Why We’re Not Going Anywhere

Wednesday, November 14, AD 2012

Archdiocese launches Campaign for Religious Liberty

Let me explain, in as clear and precise terms as I can, why social conservatives are not going anywhere, nor should they go anywhere, but should remain right at the heart of the conservative movement and gain acceptance among libertarians as well, and should reject as the foolish garbage that it is all suggestions to the contrary.

First, our principles are not electoral losers. Leftists believe they are on “the right side of history”, comparing the campaign for “marriage equality” with every civil rights struggle of past eras. They believe that this fact is reflected in the way the youth vote splits and the purported reasons why. At the same time, they gloat and brag about the size of the Democratic share of the minority vote.

The merits of the “marriage equality” campaign don’t need to be discussed here. I’ve discussed them to death on this blog in previous posts. The fact remains that minorities are opposed to “marriage equality.” If Hispanics can be won over to the GOP on the immigration issue, it will put a stop to this “wrong side of history” nonsense for a generation. The uncomfortable alliance between racial minorities who hold socially conservative views and white liberals will finally be blown apart. Unlike them, when racial minorities finally do side with the GOP en masse, we won’t attribute white liberal hatred for them to “racism” (even though it sure looks like it sometimes). This is a battle of values, not skin colors, and a failure to see that is one of the reasons why the white liberal left will never win the future they mistakenly believe to be theirs.

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26 Responses to Why We’re Not Going Anywhere

  • This is a good post, Bonchamps. This is subject matter in which you are very knowledgeable and very articulate. Thank you.

  • I think this minorities are really social conservatives thing is bunk. When you have aroung 65 to 70% of black children in this country born to sinhle mothers, calling thme social conservatives is grossly ignorant at best. The situation with Hispanics is similar As Heather MacDonald points out:

    “I spoke last year with John Echeveste, founder of the oldest Latino marketing firm in southern California, about Hispanic politics. “What Republicans mean by ‘family values’ and what Hispanics mean are two completely different things,” he said. “We are a very compassionate people, we care about other people and understand that government has a role to play in helping people.”

    The idea of the “social issues” Hispanic voter is also a mirage. A majority of Hispanics now support gay marriage, a Pew Research Center poll from last month found. The Hispanic out-of-wedlock birth rate is 53 percent, about twice that of whites.”

    Now, this is not to say we should jettison social issues. Not at all. Anyone who even has a cursory knowledge of how economics and culture affect one another knows that it would drive the final nail in the GOP coffin if they further capitulated on this issue. After all, the left understands the connection very well, which is why their push for a nanny state has ahd a symbiotic connection with their push for “liberalization” of socila issues.

    As and far as the Akin and Murdoch situations are concerned, the biggest problems weren’t their gaffes but the way the republican party under the leadership of Mitt Romney this election cycle, threw them under the bus.

  • They still come out to vote against gay marriage and still oppose abortion. California Hispanics voted for Prop 8. I think the Church’s influence had a lot to do with this as well.

    Perhaps these positions alone are not sufficient to consider them reliable social conservatives, but it ought to be enough to consider them potential occasional allies. The point is simply that if the outstanding immigration issues are addressed (in a way that does not compromise border security), the real bunk will be found in the line that social issues are what harm the GOP. Hispanics may not be as solid on social conservatism as whites, but white social conservatism will not be a deal breaker for them as it is with white liberals – and really, white liberals alone. Black voters are even more socially conservative than Hispanics.

  • Oh, I do not think that social conservatism hurts the GOP either. In fact, as I said, to operate under that misconcption will be the death knell of the party. It’s just that this idea of minority social conservatism as a means to pander to them vis-avis social conservatism is non sense. What these pro-illegal immigration repulicans are trying to do, in effect, is sell them a knock off item when they can get the real thing at the same or even a cheaper price.

  • I think the Blacks and Hispanics who do vote Republican tend to do so mainly because of the social issues. I agree with Greg that this is overblown, but I do note that most elected officials who are Black or Hispanic and Republican tend to be quite solid on the social issues.

    If we can stop illegal immigration, a big if, I think the Hispanic population over time will trend Republican like most immigrant groups if they prosper. Blacks are a much greater problem for the Republicans making inroads but they are a shrinking section of the population, largely due to an atrociously high abortion rate, something that quite a few Black leaders used to be concerned with until quite recently in historical terms.

    One of the factors that may impact on Black allegiance to the Democrat party long term is the shrinking of Black urban centers in the North as Blacks move out to multi-racial suburbs and the South.

  • My point is simply that social issues aren’t a deal breaker for Hispanics. Neutralize the immigration issue and I guarantee you the Hispanic male vote and married vote will break for the GOP, and more women will come along as well. They don’t have to be hardcore social cons and we don’t have to pretend they will be.

    I’m not saying open the borders, either, by the way. But if we address the cartels as the national security menace they are, far beyond a normal criminal problem, we can come to some agreement on the situation within the US.

  • “I think the Blacks and Hispanics who do vote Republican tend to do so mainly because of the social issues.”

    I cdertainly blacks and Hispanics in the lower income brackets who vote republican do so mainly because of social issues. Whether or not this is true of blacks and Hipsanics in the upper income brackets do so I don’t know.

    Whether or not we can stop illegal immigration outright is, as Donald says, a big if. But we can secure the border to where we get it under control. Problem is, the federal government, regardless of party, lack the will to do so. To get a good insight into how bad the problem is, particularly in Arizona, I would urge readers to read Jan Brewer’s book, Scorpians for Breakfast. Then you will understand why I find Cardinal Dolan’s remarks so scandalous as well as the “orthodox” Catholic commentariat’s silence, let alone failure to denounce them.

  • Surely, a fundamental conservative ideal is free and consensual relations between individuals and groups, as expressed in the great Physiocrat principle, “trade knows no frontiers.”

    In other words, the free movement of labour and capital are the conservative default positions. Of course, restrictions can be justified in particular circumstances, but conservatives should never allow themselves to be misrepresented as the protectionist or anti-immigrant party.

  • In the words of the populist comic strip Pogo, “We Have Met The Enemy And He Is Us.”

    “the problem is not with our values, but with their articulation.” That, right there, is the heart of the matter. Why was Reagan popular? He wasn’t nicknamed “The Great Communicator” for nothing!

    [Sidebar: I would ask Mr. Mockeridge to visit an urban church some Sunday morning if he believes that social conservatism is dead in that area. Would that some of the fervor found there could infuse our Catholic parishes!]

    It has to start in the primaries, where people will run who don’t give a rat’s patoot whether they win the nomination as long as they get the ideas out there, articulate, principled and clear.

