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Wednesday 18 February 2015

Follow-up on Yesterday's Article: Young Evangelicals and the Doom of the Religious Right

So over in the comments to my latest article, there was an interesting argument put to me, that I thought I should answer.  And since I think the Invincible Overlord will have my head if I wrote one more article on how much Christianity sucks on his right-wing political website, I figured I'd post this over here.

The argument made: "At present, surveys show that about 40% of the USA is young-earth creationist. About that same number believes that Jesus will return within their lifetimes. That's probably the single biggest voting bloc in the country, and it votes overwhelmingly for the GOP. I don't see any way that the GOP could walk away from those voters and survive.
Those numbers are lower among the young, so ditching the religious right would make the GOP more appealing to young voters. However, young voters are not an overwhelmingly Liberatrian bloc. Judging by Facebook, for example, Rand Paul (a well-known figure on the Libertarian fringe of the GOP) is roughly on par with Elizabeth Warren (a well-known figure on the Socialist fringe of the Democrats)."

My answer is:  As I pointed out in the first part of this series, the thing that's happening with young evangelicals in the U.S. isn't really that they're becoming less religious, but that they are abandoning (the political force known as) the Religious Right. There is a deep disillusionment among young evangelicals, who may very well be young-earth creationists and believers in an imminent eschaton, with the idea of involving politics with religion in the way Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Focus on the Family, the Catholic League, etc. have done.

What is happening is that young evangelicals are themselves splitting into two camps: on the one side you have what I call the "extreme drop outs for Jesus and the Coming Rapture", who believe in stepping away from the culture completely, and creating an alternate culture. They're the ones doing Homeschooling and the Quiverfull Movement and Purity Dances and Christian Courting (yes, they don't even let their kids date, or often even choose their own spouses), and this general retreat from anything to do with mainstream society. They looked at the last several decades, and how being actively involved in politics really went for U.S. Christianity, and decided that it hadn't worked.  In every area, things got worse from their point of view: more abortion, more drug legalization, gays get married, etc.  

They had started their war thinking they could create an america where Rap Music and "dungeons & dragons" were illegal, and ended up in an America where children are getting sex changes and full frontal nudity is available on cable 24/7; from their point of view, the Culture War has been a DISASTER. So from this, their conclusion was that things are probably "meant" to get worse (because, you know, the Rapture) and so what they should do as "Christians" is just drop out and wait for Jesus and live biblical lives apart from the modern Sodom that is the common culture. Those people are going to vote republican on election day, but they won't be going out to campaign; and if the Republican party became hard libertarian overnight they'd STILL vote Republican because at least the Republicans would leave them alone, while the Democrats will want to have social services steal their homeschooled children and force their teenage daughters to get pregnant and then have an abortion, or something.

The second camp are the "Emerging" Evangelicals, who looked at the whole situation and reached a different conclusion, but one no less troubling to the Political Theocrats. When they were teenagers they were all given "W.W.J.D." bracelets, and taught about loving Jesus and caring for people, and things like "love the sinner", and so on; all of these were campaigns pushed by the Religious Right. But the problem was, these crazy teens ACTUALLY BELIEVED THIS CRAP! Pat Robertson & co. never meant for these kids to actually start SERIOUSLY asking "what would Jesus do?", they were just making cheap political statements and using children as weapons like they always did; but here these damn Millennials with their naive idealism went and took it all seriously and -and I know, this is totally NUTS, right?- actually thought Christians should try to be like Jesus. Crazy, right??
But they really did. And when they got a little older they looked at their parents, and their parent's leaders, and the things they'd fought for, and while they didn't reject Jesus, they sure as heck rejected those leaders and those things their parents thought were so important. They couldn't understand, if you're supposed to ask what would Jesus do, why you'd spend all those years and millions of dollars in obsessing over fighting homosexuality, or pornography, or to force evolution in schools, or to fight to make big religious displays on city hall lawns or at high school football matches. Didn't Jesus say "go pray in a closet"? Jesus didn't spend his time stoning the prostitutes, he sat with them! He never actually said a single word about homosexuality.
And even if they don't necessarily disagree with all the fundamental moral issues that the Religious Right so cared about, they were still thinking that their parents' generation got their priorities totally messed up. They were so worried about Sin that they forgot about Love.
So while the parents of these evangelicals considered abortion and gay marriage to be the highest-priority issues for Christians in America, those two don't even fall on the radar for their kids, who consider poverty(!) to be the biggest priority.  Other high-end concerns include "inequality" and "the environment"!  These kids are still deeply christian, not doubting their faith at all, but completely disillusioned with the reactionary politics of the Religious Right. They're leaving the churches who push that brand of Sin-focused ideology in droves. They won't go out on campaign either, they're too busy volunteering at soup kitchens and aid missions.
So either way, with the new generation of Evangelicals, the Religious Right is DONE. Stick a pitchfork in it, its cooked.
And yes, young people are not all Libertarian, otherwise Colleges in America would look like bastions of intellectual freedom and not like a never-ending "1984"-cosplay. But I think that most Americans in general are fundamentally Libertarian on a PERSONAL level; they are Individualists. They believe in people having the right to do what they will, and dislike being told what to do by people who think they're better/more-educated/more-moral than them. There are of course people, young and old, who instead think they ARE those ones who 'know better', and they want to create a state where they get to impose their vision on the collective whether individuals in the collective like it or not. Those people, young or old, are the REAL ENEMY. And the American right-wing has been making fake-enemies out of people who it could have as allies for so long, that it threatens to cost the battle against that real enemy.


