Conservatives without issues

From Andrew:

Most Americans have a healthy respect for religious teaching but in their lives give greater preference to common sense and practical experience. That includes almost all religious groups as well - Catholics, in particular, show conservative tendencies. The exceptions? Evangelicals and Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses - who are trained to forego practical reasoning for abstract truths based on unquestionable authority. Evangelical Christians are much less conservative than American Muslims, for example.

The Republican party is not, at this point in time, a conservative party, as Burke would understand it. It's a fundamentalist religious party. Until the influence of evangelicals and Mormons is reduced, it will find these tendencies reinforce each other.

I've turned this notion over in my head a lot lately. I think there's great value on pointing out the changes in ideology. But ideologies change, no? Moreover, in the case of politics, they change to attract votes. I like Andrew's conservatism--privileging what works over abstractions figures very well into the family debate we've been having, here. But his Pew polling aside, I just wonder whether it could get any votes.


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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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