Original Spin: Progressives Dismiss Conservative Theology at Their Peril
Since that turbulent decade, conservatives have been mounting a desperate counterattack against the trust in desire, using an endless series of political issues to wage their fight: communism, multiculturalism, drugs, abortion, school prayer, terrorism, gay marriage (the list goes on and on)—and “big government.” Each symbolizes, in its own way, the threat of original sin unleashed and the anarchy it would supposedly breed.
From this perspective it’s not at all outlandish to see theological meaning in the conservative drive for slashing government spending for human services. It’s perfectly reasonable if we accept some version (no matter how secularized) of the concept of original sin. That concept makes it just as reasonable to spend endlessly on “national security,” to protect us from the evil machinations of sinners abroad. Here at home though, everyone must be left free to make their own choices and face the consequences.
This is only one theological argument for cutting domestic government spending. There are surely others, but all lead back to the premise of original sin.
Whether we, the people of the United States, should accept that ancient doctrine as a foundation of our collective political life is the great question of our time. Unfortunately, it remains virtually undebated in public political discourse because its central role remains largely invisible.
If Jim DeMint and all conservative politicians were forced to come out of the theological closet and talk about original sin directly, then we might see what a truly fruitful political debate looks like.