I’m impressed with Christianity and what it brought to science. The Judeo-Christian tradition let God be God. Contrast that to a view of nature filled with the little gods of air, water and earth. Christianity took the many gods out of nature. That change inspired us to look at and understand nature rather than worship it. Suddenly, the way the natural world worked was seen as regular, knowable, and yet filled with depths of mystery. Coming to know and understand the world took more than obedience to religion. It required that you be willing to let go of the magical world of superstition. You had to see the world as it is.
Political conservatism serves a similar role today. Conserving freedom requires that we take the god out of government rather than pretend government has magical powers. Politicians are not little gods, though many act like they are. The political process is not divine. Politicians have a nature as certainly as air and water have theirs. Voters have a nature and character as well. Politicians promise us anything, as long as we allow them to remain in power. We voters allow ourselves to be seduced into believing the impossible: that we can have something for nothing. Political conservatism asks us to see politics as it is.
Pandering politicians have other plans.
You and I want fairness, and pandering politicians tells us they can make the world fair. The politician is never asked to show us where that actually worked. Sure the politician can make things “fair”… by making us all equally poor. The exception is the politician and his friends.
We resent exploitation. A politician says it is greedy for us to keep the money we earned, but not greedy for a politician to take from us and give to his friends.
We have an innate sense of responsibility and accountability. Corporations can’t be trusted, but a politician asks us to take on faith that bureaucrat we can’t fire will treat us fairly.
We don’t like being manipulated. A politician says that big corporations will try to control us and limit our choices. That is why we need big government… who will try to control us and limit our choices.
We know we make mistakes all the time. We need government because we can’t possibly make good choices… but it is a great idea for a politician who can’t back up her own e-mail to control our future.
We hate being cheated by powerful people. Companies will collude and act together to screw the little guy,.. but it is OK when politicians take huge campaign donations from special interests and then pay off their friends with our tax dollars.
We know there are better ways to get things done. Yet, somehow, a government notorious for waste and corruption is going to give us what we want at a great price.,. without screwing someone else to get it. If you believe that lie then I have some free healthcare for you.
We want to feel special, and a clever politician tells us we are. In fact, that nice politician said we could all have a pony because the loves us… and that other politician who said that all of us can’t have a pony is a mean man.
We want to feel good about ourselves. Voters not only want to believe they can have something for nothing… but a cynical politician tells us it is noble to take what we want from someone else. It is the oldest trick in the book and has been used as long as dirty old men have been seducing teenage girls.
Look, I understand the desire to take other people’s stuff. I really do. What I don’t understand is the level of dishonesty to claim envy is a virtue. Cynical politicians learned the lessons of carnival fortune tellers; forget the truth and just tell the voters what they want to hear. Government bureaucracies have their rules as well.
Christianity let us see the world as it is. Giving up superstition is hard. Political conservatism asks us to see politicians and government as they are. Giving up your political superstition is hard too. Saying that this election will be different is a lie as sure as saying that education will be free.
This election will only be different when we resent the impossible promises of politicians.
Make it happen. Listen harder. Register to vote.
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