The topic of the interaction of religion and innovation, which I mentioned the other day, is a rich one worthy of elaboration. For the moment, I’ll add just one dynamic, related to the fact that the United States is the only country in the box for “high belief, high innovation” on the chart I cited last time.
Some resistance to experimentation is healthy in a society. Like rules of ethics, it ensures that the community is helped, not harmed, by the wild actions of a few. (It’s safe to suggest that this understanding is strong in East Asian countries, despite their non-religiosity.)
It’s a balance, though. On the other side of the scale is the danger that a few powerful religious leaders, or those otherwise defined by ethics, will limit innovation at the borders of their own imaginations (and their own personal interests). That harms the community, too.
The key to the balance is a pluralistic society that handles most social interactions socially, not through its political system. In the ideal, each side makes its case to the community, and in the end, all interests are likely to come into balance.
Ideals rarely exist, of course, but it’s very important, at this time in history, for Americans to take an honest look at which side of the culture war and the partisan battle comes closer to the ideal. It couldn’t be clearer that the progressives, Leftists, and liberals (mainly Democrats) will accept less dissent and insist on the most strict adherence to their beliefs. They work to silence disagreement. They don’t see the fight as a tug of war, but as an ideological struggle to the death. Pick an issue, from same-sex marriage to climate change.
Hitting the gas pedal while using both hands to restrain a would-be driver only works as long as the road is straight, but it never is. The progressive demand for centralized planning and concentrated power only appears sane as long as scientific, economic, and social reality are in line with the Left’s political demands. Even if that happens to be the case at a particular time on a particular issue (which is less frequent than progressives want us to believe), it won’t be for long. When the luck of the moment passes, progressives are as harmful to social advancement as the most ardent theocracy.