POLITICS

Read Tea Party Insurgent David Brat's 1996 Dissertation

Jun 11, 2014 | Updated Jun 13, 2014

WASHINGTON -- David Brat, the conservative economics professor who upset House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the Virginia Republican primary on Tuesday night, wrote his 1996 dissertation on the ways that religion affects economic growth.

In "Human Capital, Religion And Economic Growth," the capstone to his Ph.D. at Washington's American University, Brat studied the total scientific output of different European nations, concluding that Protestantism was associated with an increased focus on science.

"Protestantism provided a world-view which connected the ordinary citizen to both the interpretation of science and to their place within the State," wrote Brat. "In this sense, science was placed in a less-threatening, less-volatile context, and in this sense Protestantism played a part in the advancement of science."

In his campaign, Brat has extended that analysis to economic growth, arguing that research and development spending account for the inequality between different nations over time.

Brat has also used this line of thinking in his campaign to dismiss concerns about climate change. In a campaign speech captured by Mother Jones, he suggests that it's not a big issue because, "Over time, rich countries solve their problems."

If you let Americans do their thing, there is no scarcity, right? They said we're going to run out of food 200 years ago, that we're goin' to have a ice age. Now we're heating up ... Of course we care for the environment, but we're not mad people. Over time, rich countries solve their problems. We get it right. It's not all perfect, but we get it right.

The video was posted on his campaign website but has since been made private.

UPDATE: June 13 -- Scribd, the site that hosted the online version of Brat's dissertation, has notified HuffPost that it has removed the document, citing copyright complaints from a third party. The embedded version has been removed from this article.

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