    We must abandon the left’s “groupthink” politics (even as they are being used here) and formulate ideas and propositions, based on principle and character, that can be articulated in such a way as to appeal to individual people as individuals. The Left herds us into groups and then creates issues that put us into contention with each other: Classic “divide and conquer.” That tactic itself needs to be exposed and blared from the rooftops and when opposed, blared even louder. The evidence is damning and the counterpoint automatic.

    Just as a shift from peacetime to war can mean a wholesale change in leadership (remember Admiral Husband Kimmel and General Walter Short,) the key now is to identify and “hand out gold watches” to GOP establishment members who can’t get by their shopworn stereotypes and “Ken” doll notions. We did not ask for this war but it is here, “and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    All that need be done is what Bonchamps spells out in the last section. We need warriors who are fully aware of the enemy’s tactics and capabilities. The sine qua non of political candidacy should be an at-minimum-conversational familiarity with Sun Tzu, Machiavelli and Clausewitz as well as Scripture. Drop the silver-spoon whitebreads and get some honest to gosh scrappers in there. Stick to policy but pull no punches. Stir up passions! Speak to the people as people and not demographics.

    Like all bullies, the Left is confident only when it thinks its target is cowed and suppliant. It is time to dispel this illusion.

  • Of course, restrictions can be justified in particular circumstances, but conservatives should never allow themselves to be misrepresented as the protectionist or anti-immigrant party.

    A country is not a hotel. The social and political disruption which would attend open borders would be a nightmare. There are two sorts of countries which can tolerate free immigration:

    1. Societies of migrants with a great deal of unsettled lands (with the proviso that it helps if the migration streams are not from irreconcilable groups).

    2. Countries which are unattractive in which to settle.

  • Art Deco

    In a world in which economic growth increasingly depends on the cross-border movement of goods, services, technology and capital and where the old barriers to such movement have been reduced or eliminated, as obstacles to progress, it is difficult to see why flows of labour should not yield similar benefits.

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  • In a world in which economic growth increasingly depends on the cross-border movement of goods, services, technology and capital and where the old barriers to such movement have been reduced or eliminated, as obstacles to progress, it is difficult to see why flows of labour should not yield similar benefits.

    The fundamental neoclassical theory predicts gains from trade in factors of production. Econometric analysis of the dimension of those gains reveals (with regard to trade in labor) the following:

    1. The gains are small
    2. They accrue predominantly to the immigrant populations themselves (the residual to the extant population amounting to around 0.1% of gross domestic product).
    3. The benefit to the extant population is crucially dependent on welfare policy.

    The main brain for this sort of empirical study in this country is George Borjas, who is not an advocate of unrestricted immigration.

    Also, the social and political challenges which derive from ‘diversity’ are not captured in economic statistics.

  • In discussing minorities and values voters, keep in mind that 73% of Catholic Latinos and 95% of black Protestants voted for Obama. They did this knowing, well some of them knew, Obama’s support of infanticide, abortion, gay marriage, anti-religious freedom and secular humanism. These groups may be values voters, but self-interests trump all other interests.

  • Kyle has a point, but it isn’t in self-interest to vote for a candidate who supports the murder of your unborn children. It isn’t in self-interest to vote for a candidate who supports curtailing your most cherished freedoms into the closet while parading filth out in public for your children to emulate. It isn’t in self-interest to vote for a candidate whose economic policies keep your people shackled to the public treasury instead of being able to stand up independently without government telling you what to do. Truthfully, I do not think that these people really know what their self-interests are. 🙁 I don’t mean to detract from Kyle’s point – they vote for what they think is in their self-interests, but not for what is really in their self-interests. And then we conservatives are called closed-minded, hateful, intolerant racists because we think its immoral to murder a black or Hispanic baby – or any baby for that matter.

  • “[Sidebar: I would ask Mr. Mockeridge to visit an urban church some Sunday morning if he believes that social conservatism is dead in that area. Would that some of the fervor found there could infuse our Catholic parishes!]”

    I’m not sure of what you mean by this question. But the fact of the matter is that Hispanics and blacks are not nearly as socially conservative as those who tell us we need to pander to them are. When you have up to 70% out of wedlock birthrate among blacks and 53% out of wedlock births among Hispanics, you cannot honestly claim that they are predominately socially conservative. Just because you attend Church doesn’t mean you are socially conservative. There are many regualarly mass attending Catholics are not social conservatives.

  • There’s a difference between being a social conservative and being a moral person. I wouldn’t use rates of sin to decide who is and isn’t a social con. If you read Charles Murray’s analysis of white America in “Coming Apart”, he reveals one of the paradoxes of our time: that the poor tend to claim social conservative values while not practicing them in real life, while the wealthy reject social conservative values while actually practicing them in life. He calls upon the new elite to preach what they practice for the benefit of society.

  • By “not practicing,” I would include voting as a practice that has not shown to follow social conservatism some are perceived to espouse. Voting and lifestyles are becoming bedmates. Voting is less driven by what we should do and more driven by what I want. It wasn’t always this way, but more of America is willing to go off the moral cliff. If America showed as much concern for the moral cliff as it does for a hyped up fiscal cliff, there would be no fiscal cliff. But worrying about social values is such a “what’s good for society, the country as a whole” issue. That can’t stand up to the self-interest draw of a fiscal cliff hot topic. That will affect my pocket book!

  • I’m sorry, Bonchamps, but this is not even remotely relavent to the issue at hand. If yu want to support this or that immigration policie, do it on the basis of its merits, not as a means to pander to a particular racial or ethnic group. To do so would kill the GOP.

  • “this is not even remotely relavent to the issue at hand. ”

    What are you talking about? This is my post. I made it the issue.

  • Blacks and Hispanics are much like the “Catholic” vote: an illusion.

    Some people are going to be socially biased against the GOP because they’ve been lied to, and some people just want handouts. It would be much more useful to start sorting people as “cultural democrats” vs “active democrats” and go after votes that way.

    We will not win over people who care more about sex and free money than principles; we already have the people who care more about not killing babies than free money and sex. We need to reach the people who voted for Obama because “that is what decent people do.”

  • Greg: “Then you will understand why I find Cardinal Dolan’s remarks so scandalous as well as the “orthodox” Catholic commentariat’s silence, let alone failure to denounce them.”

    100% with you there, bro. Dolan is, and has been, incompetent.

    Women on both sides detest him now. The left-leaning women despise him simply because he is a male, and see him as a male that wants to take away their freedom to choose. Faithful women on the right detest him because he has effectively (through is ineffectiveness) stripped us of our freedoms, soon right down to the freedom of a healthcare worker to not perform or assist in abortions and dispensing abortifacients.

    So yes, despise (God forgive me, but this man is not a good shepherd) is the proper word here. And I suspect Our Lady is not real happy with him either, and if Momma ain’t happy…

  • I am very disappointed in Cardinal Dolan and the majority of the USCCB. I had hoped. That his invitation of Obama to the Al Smith dinner was a backfire on Obama, but after seeing photos of him and Obama laughing it up, I was revolted.

