A free market in ideas 3

One of our readers, Nietrick, has raised a very important question: who are acceptable political fellow travelers ? The US has a two party system, so if power to make law is desired, we are left with a choice between the GOP and the Democratic Party.   I would guess that many atheists are Democrat, because they associate Republicans, or conservatives generally,  with the religious.  And statistically they would be right. But they must also have an ideological leaning towards collectivism, and an anti-free-market, authoritarian government. (Perhaps the bias is inspired by the wish to squash religion.)  For an atheist to consider himself a Republican, the free-market, individual freedom and  small (federal) government principles must be of paramount importance. If the religious vote Republican because they want government either to legislate religious values, or because it is more likely to support values that are traditionally in line with religious beliefs (heterosexual marriage, pro-life, creationism), does the GOP become a hostile place for a rational, free-market atheist?  No.  Leaving out the extreme religious agenda (establishing a state upon a constitution based on fundamentalist interpretations of the Bible),  political policies attached to marriage and abortion should be decided at the State level. The GOP has been a strong supporter of States’ rights precisely because it allows local majorities to decide social issues – and therefore allows for the most self-determination, and diversity. Should Kansas decide to demand creationism be taught in schools, foolish as it is, it has only local effect, and individuals are still free to work around it. Meanwhile, other states will ban creationism from science class to another forum, or altogether. Given the need for qualified scientists, I believe that the creationist jurisdictions will fade away.  Indeed,  I believe that the free market permits the free market of ideas, and backward leaning ideas will be crowded out as they always eventually have been, by innovation and progress, which occur only under free-market and individual liberty systems. For these reasons, I believe that for atheists who want rationality to flourish and individuals to arrange their lives as they will (within the law),  the GOP is the right choice, although there are more atheists on the other side. I would also add that the left desires a uniformity of opinion, which we are seeing propagandized nationwide in schools, whereas the right likes  genuine diversity of ideas.

C. Gee  September 2009