I blogged about this already at DailyKos. US conservative politicians are attempting bo block President Obama's change agenda with something called Biblical Capitalism. Their primary short-term objective is to torpedo health care reform for all Americans. Here is Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) on health care reform:
What is Bliblical Capitalism? To find out I looked into Senator DeMint's new book Saving Freedom: we can stop America's slide into socialism. One could read this book as a manifesto of Biblical Capitalism. What DeMint attempts to do in Saving Freedom is to fuse the teachings of Friedrich Hayek (falsely identified as a "German philosopher") with the teachings of Jesus. Problem is, it is painfully obvious to the reader that DeMint has read neither Hayek nor Jesus. At most, he MAY have read Milton Friedman's introduction to Hayek's The Road to Serfdom (Deutsch: Der Weg zur Knechtschaft).
For DeMint, "socialism" leads inexorably to tyranny. What is "socialism" in the context of Biblical Capitalism? DeMint and his fellow Christian freedom-fighters define socialism as any government-sponsored program (excepting the military). Name any government-sponsored program - Social Security, Medicare, Public Education - DeMint is against it. Rather, DeMint proposes a Jesus-centered economy based on the totally unregulated free market, the foundation of which he finds in Hayek.
Trouble is, in The Road to Serfdom, Hayek is critical of the pure market fundamentalism espoused by DeMint and his right-wing colleagues:
""probably nothing has done so much harm to the liberal cause as the wooden insistence of some liberals on certain rules of thumb, above all the principle of laissez-faire capitalism".
Further, Hayek was an empiricist who no doubt would have heaped scorn on DeMint's faith-based economic principles, where the "invisible hand of God" holds sway.
Hayek died in 1992, before DeMint entered politics, but he wrote a highly critical essay about the American conservatives: Why I am not a Conservative. The essay was written in 1960, but already back then Hayek was disturbed by the anti-science stance of many conservatives in the US:
"Personally, I find that the most objectionable feature of the conservative attitude is its propensity to reject well-substantiated new knowledge because it dislikes some of the consequences which seem to follow from it - or, to put it bluntly, its obscurantism. [...]I can have little patience with those who oppose, for instance, the theory of evolution or what are called "mechanistic" explanations of the phenomena of life because of certain moral consequences which at first seem to follow from these theories, and still less with those who regard it as irrelevant or impious to ask certain questions at all. By refusing to face the facts, the conservative only weakens his own position. Frequently the conclusions which rationalist presumption draws from new scientific insights do not at all follow from them. But only by actively taking part in the elaboration of the consequences of new discoveries do we learn whether or not they fit into our world picture and, if so, how. Should our moral beliefs really prove to be dependent on factual assumptions shown to be incorrect, it would hardly be moral to defend them by refusing to acknowledge facts."
Hayek's Why I am not a Conservative is just as fresh and relevant with respect to DeMint and his fellow "freedom fighters" today as it was 50 years ago. Conservatives never change!
Sales of Hayek's The Road to Serfdom have been surging recently. Hopefully those buying the book now are - unlike Senator DeMint - actually reading it.