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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Conservative Takeover?

Mark has a post about how the "religious right" (or "wacko Christians" or whatever secular liberals call me these days) are doing some terrible stuff, like hijacking conservatism. He even notes that the Uber-blogger Glenn Reynolds is in on it.

Apparenly, this nonsense was intiated by everyone's favorite gay-dissenting catholic-british-Kerry supporter-who is somehow still called conservative Andrew Sullivan.

Evangelical Outpost has a sharp retort. Good read for libertarians and conservatives alike.

Hat tip: A Physicist's Perspective


  • I don't think the "religious right" is hijacking conservatism. I do think that GOP leadership recognizes that their primaries are driven by conservative christians, just as the Democratic leadership recognizes that their primaries are driven by socialists, the ACLU types and unions. Both parties cater to a fairly narrow portion of their rank and file because they are the key to getting selected in the primaries. Certainly, if you are part of the group catered to you appreciate having some power to select leaders and platforms. But about 60% of the electorate finds itself more and more unrepresented these days. And that's a problem.

    On a side note, check out One Fine Day, it's the tank and helicopter post I promised.

    By Blogger Eric Grumbles, at 3/29/2005 01:37:00 AM  

  • If you put every person along a left/right ideology line, cut the line in the middle and then create two equally sized parties, you'll end up with 50% of the people between the medians of each party. It's always useful to keep that in mind.

    But there is something else going on, here. Bush Sr.'s presidency wasn't driven conservative Christians, nor was Clinton's by socialists. The religious right is much more powerful than it has been in quite a while. I doubt anyone really wants to argue that point, do they? You might think it is good, but you don't really think it isn't true, do you?

    This post links to mine where I don't actually bring in Sullivan, but I did quote him in a earlier post where I described him as someone "who still considers himself a conservative for some reason I don't quite understand."

    In reality, 'liberal' and 'conservative' really are poorly defined words. Right now the libertarian wing and the religious wing of the Republican party are fighting over the definition of 'conservative'.

    This article states three things, roughly:
    1. Andrew Sullivan isn't really conservative.
    2. Sullivan is responsible for rift between the libertarian and religious wings of the party.
    3. The religious right hasn't hijacked conservatism, the religious right is conservatism.

    I quasi agree with 1, but think that applies to many so-called conservatives.

    The second point is just silly. The philosophical differences between the two sides have been obvious for many, many years to anyone looking. Liberals have been watching this go on forever just waiting for it to explode, but Republicans are way better about stepping back in line when they need to than Democrats. Democrats tend to be more rebellious and independent, I think. It's that whole 'respect authority' thing.

    The third point, is interesting. In a very real way it proves Sullivan and company are correct. On the other hand, the victors get to write the history, so the concept that social, religious conservatism is conservatism may prove to be correct -- but it hasn't always been that way.

    I just noticed Jesse Jackson jumped into the debate and is sitting with Terri and the parents, begging for the Bushes to do more. I wonder how that will play out. Does this prove the religious right are correct because 'even' Jackson agrees, or does this prove that the religious right have abandoned true conservatism? Or both?

    By Blogger Mark, at 3/29/2005 02:54:00 PM  

  • The author of the article certainly displayed a point of view, which is fine, but should be noted. That said, the “conservative coin” has two sides: social and economic. Most Christians (myself excluded) fall on both sides, while many libertarian-conservatives (like me) are economic and not social cons. The latter typically vote Republican as opposed to withholding their vote. It’s important to note that the Republicans would remain a minority party if it banished us libertarian minded folks.

    By Blogger Robert, at 3/29/2005 09:35:00 PM  

  • I agree when the primaries are benig run, Eric - but do you really think that GWB was catering exclusively to the religious right during the campaign of 2004? I have a hard time seeing it. Some, especially on the left, argue that he 'pushed' issues like gay marriage and abortion, but they were only mentions in most of his speeches. Of course, when the press asks about those issues, should he lie, or say what he will try to do?

    Mark, I don't think the religious element of the Republican party has more power because they have done anything special - I think they have more than usual because GWB is an unashamed Christian. That said, I do not think they are in the ascendancy. Do you think the religious right wants immigration amnesty? Increased funding for the National Endowment of the Arts? NCLB?

