Monday, October 30, 2006

Can't say what you feel: Become a Democrat!

Much of what is wrong with how Democrats approach the world is exemplified in Matthew Yglesias' post:
It would be useful, for the purposes of electoral politics, for liberals in the media to avoid expressing the view that the belief -- adhered to by millions of Americans -- that failure to accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior will result in eternal damnation is daft. On the other hand, the evangelical view of this matter is, in fact, completely absurd. And not just absurd in a virgin birth, water-into-wine, I-believe-an-angel-watches-over-me kind of way. On this view, a person who led an entirely exemplary life in terms of his impact on the world (would an example help? Gandhi, maybe?) but who didn't accept Jesus as his personal savior would be subjected to a life of eternal torment after his death and we're supposed to understand that as a right and just outcome. That, I think, is seriously messed up.

But I shouldn't say so!
Note the recommendation that liberals should not say what they really think. Whatever the topic, be it health care, Iraq, or religion, Democrats often think that they should try hard to avoid saying what they really believe. This is corrosive on two levels. For one, it prevents a serious honest debate in this country when one side feels that it has to dodge and weave in order to defend positions that it doesn't honestly believe in. For another, not admitting out loud what they believe seems to prevent them from ever developing a coherent thought on national policy. That seems true here where Mr. Yglesias seems to be so busy reviling Christians that he doesn't seem to realize that his position (that, if there is a God who admits people to a heaven, then that God will admit all virtuous people regardless of which sect they happened to adhere to) is a mainstream Protestant Christian belief. That is not a belief that Democrats would need to hide.

Furthermore, note that Democrats seem unable to politely say they disagree over an issue: they feel compelled to declare the opposing view to be "daft" or "absurd." Such declarations may be fine for political commentators. But it is not useful for politicians who need to build coalitions. Further, since deciding who gets into heaven is not on anyone's list of pressing national issues, there is no harm in being polite.

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