The Social Conservative Mindset


Arthur Brooks[Author’s Note: This is my 350th post on this blog — a milestone of sorts — and the topic of this 350th post is appropriate because it touches on and delivers thoughts that were important enough to me to set the tone for many (perhaps most) of those posts.]

Early Tuesday evening I had a chance to tune in briefly to the Michael MedVed (spelled with a V as in Victory, as he loves to say) Show on Dallas radio station 660 AM.

Let me say right off that Michael Medved, along with Dennis Praeger, Mark Davis and J.D. Wells, are my favorite talk show hosts because ‘most of the time’ they present logical, reasoned, intelligent arguments for (or against) the policies or propositions that are topics on the show. I stress “most of the time” because there are certain topics that cause the three of them to get off track — into their Social Conservative mode — and when they, you or I are in Social Conservative mode logic and rational thought go out the window in favor of religiosity (they call it “morality)”. In this mode they are not only supporting THEIR religious beliefs (which they should always do) but they are are implying and often mandating that other views are wrong or “un-American” or “morally bankrupt”; they go into an “I’m right because my religious training taught me that I’m right and therefore those who don’t agree with me are wrong” mode.

I can certainly understand that, I kinda feel the same way on most issues but what separates us is the fact that they are arguing for THEIR religious principles above everyone else’s principles/beliefs while I argue for freedom from other people’s religious principles. To me religion is a PERSONAL belief system that guides our PERSONAL actions and it is not something to be used as an ‘iron debate gavel’ against those who have different but still logical and rational principles.

I often refer to myself as a Libertarian because I share the Libertarian’s core belief in the principle that free people should be able to do whatever they feel like doing . . . as long as no laws are broken and one is injured (physically or economically) by their actions. Most Libertarians actually BELIEVE that this is a free country.

Is there any possible way for Social Conservatism to allow free people to ACT like free people? Some say yes!

A “must read” article at Wikipedia titled “Libertarian Conservatism”, explains that:

“Libertarian conservatism,” also known as conservative libertarianism, includes political ideologies that meld libertarian politics and conservative values. Libertarian conservatives’ first value, like libertarians, is liberty but they would use negative liberty — freedom from interference by other people, to achieve socially and culturally conservative ends.”

It is an interesting proposition but the underlying naivety makes a possible compromise unrealistic. Libertarianism is, by it’s very nature “flexible”, at least up to a point, and religion is, by it’s nature inflexible. That, if my analysis is correct, does not sound like a recipe for compromise.

Back to today’s Michael Medved show, where I began: One of today’s guests was Arthur C. Brooks, author, professor and current president of the American Enterprise Institute. Michael Medved began the core dialog by posing the question ‘how can we get the opposition to agree with us that gay marriage is a bad thing?’ That was not exactly how the question was presented but that is basically what Mr. Medved asked Mr. Brooks.

There are so many major problems and items of political disagreement in the United States and the American Enterprise Institute has such a wide range of expertise, the choice of this question gives you a good perspective into the mind of Michael Medved. The problem is, like most Social Conservatives, he cannot really separate what is important to the People of the United States and to the United States itself from what is important to the cause of Social Conservatism.

I’m sure Mr. Medved would argue that without Social Conservatism to keep all of America “on the same moral page” the country would collapse. Think about that, I have and forcefully disagree. When Social Conservatism becomes law (as the Social Conservatives are striving to make happen) and not just a political/religious position among hundreds of others, we will have returned to the theocracy and the iron fist that our forefathers risked their lives to escape.

The answer that Mr. Brooks gave to the ‘gay marriage’ question indicates a typically inflexible mindset (he is also a Social Conservative and an opponent of gay marriage). He could have pointed out that the institution of marriage itself is not a blessing but a ‘burden’ on the married (or to-be married) couple. Marriage partners (whatever their gender) need to make significant lifestyle changes, they need to take the trouble to actually understand the wants and needs of their partner, they need to “bend”, they need to BELIEVE that they can trust their partner, they need to give up the notion that they still ‘pilot their own ship,” and they need to understand that entering into a marriage is entering into a legal contract. But instead of taking that tact, he simply, boldly (and unthinkingly) stated that gay marriage hurts the children.

I’ve heard that before and I wish someone could come up with a rational argument to support that position. Does gay marriage have ANY effect on the children of a married couple or a single parent? NO! Of course not! If a same sex couple decides to adopt a child that is otherwise unwanted, isn’t that a very good thing for the child; giving him or her a stable, loving home environment? Any harm to the child of a gay couple will be caused by Social Conservatives, bigots and homophobes. Responsible, mature parents (straight or gay) will be able to help a child understand that there is evil in the world and a lot of that evil is a result of the actions of unthinking people who hate because they they are afraid and because they don’t understand how anyone could be or think differently than they do. And, the most evil thing is, they pass that hate and blissful ignorance along to their children.


The Case Against Social Conservatism



Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
— Albert Einstein

Once again, the Republicans in the House of Representatives have allowed Social Conservatives to shoved aside the issues that are important to normal voting Americans in favor of a Social Conservative moral message. They have created another abortion bill; this one would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Will they never learn?

Alright so Kermit Gosnell was a real piece of human excrement, we have laws that will take care of him, we don’t need grandstanders like Trent Franks (R-Az) to turn it into a ‘federal case’ for his personal satisfaction or for political gain.

Normal Americans (and yes! The implication is that Social Conservatives do not behave like normal people, they have taken the role of moral arbiters) don’t want Washington ‘evangelists’ controlling, or even attempting to control their lives — especially their intimate personal lives. Who they sleep with, who they marry, if and when they decide to have a baby or terminate a pregnancy: these are questions that can not be and should not be answered by the Federal government. These are personal situations that DON’T require Federal government (or any government’s) oversight. A person’s behavior, as long as it is not illegal, should always be protected by the government NOT controlled by the government.

Social Conservatives always preach about limited government and individual freedom and then do what they can to inject the government into our personal lives and limit our freedom until it conforms to THEIR values. They helped the Republican party “shoot itself in the foot” in 2012 by doing that and they seem determined to do it to us again in 2014 and 2016. What a price we paid!

Republicans (who ALMOST ALL call themselves Conservatives now-a-days) went down to defeat in the last presidential election at least partially because the Republican electorate saw religious loons like Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachman threatening to take the lead in the Republican race, so they rushed to Mitt “Milktoast” Romney’s side and, in the end, were defeated not just by the Democrats but by potential Republican voters who felt that they couldn’t trust or even endure four years of ‘Mr. Nice Guy,’ so they stayed at home on election day.

Lets not do that again! If Social Conservatives really care about limited government and personal freedom they should start acting like it. Our next Republican platform should contain NO moral manifestos. No one needs to know how Social Conservatives feel about their personal behaviors and certainly no one has any reason to care. We have hundreds of thousands of pages of LAW ‘on the books’ that has been meticulously worded, thoroughly vetted, tried and tested. We certainly don’t need religious preference and modern interpretations of ancient manuscripts (which, when it comes down to it is all the Social Conservatives have to offer) added to our civil laws.

To be clear, I am not criticizing what “believers” believe (unless they are terrorists) or how they apply those beliefs to their PERSONAL lives; what I am criticizing is their childish and boorish behaviors when it comes to what others believe or don’t believe. Election to public office is not an invitation to run everyone else’s lives, it is a mandate to responsibly run a branch or office of government to the benefit of ALL Americans.


Washington Post Blogs: The House abortion bill likely won’t make it into law. But it still matters.