Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Outflanking Conservative Naiveté

Kevin Mattson at the American Prospect maintains that Christian realism (à la Reinhold Niebuhr) is a viable option for the left to engage religious faith against gullible conservatives who place blind faith in a utopic "free" market, while demonizing all government:
Anyone who believes that you can strip the government of power and let the market blossom into the best of all possible worlds has not learned the lessons of sin, self-love, and power. In his own day and age, Niebuhr called the pro-business organization, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), “sentimental.” It’s a perfectly apt description. And it easily applies to Grover Norquist and President Bush. These are not men who know sin and Christian humility. They are utopians enchanted with a naive sense of progress.
In a world where governance has become a joke and ethics is now a punchline, a world where politicians get in-your-face grilling, but private lobbyists enjoy the sounds of silence on the right, progressives need to use religious concepts like sin and pride against some very dupable and values-compromising conservatives.

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