Ed Feser chimes in:
Exactly right, Jonah. Distorting the history of conservatism is only half the problem, though. Had Kathleen Parker, Heather MacDonald, et al. been around a generation ago, they would rightly have scoffed at the conventional wisdom then prevailing vis-a-vis market economics. Yet these same people are quite happy to parrot today’s equally groundless conventional wisdom about religion, viz. that it is irrational and unscientific, resting on “blind faith,” etc.
In my experience, secular conservatives and libertarians generally have about as much knowledge and understanding of serious religious thought as secular liberals do — that is to say, none at all. Worse, they are as smugly unreflective and dogmatic as secular liberals are. Like lefties who “know” (and “know” that “everyone else” also “knows”) that capitalism impoverishes and exploits, that its defenders are motivated by greed and bad faith and can therefore be dismissed out of hand, so too do most secularists, right as well as left, “know” (and “know” that “we all know”) that religion has no rational basis, that even its most illustrious defenders were bigots unenlightened by modern science etc. In reality they know no such thing (because it isn’t true), but they don’t know that they don’t know it, and thus they have no interest in being cured of their ignorance. The same people who would never trust some potted left-wing account of the history of capitalism or the thought of a Hayek or Friedman are happy to swallow what Christopher Hitchens tells them about the history of Christianity or what Richard Dawkins tells them about Thomas Aquinas.
It’s appalling. Dammit, someone should write a book. (Oh wait, someone did! It’s called The Last Superstition.)