously, the solution is not to boot religious conservatives out of the party. They comprise a vital part of it and do a lot of the groundwork that’s so essential. But, just as economic conservatives compromised happily and got behind John McCain … religious conservatives need to find some sort of middle ground to strike with the rest of the party. Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich, and Fred Thompson all understand how to appeal to religious conservatives without turning off the rest of the country: they knew what to emphasize, to limit the rabble-rousing, and to not attack people who don’t happen to share all of their values …

  • matoko_chan · November 30, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    I can clarify for Alex why Colorado 48 was such a loozer (73% to 27%) here, since I am in Colorado.
    The media (radio, tv, print) was pretty much saturated with adds pointing out that Prop 48 would criminalize several forms of birth control, the estrogen based pill, RU-86, the “ring” etc.
    Colorado is going to be painted blue for a long time, just based on the dumb quotient of the local GOP organizations.

  • matoko_chan · November 30, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    Here’s my advice Fraa Bradlaugh.
    The following “killer apps” which once were useful to lather up the religious right of the base have become poisonous to an increasingly larger swath of the electorate.
    Life-at-conception
    Abortion ban
    Anti-samesex marriage
    IDT(Creationism) in schools

    Isn’t it most exquisitely ironic that the same people that deny ToE are about to be righteously schooled in population genetics and evo theory of culture?

  • Fritz · November 30, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    Truth be told, many of the problems are probably mostly style. But honestly when I listen to most religious conservatives any more, it feels like I am seeing Cromwell’s Roundheads coming over the hill. Which is not a pleasant sight.

  • Robert · November 30, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    Religious conservatives have to accept that half a loaf is better than none. I would rather win with someone who shares some of my values and honestly disagrees with others, than lose with someone who has been cloned from my very soul.

  • y81 · November 30, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    So the neocons brought us a disastrous war, the economic libertarians and pro-business types brought us a financial crisis, and the solution is to stomp on social conservatives? I would have thought they were the only conservatives remaining who weren’t totally discredited.

  • Chris · November 30, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Is economic conservatism any better? People like saying “socially liberal, fiscally conservative” but not much seems to happen there either. Government keeps growing, and no government programs ever die. Neither prudes nor misers are very popular. The only reason that conservatism ever won any elections is that the country had an enemy, and it did not seem like liberals really felt like fighting it. With conservatives’ (what to say? How about uneven?) uneven performance in the current war, even that advantage is gone. We can conduct a circular firing squad all we want, but the bottom line is: we’re screwed. As I believe “Bradlaugh” wrote once, and I paraphrase, no truly conservative policies will ever be enacted again.

  • matoko_chan · December 1, 2008 at 6:22 am

    GW was neither a neocon or an eco-libertarian. He was a well-intentioned evangelical bumbler, a socon, that was trying to save the country from terror-from-abroad and a domestic recession that we should have had on September 12.
    He simply wasn’t bright enough to understand that the 700 billion dollars he borrowed from the chicoms to finance the Grand Misadventure of the Manifest Destiny of Judeoxian Democracy was coming right out of our childrens pockets, and that the recession bubble could only be pushed out so far with Greenspan’s artifically depressed interest rates and Americans using their homes as ATMs.

  • Fritz · December 1, 2008 at 6:36 am

    I am absolutely unconvinced that economic libertarians brought on this financial crisis. If Wall Street firms are so thoroughly unregulated, then what are all of those regulators doing? However, you are right that that is how the story will be spun.

  • Andrew T. · December 1, 2008 at 6:56 am

    y81 :
    So the neocons brought us a disastrous war, the economic libertarians and pro-business types brought us a financial crisis, and the solution is to stomp on social conservatives? I would have thought they were the only conservatives remaining who weren’t totally discredited.

    Wait, exactly when have religious conservatives been on the right side of history?

    I would think that their opposition (in reverse chronological order) to gay rights, the MLK holiday, integration, interracial marriage, women in the workplace, and women voting — along with their active support of prohibition, poll taxes, Jim Crow laws… isn’t this a pretty thorough repudiation of religious conservatism since 1900?

    (I do concede that some religious conservatives were on the right side of the slavery debate in the mid-1800s, although, of course, many were convinced with equal fervor that their God was on the other side. But still, even if you’re feeling charitable, 150 years of shutouts is a pretty scary track record.)

