I am a college football fan.


I am also a conservative. If you’d ask me, I’d say that there’s no real connection between those two identities. I’d be wrong, it appears.

I’m not a free-will sceptic, exactly. But more and more I wonder if our real choices, apart from the odd Abrahamic trial, aren’t choices we consciously make.

Maybe we don’t read scriptures and pray to steel our will for when temptation comes, because when temptation comes maybe it’s too late. The choice we’ll make then is already determined by who we are. Maybe we do it to infiltrate the mysterious inner man, so that when temptation comes we have no choice. We can’t help but doing good, because in some unknown way we have become good.

I have a hard time resisting temptation. If I’m seriously tempted, that is. But a great many things that ought to tempt me don’t. My will power does me little good. Weapons-grade Mormonism, the slow accumulation of social expectations and upbringing and daily, weekly reinforcement, that has done me a lot of good. It had made a great many things literally unthinkable.

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