A defense of an atheistic conservatism

Friday, August 18, 2006
The Corner on National Review Online: "Jonah [Goldberg] claims that the damage from pulling the “religious bricks” out of our culture is “pretty obvious.” I presume that he is referring to our hedonistic society, where the desires of the individual trump all other concerns. I agree that we are pushing the concept of individual autonomy to ever more extreme lengths, for better or worse (a dynamist like Virginia Postrel would argue that on balance more individual choice is always preferable to less, and I am increasingly inclined to agree, despite the negative repercussions for the family). But it seems to me that there is perhaps a tension in arguing simultaneously that Western individualism is a legacy of Judeo-Christianity while blaming our turn away from that religious tradition for our excess of individualism.


truepeers said...

On the surface, this doesn't seem like a very strong argument. The writer assumes there is only one kind of "western indidualism", as if if choice is good, then whatever we do with it is also good. Maybe it's good to have more and more choices and freedom to serve both ourselves and others, but getting the mix right is surely the thing. The writer seems to think it is a logical contradiction to argue that our culture has taken a step forwards and backwards at the same time. But that is surely the story of our western modernity.

gumshoe1 said...

not to put
too fine a point on it:

"indididual choice"
presumes "individual responsibility":
in tandem,and simlutaneously.

the twisting and perversion of those two values is not the work of a Judeo-Christian heritage.

it's disturbing that so simple an insight should generate so much commentary,and the pundits still can't find their ass with both hands.

Syl said...

Yeah, but that responsibility thing has been defined by the conservatives and nobody else seems to have a say.