    On Jackson - that's my next post, but it will be sort of short. I saw that today as well. I think it bodes well for the Republican party, actually, and for many of the values I hold.

    Robert, I think libertarian principles should be the governing principles of political thought when moral issues are not ascendant. Does that make sense? I think most Republicans would agree - except with the military spending, perhaps. If the Republican party abandons libertarians outright, I'll be joining the party you migrate to!

    I didn't mean that EO posted the RIGHT answer - I just thought it was a good one!

    By Blogger Hammertime, at 3/29/2005 11:13:00 PM  

  • Hammer asked me: "I agree when the primaries are benig run, Eric - but do you really think that GWB was catering exclusively to the religious right during the campaign of 2004?"

    I chose what I said carefully. Think about several things.

    1. The candidates selected in the primaries determine the focus of the party's campaign.
    2. Like the unions, ACLU and environmentalists on the Left, the "religious right" has discovered that by organizing and pushing on specific issues they can get the GOP candidates they want on the ticket. This has a polarizing effect, to say the least.
    3. I argued strongly in 2004 that GWB was not catering to the "religious right". I feel like I'm having to eat that right now because he has recently done things that clearly cater to that group, and as far as I can see it has been done with an eye on the 2006 primaries.
    4. If you choose to put your subjective moral values over and above the rule of law then you make a choice which I cannot, in good conscience, support. It is, obviously, your choice. But that doesn't make it a good choice. Just remember, the same thing is being done by folks whose subjective morality you don't agree with.

    By Blogger Eric Grumbles, at 3/30/2005 04:06:00 PM  

  • I hit the enter key too soon. The only solution to law based on subjective morality (which includes religion as well as other philosophies like socialism and environmentalism) is objective law that intrudes as little as possible into society and individual behavior.

    By Blogger Eric Grumbles, at 3/30/2005 04:08:00 PM  

  • How is a law written down less subjective than religion written down?

    I have to disagree with your labeling of religion as 'subjective'. What makes it so? If it is a religion whoch leaves the ultimate decision of right and wrong in the hands of the individual, then I agree. However, most established religions have a set of moral laws that they would define as objective.

    By Blogger Hammertime, at 3/30/2005 04:34:00 PM  

  • Hammer, I'm not sure you can see why a religion is subjective when you are looking from the inside out. There is no basis for the morality and rules of a religion except for the traditions, teachings and writings of that religion and the foundation of whether those things are valid or not must be taken on faith. Without writing an entire book on it, that is the easiest answer I can give you.

    By Blogger Eric Grumbles, at 3/30/2005 07:01:00 PM  

  • By the way, the moral laws of a religion can only be considered as objective if I accept the proposition that those laws are divinely inspired. I can only do so by taking something on faith, since you cannot show me by evidence or logic that the proposition is true.

    By Blogger Eric Grumbles, at 3/30/2005 07:03:00 PM  

  • Eric,
    I don't disagree with your two comments above this one - but the qustion still stands: How is a law written down more objective than a religious moral code written down? What is the objective source of your objective laws?

    By Blogger Hammertime, at 3/31/2005 04:40:00 PM  

  • Question, not qustion, of course. Preview, Hammer, Preview!

    By Blogger Hammertime, at 3/31/2005 04:40:00 PM  

  • In this country, at least, we have attempted to create law that derives from what we observe to be inherent rights. The men who wrote the Constitution derived their philosophy from men like John Locke who had laid out a foundation of inherent rights of men that were based on logic and observable evidence. In theory, anyhow, our laws are derived from the foundation of the Constitution. So, compare and contrast. On the one hand you have something that is handed to you and you are told to believe that it came from a divine being without any evidence, either logical or empirical. On the other hand, we have a constitution and set of laws where we can read the logic that derived those principles for ourselves and decide if it is truly objective, or not.

    By Blogger Eric Grumbles, at 4/01/2005 10:09:00 AM  

  • Eric,
    Can you point me to a good site on Locke that shows the logic and observable evidence led to his ideas? I mean, I can Google John Locke, but I don't want to sift through 30,000 hits. I assume you have something more readily available. Thanks!

    By Blogger Hammertime, at 4/01/2005 01:23:00 PM  

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