  • Tonight’s reading assignment: Mt 9:10-13 or Mk 2:15-17

Have I Got a Party For Them!

Wednesday, November 14, AD 2012

 

 

After every major Republican defeat the party plays a game of lifeboat which boils down to:  “If we just dump over those rascals I have never agreed with, everything would be hunky dory.”  After a few months of this, the party settles down, learns from its defeats, the Democrats fall on their face, and the party comes roaring back.  In the present period of Republican angst, some commentators have been calling for the social conservatives to go into the deep blue political void.  Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal is typical.

Fellow conservatives, please stop obsessing about what other adults might be doing in their bedrooms, so long as it’s lawful and consensual and doesn’t impinge in some obvious way on you. This obsession is socially uncouth, politically counterproductive and, too often, unwittingly revealing.

Also, if gay people wish to lead conventionally bourgeois lives by getting married, that may be lunacy on their part but it’s a credit to our values. Channeling passions that cannot be repressed toward socially productive ends is the genius of the American way. The alternative is the tapped foot and the wide stance.

Also, please tone down the abortion extremism. Supporting so-called partial-birth abortions, as too many liberals do, is abortion extremism. But so is opposing abortion in cases of rape and incest, to say nothing of the life of the mother. Democrats did better with a president who wanted abortion to be “safe, legal and rare”; Republicans would have done better by adopting former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’s call for a “truce” on social issues.

I always find the sheer political fantasy land of such proposals amusing.  Social conservatives are  the core of the Republican party.  No one can be involved with the Republican party for long without noticing that most of the volunteers in Republican campaigns are social conservatives.  They are the ones who do the door to door canvassing, put up yard signs, man the phones, etc.  Without them any Republican campaign would be a mere shell.  Yes, it would be a masterstroke for Republicans to alienate their most devoted supporters.

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10 Responses to Have I Got a Party For Them!

  • I agree with Don and would note that the Libertarian platform is perfectly fine with polygamy, as will be the Democratic platform eventually.

  • the party plays a game of lifeboat which boils down to: “If we just dump over those rascals I have never agreed with, everything would be hunky dory.

    Not ‘the party’, but a collection of professional word merchants like David Frum.

  • Democrats did better with a president who wanted abortion to be “safe, legal, and rare”.

    That was Bill Clinton’s era. I haven’t heard the current president say “rare” once. The kind of pro-abortion extremism that the Journal correctly derides is sitting in the White House. It’s perfectly legitimate, even by the WSJ article’s standards, to raise the abortion issue in the face of extremism. I agree with Don about the rest, too, but I just had to call out that “safe, legal, and rare” falsehood.

  • Listening to the radio right now I hear Penn Jillette, the comedian/comic, claiming to be a libertarian. He says that he is “as far right as you can go on economics and as far left as you can go on sex.” First of all, note the obsessive linking of all social issues with “sex.” More importantly, it continues to astound me that so-called small government types miss the connection between culture and economics. The massive interventionist state has been created by (and also exacerbates) the breakdown of the family and reliance on the government as a last refuge of charity. Libertarians simply cannot grasp this concept, thus highlighting the problem of viewing liberty as an end rather the means to an end.

  • The massive interventionist state has been created by (and also exacerbates) the breakdown of the family and reliance on the government as a last refuge of charity. Libertarians simply cannot grasp this concept, thus highlighting the problem of viewing liberty as an end rather the means to an end.

    In this country, the elaboration on conventional common provision which began around about 1933 antedated the breakdown in social architecture by more than three decades. The initial experiments toward this end in Hohenzollern Germany were underway five decades earlier.

    Libertarians are commonly discussing a hypothetical society, not the actual world of 1928, and are often in a state in life where the observation that all of us come into this world in a dependent position and most of us leave in the same circumstance is not exactly palpable. Rich Leonardi once said that his departure from the libertarian fold began when he realized that the luminaries thereof were disproportionately drawn from the childless.

    One should draw a distinction between a state which allocates capital beyond the conventional boundaries of common property and public works (through mercantilist measures and economic planning) and a state which re-distributes income. The former is attempting to influence economic decision making at every stage; the latter is not. Friedrich v. Hayek’s brief concerned planning; social insurance was not of much concern to him.

  • The left understands the importance of the social issues, which is why their push for abortion, same sex “marriage”, etc. has always been symbiotic with their push for the welfare nanny state. Obamacare proves that fact in spades.

    For Mitch Daniels of all people to call for a truce on social issues is bizarre in thta he distances himself from his own record as Governor of Indiana in doing so. His record on social issues there was sterling.

  • What’s ironic is that what likely depressed turnout for Romney in places like Ohio is the exact OPPOSITE of what the low-tax liberals at the WSJ would ever admit — namely, this caricature of him as Gordon Gekko.

    while the economic liberal/socially conservative dichotomy when it comes to working-class voters is probably an oversimplification, I seriously doubt all of Obama’s support in the Midwest came from people who are gungho about his cultural liberalism.

  • Mike Petrik wrote, “I agree with Don and would note that the Libertarian platform is perfectly fine with polygamy, as will be the Democratic platform eventually.”

    When will both parties then support leagilized pedophilia and beastiality? After all, if sex between two men or between two women is OK, then why not sex between man and boy, or sex between man and animal? Let me guess: the only behavior the left is outrages at is when a priest is accused, falsely or otherwise, of any sex act. But if a liberal does the exact same act, then it’s OK. In fact, it’s to be praised. Romans 1:32 says that such people deserve to die. Not my words – St. Paul’s and hee was writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Just to be clear, however: anyone who sins deserves to die. We have all sinned. That’s why Christ died on a Cross.

  • Most of the sane libertarians I know are aware that the Libertarian party can’t go anywhere; that’s why they want to take over the Republican party.

    This phenomia is familiar to anyone who has lived near a left wing disaster area, and had floods of people moving out of that area…and making their new home make the same stupid mistakes.

  • The Republicans allowed themselves to be painted as a party of plutocrats, even though their tradition included famous Republicans such as the trust-busting TR who had warned about the concentration of capital in a few hands. They could have handily won the battleground states with swing votes from the Reagan Democrats alone without compromising on any of their core issues. They could not bring out the Evangelicals either which despite Rev Billy Graham’s last minute trick on the Mormon issue, left many unconvinced. Obama was in tears when congratulating his campaign workers, quite realising that they had pulled off an unexpected victory on the back of an ill thought Republican campaign.

