cantor-vs-bratDave Brat, an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College, turned the political world upside down some weeks back when he beat the sitting House majority leader Eric Cantor in a Virginia primary for the US House of Representatives. I believe that had never happened before, and political pros and journalists were all blindsided, especially because the narrative inside-the-Beltway types are invested in, Democrats or Republicans, is that the Tea Party is dead as a political force. Unfortunately for “the establishment” some people just won’t give up on the idea of our government and laws actually adhering to the Constitution. How radical!

Now journalists are having to dig into Mr. Brat’s life and see who the guy is. A quick search reveals a plethora of “Who is this guy?” stories. It won’t surprise anyone that The New York Times is doing its best to distort what the economics professor turned politician thinks in a piece this week titled “David Brat’s Hand-of-God Economics,” and you can guess the title is not meant to be complimentary. Professor Brat is one of those most scary of Americans: he’s a Christian who actually tries to apply what he believes, his worldview, to all of life, and what’s worse, he’s on the cusp of attaining political power and then to usher in a theocracy.  At least that’s the fear of the secular liberals among us, who usually do a very good job of distorting, purposefully or not, what Christians actually believe.

Fortunately, this wonderful thing called the internet allows distortions to be almost immediately challenged and published for all the world to see, and in this case we have a very effective answer at the Acton Institute blog by Jordan Ballor:

In a piece today for the NYT Magazine, economics reporter Binyamin Appelbaum examines David Brat’s fusion of faith and free-market economics. Appelbaum finds that mixture problematic, to say the least, but it’s hard to sort out whether it is the religious faith or the free-market sympathies that Appelbaum finds more troubling.

God forbid, pardon the pun, that a person’s religious faith should inform how he views economics, or that a religious person like Brat prefers the free-market to statist economic approaches. But this isn’t a faith vs. a non-faith story, but a faith in God-is-irrelevant-to-economic-life secularism vs. a view that realizes that human beings are not just material one dimensional beings. If you want to get a reality-based argument that treats human beings as we find them, which means faith-based religious creatures, one of the great economic books of all time, George Gilder’s Wealth and Poverty is a great resource.