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  1. I'm glad you found my argument interesting!

    When you talk about demographic shifts without citing any sources, it's hard to take your conclusions seriously. It feels like you are projecting your own values and impressions onto a huge population. Let's look at some numbers.

    If the overall preferences of the religious right's voting bloc has changed in the past decade or two, it's not showing. In each of the past 4 presidential elections, white protestants have made up just over 50% of the electorate, and have voted two-to-one for the GOP. Those numbers have held constant to within a few percentage points.

    Delving into opinions polls, it seems that white evangelicals are more Republican than white mainline Christians, and people who attend church more often are more Republican than those who attend less often. That's about what you'd expect. Surprising, however, is that the most extreme GOP affiliation comes from *young* evangelicals. White evangelicals 30 or younger are 82% GOP-aligned, compared to 69% for those 30 and older.

    That is, as it stands, the Religious Right forms a pretty solid voting base for the GOP, which doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Furthermore, while they might still vote in favor of a Libertarian GOP, they are certainly not Libertarians. For example, white protestants are among the demographics *most* in favor of the war in Iraq, and of state-sponsored torture, two archetypal issues which set Libertarianism apart from the modern GOP.

    Hypothetically, if the GOP did move away from the Religious Right, it would needs to find a rallying cry that would recruit a new voter base. Libertarianism isn't going to work. Despite the fact that you "think that most Americans in general are fundamentally Libertarian," fewer than 20% of voters rate dissatisfaction with the government as their highest priority when voting.

    Libertarianism doesn't resonate with the American voter, which is why we have basically zero Libertarian representation in Congress. This shouldn't be all that surprising, given its sound bytes. "I'm going to tear down the government" is an interesting promise in the abstract, but voters would much rather hear "I'm going to raise minimum wage," or "I'm going to kick out the Mexicans." When people vote, it's because they want the government to help them with the problems (real or imagined) that they encounter in their everyday lives.

    1. In my article series, I didn't contest the fact that evangelicals (young evangelicals in particular) continue to vote Republican, and in fact I'm betting on the fact that they'll continue to do so even if the Republican party stops listening to the "religious right".

      But there's a very important difference between young evangelicals supporting the GOP and young evangelicals supporting and being part of the Religious Right. It is important enough that it's causing huge stirrings within the evangelical christian community, with a lot of old-guard Religious-Right theocrats trying to condemn the Emerging Church in particular and the shift in priorities among young evangelicals (away from issues like gay marriage and toward issues like fighting poverty) in general. So much so that there are political wars being fought within the evangelical movement over it right now, like what happened not too long ago with the "World Vision" christian charity:

      It's a perfect example: to the older Religious Right theocrats, it was SO important that World Vision not allow gay people to work for them that they were LITERALLY willing to let little children starve to death as a consequence, while the younger (millennial) evangelicals are utterly disgusted by that sort of thing.

      Again, since most of the statistics you're compiling are not really examining the difference in specific issues between younger evangelicals and older evangelicals, you're missing a lot of the point.

      In fact, probably the best way to secure a future generation of young Christians to vote for the GOP would be to stop making a huge deal about things like homosexuality or illegal immigrants and to start talking a lot about coming up with (conservative) measures to combat poverty.