Rank and File Conservatives & The Conservative Intelligentsia United In Outrage Over Mosque Near Ground Zero, Not So With Same-Sex Marriage

Sunday, August 15, AD 2010

The proposed mosque set to be built near Ground Zero, site of the September 11, 2001 attacks has brought a sweeping condemnation from both rank and file conservatives and the Conservative Intelligentsia. Now that President Barack Obama has weighed in the matter, seemingly supporting the effort, one can only imagine how this will be used in the fall elections. However, a rift has appeared to have been opened concerning the views of the rank and file conservatives and the Conservative Intelligentsia following the ruling of Judge Vaughn Walker over same-sex marriage. Many of the conservative intelligentsia, along with the establishment wing of the Republican Party has either been silent or voiced the view that the wished the whole gay marriage issue would simply go away. This has led to bewilderment from some conservative voices.

The best Catholic tie in with the efforts to build a mosque on Ground Zero came from the famed conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, who is Jewish. In his opposition to the mosque being built near Ground Zero, he correctly pointed out that Pope John Paul II ordered Carmelite nuns, who were living right next to Auschwitz, to move closer to a nearby town, since the site had become a rallying point for Jewish identity. Krauthammer correctly pointed out that Christians had been murdered there too and the nuns were doing the heroic deed of praying for the souls of those who were viciously murdered. However, Krauthammer pointed out that the late Polish pontiff felt that it created the wrong perception.

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27 Responses to Rank and File Conservatives & The Conservative Intelligentsia United In Outrage Over Mosque Near Ground Zero, Not So With Same-Sex Marriage

  • Which members of the conservative intelligentsia who aren’t also rank and file Republicans, have expressed opposition to the mosque?

  • There are plenty of natural law and non-religious arguments against homosexuality. It is not a natural co-equal with heterosexuality. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Men and woman are complementary, not only physically, but emotionally and psychologically.

    Homosexuals have significantly higher levels of: mental health problems, psychological disorders such as suicide and depression, sexual addiction and coercion, promiscuity, STDs, violence, and addictions of all kinds including alcoholism and drug abuse.

    Almost every society, primitive and complex, has had laws and taboos against homosexuality. This isn’t just a Christian thing. There will always be a visceral reaction to homosexuality because it goes to the very heart of the survival of our species.

    Where homosexuality occurs in the animal world, it is primarily a temporary condition, and when the opportunity presents itself, animals will copulate heterosexually.

    Two-parent heterosexual families, despite the exceptions, are proven over history, across cultures, as the better way for healthy child development. Healthy children produce healthy societies.

    It’s time, in my opinion, for a Constitutional amendment that establishes once and for all that marriage is between one man and one woman. Then we can put this issue to bed.

  • I was rather hoping you would offer some analysis as to WHY so many self-described conservatives are backing away from the defense of traditional marriage. I suppose it is because Americans of all stripes have internalized the notion that it is “mean” to express “intolerance” toward homosexuality. Genuine intolerance, however, including intolerance toward Catholics, remains quite socially acceptable.

  • discarding Western Civilization’s definition of marriage (2,000+ years) is simply a non starter.

    As pointed out above, it’s not just Western Civ’s definition, it has been humanity’s definition since recorded history, and likely pre-dates that as well. try more like 5,000+ years.

  • From what I can tell, those members of the conservative “intelligencia” who aren’t members of Fox & Friends or proprieters of talk radio shows have mostly remained in favor of religious freedom — as they should.

  • Try on this one, Bunky:

    “Rank and file liberal catholics and the liberal catholic intelligentsia united in outrage over tax cuts for the rich, not so with abortion.”

  • I was rather hoping you would offer some analysis as to WHY so many self-described conservatives are backing away from the defense of traditional marriage.

    I suspect you usually could not do this without making evaluations of their personal disposition and conduct, as in noting that some folk appear other-directed by default (Ross Douthat, Rod Dreher) or have been married four times (Theodore Olson), or make use of the self-description ‘conservative’ to obfuscate (Conor Friedersdorf).

    Someone on the payroll of The American Conservative or the Rockford Institute can likely also supply a dismissive commentary to the effect that those resisting this burlesque have neglected some deeper cultural deficiency which these resisters are too shallow to detect and about which we can do nothing in any case.

  • “Rank and file liberal catholics and the liberal catholic intelligentsia united in outrage over tax cuts for the rich, not so with abortion.”

    Fits alright.

  • Homosexuals have significantly higher levels of: mental health problems, psychological disorders such as suicide and depression, sexual addiction and coercion, promiscuity, STDs, violence, and addictions of all kinds including alcoholism and drug abuse.

    Same can be said of blacks. I don’t find that a convincing argument. If you’re going to oppose gay marriage on secular grounds, I think you have to rest on the procreation argument.

  • I’d postulate that people don’t feel as threatened by gay marriage as they are by Islam. Homosexuals never killed 3000 people in my backyard.

  • Tide turning towards Catholicism? Just today I read a credible report saying that in the last 10+ Catholic marriages have decreased. One point of view is that the religion is too strict and another is that it is not needed with modern thinking. I just had a conversation with a liberal who said life is a pendulum goes from one extreme to the other finding it’s way in the middle. I do not believe this that societies do go by the wayside, that they undo themselves, with no virtue to survive pop trends.

  • I don’t find that a convincing argument. If you’re going to oppose gay marriage on secular grounds, I think you have to rest on the procreation argument.

    Why don’t you try making the case FOR it? Start with an explanation of why male friendships which do not incorporate sodomy as part of their daily practice should received less recognition than those which do.

  • Art Deco, I don’t know why you want me to make the case for it but you asked so I’ll try.

    The closer the relationship, the greater the rights and responsibilities between them are. If we want to legally protect expectation interests, we will want to recognize intimately committed couples in ways that we don’t recognize mere friendships. We may also want to legally recognize friendships but that’s not at issue here.

  • RR,

    We have an association that is sterile and undertaken in a social matrix where sexual activity is treated as fun-n-games. Why should this be honored? Why is it deemed ‘closer’ than the fraternity that bound my father to the man who was his dearest friend for 48 of his 51 years? What are ‘expectation interests’? Why do you want to protect them?

    My question was rhetorical. The gay lobby wants this as a gesture of deference. The only reason to give it to them is that they will be put out by refusal. Lots of people do not get their way, and public policy is enough of a zero sum game that that is inevitable. For some, it is incorporated into their amour-propre to regard some clamoring constituencies as composed of those who are So Very Special. Then there’s the rest of thus, who are not so well represented in the appellate judiciary.

  • AD,

    We have an association that is sterile and undertaken in a social matrix where sexual activity is treated as fun-n-games. Why should this be honored?

    It shouldn’t.

    Why is it deemed ‘closer’ than the fraternity that bound my father to the man who was his dearest friend for 48 of his 51 years? What are ‘expectation interests’? Why do you want to protect them?

    I assume your father and his friend didn’t rely on each other for financial support. When people form an association with the mutual expectation that they take on certain duties, it would be unjust to allow one party to escape their duties at the expense of the other(s). It’s why we enforce contracts. If your father and his friend did have such an arrangement, it should be enforced.

