Originally Posted by orangebird
Can you help me decipher this part?
Are you saying "spiritual traditionalists" (does that mean religious?) are more likely to be serious about personal freedoms, while atheists or secularists, for example, would be more likely to just give lip service to it?
in other words do you mean religious people value freedom more than secular people?
Please tell me I misunderstood that
or at least explain how that would be so.
Well, I am talking about within liberalism. Not in general.
What I mean is... say you've got a person, very secular-leaning, politically liberal. And he supports all of the commonly-discussed politically-correct positions concerning personal freedom of choice. So he's pro-birth control, pro-marriage-rights, pro-choice on abortion, pro-legalizing MJ, etc. And he gives these pompous speeches about keeping the government out of the bedroom, and the nastiness of the authoritarian Religious Right, and so forth. But, he's never been tested. Because all of the things that he believes the government should stay out of, he has no problem with anyway. It's almost redundant. But when he gets in office, and is confronted with a behavior or lifestyle or belief that he finds abhorrent, that he disagrees with strongly, that he believes is evil and immoral... what's he going to do? Sure, he says in his campaign speeches that he's for personal freedom. But he's never actually been in a situation where somebody is coming to him and saying "I do this thing that you consider immoral. Do you support my right to do it?" So, it's anybody's guess what he's going to do.
Now, say you have a devoutly religious person. He believes that blasphemy is abhorrent. But he thinks about the issue carefully, and he supports freedom of expression. So when a blasphemous (in his opinion) art exhibit comes to his town, he doesn't try to censor it. If that guy gets elected to public office, and he is confronted with something that repels him, that repulses him, that is the antithesis of everything he believes in--maybe he will flip-flop, but maybe he will think "just like I supported the personal freedom rights of that nasty art exhibit, I should support personal freedoms here too."
Basically, because religious people are a majority and secularists are a minority, stuff that is offensive to religious people is a hotly-debated political issue all the time. Porn, school prayer, abortion, evolution, on and on. Of course, I know that not all people of all religions feel the same way about this. Not at all. But in the public debates, these issues are framed as religious people's sensibilities
vs. personal freedom
. And it's always a struggle which will win out in any given case. So it's likely, that if you are a devoutly religious person, and you are in politics, you have been confronted with at least one of these issues in which your personal faith and sensibilities was in conflict with personal freedom. And if you, as a citizen, came down on the side of religious freedom, there is evidence there. Evidence that when you say "I support personal freedom even if it means people making a choice I don't like," that you mean it.
In contrast, secular humanists are a minority. As such they have many fewer opportunities to impose their sensibilities on the majority. That doesn't mean they wouldn't like to. Some of them would like to. Some of them would like to impose their sensibilities but don't think of it as imposing their sensibilities, just as "protecting people." And they justify this as being very, very different from theocrats imposing their sensibilities, because theirs are not religiously based. A huge distinction--an unwarranted
distinction, IMO--is made between religiously based sensibilities and non religiously based sensibilities. I firmly believe you can be a secular humanist authoritarian just as much as you can be a religiously theocratic authoritarian. But because issues on which some (some! not all! don't accuse me of saying 'all,' because I'm not!) secular humanists would like to be authoritarian don't come up in mainstream political discourse, a secular humanist candidate is more likely to be untested, as far as where he stands on authoritarianism from his side.
Okay. That makes no
I am basically describing a phenomenon with people I know personally. So, absent context... well, maybe you know some people like that too. So maybe it makes some sense.