T Nation

Economic Liberals = Atheists & Economic Conservatives = Theists?


Any thoughts on this are welcome. I think that theists tend to argue that conservative economic principles are moral, and liberal ones are not. Others say that religious people should be economically liberal because they should believe in sharing.

Meanwhile, are atheists being honest and objective when they push for liberal economic policies? Shouldn't they prefer some kind of natural selection, the best fit individuals in a population survive? Or maybe they feel the system now does not favor the "fittest" because some who are rich are not so on merit. Are they being emotionally driven by envy or by compassion while they reject religion on rational terms? Or do they just not like the power that religious INSTITUTIONS have weilded?

Trying to be balanced here.


Made me think of this


I think you may be confusing the term Liberal with altruistic and conservative being anti social programs . I could understand a conservative being anti social programs if they were anti all big government spending
( Ron Paul )


My viewpoint as a conservative is that I will help others because I choose to help them, and that I have no right to force others to help the poor by force of law, and that can be bad for those "helped" to make them believe that they are entitled to that help, and therefore it eliminates the blessing to those who give, and the thanksgiving of those who receive.


Anyone basing their views on the economy on religion is starting off on the wrong foot, as the two are unrelated. I'm not religious at all, but I believe in conservative economic principles because I believe they cause the most good for the highest number of people and increase the standard of living across all economic boundaries. Instead of focusing on who gets what slice of the pie (liberal economic policies), conservative economic principles increase the overall size of the pie so everyone gets more.


What I really want to know is why do atheists tend to be economic liberals? I could see someone understand conservative principals do the most good, but decide to be economically liberal out of compassion, but I wouldn't expect an athiest to do this.


You wouldn't expect an atheist to be compassionate?

Maybe you're on to something. Atheists dont believe in a flying wizard man up in the sky, so they believe taking care of other human beings is up to -ya know- the rest of us human beings.


I am asking if it is rational to do so. Prove to me that humans should morally be generous. OK, maybe it cuts down on revolutions and stuff. People have an innate desire to help others. Its a drive that may defy logic though.

Granted, I firmly believe that conservative economics produces the most good for the poorest. Conservative principals increase the size of the pie. Liberal ones bring the richer down 3 steps and the poorer down 1 step, but heck its fairer right?


Its rational in the sense that we have a built in desire to help others - we're programmed to because helping each other is the only thing that has allowed our species to survive.

I dont think its a matter of policies, really. There are examples of socialist countries that fail and socialist countries that prosper, same with any economy.


I think you have it backwards.... (we need to better define our terms though..)

I think that most atheist are "economic liberals" in the TRUE meaning of the word - ie - classic liberalism/laissez faire/libertarian. This describes myself - both a staunch libertarian and atheist.


Example of socialist countries that prosper please.


You are right that I used the term economic liberal (liberal meaning free) when I probably should have said socialist. I don't agree that most atheists are free market/maximum private ownership proponents though so I'd have to say your wrong on that second part.


EDIT: Countries with extensive social programs fare very well on the HDI and have lower inequality but that is not socialism. Just clarifying the post


Socialism is religion. It just replaces "God" with "society."



It replaces God with the state.

Not quite the same.


Lower inequality is not a virtue in and of itself, the HDI is highly subjective and due to the incommensurabilty of hapiness virtually meaningless, and even if all of this were not so, those countries are practically bancrupt, which does not bode well for the happiness of their people.

Even if you could buy happiness on the back of the most productive of societies memhbers, you can only do so a very short time, which incidentally seems to be the planning horizon for democratically elected officals.


yes. this,


Marxism certainly replaced God with "evolved man". Religion is replaced with the state, but God becomes fully realized humans.


Help someone so that they might help you at some undetermined point in the future. It's actually very logical, and is one of the things that has allowed our species to flourish.


So progressives are basically "free marketers", they just include their voting power as a resource?