  • I’d postulate that people don’t feel as threatened by gay marriage as they are by Islam. Homosexuals never killed 3000 people in my backyard.

    Neither have illegal immigrants, but that hasn’t stopped an upsurge in hostility and resentment towards them as a group.

  • Pope John Paul II ordered Carmelite nuns, who were living right next to Auschwitz, to move closer to a nearby town, since the site had become a rallying point for Jewish identity. Krauthammer correctly pointed out that Christians had been murdered there too and the nuns were doing the heroic deed of praying for the souls of those who were viciously murdered. However, Krauthammer pointed out that the late Polish pontiff felt that it created the wrong perception.

    Nobody would object if those wanting to building the mosque volunteered to build it elsewhere. But who is the more honorable person? The Jew who welcomed the Carmelites or the Jew who told them to go somewhere else?

  • Neither have illegal immigrants, but that hasn’t stopped an upsurge in hostility and resentment towards them as a group.

    They ignored the law and act to frustrate lawfully constituted immigration policy. Can we have a wee bit o’ antagonism, pretty please?

  • I assume your father and his friend didn’t rely on each other for financial support.

    I cannot say if they borrowed money from each other or not. Ordinarily, working aged men are expected to be self-supporting if not disabled.

    When people form an association with the mutual expectation that they take on certain duties,

    Human relations are not commercial transactions and the law does not ordinarily enforce amorphous and unwritten ‘expectations’ that someone else is going to pay your rent.

    Right now, RR, I am pricing insurance policies. I was offered (unbidden) discount rates by the agent if I was in some sort of ‘committed relationship’ with some other dude. Uh, no, nothing like that Chez Deco, ever. I inquired about purchases for my sister. No discount offers there.

    Maybe sis and I can manufacture an ‘expectations interest’ and get you and Judge Walker to work on our problem.

  • And if it is written?

    Are you opposed to insurance discounts for spouses or for discounts for siblings?

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  • This article has a lot of interesting points. However, it rambles all over the place. The essay would have been easier to understand if it was broken up into three mini essays.

    There’s no intrinsic connection between the Cordoba Mosque, homosexuality, and same-sex marriage. Why lament that some conservatives have an opinion on one topic but not the other? You might (rightfully) argue that the establishment of a mosque near Ground Zero does not carry even a tenth of the socio-moral import of same sex marriage. But the logical independence of the two questions renders party lockstep on the two issues irrelevant. Let the GOP/right/conservative rank and file make up their own minds about the relationship between these two variables.

    Gratuitous aside: I know that you and other faithful/orthodox Catholic bloggers must boost reparative therapy. To not do so would negatively impact one’s orthodox Catholic street cred. Still, one can be a faithful Catholic, live morally, and not support COURAGE. Indeed, I found the meetings emotionally intrusive and psychologically manipulative. I wish that the Catholic orthodox/conservative/right would think twice before lavishing praise on an organization and therapeutic model that at the very least has emotionally troubled some participants. Sing your praises only after attending a meeting or two.

  • Sorta Catholic, the beauty of writing an article for a blog or newspaper column is that you have the freedom to write it as you see fit. Perhaps, some would like shorter columns, while others may favor longer columns, the choice is up to the writer.

    As for Courage, the group’s spiritual mentor is Father Benedict Groeschel, his credentials are certainly good enough for me. Perhaps, the meeting you attended was not run properly. I can only tell you that the group is trying to impart the Church’s teachings in a world that has become enamored with self, and not with faith.

    As for orthodox-minded street cred, we aren’t trying to impress anyone only help spread the message of Christ through His Church. We have divergent opinions on a variety of topics, but yet we fall under the same umbrella of supporting the Church’s teachings. The longer you submit to the will of God, the more you realize the wisdom of the 2,000 year old Catholic Church. It really does make you a more content indiviudal, free from the whims of the modern world. Take care!

  • It is a shame that the likes of Beck, Coulter and Limbaugh would let their libertarian views get the best of them when it comes to SSM. Divorcing that from their preaching for conservative values is not the charitable thing to do when the eternal salvation of those who engage in homosexual acts is at stake. Frankly, by doing so, they are committing the grievous sin of omission. A priest in Texas recently made that point clear when he said that Catholics have a moral duty to oppose abortion and SSM.

  • By the way, one of my favorite journalists, WorldNetDaily’s founder Joseph Farah, hits the nail on the head of this issue in offering his take on why some conservatives are “capitulating” to the gay agenda pushers: http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=192761

  • Hi Dave,

    A person that bases his or her judgement of an organization on the perceived reputation of a founder/leader/mentor in that organization commits the logical fallacy of “appeal to authority”. Now, Fr. Groschel is an upstanding authority. I respect him as a religious leader even if I do not agree with many of his points. Even so, the absolute metric for any organization is its ideology/methodology. Perhaps you’ve provided a rigorous defense of reparative therapy elsewhere on your website. If so, point me there. Otherwise, an appeal to authority without prior analysis of an institution’s ideology or methodology is rather insubstantial.

    Appeals to authority or subjective statements such as “X is trying to impart the Church’s teachings […]” sometimes hide insufficient research. Also, “orthodoxy” (i.e. strict adherence to a religion’s dogma/doctrine) does not guarantee the success or failure of a particular therapy.

  • Hi SortaCatholic, I hope your day is going well. I must say that I find these sorts of exchanges very interesting. I don’t believe my “Appeal to Authority,” is some sort of man made or earthly authority. You see I have worked for the Church in a number of capacities. I have seen the good, bad and the ugly. There is some great people who work for the Church and some really inept ones. I have always felt with all of these inept folks, the Church would have to be who she says she is to have survived 2,000 years!

    Perhaps someone at Courage might come across this and answer some of your questions. I do know that God does help us and prayer does work, but rarely in the sort of miraculous way in which we would like it to happen. God sorts and sifts us. We all have our own sets of problems, blessings, gifts, talents and struggles. I have always found Christ’s words of seek and you shall find, knock and you will be heard to be very true (Matthew 7:7-11.) In addition, I have always found this Scripture reading from Hebrews about God showing us the way through trial and struggle very revealing in my own life (Hebrews 12:5-12.) Take care!

The Tea Party and Social Conservatives

Thursday, April 15, AD 2010

Hattip to my friend Paul Zummo, the Cranky Conservative.  When asked what type of conservative I am, I have usually responded “just conservative”.  Like most conservatives I know, I am conservative on social issues, fiscal policies and foreign policy.  When one part of conservatism is ignored in a political race, electoral disaster often looms.  That is why I embrace completely what my fellow Illinoisan, Paul Mitchell said in a recent speech:

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40 Responses to The Tea Party and Social Conservatives

  • It is interesting to me that the passage above assumes the desirability of foreign policy hawkishness and low taxes; what it is justifying is the value of the family and faith. I tend to approach the question the other way around, accepting the value of family and faith and progressing outwards from there to evaluate the desirability of hawkishness and low taxes.

