Secular conservatism

(To my Christian friends: Most of you are good people, but on the issue of organized religion, we live on different planets.)

ED001528Leading up to the recent presidential election, I cast my lot with the Republicans, a first. This was not so much due to a feeling of kinship with the GOP as it was harboring quite an antipathy toward the Democrats and what they have come to represent.

Swimming with the Republicans, however, I found myself in a dark, cast-iron pot with some crackpots and creeps, and these people invariably crawled out of the dim shadows of Christian extremism.

Why muck up the waters by running for office and polluting the GOP? Why not stick to picketing abortion clinics? Not that I favor that. I do not. But couldn’t they have just stayed in their caves with their Bibles, talking in tongues?

I am a conservative, but I also favor legalizing drugs, abortion rights, stem-cell research, etc., and I know the world wasn’t made last week.

So, clearly, there are two types of American conservative:

1. Christian conservatives.

2. Secular conservatives.

You mix Christianity, especially of the extremist sort, with politics and you create grave problems.* People who “know what God (or Allah) wants” aren’t good at compromise, which is what peace and good politics require.

By the way, legalizing drugs and abortion rights are logically conservative stances. Criminalizing drugs has led to a massive breakdown of law and order, and law and order is the primary goal of conservatives.

Criminalizing abortion has in the past and would in the future also raise the level of criminality. Abortion rights promote peace. At least they would if the religious element could be shown the door.

Secular conservatives favor legalizing these two controversial issues. But Christian conservatives, of course, usually do not.

Prosperity and peace is not the default mode of the human race. Quite the contrary. They require wisdom and effort to maintain. Christianity, taken to the extremes that some take it, put prosperity and peace in peril. It’s a problem.

* * * *

* In the Muslim world, politics and extremist religion are one and the same, and their cast-iron pot overflows with a particularly poisonous stew.

14 thoughts on “Secular conservatism”

  1. I totally agree! If the Repub party wants to be viable again it has to find a way to jettison the Christian conservatives. They creep people out!

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    1. David: One can be, I think, conservative on any issue without going totally loco. It’s the loco minority (Muslim, Christian, Hindu, whatever) that causes all the grief and pain. How to sideline the locos is the challenge.

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  2. Both the right and the left suffer from the same philosophical affliction. They are incapable of convincing people of the moral persuasiveness of their position (whether it is sharing wealth or discouraging the use of drugs), so they attempt to grab power and make people do what they otherwise would not. Some government is necessary. But both sides have gone too far.

    This past election was a perfect example. Otherwise sane people sounded as if they had lost all reason. God’s will in rape and accusations that individual talent does not result in success vied with one another on the “did he just say that” meter. And this year, the Republicans managed to make more errors than runs — by far.

    I have never been happier to be a libertarian. I should add, a Christian libertarian. But you knew that already.

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  3. People at the extremes are, indeed, idiots. They don’t have the rationale to recognize their own extremism. And they don’t give even the slightest courtesy to people on the spectrum between the extremes. They want it all, just like Sista Soulja.

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  4. The Christian cultural jihadists are an unwelcome bunch. Bush Junior achieved success in the 2000 election, by exploiting them with the help of operatives like Karl Rove. It didn’t work so well with a Mormon candidate. The Dems successfully demonized Christians as ignorant knuckle draggers this time around. It helps when you’ve got the mainstream media behind you. I don’t care much for either political party.

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    1. Andres: I get your drift, but I think it’s best to leave the jihad word where it belongs: with Islamist fanatics.

      And I will rise to the defense of Christianity, which has been a major player in making America the great nation it once was. There are some knuckle-draggers among their number, of course, but it’s a minority.

      I don’t care much for either political party either. They are, at best, inept.

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  5. Do not be overrighteous,
    neither be overwise—
    why destroy yourself?

    It is good to grasp the one
    and not let go of the other.
    Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.

    From the book of Ecclesiastes, The Bible.

    An authentic Christian does not live in extremes. He does not want government to represent his ideals of an imagined theocracy that he imagines the earth needs.

    Authentic Christian conservatism seeks to bring a touch of heaven to earth in small and large ways as outposts of the Kingdom to Come that promises peace and justice. That means we leave behind arguments over restoring or creating THE CHRISTIAN NATION. it’s a misnomer. A fallacy. A fraud.

    We work to see a different kingdom than an earthly one. More Christians should recall Jesus’ words before his crucifixion. He noted that his kingdom was not of this world.

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