Monday, March 04, 2013

Gut Check

A good summation of the conservative way of seeing the world from Cesca today over at the Banter, in a piece called "Romney, Like Many Republicans, Trusted His Heart Over Reality."

"Instead of embracing the broad scientific consensus on the climate crisis, Republicans trust their gut that it’s not real (or not man-made, or both) and they confirm their whimsy with a relatively small handful of crackpot scientists — the Dean Chamberses of climate study. On austerity and deficit reduction, Republicans trust their gut that steep spending reductions following a deep recession will stimulate economic growth when, in fact, there’s not one single example of this occurring in the history of the American economy. Not one. Libertarian Republicans are even worse, believing that confederations combined with severely limited central governments will actually work when nearly all historical examples of such systems have failed. They believe the deficit has skyrocketed when, in fact, it’s dropped by $555 billion since Obama has been president. Too many conservatives believe the president wasn’t born Hawaii in spite of all the evidence proving he was. They also believe that Islamic evildoers are lurking around every corner waiting to crash airplanes into rural town squares. Hell, way too many conservatives believe that Jesus was a capitalist warhawk. Because they really, really want him to be."

I'm posting this here because Cesca makes a roundabout point that I've actually made a couple of times before. While not every single conservative is a die-hard religious fundamentalist, there's no denying that religion -- particularly Christianity -- and American conservatism are inextricably linked in the eyes of most people. If you're really into Jesus and believe that he's coming back soon to whisk his children up to heaven in a magic chariot while tossing the rest of us into the lake of fire for all eternity, there's a pretty good chance your politics land you squarely in the Republican registry.

What Cesca's getting at, and what I've always believed, is that the kind of faith that allows someone to abandon logic, reason and empirical reality in favor of an unwavering devotion to a 2,000-year-old book of wild stories -- millions of animals on an ark, walking on water, resurrection from the dead, people living to be nearly a thousand -- is the kind of faith that will allow you to believe in literally anything. It's not much of a stretch to go from thinking the world was created in six days, 6,000 years ago, to being utterly convinced that climate change is a lie, the economy is shrinking and the government is coming for your guns. Oh, and that Barack Obama is going to lose the presidential election because everyone hates him.

Conspiracy theories and insane fantasies aren't that hard to swallow when you've decided that proof doesn't really matter to you. And religious faith requires no proof at all, that's why it's called faith. But as I've said before, when you choose to replace a fundamental reliance on evidence -- the yardstick that measures our reality and which should be the same across the board for almost everyone -- with flights of fancy, what you get is chaos. That and the ability to fall for absolutely any bunch of nonsense.

No comments: