AlterNet suggests that conservative religion makes the Right stronger because "conservative religious paradigms...play an essential role in giving conservatives a unique kind of emotional and social durability:"
Conservatives know, beyond the shadow of doubt, that they are on the side of the angels, and this profound sense of spiritual assurance reduces hesitation, spurs action, and increases their willingness to take big risks for the sake of the ultimate victory they know in their bones is coming. They shake off defeat more easily, too, because they know it's only a temporary setback on their way to that promised victory.
Progressives, in contrast, are "suspicious of that kind of deep spiritual certainty, because we know how often it's led people and nations into moral catastrophe."
Religion is a potent social technology -- and its greatest strength is not about theology, but rather in its ability to knit people together in tight, close communities of trust, commitment, care and meaning.
Conservatives may think and believe differently than we do. But their sheer political durability is due to some specific strengths in their communities and characters -- strengths that aren't out of reach for us, even if we arrive at them by different routes.
TruthOut writes about the rising phoenix of common-good conservatism, claiming that "American conservatism has degenerated into an intellectually and morally bankrupt ideology:"
It offers nothing more than bumper-sticker slogans that pander to the prejudices and ignorance of the lowest common denominator in order to enrich and empower an oligarchic elite. Angry, cruel and sneering, it is exemplified by the carnival barkers on talk radio and Fox News. High in volume, but devoid of substance, it has no long-term future because it lacks credible solutions to the range of very real problems American society is facing.
Worse, conservatism "has become infected with a virulent strain of extreme libertarianism heavily influenced by the thinking of Ayn Rand:"
Rand's disciples claim to champion liberty and freedom, but really care only about license - the notion that actions have no consequences and individuals have no broader responsibilities to anything or anyone but themselves.
"America needs a conservatism that can deal with reality," a strain that is lacking in today's political environment. The piece's main prescription is for a "common-good conservatism," which is defined like this:
It is a political philosophy rooted in the stewardship ethic of traditional conservatism. It begins with three simple premises: that recognition of the shared dignity of all human beings is the essential predicate of a just society, that rights always correspond to duties and that we bear a collective responsibility toward one another.
Can such common sense unify both the religious fundamentalists who hold up one of the GOP's tent poles, and the market fundamentalists who wield the other?