Friday, September 30, 2011

Radical Religious Conservatism Has Little Place for the Real World

I keep trying to believe the radical religious right isn't a threat but that isn't working.

A study just released by Baylor University goes a long way to explaining the twisted thinking of our exalted Ruler, Steve Harper.  It suggests that fundamentalists believe that Adam Smith's "hidden hand of the marketplace" is actually God's hand.   In other words, God has control of the economy, we don't need to worry about it.   Here are a few gems from the survey:

"In today's United States with high levels of unemployment ande vastly expanding wealth inequality, belief in God's plan sustains belief in the fairness of our economic system and our ability to eschew government assistance to stem the tide of our economic woes."

"Although strong belief in God's plan supports the American Dream, it also supports the contrary belief that personal economicd status is predetermined.   For these respondents, perhaps the idea is that the American Dream is possible for those who work hard and have ability, but only some people are meant to possess those qualities."

"Even though Americans who believe strongly in God's plan earn less and have less education, they are most likely to believe that the United States' economic system is fair without government intervention.  Specifically, Americans who believe strongly in God's plan are much more likely to believe:

-The government is intrusive
-Healthy people don't deserve unemployment benefits
-Anything is possible through hard work
-Success = Ability"

The Baylor study is full of twisted gems like that.

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.   This is how Professor Froese explained it to USA Today.

"They say the invisible hand of the free market is really God at work," says sociologist Paul Froese, co-author of the Baylor Religion Survey, released today by Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

"They think the economy works because God wants it to work. It's a new religious economic idealism," with politicians "invoking God while chanting 'less government,'" he says.

"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."

Most (81%) political conservatives say there is one "ultimate truth in the world, and new economic information of cost-benefit analysis is not going to change their mind about how the economy should work," Froese says.

Does that sound familiar?   We don't need science or statistics to tackle issues such as global warming or crime and punishment.   That sciency stuff isn't going to change our minds when we have the Ultimate Truth on our side.


Anyong said...

Isn't that what some of us have alluded to?

Anonymous said...

The economy is a system created by man, not by god. It works the way human beings designed it to work. Sometimes different parts interact unexpectedly, and the system may get re-designed so that things work right again. The more time passes, the more the system is adjusted and the more complicated it becomes to fully understand.

If you could convince the fundamentalists that the economy as-is is a bad thing, instead of Economy=>Magic=>God, they'd probably go Economy=>Magic=>Devil.