For some conservatives, right-wing economics is a religion

A new study from Baylor University clarifies something that’s been bothering me for a while: how is it that supposedly rational people are not only able to ignore or deny recent history when it comes to the disastrous conservative policies that destroyed the economy, but insist the only way to reverse the widespread failures they produced is to implement them again? It’s the cliché definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Now we have a hint: for many wingnuts it’s part of their religion:

About one in five Americans combine a view of God as actively engaged in daily workings of the world with an economic conservative view that opposes government regulation and champions the free market as a matter of faith … “When Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann say ‘God blesses us, God watches us, God helps us,’ religious conservatives get the shorthand. They see ‘government’ as a profane object — a word that is used to signal working against God’s plan for the United States. To argue against this is to argue with their religion.”

One has to admire the flexibility of the extreme right-wing godbots. For staunch absolutists their vision of morality and ethical behavior is as malleable as warm cheese. Not long ago merely criticizing the government for any reason was tantamount to insulting the troops. Harsh criticism directed at senior cabinet officials was considered an act of treason against the Commander-in-Chief in a time of war. In just two years this same group has been retrained to hate the government and believe God himself is an enemy of big government, taxes on the rich, and any kind of regulation — at the federal level only of course.


  1. binjabreel says

    Your link seems broken, though the article wasn’t very hard to find.

    But, anyway… I think this fills me with despair. It’s the same blinkeredness that makes people oppose taxes on the rich or help for the poor on the grounds that, if these people are rich/poor, then it must be because God wanted them to be and they deserve it.

    Nevermind, of course, that the frickin’ Bible itself says that sort of thinking is wrong because it assumes knowledge of the mind of God. I think they have to believe that rich people are deserving for the same reason that they have to believe in an afterlife: Because otherwise they’d have to face up to the fact that their lives suck NOW, and maybe, just maybe, they’d have to get off their asses and do something about it.

  2. unbound says

    The link has extra information at the beginning. The article URL is

    I’ve actually had the feeling that the conservative approach (I use the term “approach” loosely here) to economic policies required just as much faith as religion…I just never thought to try linking the two together.

    I agree with binjabreel. The masses simply believe that the rich deserve to be rich because they must exemplify hard work and being good. Of course, most rich work fairly hard, but are far from the hardest workers, and, in my experiences with C-level executives, not particularly good.

    I think there would be riots indeed if the masses ever really understood that for the rich to have gotten where they are…they didn’t get there by sharing with those helping them make their wealth.

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    Amazingly, 7 out of the first 10 comments on the USA Today article come from scoffers (+ 1 from an apparent accommodationist, 1 from a wingnut, and 1 answering a factual question [correctly but incompletely]).

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