Conservatives have two stark choices right now: they can self-destruct or they can create a workable paradigm for moving forward. The self-destruction possibility is playing out before our eyes. Kathleen Parker fired the opening salvo with her screed about the evil oogedy-boogedy Christians that are tainting conservatism. Charles Johnson is also taking potshots at Bobby Jindal’s fascination with creationism and exorcism.
I’d like to remind everyone once again that the President, thank goodness, is not God’s agent in the White House, at least so far as the Constitution is concerned. Bobby Jindal, if he became President, could not mandate that creationism be taught in schools, and nobody is going to be conducting exorcisms on the White House lawn (although it would certainly be fascinating, wouldn’t it?).
Once again, people are forgetting that there is a difference between using political office to impose a state religion on Americans (barred by the Constitution) and being a religious person whose religion informs his ultimate values (typical of the Founders and completely acceptable under the Constitution). As long as Jindal., or any other conservative Christian (or Orthodox Jew or whatever) in high public office keeps those lines straight in his head, and isn’t demanding that we all worship at the alters of creationism and exorcism, or whatever other doctrine characterizes his religion, I don’t care that he holds those views — just as more than half of Americans didn’t care that Obama, through his associations, made it plain that he believes that Communism is not really a bad thing.
Indeed, considering that I can easily prove that Communism killed more than 100 million people in the 20th Century alone, it strikes me that Obama’s belief system is a whole lot more suspect than Jindal’s, which is laboriously proved by theory and inference, not by objective fact. And the real fact is that, whether one believes in Darwinism (as I do) or creationism (as others do), those conflicting beliefs haven’t been in the business of killing people lately.
All of which gets me back to my current fixation with true (that is, not Ron Paulian) libertarianism. If we recognize the appropriate limits for government (strong national security, decent home security, a solid transportation and energy infrastructure, lots of local control, a free market in both the economy and education, etc.), we really don’t need to touch upon a candidate’s religious beliefs. If the President truly believes in local control over schools and in vouchers (which give parents a great choice in choosing educational systems that will most benefit the kids), the President’s views on creationism become fairly irrelevant. They’re a curiosity, just as Obama’s trust in Communists and terrorists is a curiosity. They may be off-putting, but they shouldn’t disqualify someone who is otherwise perfectly capable of handling the reins of power.
By the way, I strongly recommend that, if you haven’t already done so, you read Randall Hoven’s argument that true libertarianism can coexist with, and even function extremely well in, a socially conservative world. He is not arguing for a New Testament Theocracy. Instead, he notes that, if the federal government would let go of things such as drug laws, abortion, gun control, etc., we’d find social conservatism anyway, without any Biblical foundation.
This social conservatism would arise because local people would control these issues and they would tend to hew conservative. Indeed, even in my ultra liberal community, I’d be willing to bet that a whole bunch of the parents who would willingly approve of federal laws allowing unlimited abortion would then make an entirely different call if their own daughter’s health and life were at stake. It’s easy to be liberal if you deal with remote abstracts; less so if all the issues strike closer to home.