Reddest State in the Union

By By [email protected]

By [email protected]

Congratulations Utah for becoming the reddest, most republican voting state in the union! There is little mystery about why we are so red. The predominant religious orientation is predominantly republican. Obviously the majority of LDS people perceive the Republican Party as the political party that best coincides with their religious ideology. There are some obvious overlaps such as the pro-life standpoint. However, as a member of that faith myself with a solid understanding of LDS ideology, I wonder why more LDS people don’t vocalize the fundamental overlap between their religious ideology and other parties further left on the political spectrum.

The overlap isn’t hard to find. On the left there is the strong concern about the effect of greed upon society. There is the concern about power and wealth being concentrated in the hands of a few. There is the concern about the plight of the poor and the otherwise afflicted or disenfranchised. There are the concerns about education, environment, community, and other social goods that are constantly threatened by the temptation of favoring the short-term over the future. The political right by no means monopolizes family values.

Arguably, some of these ideals are actually threatened, not supported by the hard right. People who tend to think socialism is a synonym for evil are likely to undermine the creation of social goods that can only be created by socialist policies such as public education or environmental protection. People who tend not to distinguish between democracy and capitalism are likely not to understand how unchecked capitalism can actually have negative consequences (think Enron) such as widespread poverty and the disintegration of the middle-class. Let’s not forget that the right can be influenced by strong corporate interest groups (think Haliburton and the pharmaceutical industry).

Now, with a little reflection and perhaps some review of holy writ and core Christian doctrines, it becomes apparent that the concerns and ideals listed above take up a major space and constitute major themes in scripture. Take for instance the belief in fallen man. The belief in fallen man leads people to distrust government and clamor for responsibility in government. That’s fine. But this same belief should invoke distrust for the greed in big business as well – which necessitates that the government, the only institution with enough strength to confront big business, needs to be empowered with the policies and funding to check corporate corruption and greed. To favor laissez-fair capitalism is at least in one sense contradictory to the belief in fallen man.

Thomas Sowell in his insightful book A Conflict of Visions points out that a belief in an inherent darker side of human nature led the founding fathers to architect the constitution and the Republic with strong checks and balances. In a state with a party that enjoys a stark majority, a lack of balance is a legitimate concern.