    2. As for your perception of Libertarians, "dissatisfaction with the government" is not what libertarians are all about. In the link you posted, by far the biggest concern was the economy; and talking about things like ending corporate welfare would likely be a big draw.
      You'll note that in fact, in that poll "dissatisfaction with the government" was the single biggest individual issue, so its a bit disingenuous to suggest that this would not be a draw; but I don't think that it is the only thing that would be a draw to voters for a libertarian-focused GOP. The next top ranking items were "the economy in general", "immigration", "unemployment", "the deficit", "ethical decline", "race relations/racism", "healthcare" and "education". Dissatisfaction with government plus economy in general scored a collective 31%. Add "unemployment" and "the deficit" and you get to 45%.
      Libertarian thought has something to say with pretty well all the issues above, and while obviously it would not be the right answer for everyone, it would I think appeal to a large span of people. Imagine if you had a party that suggested the following:
      -getting rid of corporate welfare
      -getting the deficit under control
      -getting out of involvement in foreign wars, while having a strong anti-terrorism and domestic defense policy
      -maintaining strong rules on immigration while also having a sensible policy of opening up paths to citizenship.
      -a political position strongly opposed to discrimination on the basis of race, gender or sexual preference.
      -cutting down on needless government spending and excessive bureaucracy
      -reworking the social welfare system into a form of Universal Basic Income
      -strong controls against monopolies and trusts as well as consumer protection while removing excessive government regulation in non-essential elements, making it easier to start a small business.
      -tax reform
      -decriminalizing soft drugs and ending the drug war.
      -a strong position of defending individual freedoms and rights. An opposition to 'social engineering' legislation be it based on religion or on identity-politics.
      -an ethical platform based on individualism and personal responsibility, while supporting community-based measures for local social welfare.

      I think that a lot of people who are not currently feeling served by either party as it currently exists would move to that. The hard-right Theocrats would have nowhere to go, it's not like the Democrats would steal them away (not while Democratic policy is being determined by hard-left collectivists, anyways), while a lot of people who are largely democrats because they can't stand the religious right and corporate greed would get poached by the "New GOP".

    3. It's funny that you refer to the Democrats at far-left radicals. Right wing rhetoric about "freedom" and "personal responsibility" aside, your platform matches the Democrats' more closely than it does the GOP's:

      - Since 1980, the national debt has risen under Republicans, then leveled off and fallen under Democrats.

      - Democrats are generally anti-war. The GOP is unbashedly pro-war.

      - Democrats campaign against corporate welfare (though reforms are lacking). The GOP sides with "job creators."

      - Democrats tried to get single-payer healthcare, which (judging by other wealthy nations) would be highly efficient. Due to GOP opposition, they compromised on Obamacare, a corporate handout.

      - Democrats try to expand functional, reasonably-efficient programs, like Medicaid. These programs are the closest thing we have to a UBI. Republicans add needless (and expensive) restrictions and hoops (drug testing).

      - Democrats push for pragmatic immigration reform, such as a path to citizenship and preferentially deporting criminals. Republicans oppose reform.

      - Democrats push sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes like race and religion. Republicans are assholes to gay people.

      - Both parties are behind on drugs, but the Democrats are closer. Obama is supportive, at least verbally, of legalized pot at the state level. Republicans recently added anti-pot-legalization footnotes to a federal budget bill.

      The Democrats only look like far-left radicals if you're comparing them to the GOP. Compared to the rest of the wealthy nations (with their free college education, universal healthcare, and state-subsidized blowjobs), the Democrats are boring centrists. They peddle middle-class tax cuts, balanced budgets, and moderate investment in education/healthcare/infrastructure.

      Whereas the GOP's social policy is dictated by theocrat nutjobs, the democrats largely ignore the parts of their base pushing for European-style socialism. If you're trying to build a party based on complex government restructuring and practical social positions, what would you rather start from: centrists in need of a unifying message, or the corporate Taliban, whose voters don't believe in evolution, global warming, or premarital sex?

    4. Your first point, about the debt is true. That might be a product in part of good luck as far as presidencies matching to economic upswings, but regardless the Republicans are actually awful at amassing debt.
      But just like the Republicans claim to be small-government but actually love government spending and debt, the Democrats may claim to be anti-war and anti-corporate-welfare but NOTHING they have done actually demonstrates that. They have consistently voted for all kinds of "foreign peacekeeping" missions, and they are just as sold to corporate interests as the republicans. The real difference is that the Republicans say they want smaller government, while the Democrats don't hide that they like bigger government.

