No, Atheism and Conservatism Are Not Compatible
In reaction to a column in which Brent Bozell thrashes CPAC and the ACU for inviting the American Atheists to the annual conference, Charles C. W. Cooke of National Review wrote last week, "If atheism and conservatism are incompatible, then I am not a conservative."
I don't believe he is. A libertarian, sure, but not a conservative.
And neither is, as he points out, "George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Anthony Daniels, Walter Olson, Heather Mac Donald, James Taranto, Allahpundit, or S. E. Cupp" if they are, indeed, atheists.
Nothing to get upset about, they are just not conservatives. There are plenty of people who call themselves conservatives who do believe in God, but misapply their beliefs within government. It doesn't mean you aren't intellectual in your own ways and offer some interesting points.
Ayn Rand wrote one of the best novels on the gloriousness of capitalism, and I enjoyed reading it several times, but she was wrong to write against the belief in God with such visceral denunciation, as if it were those who believe who are the biggest problem we face as Americans.
In fact, one of the most striking thoughts that occurred to me while reading Atlas Shrugged, was that as Rand gave Galt his dissertation on the radio, decrying the "mystics of the spirit," it was the love of the dollar that drove both Francisco D'Anconia and government. Why so angered with believers if the common push for the dollar is what drove both the titans of industry and the government leeches? Rand rejected the notion, as do I, that government should appeal to the greater good, spreading the wealth, or making things fair. But, it certainly isn't the influence of believers that push for such impossibilities, since doing so involves stealing, which is against His commandments. Those that use religious rhetoric to redistribute wealth are manipulating the emotions of the electorate, not standing with God.
Rand thought that man's reason was all that was needed, but she made a point to attack those who believe in God, much like the American Atheists did, which led to their being uninvited by the ACU to CPAC. To suggest that there are no atheists attending CPAC is not true, there are plenty, even perhaps Mr. Cooke. But the group of atheists have an agenda, and they were quite clear, as American Atheists President David Silverman said: "The Christian right should be angry that we are going in to enlighten conservatives. The Christian right should be threatened by us."
That's an open attack, its meaning cannot be misconstrued, they are militant, and yes, as Bozell said, "It is an attack on God Himself. American Atheists is an organization devoted to the hatred of God."
The joke is on the atheists. If they are going to "enlighten" conservatives, they must have some insight on the question of enlightenment. How does that conversation work? "You say there is no God? How enlightening, thank you, you may go." But the greater question is that of how the rejection of God makes one a conservative?
Conservatism is not a belief system, that is, you do not believe in the principles of conservatism because you have faith that they work. You argue in favor of the things that work, that have worked, and that provide the greatest economic freedom, the best moral society, and the best defense of the nation, and all of it as it pertains to the ultimate minority, the individual. When we say we are conservatives, we mean that we accept the principles of the ancients, weathered by experience and understanding of the lessons history has taught.
The Bible, being a lesson book as well as a history book, provides the moral reasoning of an ordered society, and it is the Bible that allows for an America.
Frederick Hayek put it this way, "Individualism, in contrast to socialism and all other forms of totalitarianism, is based on the respect of Christianity for the individual and the belief that is desirable that men should be free to develop their own individual gifts and bents. This philosophy, first fully developed during the Renaissance, grew and spread to what we now know as Western Civilization. The general development of social development was one of freeing the individual from the ties which bound him in feudal society."
Without God or the Bible, there is no Western Civilization, there is no America. You cannot be a conservative if you do not believe in God, because there is no stopper. There is no stopper for an individual to use his reason to believe he is smarter and better than another individual, therefore he should be his master. It would be great if all people respected one another and respected themselves, but there is no respect for anything without the influence of God in our lives.
Mr. Cooke, as do most atheists, tries to make atheism seem compatible by running to Jefferson, a noted deist. But, a deist is not an atheist. A deist believes there is a God, an atheist believes there is no God, and in doing so, puts himself as God. Which is, I might add, what Kings were believed to be, gods of men prior to Christianity and called by God in the years of early Christianity to rule. It is the Enlightenment that took place that led to America, that we are individuals who deserve respect, but that we are to govern ourselves knowing there is a higher power. Not man, not ourselves, a higher power of God.
That doesn't mean that if you are an atheist, you cannot argue in favor of traditional conservative thought, but in doing so, you have to question why you think your right to life is unalienable, why liberty does not mean liberty in vice, and the pursuit of happiness must mean with due respect of other's rights. And then you have to figure out why man has come to these conclusions in the documents that founded the greatest nation on earth.
The biggest problem with Mr. Cooke's assessment is that he believes that conservatism should be courting atheists. That is an opening for communism and tyranny, the exact antithesis of conservatism. After all, it is no coincidence that Alinsky dedicated his book to Lucifer and the creep of Sharia and communism requires the rejection of Christ as well as Judaism.
I've read some of Mr. Cooke's essays and they were quite well done. He does argue for the constitutional principles we hold dear. But I would assert that the belief in God and the Constitution are congruent, or at least parallel and integral. If you begin, as Obama has, to attack the God-given rights within the constitution, it falls apart, because there is nothing to hold it together. Nothing but men who believe they are God.