Title of Abstract

A Mutually Beneficial Relationship: How Religion Relates to Conservatism

Submitting Student(s)

Nathaniel Willey

Session Title

Community, Society, and Government

Faculty Sponsor (for work done with a non-Winthrop mentor)

Michael Lipscomb, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Political Science

Abstract

Conservatism and religion are interrelated, but how so? I argue that the two are related (1) through a shared tradition and culture, (2) in terms of the church being an institution protected by conservatives as defenders of longstanding social institutions, and (3) in light of how religion has played a role in cultivating objective morality within conservatism as a movement. This analysis is framed by two strands of conservatism that are often in tension: libertarianism and conservatism. Libertarianism is close to classical liberalism, in the vein of Milton Friedman, while traditionalism, as articulated by thinkers such as Edmund Burke and Allan Bloom, is predicated on building and perpetuating the social institutions that cultivate individual virtue and nobility. I argue for the mutually beneficial relationship of religion and conservatism, particularly as it might revitalize conservatism as a guiding principle for the Republican Party. I assert that the contemporary GOP has fallen away from traditionalist ideals, but that the embodiment of once-held religious beliefs by GOP members, if reinstated, could revitalize the party’s conservative aspirations by chastening the party’s drift toward the libertarian pole of the conservative movement.

Start Date

15-4-2022 12:00 PM

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Apr 15th, 12:00 PM

A Mutually Beneficial Relationship: How Religion Relates to Conservatism

Conservatism and religion are interrelated, but how so? I argue that the two are related (1) through a shared tradition and culture, (2) in terms of the church being an institution protected by conservatives as defenders of longstanding social institutions, and (3) in light of how religion has played a role in cultivating objective morality within conservatism as a movement. This analysis is framed by two strands of conservatism that are often in tension: libertarianism and conservatism. Libertarianism is close to classical liberalism, in the vein of Milton Friedman, while traditionalism, as articulated by thinkers such as Edmund Burke and Allan Bloom, is predicated on building and perpetuating the social institutions that cultivate individual virtue and nobility. I argue for the mutually beneficial relationship of religion and conservatism, particularly as it might revitalize conservatism as a guiding principle for the Republican Party. I assert that the contemporary GOP has fallen away from traditionalist ideals, but that the embodiment of once-held religious beliefs by GOP members, if reinstated, could revitalize the party’s conservative aspirations by chastening the party’s drift toward the libertarian pole of the conservative movement.