No surprise at all: as election day approaches, yet another column about presidential candidate preference comes out.
Surprised: It’s an open argument that Mitt Romney’s religion disqualifies him — from a film/visual FX company CEO out of Utah, Nate Nebeker.
The gist of his argument is that Mormonism depends on a stiff insider/outsider distinction when it comes to who is privy to the truth:
Mormonism’s social structure is so strong, not despite its frail basis in truth, but becauseof it – because it makes the price of admission to the club high. To say “Yes, I am a Mormon” is to say “Yes, I’m in the 2+2=5 club, are you?” This (along with expensive tithing) filters out casual participants. You need to be willing to compromise a normal sense of what’s reasonable and rational to be part of this group. It’s a strong commitment, which makes for a strong creed.
A necessary consequence of this is that Mormons must be insular and secretive. Of course their aggressive proselytizing may make them seem less insular than, say, the Amish. But all of that missionary salesmanship is just an entreaty to join an ultimately insular society. This is what is behind the Mormons’ reticence and awkwardness at being in the cultural spotlight. But the key point of insularity is it’s a society based on a private version of the truth.
From this, he asserts a novel explanation for Romney’s reputation of saying conflicting things to different audiences about his views and plans. The explanation is that he’s not merely a cynical politician trying to spin his way into office, but a True Believer that people like him have an inside claim to truth…and thus are divinely justified to cynically spin their way into power rather than reveal it. Problem is, when it’s considered how thoroughly political power in action rests on secrecy and disregard for oversight & restraint, even if this were true I don’t see where the difference comes from. So he thinks he knows everything & us non-believers should just butt out and let him do whatever, big whoop, what else is new?
Nate, in attempting to make a case for why a Mormon shouldn’t hold the presidency, has inadvertently made a case for why nobody should.