“You can be sincere, and still be stupid,” wrote a brilliant Russian novelist. That describes, it seems to me, so many leaders of the conservative movement these days — men who have with great sincerity have led the political party of my father into an ideology that has become stupid.
Although Antonin Scalia, Bill O’Reilly and John Boehner share the Catholic beliefs of my father, my dad would be horrified at their “learned” conservative stupidity. Their views on guns, health care and budget would make no sense to that sensible man, my father.
Without realizing how death-dealing their views are, they remain sincere and consistent with their extreme leaders: men like Limbaugh, Norquist and Gingrich. These leaders, if pressed, simply deny and evade responsibility for the consequences of their advocacy. Their backing of gun control that, for all practical purposes, is limitless; their denial of women’s and voters’ rights; their unjust efforts concerning taxes; of these my caring, compassionate Republican father would acknowledge their seriousness and sincerity, but say that they are just wrong.
They are wrong because they no longer appreciate our humanity, the real, free and living people of our national community, the human beings with whom we share a love of country. They invert the caring of our religious beliefs into an impersonal ideology that we may even call idolatry, one that destroys those human bonds of which our founders so often spoke.