"I don't wanna be a politician, Mama/I don't want to lie...." --John Lennon
What kind of governments will we have, if any, in a post-religious era? Yes, the question pre-supposes an enlightened time when Lennon's Dream will be fact, when almost everyone agrees that there's "no hell below us/Above us only sky." I would even settle for something like the quasi-utopian world that already exists in Scandinavia, according to Ed Doerr (reviewing a book by Phil Zuckerman):
"...[A] much-attentuated Luteranism continues in Denmark and Sweden. Most Danes and Swedes still pay the church tax (though they could easily opt out), have church weddings, and baptize their children even though they rarely darken the door of a church. Most Danes and Swedes regard themselves as Christians, though like Thomas Jefferson they regard this simply as being a good and moral person and pay no attention to traditional creeds....."
Perhaps it is a concomitant phenomenon that capitalism is not so laissez-faire in Northern Europe; I am told it is not. It would appear that the politicians in those countries put the concerns of the citizenry above their desire to be reelected or to profit from their office, the two most pervasive problems with American political life. I am convinced that liberality in religious life is as well a gauge of how progressive a nation has become, that perhaps there is a correlation between altruism in government and decline in religious faith.
But I also think that capitalism has failed. (Communism did not fail, it was never tried, and it got off to a bad start with the Bolshevik pogroms, much as the French over a century earlier.) Capitalism always results in a vast disparity between the haves and have-not's, as we are seeing today with 2 or 3% of the American people owning almost all of the wealth, much as most of an iceberg is under water. Of course this is a sizable group by numbers. At just 2%, it includes 60,000 of us. In a post-religious era, capitalism would probably be a thing of the past.
What I hope we will see is a kind of enlightened anarchy, especially in the sense of anarcho-syndicalism. Stripped of its accoutrements, I believe this boils down to "corporations" owned and operated entirely by the workers. (Surely this would be the only viable manner in which even a minimum of manufacturing can be revived.) Workers who see bosses making many thousands at the factory level -- and at the executive level, many millions -- more than their spartan salaries can only end up resenting their superiors.
Now that the mostly-Catholic, part-Jewish Supreme Court has made corporations "persons," we would appear to be headed in the wrong direction. Corporations are legal constructs; in a word, fictions. A corporation is to a person as a cuckoo clock is to a sparrow. They simply do not equate. Had the shareholders of Lehman Brothers known anything of subprime mortgages and derivatives and that their financial company was trading in them, they would have thrown out the rascals. But corporations owned by investors have lazy watchdogs as owners. In the laissez-faire capitalist period of the early 2000's, our politicians enabled grand theft. Allowing corporations to contribute money to political races when what we need is publicly subsidized elections with maximum amounts in the hundreds of thousands, is certainly a step in the wrong direction.