      The democrats are just as beholden to corporations as the Republicans, they're only ALSO beholden to the Unions and to ideologies like marxism, radical feminism, postmodern identity-politics etc, all of which at their core emphasize this idea that a tiny elite should get to decide everyone else's life for them, because they "know what's best".
      That's why the Democrats can NEVER be the actual freedom-based party I envision.

      The Republicans may consistently fail at everything they claim about being pro-freedom and pro-small-government and pro-free-market, but at least they already claim to want these things, and not to want government to impose a social agenda on citizens whether they like it or not because it's 'for the best'. So with the Republicans, its only a matter of getting them to actually DO the things they already constantly claim to support.

    5. You're heavy on buzzwords, but let's actually talk about the things the parties are *doing*.

      "Beholden to unions"? Unions already exist. They are a free-market phenomenon. Republicans are trying to legislate them away, such as with right-to-work. Democrats are in opposition.

      "Just as sold out to corporate interests"? The Republicans are entirely sold out; the Democrats are only somewhat sold out. Who's blocking Keystone XL? Who's disallowing oil drilling in national parks? Who's pushing for campaign finance reform?

      "All kinds of 'foreign peacekeeping missions'"? The GOP puts boots on the ground. The Democrats take boots off the ground. I'm not a huge fan of drone strikes, but you're drawing a false equivalency between those and *occupying another nation*.

      "Beholden to marxism"? This is a bullshit GOP talking point. Democrats push for moderately progressive taxation. They're not even close to the tax rates that we had five decades ago. See also: Europe.

      "Beholden to radical feminism"? Democrats want people to have access to abortion, sex education, and contraception. They also wrote a bill making it illegal to pay women less than men for the same work, which didn't even pass. Is that radical to you?

      "Postmodern identity politics"? Democrats take targeted action to help groups that are the target of hate crimes and systemic discrimination. Is that what you're talking about?

      "This idea that a tiny elite should get to decide everyone else's life for them"? Republicans are the ones with draconian social policy, not democrats.

      The GOP does not "consistently fail at everything they claim about being pro-freedom and pro-small-government and pro-free-market." They are *lying* about being pro those things to get *you* to vote for them (because you do care about those things). And their voter base doesn't care.

      The GOP's voter base wants the GOP to stay exactly as it is. Recall that in the 2012 primary, Ron Paul took only 10% of the popular vote. By wide margins, the GOP base preferred Mitt Romney, a devout Corporatist, and Rick Santorum, a devout Theocrat.

      In that sense, the idea of Universal Basic Income is a game-changer. It shows that your hypothetical Libertarian party *does* feel an obligation to the nation's poor. *That's* usually the sticking point between Libertarianism and the left.

    6. I sense some partisanship going on here. Please note that any argument where you say "the republicans are doing it too" is not relevant, because I recognize the republicans are also doing it. It's what I want them to change.

      I agree that unions are a legitimate part of the free-market phenomenon, so long as they're not imposed by the government. But that doesn't change that while the republicans are heavily lobbied by big business and the religious right, the democrats are heavily lobbied by big business and the unions.

      And yes, just as sold out to corporate interest. There are a few 'buzzword'-motivated points where the Democrats will make a show of being 'against it', but you'll note that the Corporate lobby gets whatever they want just as much from the Democrats as from the Republicans. The only times the democrats will dare to vote against something in the interest of Big Business is when they're sure there's enough Republican votes to get it to pass anyways, so they can put on the show of being anti-big-business. But again, with the exception of certain trigger-word causes (the republicans have those too, you won't see them supporting green-energy subsidies, for example) they are still just as much a part of the government whoring itself to big business as the GOP, and if you don't believe that you're being naive. Neither of them want to get rid of the Corn Subsidies or the Oil subsidies, both gave huge bailouts to the "too big to fail" companies that absolutely needed to fail, all the differences between the two are largely aesthetic.

      "the democrats take boots off the ground"? Really? In the Obama administration, the U.S. is not out of Afghanistan, it hasn't closed Guantanamo, it's not even out of Iraq, not really. It's still meddling all over the middle east, it still has 30 times more aircraft carriers than the country with the second-highest number of aircraft carriers, it still has an immense nuclear arsenal, and it's still interfering with the local conflicts of any number of shithole countries.

