Alexandre at politX is concerned about creeping irrationality in U.S. politics:
I have one great fear in politics: irrationality. It does not matter the form it takes, when people began to make political choices based solely on religious, racial, regional or whatever prejudices, things go sour. I can live peacefully under any government, even if it represents everything I disagree with, as long as their decisions are presented with some respect to the laws of logic, ethics and other peopleÃ¢€™s rights.
The most powerful nation on Earth is drifting towards what can only be described as a fundamentalist government and, around the world, the practice of religious prejudices shaping policy is becoming so widespread that we barely notice it or complain about it anymore.
Religious conservatism is quickly becoming mainstream thought in U.S. and in many other countries. We can discuss the causes of it, but more important is to acknowledge a new political development taking place: the traditional right being devoured, willingly or not, by a more extremist, religion-centered right. Weak as it may be in Europe, such development is a major, and often unnoticed, factor behind recent electoral and political news in other places.
Because all of this, I think it is pitiable the attack of the always pathetic Lieberman on Howard Dean. Not that I think Dean is the best shot the Democrats have on the next presidential election, but because it shows clearly how these guys have lost touch with reality and with the kind of conservative dream these Republicans want to bring to life.
To all of us that do not live in the U.S., the issue is relevant because if everything we are reading on the Bush agenda is true, it will not stop there (extremist agendas are always universal). It has already crossed borders, mainly using money in ridiculous attempts of thwarting contraception programs in third-world countries, but I think it is just flexing muscles to more bullying.
While I’m not at all religious, I’m in a distinct minority in the U.S., which is considerably more religious and fundamentalist than our cousins across the pond. Given that we have representative government, it’s not surprising that the value systems of that majority are being expressed in public policy. Most of the issues that are given as example–gay rights and abortion, most notably–were non-factors thirty years ago or so, as they were just off the radar screen.
As I’ve said many times, religious conservatives have every bit as much right to advocate their views and seek to have them turned into policy as do homosexuals, libertarians, anarchists, and utilitarians.
We have a Constitution that guarantees certain fundamental liberties and protects the minority from their encroachment. Among the foremost of these is the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment, which guarantees that the federal government won’t establish a theocracy. The courts have more recently incorporated this protection against state and local governments. But the Establishment Clause has never been thought to enjoin those with religious views from seeking to enact their preferences into the secular law. Indeed, much of our legal code is inspired by religious morality. The fact that murder and robbery are forbidden by statute is not obviated by the fact that they are also forbidden by the Ten Commandments. While the Courts have created a right to an abortion, this does not require, for example, that the taxpayers fund abortion in Africa via their UN dues. The fact that most of the arguments against abortion are religious is irrelevant.