Bailouts and the Religious Right

Originally I rejected the following comment because it is snarky and anonymous:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post “Stop the Bailout: Three Links”:

hmmm… now, who is threatening to socialize this country the most right now? we better watch out for those faith-based groups forming during this time of economic turmoil!!

Yet the comment does raise a serious point, so I will offer a serious answer.

Is the threat coming from the religious right or the socialist left? The answer is both. I fear both sides, both Democrats and Republicans, right and left. However, I continue to hold that today’s major threat is the faith-based politics of the right.

Which would most negatively impact my life: implementation of the bailout, or implementation of Amendment 48? There is no question that Amendment 48, the darling of the religious right, would be much more disastrous for my life and the lives of most Coloradans.

But there is a deeper issue here. There is no direct connection between the bailout and faith-based politics. But there is an indirect connection. Increasingly the religious right is apathetic or outright hostile toward free markets. George W. Bush, who has made faith-based politics a centerpiece of his presidency, has led the country into deeper deficits, dramatically more state spending, and entitlements that are spinning out of control. And, notably, who is pushing the bailout? George W. Bush. “Who is threatening to socialize this country the most right now?” It is indeed our faith-based president, who holds nothing but contempt for free markets and economic liberty. With his faith-based welfare, Bush has brought the religious right onto the welfare-state gravy train.

And where is John McCain, who pandered to the religious right with his selection of Sarah Palin? Oh, right — he’s pushing the bailout proposal, too. Where’s Sarah Palin? Where is this Pitbull with Lipstick? Is she standing with the American people against the bailout? Hell, no. If she becomes vice president or president, is she going to stand up for economic liberty in the White House? Hell, no. She has talked about simultaneously cutting taxes and balancing the budget, but without a serious commitment to spending cuts, her talk is just fantasy.

Bush has expressed a view uncomfortably close to a doctrine of divine command. Palin has praised a witch-hunting minister who prayed to God for her political success. In general, people who believe they’re in power by God’s authority cannot be trusted to govern according to the principles of individual rights and free-market economics.

To invoke Ayn Rand’s phrasing, we are faced by the duel threat of the mystics of muscle — the socialist left — and the mystics of spirit — the religious right. The most frightening (but unsurprising) trend is the merging of the two.

4 thoughts on “Bailouts and the Religious Right”

  1. Bush and McCain have no respect for free market economics. I believe that Palin initially said she opposed the bailout– she probably will have to support it as McCain’s running mate. If faith based means that the inspiration for all of their policies comes from God, then yes, those people are very dangerous. But I know that many religious conservatives derive their economic policies from reason and a real understanding of economics. Jim DeMint would be an example. Without some of these conservatives with a personal faith that give lip service to religion in the house, this socialist bill would have passed.

  2. Also, political freedom obviously depends on economic freedom, so a socialist political system could affect all aspects of one’s life. Leftists could become mystics of spirit in the same degree they are mystics of muscle.

    Abortion laws would negatively affect lives, but I know that I would just make sure I always had a supply of chemical birth control. I would rather live with an abortion law that I can ignore with contraception than some of the laws in socialist countries that limit the number of children one is allowed to have. I would rather elect politicians that respect the 1st Amendment so I’d be allowed to fight against such a law. Democrats want both net neutrality and the fairness doctrine, which are both much more severe and stifling than the social conservative censorship of pornography. I don’t think a law that censored porn would last, as long as the 1st amendment was fundamentally intact.

    So, I’d rather elect the pro-life, economically rational Jim DeMint than the socialist pro-choice Barney Frank, whom I do not trust to protect my political freedom. I would vote for these people right now, because there isn’t a good alternative, and because socialism isn’t something that can be done away with within a single change of leadership. (especially if the change in leadership is only a socialist “right wing” religious fanatic) Objectivists have a lot of work to do in promoting the secular, rational defense of capitalism. Until the culture changes, I am more comfortable with imperfect politicians that will respect the right to promote reason.

    I don’t know how I will vote in this presidential election, though. McCain doesn’t respect political free speech and supports the bailout, so maybe both would be equally harmful. Maybe we’ll have to rely on economically rational conservatives in congress.

  3. Of course, Amendment 48 would ban “chemical birth control…”

    I certainly am not happy with our choices, as I’ve loudly proclaimed.

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