Whither Oogedy-Boogedyism?

by Jonah Goldberg

My email box runneth over with nice attaboys and more than a few interesting criticisms regarding my post about Kathleen Parker. Keying off some of the criticisms, here’s one thing I want to know, as I sit here at the Whither Conservatism conference.  What aspects of the Christian Right amount to oogedy-boogedyism? I take oogedy-boogedy to be a perjorative reference to absurd superstition and irrational nonsense. So where has the GOP embraced to its detriment oogedy-boogedyism? With the possible exception of some variants of creationism (which is hardly a major issue at the national level in the GOP, as much as some on the left and a few on the right try to make it one), I’m at a loss as to what Kathleen is referring to. Opposition to abortion? Opposition to gay marriage? Euthanasia? Support for prayer in school?

There are all sorts of legitimate positions on all sides of these issues and I don’t necessarily agree with the conventional religious right view on all of them. And as a committed federalist, I’d like to see most if not all of them settled as locally as possible. But I think it’s silly and offensive to describe the mainstream social conservative positions on these issues as “oogedy boogedy” stuff. Moreover, as a matter of political analysis it’s beyond absurd to think the GOP can become a majority party by adopting a rhetorical tone toward religious conservatives usually found at the Huffington Post or the Daily Kos. I’m sure Bill Maher agrees with Kathleen. But normally, at least for people who call themselves conservatives, when Bill Maher agrees with you it’s a sign that you took a wrong turn somewhere.

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