Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Eye of the Needle

Former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, writing in The American Prospect, has put his finger on one of the great, and largely unexamined, contradictions for social conservatives who find themselves locked in an awkward embrace with the intelligent design.

They're dead set against the theory of biological evolution -- which they derisively label Neo-Darwinism -- but they're among the strongest supporters of the discredited notion of social Darwinism.

Here's how Reich puts it:
The modern conservative movement has embraced social Darwinism with no less fervor than it has condemned Darwinism. Social Darwinism gives a moral justification for rejecting social insurance and supporting tax cuts for the rich. “In America,” says Robert Bork, “‘the rich’ are overwhelmingly people -- entrepreneurs, small-business men, corporate executives, doctors, lawyers, etc. -- who have gained their higher incomes through intelligence, imagination, and hard work.” Any transfer of wealth from rich to poor thereby undermines the nation’s moral fiber. Allow the virtuous rich to keep more of their earnings and pay less in taxes, and they’ll be even more virtuous. Give the non-virtuous poor food stamps, Medicaid, and what’s left of welfare, and they’ll fall into deeper moral torpor.

Today, social conservatives push doubtful readings of the Bible on such controversial issues as evolution, abortion, and gay rights while they ignore Jesus' plainly spoken words: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:24)


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