  • That is because you are a natural Democrat John Henry! 🙂

  • More seriously, I believe Paul was responding to attempts from some quarters to define the Tea Party as only a fiscally conservative movement. That is simply not the makeup of the Tea Party movement, as attendance at a big Tea Party rally would indicate.

  • That is because you are a natural Democrat John Henry!

    Heh. It’s worth recalling that the overwhelming majority of Catholics were Democrats prior to the hardening of their support for abortion rights in the 1980’s.

  • I believe Paul was responding to attempts from some quarters to define the Tea Party as only a fiscally conservative movement

    Yes, the pro-lifers need to fight to retain their position in the conservative coalition. About 2/3 of Republicans are pro-life, but that other 1/3 is noisy and tends to include many of the party elites. I understand the dynamics there, I was just struck by the difference between the structure of the argument in the passage and how I think the argument should be more properly ordered.

  • “Heh. It’s worth recalling that the overwhelming majority of Catholics were Democrats prior to the hardening of their support for abortion rights in the 1980’s.”

    Quite right John Henry. I am not a typical Catholic in that regard. On my father’s side, the Protestant part of my family, they have been Republicans since there was a Republican party to belong to. My Catholic mother was a Newfoundlander and therefore had no ancestral affiliation with either party, although she was proud when JFK was President, long before the colorful revelations came out about him.

  • re: defining the movement

    Local bloggers claiming to speak for the TPM recently posted a “guidelines” written up by a D.C. mid-level conservative activist named Eileen Mahony:

    “Leave the conspiracy theories at home. The Tea Parties are about small government, fiscal responsibility, and liberty — not birth certificates or black helicopters. Likewise for social issues.”

    Nice to see social issues grouped in with conspiracy theories.

    Some political leaders are getting too dumb or too personally licentious to know how to exploit social conservatives.

  • I am socially and fiscally conservative which is why I, like the Holy Father and JP2 before him, abhor an aggressive foreign policy. Being pro-life means promoting the lives of Iraqis and Afghans too. Being in favor of small government means a smaller role for the military too.

    The Tea Party needs social conservatives. It doesn’t need neo-cons.

  • Neocon restrainedradical? I was a conservative probably long before you were living on this globe. The idea that standing up to those who mean us harm abroad is an aggressive foreign policy I deny. Respecting the lives of Iraqis is ill-served by leaving them to the tender mercies of insurgents who would slaughter them, and respecting the lives of Afghanis is ill-served by leaving them to the tender mercies of the Taliban who give blood-thirsty despots a bad name.

  • The “neo-con” label is thrown about (usually as an insult) by people who have little knowledge or interest in the history of the term. It once had a very specific meaning. It was originally used to describe former leftists who were “mugged by reality” in the 1960’s and became increasingly conservative during what Paul Johnson termed “the collectivist ’70’s,” a time when democracy seemed in retreat around much of the globe. Some (but not all) of those former leftists were Jewish. All of them were strongly pro-Israel and very anti-Communist.

    Nowadays, the term seems to be used as a term of abuse to describe anyone leftists (and paleo-cons, who often sing off the same sheet of music as the lefties when it comes to defense) dislike.

    By leftist standards, Reagan would be considered a “neo-con” today, and yet nobody ever described him as one back in the 1980’s.

    Respecting the lives of Iraqis is ill-served by leaving them to the tender mercies of insurgents who would slaughter them, and respecting the lives of Afghanis is ill-served by leaving them to the tender mercies of the Taliban who give blood-thirsty despots a bad name.

    Exactly so. I wonder at those who indulge themselves in the wishful thought that if we withdraw from the world the world will leave us alone. We tried that in the ’90’s. Didn’t work out so well for us, did it?

  • Well said Donna!

  • It was intended neither as an insult nor as a catch-all for anyone I disagree with. I don’t think any of us here need a lesson in the origins of the term. I meant it in the modern sense to refer to those who share the worldview (defined primarily by foreign policy) of Irving Kristol’s ideological heirs, Bill Kristol and Co.

  • As for the matter of whether the Tea Party movement is socially conservative: I recall anti-war protests in my liberal urban neighborhood just a few short years ago (amazing how those protests vanished after November 2008, although we still have troops in Iraq and Afghanistan). Plenty of signs depicting Bush as a Nazi, etc, but also plenty of signs which had nothing at all to do with the matter at hand – everything from animal rights to “Free Mumia” to abortion “rights.” Every pet cause of the left was represented.

    Personally, I’d prefer to see the TP stay focused on economics and taxes. I would expect that if you polled a bunch of TP people, the majority of them would be more conservative socially than the population as a whole. But I don’t expect to see pro-life signs at a TP because, however dear to our hearts that cause is, it has no more to do with the TP than pro-abort signs had to do with the anti-war cause. After all, the movement arose as a response to the stimulus package. Americans may disagree on social issues but there seems to be a majority consensus that A. we are overtaxed, B. government spending is outrageous and will be a great burden on future generations and C. the political and media elites in this country have grown increasingly arrogant and out of touch with the ordinary folks who pay the bills. The TP needs to build on that consensus if it is going to be something more than people letting off steam.

    The liberals would like nothing better than to see the movement splinter as social cons and libertarians and neo-cons and paleo-cons battle each other hammer and tongs. In the meantime, the Dems continue to spend like drunken sailors and devise new ways to squeeze money out of the populace.

    It is true that a fiscal conservative is not necessarily a social conservative. But what is even truer is that a liberal Democrat NEVER is, and we found out just a few weeks ago that when push comes to shove, a Blue Dog “conservative” Dem knows who’s buttering his bread.

  • I meant it in the modern sense to refer to those who share the worldview (defined primarily by foreign policy) of Irving Kristol’s ideological heirs, Bill Kristol and Co.

    But, again, that common usage is sloppy. “Neo” means “New.” It made perfect sense to describe Irving Kristol and his wife, Gertrude Himmelfarb, as neo-cons because they were once liberals (heck, I think Irving was a one-time card-carrying Commie)who turned conservative. But their son, William, has never been on the left. There’s nothing “neo” about his conservatism. (And he is certainly a social con – I recall him and Juan Williams, both normally mild-mannered, polite types shouting at each other about Terri Schiavo. Kristol was angrier and more passionate than I’ve ever seen him.)

    Yes, he believes in a foreign policy of strong defense and interventionism when necessary – traditional cornerstones of GOP policy. I guess what baffles me is when people (not necessarily you personally, RR) talk as if “neo-conservativism” is some strange mutant strain of conservatism that sprang up like the ebola virus in the post-9/11 Bush administration.

