Sunday, January 13, 2008

Whose Party Is It, Anyway? [...and I'll cry if I want to.]

Last November, this correspondent tried to warn philosophically-minded Republicans that they were taking Christian votes for granted. They're certainly the backbone of social conservatism---sympathetic to pro-life issues and the cohesion and integrity of the nuclear family---and compose the third leg of the GOP coalition along with a strong national defense and economic liberty.

But they also believe that Christian charity is a duty, caring for those who slip through the cracks of the free market system's meritocracy.

Just because some people aren't equipped to compete in it---for whatever reason, their fault or not---that doesn't mean they should be left to starve in this dog-eat-dog world. A Christian conscience cannot permit that to happen.

Jonah Goldberg picks up the theme, in a customarily excellent essay. Committed Christians, primarily the evangelical vote, represent 30% of the conservative coalition, and at least 10% of the total electorate. And Roman Catholics are also an overlooked part of the coalition, and it was their favorite philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas who argued for a "just wage." No wonder a Pew poll noted that "79 percent of self-described social conservatives" favor raising the minimum wage. Lose half of these voters, and in this 50-50 republic, the GOP loses 55%-45%.

That's a landslide, folks, and a helluva mandate for more Bigtime Bigass Government. Word up---even Adam Smith, the apostle of competition and free markets, before he wrote the capitalist bible An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations in 1776, in 1759 wrote:

How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortunes of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it…That we often derive sorrow from the sorrows of others, is a matter of fact too obvious to require any instances to prove it; for this sentiment, like all the other original passions of human nature, is by no means confined to the virtuous or the humane…the greatest ruffian, the most hardened violator of the laws of society, is not altogether without it.
—--Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments

If Marxists are brutes who trust the false god of government, and whose greatest error is ignoring human nature, so are those who worship the equally false god of the free market and ignore what's in the heart of every man, Christian and non-Christian alike.

In this here democratic republic, every one of us is a citizen-ruler, so we don't just petition the government to help out the poor and the weak. We are the government, and vote accordingly, every man a king. The just ruler is also kind, and anyone who writes kindness out of the human equation misses the whole point of being human in the first place.