Friday, December 17, 2004

Out with Social Security, in with the Church

Last month I blogged on how abolishing Social Security represented the cornerstone of Bush's domestic political ambitions. I argued that right-wing hatred for the Social Democratic state is deeply related to the view that the rise of the welfare state is tied to the decline of religion. Social Security "reformers" (i.e. abolitionists) believe that making social services the domain of churches will force the masses to become church-goers.

Evidence that this is the true agenda of welfare-state-rollback is everywhere, but today appears in an article on how an article on the politico-cultural landscape around Bakersfield. (I expect this posting represents the first in what will be an occasional series on how "Flyover country begins at the Altamont Pass.") Money quote:

The conservative vision of ideal government, which few locals question and which the Republicans have made part of their low-tax mantra, sees government as a kind of infrastructure guarantor only, even when the conversation turns to America's admittedly troubled health care system.

"I don't think the government owes people health care," says youth pastor and newly elected public high school board member Chad Vegas. "If we were doing things ideally in this country, it would be churches' responsibility to provide health care, using Christian doctors."

Let's be clear on two things: the goal of Social Security "reform" is to abolish it -- as a first step in rolling back the entire social safety net; and the goal of abolishing the safety net is to drive people back into the arms of church. Social security reform is thus deeply intwined with the anti-secularist, fundamentalist agenda.

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