  • Donna V. writes:

    “The liberals would like nothing better than to see the movement splinter as social cons and libertarians and neo-cons and paleo-cons battle each other hammer and tongs.”

    I suspect they would love more to see social conservatives shut up as they are further and further driven out of politics. Fiscal conservatives are incapable of challenging liberals (and improvident citizens) on a cultural level, which is why a fiscally-focused movement will not succeed in its long-term goals. Our broken culture spawned the broken economy. Focusing on economics misses the foundational damage.

  • Neo-Neoncon, a blogger, is an example of the “liberal mugged by reality” type.

    My philosophy boils down into making sure folks have a chance to make their own moral choices, with support for the right ones– thus, all around conservative and pro-active foreign policy.

  • I suspect they would love more to see social conservatives shut up as they are further and further driven out of politics.

    Liberals would love to see conservatives of any stripe shut up, so the choices facing voters ends up being like the ones faced by many Europeans – do you want the far leftist or the center-left one? Many “conservative” European pols would fit solidly in the mainstream of our Democratic Party.

    Fiscal conservatives are incapable of challenging liberals (and improvident citizens) on a cultural level, which is why a fiscally-focused movement will not succeed in its long-term goals.

    Yes, but we have to do something in the short term. When you’re suffering from a raging toothache, you go to the dentist immediately. Later on, you consider whether the fact that you eat 5 candy bars a day and rarely brush your teeth might be connected to the fact that you’ve got 10 cavities. Kevin, I certainly agree with you that a culturally self-indulgent country will not be a fiscally sound one, but when we’re in a situation where many citizens refuse to consider basic math, we have to start somewhere.

  • John Henry the Democrat Party you are referring to does not exist any longer and not just because of the abortion issue. It is a a party of elitist who believe in relativism , a govenrment controlled by those who think they know what is good for the people, regardless of what people think, a government that caters to thos bored and unhappy people who consume and produce nothing and take from those happy people who produce all. It is a party that keeps people down and continues to extend welfare rather than workfare to thousand of those on the dole and their succceeding children who continue to remain in that status generation after generation amd party of the intelligensia who continue to brain wash our children and students in an education format from kindergaten to PHDs. That is what the party is today and beware if you opne your mouth to be critical, as it is also a party who try to control speech and their own interpretation of the Bill of Rights and their so callled envolving Constitution

  • I agree that in terms of the Tea Party movement itself, the emphasis should be on the fiscal side of the equation. As Donna suggests, move of these folk are probably socially conservative as well, but in this very narrow sense it is best to concentrate on a few core economic issues.

    But in the broader sense, it is folly to separate economic and social conservatism. Even if we look at this from a purely political standpoint, it is actually on social issues that conservatives have generally had broader support than on economic issues. Sorry David Frum.

  • “We tried that in the ’90s”

    We did? Really? When?

    I recall being in Iraq in the 90’s, in Bosnia, in Somalia, not to mention military bases around the world, and that littel thing in Panama (that may have been late’80s – the memory is the first thing to go). So is that your defintion of “leaving the world alone”?

  • During the nineties the Clinton administration did its very best to ignore Islamic terrorism and hope the problem would go away. Clinton specialized in futile cruise missle strikes for public consumption.

    http://www.examiner.com/x-24794-American-History-Examiner~y2010m2d17-Terrorism-in-the-90s

  • Clinton probably bombed or deployed troops to more countries than any other president. If it weren’t for Carter’s 11th hour appeasement deal, Clinton would’ve bombed North Korea. All the intervention caused Bush to run as the more isolationist candidate.

    But trying to get neo-cons/hawks/interventionists/warmongers/whatever to understand why America is hated is like trying to get a blind man to understand what color is.

  • Rubbish Restrainedradical. You are as one with your ideological ancestors the isolationists in this country in the Thirties who almost ensured a victory by the Third Reich in World War II. Isolationism is a good way to simply kick the can down the road for a future generation to deal with a problem while posing as holier-than-thou and calling those who have eyes to see what is coming warmongers.

  • A few years ago, someone called me a “neo-con” in the comboxes on Chris Blosser’s blog, Against the Grain. Here was my tongue-in-cheek response:

    “To apply the term ‘neoconservative’ to me or any other Southerner is an oxymoron. The South is arguably the most conservative region in the country, but there ain’t nothin’ ‘neo’ about our conservatism. We’ve always been pro military and have favored a muscular U.S. foreign policy going back to the earliest days of the Republic … The appellation ‘neoconservative’ by definition doesn’t apply to the traditional conservatism of Southerners.”

  • yes restrainedradical the same country that has bailed out country after country after wars, tsunamis , earthquakes, disrepair, genocide, AIDS, and thru foreign aid. Do you think if we stop the money we send each year to keep the UN fiancially stable and stop all our aid to other countries for any reason and removed all our troops from every base in Korea, Europe, Iraq, Afghanistan, and every other country, would that make them love us more. And btw blind persons FEEL colors.

  • AFL- you forgot the sea turtles.

    When my ship was heading back to Japan after we’d helped Thailand recover from the Christmas Tsunami, which is where we’d gone after we left support for Iraqi Freedom, we stopped and cut several trapped sea turtles out of a net.

    I know I sure wouldn’t pick a guy who tried to gut the military as having “bombed or deployed troops to more countries” than any other unless I was very sure, especially when as I remember he only acted when utterly forced to do so–no matter how much death resulted, or how much it made matters worse. Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti and the NoKs come to mind….

  • I supported the war in Afghanistan. I’m not opposed to the UN or foreign aid. I’m no isolationist. If anything, I have a bias in favor of world government. I, unlike many bloodthirsty Americans, don’t celebrate every shot America fires.

    Yes, afl, pulling troops out of all those countries would make them love us more. It’s a fact supported by polls.

  • That you favor a world government restrainedradical and that you consider some of your fellow Americans bloodthirsty surprises me about as much as the news that the sun rises in the east and that it sets in the west.

  • That you favor a world government restrainedradical and that you consider some of your fellow Americans bloodthirsty surprises me about as much as the news that the sun rises in the east and that it sets in the west.

    Then why did you say he was an isolationist?

  • BA
    I’ll answer, although un-invited, why DRM called RR an isolationist.
    World government hopefuls consider that government (at least for the purposes of discussion) as being entirely non-military. Without nations, militaries will no longer exist. Then all reactionary responses to the long arm of world governance will be charaterized as threats to the domestic peace of the world. These will be handled by police, who will be armed and trained not very differently than the special operations forces now maintained by evil national governments.
    isolationism today, in response to (always) malicious nationalistic interventionism, is not inconsistent with the “can’t we all get along ruled by our oneworld betters” global governance worldview. Logic need not apply.

