When I talk to people about why they dislike the Religious Right, the most common reason cited is some variation of the claim that “the Religious Right wants to impose their beliefs on me by force.” I find this tendency just as objectionable as they do, but I wonder why they don’t object just as much to other people and groups wanting to impose their beliefs on others by force?

John Kerry believes that people who make more than $200,000 a year should be taxed at a marginal rate of 39.4% — and he was prepared to impose that belief by force.

Environmentalists believe that oil companies should not be allowed to prospect or drill for oil in ANWR — and they’re prepared to impose that belief by force.

Sarah Brady believes that I shouldn’t be allowed to own a handgun — and she’s prepared to impose that belief by force.

John McCain and Russ Feingold believed that political freedom of speech needed to be restricted and regulated to avoid the appearance of corruption — and they actually did impose that belief by force.

And so on.

What this illustrates, I think, is that government per se is at root a mechanism for imposing things by force. Government’s ability to impose things by force is its essential characteristic, the thing that distinguishes it from the private sector. And anybody who wants the government to implement some policy that others disagree with is trying to impose their belief on others by force. If you don’t believe it’s ever legitimate to do this sort of thing, then you’re really an anarchist.

The real issue behind the “imposing beliefs by force” charge is that the Religious Right wants to impose beliefs that their opponents find objectionable. But if that’s the case, it would be more to the point to move past the whole imposing-by-force thing and criticize the beliefs directly.

2 Responses to “Imposing Beliefs By Force”
  1. Anonymous says:

    Fuck religion, if i could id go back and fukin shoot every son of god or who ever the fuck came up with the dumbass religions(christianity,jew,hindu,islam etc etc)

    ps.eat me

  2. Chuck says:

    Check out the dunderhead above! Hey, dude, lay off the LSD for awhile.

    Thank God Bush won.

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