Kevin Kruse, a historian at Princeton University, has a theory: This is an echo of an old alliance between white, evangelical Protestants and the corporate world. In his book One Nation Under God, published last year, Kruse argues that business titans joined forces with ministers and pastors following the Great Depression, pushing back against the New Deal with a kind of “Christian libertarianism.” Later, Dwight Eisenhower took their arguments—that freedom from government is a necessary part of freedom under God—and transformed them into messages about America: “In God We Trust” was adopted as the national motto and added to U.S. currency, and “under God” was tacked onto the pledge of allegiance. In turn, Kruse argues, Nixon used the newly minted image of America as a “Christian nation” to justify many of his policies.
Perhaps a strain of “Christian libertarianism” is coming back in American politics, showing up in a push to have government “run like a business” and a sense of anxiety about individual religious liberty being trampled by changing social mores. Kruse and I spoke about the possible connection between Trump’s rise and this old strain of pro-individualism among some conservative Christians.
Here is some of what Kruse said in an interview with The Atlantic
The first strand is an old one. You can look at the way in which Christians, Protestants, have seen personal success as a sign of God’s work.
The real political linkage is one that comes about through these corporate leaders in the 1930s, who are looking for someone to push back against the New Deal. When their own efforts fall flat, they go looking for ministers to make the case for them. They come together around a common set of values: They see the New Deal and the labor unions’ power as forces of “pagan statism.” Through that common enemy, they make an argument that Christianity and capitalism are one and the same.
In my book, I talk about James Fifield, who argues quite explicitly that both the systems are based on individual salvation. In his telling, a good Christian goes to heaven; a bad one goes to hell. A good capitalist makes profit, a bad one goes to the poorhouse. In both systems, individuals rise on their own merits.
If you go back and look at the main libertarian thinkers from the 1930s on, religion doesn’t play a large role in their lives. Even some, like Ayn Rand, are atheists.
Christian libertarianism is an effort by ministers like Fifield or Vereide or even Billy Graham to appropriate classic libertarian arguments, which didn’t at all have to do with religion, and put a religious veneer on them to make them palatable for Americans. They reprint Hayek and von Mises and people like that who never would have made an argument in religious terms; they send them off to ministers and religious leaders. Christian libertarianism is essentially an effort to appropriate a political ideology that either had nothing at all to do with religion or was antithetical to religion and instead use it toward a set of ends that had a religious gloss to it.
Perry High is located in a rural part of the state, making its relatively high percentage of minorities unusual. According to a report by Iowa TV station WHO, fans at a game Monday were chanting “Trump! Trump! Trump!” and “U-S-A” at Perry players, who include boys of Latino, Native American and African American heritage.
“It’s honestly disrespectful. That’s how I take it. I hear it during the game, on and off the court. Everywhere I go,” Shammond Ivory, a senior on the team, told WHO.
An official for the school Perry played Monday, Dallas Center-Grimes, confirmed to the TV station that the chants had taken place. He declined to say whether any students had been disciplined.
“We are all aware of racism, it’s alive and well in small portions, but it’s alive and well and it’s just hurtful to see that’s what they resort to,” a Perry student, Kevin Lopez, said.
Disgusting actions by fans and by the school that allowed it to happen.
The â€œIf global warming is real, then why is it cold out?â€ line of argument has been around since the early days of the climate change debate, but the positively Hoth-esque temperatures have increased the volume of those hoping to undercut the â€œinconvenient truthâ€ of anthropogenic global warming. So, does the recent spate of cold snaps prove Al Gore a filthy, PowerPoint-loving, Oscar-winning liar? No. Sorry, Donald.
Most obviously, climate is different than weatherâ€”thatâ€™s why the Midwest and Northeast have faced three snowstorms in the past two weeks while the drought in California has been so severe that water deliveries from reservoirs to the Central Valley have been cut to zero. Climate trends are exactly that: trends. One swallow doesnâ€™t make a summer, and one blisteringly cold month doesnâ€™t prove 97 percent of climate scientists wrong.
Another key component of â€œglobal warmingâ€ is right there in the name: â€œglobal.â€ In December 2013, North America was colder than average, but Russia and most of Europe were far hotter. Despite what Ted Cruz thinks (or wants), the world extends beyond the continental United States, and most of it has been crazy hot. For every cold snap in the U.S., thereâ€™s a wildfire in Australia so intense that it creates its own weather.
Itâ€™s also important to note that although, baby, itâ€™s cold outside, itâ€™s not nearly as cold as it was generations ago. The East River froze at least a dozen times between 1780 and 1888. In fact, after a particularly hard winter in 1866-1867, frustration with halted ferry service eventually led to the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. As webcomic xkcd noted, St. Louis, once the frozen home to a handful of sub-zero temperatures every year, hasnâ€™t had a day that cold since the 1990s. Thatâ€™s the thing about extreme weather: Itâ€™s extreme. The colds get colder, the hots get hotter, and the hurricanes get more destructive.
Last night Wendy and I had Sean Shaw, Jeff Jackson, Pat Lorje, and DeeAnn Mercier over to watch the results come in. Â Â The wifi was reinforced, I bugged DeeAnn about her new job, the NDP jokes were sharpened, and I prepared a story about Joe Clark in case Jeff and I needed to reminisce. Â
Wendy made a bunch of food, Sean brought over a bunch of food, and others brought over stuff as well. Â We ate well. Â Other than Obama’s personal victory, the win of the night was that Sean was able to get a box of candy for next to nothing. Â It’s rumoured that when Karl Rove had his meltdown it wasn’t over Ohio but rather over what Sean paid for his candy.
All I know is that between Wendy and Sean there was more food here than at either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama’s parties.
It was a weird night of television. Â We alternated between arguing U.S. politics and then would go argue a couple of city reports. Â It got confusing. Â In the end I think we all agreed that Barack Obama has not been strong as he should be on our north commuter bridge and I think Sean Shaw is thinking of running for a U.S. Senate seat. Â It was all a blur.
Some things broke out on Twitter. Â I was assailed for not inviting more of you. Â Next time we have an election night, I will invite more people. Â While we were all really happy with the election results, I was haunted all night by a comment by Coun. Lorje who reminded me that Mark is closer to growing up than I like to admit. Â I worked on my first election when I was age and he already has a couple under his belt. Â He reads the Economist. Â Girls are starting to call for him. Â Pat’s comment made me realize that I was soon to be a parent of a teenager. Â I don’t think I am prepared well for it. Â Mitt Romney lost the election, I entered into a mid-life crisis. Â Maybe I can ask Mitt Romney for advice. Â He has time on his hands.