Monday, July 11, 2011
Missionary Zeal in American Politics
The same is true of Islam. Muslims are similarly bound by their belief to convert the infidel to Islam, the one true faith.
The same is not true of Judaism or Buddhism. It's next to impossible for a non-Jew to convert to Judaism. Buddha taught that each person should make up his or her own mind about whether to accept his teachings.
All of these reminiscences introduce the idea of this post. Many Americans have deep ideological beliefs about what kind of government and what kind of society we should have. These beliefs are not based on public opinion or public judgment or democracy. They transcend all that. I refer to the beliefs of some members of the Republican Party. These beliefs seem to be as follows, in part:
- Government that imposes regulations and high taxes is bad.
- People should take care of themselves and not depend on government for anything.
- Government should make life simple and easy for people who run businesses.
- It is the mission of True Republicans to try as hard as they can to reduce the size of government. That means lowering government revenue, abolishing regulations, and ending all forms of welfare, including social security and medicare.
- The ideal life is one like that of the early nineteenth century (without slavery, of course).
- The federal government should stop borrowing money to pay expenses. It should cut expenses to match the available revenue.
- Government should not redistribute wealth. If poor people want to become less poor they should work harder.