Posted by: CJ | April 13, 2011


Talking with a friend about conservatives (a discussion started from this Tyler Cowen link), I realized a simpler way to explain American conservatives. (This particular friend grew up partially in Canada and partially in Hong Kong, and just doesn’t really get it on a deep level.)

The simple story is this: there is a brand of American conservative Christian that believes the USA was created for them, by them. And that this is essentially a modern-day Covenant between God and his American conservative Christian people.

Amongst this brand of American conservative Christians, there are those that think that since the USA is theirs by right, any change in its policies or priorities to encompass other communities is deeply, deeply wrong. If anything, the policies should change to be more centric on the community of American conservative Christians.

In my view, that’s essentially all there is to the story. The specific policies of this group are whatever they’ve deemed important for various reasons, not the least of which is to set them apart from the other groups which are not part of the Modern American Covenant.

The truth of their mythology that the country was created for them, by them is another topic. A very contentious one…after all, how can you convince someone that the mythos of their entire community is wrong? And even if you did, would the mythos being wrong matter? Not if they’re still part of the same community…



  1. Yep… you’ve pretty much nailed it. Your point about trying to reason with them being sort of a waste of time because their beliefs are so embedded at a deeply mythic level is particularly well-taken. I guess I would describe it as a witch’s brew that combines a virulent strain of garden-variety American exceptionalism with a mindset derived from the Genesis bit about man having dominion over the animals, environment etc. in God’s stead. I think these folks view themselves as having dominion over those “inferior” animals who don’t share their cultural ethos and values, and that their function in society is something like being God’s angels who are called to protect their sacred way of way of life from the barbarians at the gate…

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