Uncommon Sense

December 3, 2019

What You Oppose You Make Stronger

I cannot find a source for the quote used as the title of this post but it has been rattling around in my head for a very long time (it might be a Go aphorism). It came to me as I was reading these paragraphs in an article in The Atlantic:

“But the liberal politics of young people brings us to the first big reason to care about rising (religious) non-affiliation. A gap has opened up between America’s two political parties. In a twist of fate, the Christian right entered politics to save religion, only to make the Christian-Republican nexus unacceptable to millions of young people—thus accelerating the country’s turn against religion.

“Although it would be wrong to call Democrats a secular party (older black voters are highly religious and dependably vote Democratic), the left today has a higher share of religiously unaffiliated voters than anytime in modern history. At the same time, the average religiosity of white Christian Republicans has gone up, according to Robert P. Jones, the CEO of the polling firm, Public Religion Research Institute, and the author of The End of White Christian America. Evangelicals feel so embattled that they’ve turned to a deeply immoral and authoritarian champion to protect them—even if it means rendering unto an American Caesar whatever the hell he wants. American politics is at risk of becoming a war of religiosity versus secularism by proxy, where both sides see the other as a catastrophic political force that must be destroyed at all costs.”

I could almost hear the pieces clicking together in my mind. Follow me now. For the last half century, the wealthy elites in this country have engaged in a class war, although all they were doing was trying to reassert the control they used to have over the economy and culture, at least they claim that is what they were doing. They wanted: social stability, lower restrictions upon their ability to make money (lower taxes, less regulation, etc.), and a small grab bag of other things they thought were all to the good for “ordinary people,” of whom they knew none.

As part of that social stability, they saw strong corporations, strong families, and a dominant religion as parts (our dominant religion is “Christianity,” whatever the heck that is).

Their strategy was to control elections and government, something the wealthy elites were used to doing in the past, although they did it socially. It was considered unseemly and “beneath their station in life” to participate in politics. But that changed with the Powell Memo and a new breed of wealthy businessmen (yes businessmen, few women were involved as they were seen as a pillar of families, so they belonged in the home bringing order to that chaos).

In order to expand and protect their wealth, it was necessary to effect wealth transfers, from the poor and middle class to them. This was effected mostly through tax revisions; for example, tax cuts were good so small tax cuts for the poor and middle class (throw them a bone) and large tax cuts for the wealthy were, and still are, the order of the day. Many of the wealthy were shocked at how effective their political spending was. ROIs of over 20:1 were seen (for every dollar they spent on politicking/lobbying, $20 came back to them or their corporations). This was too easy.

But eviscerating the poor and middle class by making them politically impotent and economically disadvantaged, had consequences. By making them less secure, they also were being made less religious. Religious leaders were seen to be as corrupt as the political leaders. This was topsy-turvy to the wealthy; usually insecurity raised religiosity. People turned to God when their needs were not being met. But in this case, people were seeing religions forming coalitions with politicians and religious scandals were undermining people’s acceptance of their religion as being separate from and different from their politicians.

The economic uncertainty has weakened the state of marriage, weakened the hold of religion on people’s thinking, and undermined the social stability these fat cats were trying to effect.

They are now riding the tiger of the populous sentiments that have risen in response to their actions.

Well, it least they got richer.


  1. Not sure who made the title of this post either. Actually, it is the first time I recall seeing it. To me, it is a twist on the old “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.
    I do like how the rich clowns have seen their pet project blow up in their face. I’d like to be able to see all religion just fall by the curb and superstitions of that sort be viewed as they should be. Well the way I view them, as silly old superstitions and myths, fairy tales and the like.
    Teach the kids critical thinking and logic, not pie in the sky next life rewards. That has always seemed like horse crap to me.


    Comment by Walter Kronkat — December 3, 2019 @ 2:03 pm | Reply

  2. One thing I am becoming more concerned about is that history tends to indicate that as more and more of a society’s resources are concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people, there is also a growing trend towards open and sometimes violent revolution of the “have nots” against the “haves”. The have-nots reach the point where they have nothing left to lose any more. This leads the haves to institute increasingly draconian police and surveillance measures against the have-nots, which in turn leads towards more anger against the haves, and you end up with a full blown revolution.


    Comment by grouchyfarmer — December 3, 2019 @ 5:05 pm | Reply

  3. The Christian right did not enter politics to ‘save religion’…it did so to save Jim Crow. https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/05/religious-right-real-origins-107133

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by brucedesertrat — December 6, 2019 @ 7:46 am | Reply

    • I agree this played a role … initially … and I do not think that that the “religious” are a monolithic block. Possibly the entree into politics was as you indicate (and I believe that is correct) and then they stayed when that reason faded and their new found political power needed a new focus. I tend to think that the religious right’s leaders didn’t want to give up any of the power they wielded and so they “led” their “followers” onto new fields.


      Comment by Steve Ruis — December 6, 2019 @ 8:02 am | Reply

      • “I tend to think that the religious right’s leaders didn’t want to give up any of the power they wielded and so they “led” their “followers” onto new fields.”

        I think you have a very good point there. A lot of the controversial things they’re pushing today have little or no historical basis in their belief system, and are relatively modern developments. The “young earth” nonsense is relatively new, as is the “pro life” movement and the claims that every word in the bible is literally true.


        Comment by grouchyfarmer — December 6, 2019 @ 10:25 am | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: