05 June 2012

Social Conservatives are Disingenuous


To these types of statements about abortion and the definition of marriage, I would often respond with questions about economics, just to see where the discussion would go. “But what do you think of Senator Obama’s plan to raise taxes on rich people – is that a good idea?” I might ask. Or “Do you think John McCain is right about the stock market crash when he says that it’s all because of ‘greed on Wall Street?’”
Generally speaking, my economic questions would bring these brief talk show conversations to an abrupt end. “I only care about the moral issues” was the response I’d usually hear – as though economic issues are morally neutral or of no moral significance at all – and then the caller would say goodbye.

Social conservatives are completely disingenuous when they claim that they only care about moral issues while simultaneously dismissing economic issues.  It’s as if the words of the Apostle Paul have no meaning to them.  For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil.”  Evil is obviously a moral term, and it is certainly used in regards to money.  Thus, to dismiss economic matters as not being moral is to simply ignore the reality that money can very much be a moral issue.

For example, is it moral for the government to sell young adults into virtual slavery by constantly propagandizing kids to attend college while simultaneously offering them student loans (or subsidizing and guaranteeing private education loans) that cannot generally be discharged in bankruptcy?  Is it moral for the government to take money from hard-working citizens and give it to bankster elites who defrauded people out of personal property?  Should money be taken from hard-working people and given to banksters that refuse to take responsibility for their investment decisions in the housing market?  Is it moral for the government to inflate the currency and thereby rob people of their savings?  Is it moral for the government to rob people of jobs by imposing price floors on labor?  Is it moral for the government to hamstring domestic businesses while allowing foreign businesses to compete freely?

I could go on, but the point should be clear:  money can be used for evil, and economic issues can often have moral implications.  What social conservatives are really doing when they say they only care about social issues is trying to status-monger as being morally superior.  In essence, they simply get caught up in their own self-righteousness.

Fortunately, the politics of self-righteousness, particularly of the right-wing variety, is often stupid and ineffective.  Nonetheless, its disingenuousness is rather galling, and deserving only of derision for its hypocrisy and short-sightedness.

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