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Nov 16 2012

Religion and conservatism sittin in a tree

Sometimes fewer words are better words. Krugman nails it in this brief post on the real driving force behind modern US conservatism:

There’s a strand of thought — I identify it especially with Corey Robin, although he’s not alone — that says that conservatism isn’t really about the things it claims to be about. It isn’t really about free markets and moral values; it’s about authority — the authority of bosses over workers, of men over women, of whites over Those People.

In a democracy Those People are We the People and therein lays a big problem for conservatives in the US. By definition the top of the pyramid has far fewer people in it than the bottom. The bottom votes, ergo conservatives would lose most of the time even with voter suppression and the whole works. But they have a natural alley in religion. Religion in general is conservatism on steroids and that’s why the two fit like a glove. And that’s why a very special kind of religion, authoritarian dominionist decrees against women and minorities and science reconceived in the south during slavery, is so ascendant in the GOP today.

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  1. 1
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    After a brief but ultimately unfulfilling flirtation with Mormonism, I wonder if Scientology would serve the Republicans better?

  2. 2
    Shawn Smith

    I wonder if that is the case with more matriarchal religions. Is Wicca as concerned with authoritarianism?

  3. 3
    anubisprime

    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant) @ 1

    I wondered that as well.
    It actually was weird looney tune parallel universe time when Romney actually got as far as he did.

    I can not imagine the Southern states kowtowing to a Mormon.
    Even when any rethuglian in a storm is better then Obama.
    I cannot see the Baptist evangelists (probably the thickest of the crop) actually going anywhere near legislation …even in theist advantage…that was promulgated by a Mormon.
    There would have been a religious conflict 6 months into a Romney circle jerk government.

    Religious cults hate each other more then they do ethnics and atheists combined!
    What could have possibly gone wrong?

  4. 4
    anubisprime

    Is Wicca as concerned with authoritarianism?

    It is more about personal responsibility, and is mainly a solitary endeavour and any authority that might exist at the coven level, stems from he/she that has the greater knowledge and can demonstrate it.
    It is mainly local and at the odd national or regional moots no one takes precedence…even the more established groups are one of the crowd.
    Alexandrian and Gardnerian adherents are funny though they always entertain, even when seated apart!

  5. 5
    mudskipper

    I’ve long thought that “social justice” for a certain strain of conservatism comes straight from the primate brain. To these people, enforcing the pecking order is priority number one. It is right and just to them that people high in the pecking order get the goodies and people low in the pecking order get perpetually harassed and put in their place. Such people are usually obsessed with making sure that their social inferiors stay that way.

    This is why even without the influence of religion, I think you’d still see these folks voting with the bosses. They think of bosses as their natural allies in keeping “them” down.

    It is also why they are so angry at the Federal government. In their minds, the Federal government is the ultimate alpha male and should be allying with them. Certainly it shouldn’t be reaching on down the pecking order and giving a helping hand to their social inferiors. To do so is a real betrayal of the natural order. They fiercely resent the government for trying to protect the rights of their inferiors or for trying to improve their social standing.

    So you could add that it really isn’t about “small government” with these folks, either–they’d be perfectly happy with a large government as long as it did its job enforcing the pecking order and suppressing the masses under them.

  6. 6
    penasquito

    The conservative movement was conceived as a way to get a segment of the population to vote against its own economic interests. The GOP found racism, sexism, and religion to be convenient levers to persuade voters to support their agenda. It didn’t work in 2012 as well as it did 10, 20, 30 years ago, and I have hope that it will provide ever-decreasing returns as they continue to employ it going forward.

    But the next big test is 2014, when we have 8 Democratic Senators up for re-election in very red states, and only 1 vulnerable Republican seat (Susan Collins of Maine), as well as a deeply gerrymandered Congressional electorate that the Dems will need to add 17 seats from to take the House.

    If the Republicans continue down this same road for the next 2 years, if they keep nominating people like Angle and O’Donnell, the Dems have a chance to pull both of these off, and our Congress may actually reflect our values and our votes in the near future. But its an uphill climb, and I don’t think we can count on the conservatives being as willfully blind and crazy as they were this last time around.

    But now that I’m thinking about it, they have been pretty thoroughly destroyed in 3 out of the last 4 elections. Maybe the trend will continue.

  7. 7
    peterh

    “[Wicca] is more about personal responsibility, and is mainly a solitary endeavour and any authority that might exist at the coven level, stems from he/she that has the greater knowledge and can demonstrate it.”

    Requires educated, thinking, involved and motivated individuals. It’ll never fly in any sort of coast-to-coast, all-inclusive way.

  8. 8
    comfychair

    If you stripped out all the identifying specifics that allow you to distinguish one religion from another and asked the current U.S. right wing to choose one that best fits their goals and aspirations, I think they’d end up as fundamentalist Islamists.

  9. 9
    peterh

    That’s even scarier than Cotton Belt Conservatism!

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