  • Grant Canyon · December 1, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    I found the following comment on that site to be instructive:

    “Not that I can’t compromise on a particular piece of legislation or a candidate to get the best deal possible at a given time, but the core principles of what Alex calls ‘religious conservatism’ can never be compromised. They are more important than America itself, and all religious conservatives know what I’m talking about.”

    And that is why religion should stay out of politics. I believe that America is more important than your religous beliefs. If you can’t put the country first, when considering politics, you have no business in politics, in my opinion.

  • y81 · December 1, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    Religious conservatives were hardly proponents of Jim Crow. You should read the interesting book “A Stone of Hope.” Just as an examply culled therefrom, both the Southern Baptist Convention and the Southern Presbyterian General Assembly passed resolutions in 1954 supporting desegregation. It may comfort some to believe that opponents of desegregation were religious yahoos, but it comports poorly with reality. (Yahoos maybe, but not religious ones.)

    Now, if Andrew T is making the point that social conservatives, economic libertarians and neoconservatives are all equally discredited, leaving the conservative movement with nothing to do but join in the demand for gay marriage and the exposure of Sarah Palin’s fake pregnancy, then that may be true. I don’t see the point of such a “conservative” movement, which demands the exact same things as the left, but for different, better, “Oakshottian” reasons, but maybe some people do.

  • Andrew T. · December 1, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    y81: Correction noted. I should not have lumped all religious conservatives, anecdotally, in with proponents of Jim Crow laws — though, of course, many were so.

    But I think my larger point stands: religious social conservatives were pretty much singlehandedly the driving force behind the most notorious failed social movements of the 20th Century, with (as far as I can tell) zero successes.

    Even if you’re a die-hard liberal, I think you’d have to concede that economic conservatives have a better record than that; for example, even most liberals today concede that reducing taxes incentivizes growth — the question for them is whose taxes to cut. That’s a pretty radical change from 20-30 years ago, and I think you’d have to credit economic conservatives on that one. (In fact, didn’t Barack Obama do so during the Democratic primary, in what was rather foolishly described as a gaffe?)

    Similarly: economic and libertarian conservatives have won out on enterprise zones, on preserving private choice in health care, on privatization of many government services, on capital punishment, on the Second Amendment… the list goes on and on. It’s really just the religious goofballs that are bringing down our batting averages, no?

  • Frank · December 1, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    I seem to remember hearing that, as governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin has not imposed her religious beliefs on the people. That would help explain her high level of popularity will all, not just socon, Alaskans. Why, then, is she excoriated as an example of the religious tyranny that others are so afraid of?
    Over the last ten years, as I have looked over web sites, I keep running into the same theme on libertarian leaning, and conservative economic leaning sites; that the Republican Party would only be improved if the social conservatives could be kicked out. You may not be advocating that here, but should it come as a surprise that social conservatives have become ambivalent about the Republican Party?
    As for what you hear from religious nutjobs on the news, who do you think is going to get air time – the sane, but boring religious person; or the flaming whackjob?

  • Alex Knepper · December 1, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    @Grant Canyon

    I thought what was more telling — and disturbing — was that he said that all religious conservatives know what he’s talking about.

  • Andrew T. · December 1, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    Frank :
    As for what you hear from religious nutjobs on the news, who do you think is going to get air time – the sane, but boring religious person; or the flaming whackjob?

    I think the answer to that is clearly “Sarah Palin.”

  • y81 · December 1, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    If I understand Grant Canyon correctly, he is saying that he loves America in a way that we yahoos don’t; that he would lie and cheat for America if necessary; that if he had to throw acid in a baby’s face for America, he would do it enthusiastically, because America matters far more to him than sentimental moral beliefs. That’s fine; I just wish people like that wouldn’t prate about their moral superiority.

    Those of us who wouldn’t throw acid in a baby’s face for America, or indeed for any transient political arrangement, obviously have nothing to contribute to this discussion.

  • Grant Canyon · December 2, 2008 at 7:40 am

    y81: Strawman much?? The writer was not talking about refraining from throwing acid in the face, by talking about “the core principles of what Alex calls ‘religious conservatism’.” If it were, then religious conservatism would not be a lighting rod of controversey.

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