    7. The fact that the Marxists are not particularly successful in getting their agenda forward in the Democratic party (even less than the religious right is in the GOP, which is pretty piss-poor) doesn't mean that they aren't there; that there are root concepts of "government intervening in the economy" and class-warfare elements that are a core value of the Democrats. This would make it very difficult for the Democratic party to be the one remade into a free-market values party

      Likewise, with both Marsixm and Feminism and its identity-politics elements, it would be difficult to remake the Democratic party into the party that values free speech, free expression, and freedom from social engineering. The Democrats (like the religious wing of the GOP) are just too into having a tiny elite tell everyone else what they're allowed to say, how they're supposed to think, and what they can and can't do even with their own bodies (they just want a different group of 'elites'; for the Religious Right it's pastors, for the Democrats it's post-modernist university professors and social workers).

      What I'm talking about is not access to abortion, sex ed or contraception, which the government should have no business banning or promoting either way (except possibly sex ed, as part of public schooling, you can have an argument for it). What I'm talking about are things like drug bans, smoking bans, seatbelt laws, banning sugar and soda/pop, junk food bans (because, you know, the poor should be forced to just shop at Whole Foods and Farmers Markets and buy $15 spinach dip like 'those of us who know better about our bodies'), the illegalization of sex workers, bans on legal pornography, speech-control and bans on certain words and ideas, and the general banning of anything they don't like because they figure that if they don't like then it must be evil and something OTHERS should be prevented from doing, not just something they themselves won't do.

      THAT, my friend, is draconian social policy. That is the suppression of free speech. While the Religious Right is still very shitty about it, on the whole in the past one or two decades I have watched the left in America go from being the champions of free speech and free expression to (shockingly) seeing them abandon first amendment principles more and more, to the point that now amongst everyone but the theocrats, the Democrats have become worse on the 1st Amendment than the GOP.


    8. There are other reasons why Ron Paul did not get a storm of votes; and this kind of change can't happen overnight. But a large part of the voter base in the GOP are part of that base because they actually believe that the GOP is about small-government and the free-market; a crucial early step is to get enough republicans pissed off at how the GOP really isn't.

      The conservative argument for supporting UBI is not about "obligation to the poor", as such (sorry as I am to burst your bubble). It is about realistic practicalities. It would be better to set up a no-string-attached system of social credit ('no strings' on either side, as in "we will not require anything of you to get this money, no jumping of hoops or pretending you're going to work really hard or doing slave-esque 'workfare' or fulfilling some kind of moral checklist of what we define as proper behaviour; but once we give it to you we owe you nothing else; if you spend it on meth in the first three days, go look for a private charity to save your worthless ass") and in that way slim down the welfare state to a single office with a simple and universal formula that requires very little oversight, than to keep having the bloated ridiculous system it has today. And UBI could stimulate self-employment or small/home-businesses, increase investment or spending among the middle class (because part of the no-strings thing would mean that everyone would get it, it wouldn't be based on how poor you are), and would confront a reality of our increasingly technological future, which is that in the future, there simply won't be enough jobs for everyone because menial labor will be increasingly mechanized (as will a lot of white-collar labor, not long after!), and we have to come up with a new model of capitalism that can accommodate that.

    9. I still don't feel like we're having the same conversation here. You're talking about the way the parties make you feel with their rhetoric. By that measure, Republicans look more Libertarian than the Democrats do -- by far -- and we might imagine the GOP shifting to be a Libertarian party. But I think it's much more appropriate to look at what the parties actually *do*. What legislation do they pass? Numbers are a lot easier to compare than feelings.

      Boots off the ground. Yes. When Obama took office, there were about 200k American troops in the Middle East. At present, it looks like about 10k remain. The military budget (appropriately enough) looks a lot like the national debt: it spikes when Republicans are in office, then levels off and drops under Democrats. Democrats still aren't great in this respect, but they are *obviously* better than the GOP. Furthermore, the Democratic base is much more open to noninterventionist policies.

      It's not the Democrats trying to ban porn; it's the Republicans. They updated their platform in 2012 to read, "Current laws on all forms of pornography and obscenity need to be vigorously enforced." They also write laws about it from time to time.

      The only recent legislation I'm seeing about fast food is two Republican bills (in AZ and WI) to ban food stamp recipients from buying it. The Republicans are the ones burning government funds to drug-test welfare recipients. Bloomberg has a hardon for soda; you'll note he switched over to the Republicans in 2001 (though he has since switched again, to be an Independent).

