Religious Conservatism, Like Liberalism, Kills

The most important function of government — making it the only acceptable alternative to anarchy — is the protection of the individual from physical force. Governments cannot prevent people from becoming criminals, of course, and much criminal punishment comes after the fact. The horrible case of Maurice Clemmons, the killer who recently gunned down four police officers in the Pacific Northwest, illustrates how government increasingly fails at its central task. Clemmons, who reportedly went on a killing spree as a young adult, was later released from prison by then-Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas. This should finish off the myth, once and for all, that conservatives (at least religious ones, like Huckabee) care any more about the rights of the (innocent) individual than do liberals. We watch our liberal President bow to dictators, make excuses for known terrorists and even refuse to use the word “terrorism” because it might offend those who seek to blow up buildings and incinerate millions. In case you think a religious conservative would do a better job of defending you, note the case of religious conservative Mike Huckabee, the “aw shucks” kind of fellow who pardoned Clemmons because he was young and because Huckabee, being a fundamentalist Christian who takes seriously the notion of “turn the other cheek,” felt sorry for him. Adding insult to injury (and mass murder), Huckabee now tries to claim that Clemmons was released improperly due to a paperwork error. It just goes to show how wrong ideas kill. This is true whether those wrong ideas come from the halls of fascist University departments, or from the faux-serenity of a Baptist church.