Some brief comments concerning Doug Bandow’s post, A Liberal God at the Daily Caller. I find many typically make the mistake of associating Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” with “The Wealth of Nations,” and not with the actual work, “The Theory of Moral Sentiments,” where Smith actually introduced his famous metaphorical term. Smith was not interested in rooting morality in the supernatural or any god. Rather he was interested in rooting it in sociology, and his theory of moral sentiments attempts to explain sympathy/empathy(i.e., humans as “other-regarding”) as emergent properties of self-regarding(i.e., egoist) agent interaction. This is “the invisible hand.”
Theologians, or evangelicals, or whatever type of religious creatures like Jim Wallis, when they mutter such things as:
Emphasizing individual rights at the expense of others violates the common good.
They are not liberals. They are not even remotely left wing or of the left. Rather they are the descendants of a long line of priestly authoritarians who root morality in the authority of a Church-State ruling class.
Recently, Cato Unbound had a topic on Darwin and Liberalism. The whole thing, to me, was a conflation of “the Invisible Hand” with Neoclassical Perfect Competition. No, Darwin, or evolutionary psychology, or whatever, does not provide any scientific basis for the notion that spontaneous order obviates the need for dispute resolution(perfect competition equilibrium implies no firms, and hence, the absence of dispute resolution) or collective action. However, the Darwin model provides a considerable scientific paradigm that backs up Smith’s original work on moral sentiments. Morality can be rooted in liberty, and not in political or religious authority. This is liberalism. And this was a topic I discussed in a previous post, Markets and Fairness, at Freedom Democrats.
I also understand that at the recent FreedomFest, Doug Casey debated Dinesh D’Souza over the positive role of religion from a liberal or libertarian perspective. Apparently, the debate audience overwhelmingly sided with D’Souza, which, I suppose, indicates the conservative tilt of FreedomFest.
Bandow’s case was against a “liberal god” condemnation of the “Tea Party.” Well, that’s an easy enough case to make. I would just add, however, that the bigger issue is likely the specter of a right-wing Jesus leading the movement.
I don’t have much good to say about either left-wing or right-wing Christianity. Fuck Jim Wallis and Fuck Michele Bachmann and fuck their political Jesuses. Heaven is for the politicos; hell is for those of us who have to bear the burden of the outcomes…