For those of us who don’t believe in a deity or supernatural power, the way we try to settle arguments is by pointing to observable facts. Do human beings flourish better under capitalism or socialism? Let’s look at the history of the two systems and see how they turned out. Will a welfare state eliminate poverty or perpetuate it for 50 years? It’s been 50 years, so let’s look at the result. And so on. The questions can get a lot more subtle, and the answers much deeper and philosophical, but you get the idea.
My point is not just that it is possible to offer a secular defense of free markets and liberty and the moral values that support them. My point that is these arguments have a power to persuade that cannot be matched just by quoting chapter and verse from the Bible. … We speak a language most people on the Right are already speaking. But it also makes us ideally suited for reaching out to a wider audience and showing them they can embrace free markets, for example, without having to embrace a conservative theology.
Razib Khan raises an eyebrow:
Trancinski goes on to talk about the relationship between conservatism and science at some length. I can speak here personally, as I am a scientist and a conservative. One issue is while most liberals may not be scientists, most scientists are liberals. Those who are not are invariably libertarians. I would cop to being conservative, albeit with a strong libertarian streak. And that makes me exceptional.
The culture of scientists and culture of religious conservatives are so opposed to each other that a Christian evangelical friend who is an evolutionary biologist once told me he was asked literally every day how he could be a scientist and a Christian. I have been in the room several times where scientists talk about how they can outreach to the broader public, like conservatives, assuming of course that there were no conservatives in the room. I think this correlation is a logical necessity. It’s an empirical sociological fact. And we have to deal with in our political and policy culture.