I say the bigger the tent the better liberty will be served. And that tent should include atheists. However, I suspect the social conservatives in the center-right movement no doubt will be besides themselves if not beside the very credentialed Heather McDonald and her small minority of intellectuals. The social right’s little inferiority complex about how secular America has impinged upon their belief system (a tiresome whine) stands little chance with McDonald who has little patience for the “knee-jerk venom squad” of the echo chamber.
The New York Times features this small microcosm of the movement that should not be alienated but probably will be in the long run.
As a child, Razib Khan spent several weeks studying in a Bangladeshi madrasa. Heather Mac Donald once studied literary deconstructionism and clerked for a left-wing judge. In neither case did the education take. They are atheist conservatives – Mr. Khan an apostate to his family’s Islamic faith, Ms. Mac Donald to her left-wing education.
They are part of a small faction on the right: conservatives with no use for religion. Since 2008, they have been contributors to the blog Secular Right, where they argue that conservative values like small government, self-reliance and liberty can be defended without recourse to invisible deities or the religions that exalt them.
And they serve as public proof that an irreligious conservative can exist.
For many, the conjunction of conservatism and atheism is embodied by the novelist Ayn Rand, whose thought blended free-market absolutism and human-worshiping atheism. She is influential – her cultic following included the young Alan Greenspan – but she is contemned (sic) by many intellectuals and is no patron saint to the bloggers at Secular Right.
Onward Christian soldiers! Let the flame wars begin!