  • Except for paleocons BA, something I have not considered restrainedradical to be, a strong adversion to the use of American military force and a faith in the UN and globaloney often go hand in hand, as Kevin points out.

  • Foxfier, I like the sea turtle story.

    Given the UN’s less than shining track record and proven corruption, how anybody can place trust in that sorry organization is beyond me.

  • World government. That would be just great for Catholics. Sure it would.

  • Indeed Mike, there is urgent need of a true world political authority. It would need to be universally recognized and to be vested with the effective power to ensure security for all. Obviously it would have to have the authority to ensure compliance with its decisions from all parties. Without this, international law would risk being conditioned by the balance of power among the strongest nations.

    Kevin & Don, there must be a word to describe me other than isolationist. I’m not a Pat Buchanan or Ron Paul type isolationist. Can someone who supports free trade, more immigration, foreign aid, supported the war in Afghanistan, and urged intervention in Liberia, Rwanda, and Sudan, really be called an isolationist? A soft-isolationist? A soft-interventionist? An interventionist-isolationist?

  • RR,
    I didn’t call you an isolationist, I just defended the notion that eventual-one-worlders often adopt an isolationist approach to foreign policy under the current world terms of engagement.

    From your last post, either you actually believe that man is perfectable by his own efforts (heresy, however the thought is framed) or you have left unstated the requirement that the one world government entity actually be constituted and behave as the Catechism “hopes” it will. The UN is decidedly not in compliance, nor even is it likely reconcilable to that standard.
    I too wanted us to intervene in Rwanda. But since you place so much weight in polls, just think for a few minutes about the polling data six months into a bloody US occupation in Rwanda, carried out no matter how uprightly by a predominantly white US military. Polling data would support the notion that the US was trying to re-establish the slave trade and Jesse Jackson wopuld be shaking down Army Emergency Relief for Rainbow PUSH.

  • RR,
    I should have added in my last post that there is urgent need for a true world political authority capasbvle of setting all these wrongs right. But uhnless you know when Jesus plans to return, I’ll not be holding my breath that any of the pretenders out there will make things better.

  • You need to turn up your irony detector restrainedradical in regard to Mike’s comment. 🙂

    I believe that under current world conditions a world government would be the greatest engine of tyranny in the lamentable annals of human folly. As for international law, I have always thought that books on that topic should be shelved in the fiction section of libraries. At most we have international suggestions, a condition I find preferable to ceding authority to some body that would attempt to govern all the inhabitants of this planet.

  • Kevin, I more or less agree. My support for military intervention is always conditioned on likelihood of success which I am not competent to assess. I do think a world government (not necessarily the UN in its current form) can make things better. I think it already has in many areas (e.g., trade, law harmonization, and humanitarian aid).

    Don, you need to turn up your double irony detector or I need to turn down my double irony.

  • In that case restrainedradical perhaps you would care to address Mike’s suggestion that a world government would be a disaster for Catholics?

  • I don’t know how else to address it. Maybe it’s Mike’s turn to respond to my response.

Cutting the Leg Off a Stool?

Wednesday, November 19, AD 2008

The Republican Party is often described as a three-legged stool consisting of social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, and foreign policy hawks. I had recently been encouraged by the moderate nature of some of Obama’s early appointments (e.g. retaining Joe Lieberman as Chair of Homeland Security, appointing Clinton for Secretary of State, talk of retaining Gates as Secretary of Defense). My thought was that these moves indicated a moderate streak in President-elect Obama that might translate into opposition to radical measures like the Freedom of Choice Act. Ross Douthat, in a characteristically smart
post, has caused me to reconsider, highlighting the dangers of Obama-the-foreign-policy-centrist for social conservatives:

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6 Responses to Cutting the Leg Off a Stool?

  • I’ve been a Republican since the age of 7 in 1964. If the Republican party is a three legged stool, social conservatives make up two of the three legs. Without social conservatives the Republican party would have slightly more electoral success than the Libertarian party.

    However the whole concept of fiscal conservatives, social conservatives and foreign policy hawks ignores the fact that many Republicans are all three: I certainly am for example. Reagan was a great leader for the Republican party because he embodied what most conservatives believe: less government, traditional values and strong defense. RINOS always capture press attention, but they are at their weakest in the party now than at any time I can recall.

    As for Obama, he may start out tough in foreign policy, probably too tough, but after the first disaster or two I think he will will come under increasing pressure from the Left to concentrate on domestic policy, slash defense spending, “come home america”, and will then refuse to confront our adversaries if he can kick the can down the road beyond his term. As with all Presidents in foreign policy he will not be a completely free actor, but if left alone I think he will be content to pursue the agenda of the Left here at home.

    The consideration of Clinton for Secretary of State might play into a retreat strategy abroad. Neutralize the biggest threat to him inside of his own party, and then make sure she has as little to do as possible.

  • “I’ve been a Republican since the age of 7 in 1964. ”

    Vote early, vote often, vote young, in Illinois, I guess ;-).

    “However the whole concept of fiscal conservatives, social conservatives and foreign policy hawks ignores the fact that many Republicans are all three: I certainly am for example.”

    I agree. It seems to me, though, that a lot of social conservatives automatically gravitate towards the other two legs without much reflection. For instance, K. Lopez over at NR when she said ‘McCain wasn’t with us on torture,’ which was pretty shocking – ‘who’s us?’ And there are significant tensions between SoCons and libertarians. At the same time, it seems to me that foreign policy hawks and libertarians who dislike social conservatives have a disproportionate role in political punditry vis-a-vis their actual influence in terms of votes.

  • “that foreign policy hawks and libertarians who dislike social conservatives have a disproportionate role in political punditry vis-a-vis their actual influence in terms of votes.”

    I certainly agree with that. They are chiefs with no braves. Actually if they were honest with themselves they would acknowledge it. In any mass gathering of Republicans it is always easy to see where the passion and the numbers are. The reaction of the GOP convention to Palin’s speech demonstrated once again where the heart of the Republican party resides.

  • I’m with Donald on being all three. I know we’re talking about the Republican Party and not conservatism more generally, but I would also argue that you can’t really be a conservative in any meaningful sense without being socially conservative. Now, there can be disagreements about specific policies, but generally speaking, without the anchor of culture, family, and transcendent moral values, there’s nothing there. I would also add that anti-statist fiscal policy is also a must, but secondary, and there is wider room for specific policy disagreements. And I think foreign policy provides the greatest space for disagreement, because the term “muscular” foreign policy can mean a lot of different things.

    This is all a long way of saying that conservatism without social conservatism is not conservatism.

  • By the way, this is the first time I noticed that the timestamp on the comments contains “A.D” after the year. Nice touch.

  • Acvtually, AD should be written previous to the year. It can’t be written so quickly though: November 20th in the Year of Our Lord 2008, or November 20th anno Domini 2008, or November 20th A.D. 2008