That's an excellent blog. I watched a little of the YouTube vids but I have little toleration for religious nonsense. However I'm glad I took the time to read the full blog for the richness it gives to my understanding of the history of the American Conservatives.
"While Rand was alive, she tried to warn Barry Goldwater of a movement, cabal, or pressure group without a name..." [Ed]
"This leads me to the subject of the National Review. I am profoundly opposed to it--not because it is a religious magazine, but because it pretends that it is not. ...
... to slip religious goals by stealth on those who would not accept them openly, to "bore from within," to tie Conservatism to religion, and thus to take over the American Conservatives. This attempt comes from a pressure group wider than the National Review, but the National Review is one of its manifestations. ..." [Rand]
"...when it comes to a conflict between religion and the greatest philosophical (and literary) defender of liberty in the past century, the conservatives have chosen—and are continuing to choose—religion." [Robert Tracinski]
Epistemologically, this problem is broader than the explanation of religion being held as the more fundamental of the principles. The mechanism at work here is that reason was not the tool that laid down the more fundamental of the principles and then rationalization, instead of reason, is used to make arguments. The result is a divorce from reality in attempting to connect principles to a political decision.
We saw that Christopher Buckley holds a set of implicit, fuzzy principles defining some kind of elitist status conferred by a style of writing and speaking and a kind of intelligence and the anointing by attending the 'right' schools that makes on the 'right' kind of person. That fuzzy fashion for choosing a presidential candidate is similar to making religion the litmus test. In both cases, instead of using the proper kind of reasoning - the kind where one applies the principles of ethics, politics and economics to the candidates, there is instead, a kind of fuzzy rationalizing that only makes sense if you can divine the underlying principles at work. It is like people choosing a candidate because the candidate is female, or black or because the candidate is not the female or the black - and then rationalizing out loud with some other fuzzy non sequitors that resemble political principles in a vague way.
One can use political principles to explain the reason for choosing a candidate, but if the candidate isn't running on the best set of political principles, there is still an element of divorcing reason from the reality at hand.