May 28, 2006


American theocracy: Is God ambidextrous? (Lexington, May 25th 2006, The Economist)

The religious left is more energised than it has been for years. The number of new-wave “values voters”—who loathe, rather than love, the values embraced by George Bush—is growing rapidly. They range from blacks and Latinos (who are among the most churchgoing people in the country) to left-wing evangelicals to a hotch-potch of Buddhists and gurus, and they are coming together to make their voices heard. The religious left has acquired spokesmen in the form of Jim Wallis, the author of “God's Politics”, and Michael Lerner, a rabbi and the organiser of last week's conference. Several topical themes are giving it momentum, from immigration reform, where the Catholic church has been particularly outspoken, to Iraq. [...]

The Democratic high command has at last worked out that it does not have much chance of thriving in one of the most religious countries in the world if it cannot close the “God-gap”. Yet, if anything, the God-gap is growing. In 2004 Mr Bush won 64% of the votes of people who go to church more than once a week and 58% of people who go once a week. The proportion of people who regard the Democratic Party as less “friendly” towards religion than the Republican increased from 12% in 2003 to 20% in 2005. Fully 67% of people think that liberals have gone too far in keeping religion out of schools. [...]

The religious left suffers from two long-term problems. The first is that it is building its house on sand. The groups that make up the heart of the religious left—mainline Protestants, liberal Catholics and reform Jews—are all experiencing long-term decline. Most of the growth in American religion is occurring among conservative churches. And the constituent parts of the religious left are also at odds over important issues. Middle-of-the-road Catholics are happy to march hand-in-hand with mainline Protestants over immigration and inequality. But they often disagree over abortion and gay rights.
The secular left usually wins

Serious doubts also persist about how much the Democratic Party is willing to change to embrace religion. Some influential Democrats want real change. Others think that all they need to do is drop a few platitudes to religious voters and the God-gap will disappear.

Oops, way to step on your own theme. It's precisely because blacks and Latinos are religious but not left-wing that the Democrat coalition can't hold and the Party will end up opposing immigration.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 28, 2006 11:39 AM

Ah, so the Religious Left is a figment of the fertile imagination of Clintonista Michael Lerner, last heard from at one of the Clintons' boomer "Renaissance" weekends.

Thanks for clearing that up Lexington.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at May 28, 2006 12:03 PM

Cross-cleavage, remember? Immigration is bad news for both parties.

It is worse for the Republicans because the cynical corruption of it all cannot be sold to the the "good guy" part of the base and just because Republicans are the ones with the responsibility to govern.

Watching the administration and the Senate Republicans trying to finesse this is like watching the Hindenburg come down in flames--"Oh, the humanity!"

One can only recall Aesop's fable about the man and the boy taking the donkey to market, trying to please everybody and winding up pleasing no one and losing their--donkey. Look at what is being proposed and tell us that it is going to be acceptable to anyone.

Unless the market dynamics of illegal immigration are transformed by rationalizing the cost of illegal labor, it is going to be same old, same old, with the addition of amnesty.

Posted by: Lou Gots at May 28, 2006 6:33 PM

Non-Hispanic whites will be less than half the population within four decades--trying to cling to power on the basis of race is a losing proposition. Breaking the nativists and making the GOP the Latino party now is just common sense.

Posted by: oj at May 28, 2006 6:40 PM


I wonder if you are aware that the states with the lowest percentages of foreign-born/illegals (both Dakotas, Montana, Mississippi, Louisiana pre-Katrina) also were states which had the lowest median wages in the nation. Not to mention, these are also states which tend to lead the nation in percentages of young people who leave their respective states for college/military.

You may make as many arguments about "market dynamics" needing to change to get illegal immigration curtailed as you like, but you can't tell me that having large percentages of your native-born in menial jobs is a good thing for an economy, either.

Posted by: Brad S at May 28, 2006 10:08 PM

The surest way to deter immigrants is to destroy your own economy.

Posted by: oj at May 28, 2006 11:25 PM

THe attempted ripostes just whistle past the farce and fraud of open-borders/amnesty.

This has nothing to do with "racism" and little to do with nativism. It is very simple: it costs less--much less--to employ illegal labor than to pay the full load of taxes, insurance, benefits and regulations associated with legal labor. Pretending that this is not so is sort of like pretending that Communism works.

That states with low demand for labor have low demand for illegal labor is no surprise. Rather, it is perfectly consistent with market analysis.

The joke is that the amnesty scheme will change nothing. Any illegals who buy into it will simply price themselves out of the market in favor of new, less legal, illegals.

"Oh, it's crashing!. . . Oh, the humanity, and all the passengers. . .."

Posted by: Lou Gots at May 29, 2006 12:03 AM


Illegals make pretty good money, they just do jobs natives won't. The notion that they benefit from their illegality is silly.

Posted by: oj at May 29, 2006 7:54 AM

Most illegals have real jobs where they're paid the going rate and their employer makes social security contributions. There just aren't a bunch of reliable Americans waiting to break into the exciting world of animal slaughter.

Posted by: David Cohen at May 29, 2006 10:13 AM