      The two parties have very different approaches to social engineering. Democrats work to stigmatize speech they don't like. They post on Facebook against bullying, and about pushing "retarded" and racially-charged words out of the public's lexicon. They try to make McDonalds post calorie counts on their menus. Maybe you think that's elitist. That's fine, since nothing at all would happen if you ignored them.

      Republicans, on the other hand, do their social engineering through Big Government. Oklahoma Republicans just voted to ban the teaching of AP history. A few years back, the Texas Board of Education successfully pressured textbook manufacturers to remove Thomas Jefferson and the Enlightenment from history books. There's a constant flood of Republican bills to mandate anti-evolution disclaimers on biology textbooks, most of which are thrown out in court (under the first amendment, of course). In Montana, Republicans just tried to ban yoga pants. Republicans passed constitutional amendments preemptively banning gay marriage. They try ever so often to ban flag burning. Recently, Republicans even legislated the sort of math that the CBO is allowed to use when doing budget analysis!

      "Class warfare" is a GOP buzzword. Nobody in the Democratic party is talking about burning down Sheldon Adelson's house. They're talking about cleaning up the tax code to get rid of some of his loopholes. They're talking about very tangible problems: GDP is rising, along with education and healthcare costs, but median income isn't keeping up. I challenge you to acknowledge this problem without opening yourself up to class warfare criticism.

    10. You say that a large part of the GOP base is there because they believe that the GOP is about small government and the free market. Even if that's true, that's not a desirable voting bloc -- apparently they'll vote for anyone who uses the words "small government" and "free market," regardless of the policies they advance in Congress! Furthermore, I'm not at all convinced that your claim is accurate. On issues like war, torture, and state-sponsored Christianity, GOP voters agree with the party platform.

      I'm not arguing that the Democrats are secretly Libertarians, or that they'd be amazing if you'd just give them a chance. They're not, and they wouldn't be. Their rhetoric is all wrong. They should be saying "clean up the exploitable tax code" instead of "tax the 1%." They should be going on the offensive to streamline the social safety net, rather than just complaining about Republicans who add bullshit bureaucracy to it. But if you're looking to sway a party towards reasonable Libertarianism, the Democrats do have a few big things going for them: The legislation they're passing is vaguely in the right direction, at least compared to the nutjob laws pushed by the GOP, and their voters get fired up when you talk about ending wars and corporate welfare (as opposed to expanding them).

    11. Again, its very clear here that you're just a Democratic party wonk who has zero interest in a real discussion. Maybe you're intimidated by the thought of a GOP liberated from the drag of the Religious Right?

      You are ignoring, in your arguments, everything the Democrats do at the state and local level, as well as their proxies in places like colleges.
      You've ignored the bans against soda in various cities (most famously in N.Y.), the whole "healthy lunches" debacle (not that school lunches should not be healthy, but in the urge toward social engineering and making a statement they produced a disaster in terms of results), the banning of entire companies from college campuses, the fact that ANY WAY YOU SPIN IT THE DEMOCRATS ARE STILL IN WARS AFTER COMING ON 7 YEARS IN POWER, the typical democrat's urge to censor speech or expression they don't like. And if you think they only want to use 'social pressure' to stigmatize, you clearly haven't seen what's going on in College Campuses throughout the country, or in terms of what kind of things they try to define as 'hate speech' (and therefore persecute). No one outside the religious right likes or takes serious the moral prudes of the Right. But the moral prudes of the Left are an ENORMOUS THREAT. They are the ones who now want to tell us what to do. FUCK THEM.

      Your arguments about Republican use of Big Government to do social engineering are very right, and only PROVE MY POINT, since it's the Religious Right who are behind all of these, and they're a direct contradiction to the small-government sentiments of 80% of Republican voters (with the other 20% being part of the religious right, I suppose) based on a 2013 Gallup poll.

      Incidentally, that same poll indicates that 55% of all americans PERIOD think that government does too much and favor small-government. Doesn't look good for you nanny-staters, does it? Or rather, it wouldn't if there was an opposition party that would purge itself of the theocrats and hypocrites. That's what the Republicans need to do if they want to become the party of long-term majority.

  2. I very much doubt 40% of Americans are "young earth creationists." I think the premise of the question is faulty to start with. And if 40% of Americans are really that ignorant, let's Balkanize already so I don't have to have their peanut butter in my chocolate.

    1. I have some doubts about that statistic too; I think that it's likely based on some very selective polling methods. But it's fair to say that in the U.S. there are a lot of young-earth creationists, whatever the exact number, more than any other developed country.

    2. Here are some respectable sources for those numbers.