Skip to comments.Social Conservatism vs. Fiscal Conservatism
Posted on 11/20/2012 8:42:54 AM PST by Scooter100
I am wondering about the structure of a third "Constitutional" party. Would it be better to form a party exclusively on a fiscal issues basis? What would be the pros and cons of taking social issues completely off the table? I mean, are there really enough "social issues" in the text of the Constitution itself to warrant making them a permanent policy of a new party and subsequently risking vicious debate and division? I guess I am thinking of the inevitability of Conservatives locking antlers with the "socially" left wing of the Libertarians", who are otherwise fiscally right wing. Shouldn't social issues be contained closer to the people, i.e., at the state/local levels?
“Shouldn’t social issues be contained closer to the people, i.e., at the state/local levels?”
I think so. The greatest common denominator would be going back to the original intent. Real federalism, with regional and state differences, and a small, focused and limited national government.
That model died generations ago. Whether it can come back before the Beast on the Potomac implodes under its own weight is unknown.
We want as little government intrustion into our lives as possible. THAT is by definition fiscally conservative.
Of course social issues should be decided by the states or, more fundamentally, by home and church.
Feds have no business putting their fingers in all they do.
That said, not enough Conservatives will back a party limited to fiscal issues. There’s a rampant “me, me, me” mentality in the far right that demands all or nothing, and those people are not going to back someone unless s/he’s 100% in agreement with them both fiscally and socially.
So they sit at home or vote for fringe candidates.
The idiotic Obama voter isn’t the only one destroying us from within.
Your problem is that the only unity is among the fascists. The “conservatives” are a bunch of very special and narrow interests who can hardly pass at the bus station without stabbing each other.
The problem is that social issues always seem to take precedence over fiscal issues. So you cannot split them. Our fiscal issues cannot be solved unless we eliminate some of the social programs that the left pushes. Free contraceptives is a social issue that will cost us fiscally.
There is a Constitutional argument for the Right to Life — 5th Amendment (Federal) and 14th Amendment (State).
There is a Constitutional argument about the Free Exercise of Religion (1st Amendement) and the role of States in making religious statements or intruding on religion (14th Amendment). Of course, there are also free speech arguments, etc. ... but most of the Constiutional issues in this regard are against government involvement.
Otherwise, social issues are largely 10th Amendment issues.
I think so too. Perhaps we call it "The Federalist Party" with all social issues out. Seems to me, with these things totally off the platform, would have a very wide appeal. In fact, it could bring the country together again.
It’s already done. You’re a Libertarian.
There is what appears to be a false dichotomy presented that's forcing a division of philosophy into either "socially liberal" or "socially conservative" camps. The end result is that every discussion starts with arguing about what legislation people think Congress should pass, when the first question that ought to be asked is whether they are even within the original intent of their enumerated powers to assume control of it.
Gary Johnson. Took 1% of the vote.
Social issues or more broadly, morality defines the character of the nation. Christian conservatives value social issues and will not give them up due to the teachings of the Bible.
The GOP-e may THINK that they can put forward only fiscal issues, but they will not have the support of a substantial portion of the base if they take that route. They will continue to lose elections without the social conservatives.
Or to put a sharper point on it, social conservatives are not able to elect a candidate by themselves. Likewise, fiscal conservatives will not be able to do so either. It is only when BOTH the fiscal and social conservatives support a candidate (or issue) that there is a chance of winning a race.
“Its already done. Youre a Libertarian.”
Ding! Ding! Ding! Winner!
Given the incomprehensible popularity of Huckabee, that's a pretty dubious claim.
I think there are a lot of pro-life and anti-gay folks out there who also are keen on redistributionist taxation, "sticking it to the rich" and their own specific government handouts.
We want as little government intrustion into our lives as possible. THAT is by definition fiscally conservative.
Who are those people calling themselves "social conservatives" that are so enamoured of the drug war they defend the "substantial effects" doctrine of the New Deal interpretation of the Commerce Clause?
How can one separate their moral conscience from their fiscal responsibility?
My moral beliefs are the very road upon which my fiscal car is driven. Unless I divorce the two I can never move forward fiscally.
To divorce my moral responsibility from my fiscal responsibility would mean to turn my back on God, the One who sets the standard for my moral beliefs.
When I answer the question of going forward without social issues dominating my way in politics, I can only offer this answer,
“If I wanted to be a Libertarian, I would have joined the libertarian party.”
Fiscal issues are generally issues of liberty, and far deeper than just “fiscal” or “economic.” There damned well is a moral component to money, or fiscal issues, and as long as those only focused on social issues contend that only social issues are moral issues, then there will be a fissure between conservatives.
Conversely, as long as those who are not at all interested in social issues pretend that the two are not linked, they will cause a fissure.
There is sancitity of life - INSIDE and OUTSIDE of the womb. The sanctity of a man’s life, his time, his talent, is defined by his property, for which he exchanged his time and his talent. This matters. We must understand both are true. And we must understand that a man who is not free to have his own property, is of absolutely no good for the unborn.
I’m about sick of folks like Dobson, who get paid by Tax Exempt organizations, poo pooing “fiscal” issues frankly. I’m tired of RINO’s not understanding the deeper issues as well.
Abortion, for example, or gay marriage -- both of them very hot social issues for social conservatives -- have obvious impact on governmental fiscal activities, tax policy, for example. Religious freedom is fast becoming just as important a social/fiscal issue.
The Republicans, of course, at the top are happy to mush/blur/confuse anything "conservative."
My expectation is that a party that championed fiscal conservatism and laisse-faire positions on social issues (i.e. run-of-the-mill libertarianism in America today) will get very little support from social conservatives. If tax policy is going to benefit abortionists and gay-marriage proponent, why support someone who claims to be fiscally conservative?
It depends on the ‘social’ issue. Issues like Abortion are generally considered federal issues on our side because they directly involve the individual’s right to existence, something that shouldn’t be legislated away by any level of government.
The definition of marriage directly involves Congress’ responsibility to define weights and measures (legal definitions that are necessary for the function of law are considered a measure).
Maybe we should look at how we argue these points instead of shoving them by the wayside? One of our faults is we argue these points from our perspective, not from the perspective of those we are trying to convince. If we just argue that ‘marriage is defined by the Bible as....’ that does nothing to someone who doesn’t believe in the Bible. Saying Abortion is a ‘sin’ does nothing to convince people who don’t have our same moral foundation.
We have been preaching to the choir in our arguments- a choir that is already on our side anyway. We need to look at how we sell these social issues (and all issues) to educate and convince those who are not already on our side but could be convinced.
Well, don't think that it hasn't crossed my mind since the election.
However, something really new, something with a very simple, uncomplicated, yet strict constitutional scope might generate some real enthusiasm. I'm for "The Federalist Party", or even "The Constitutionalist Party".
If I have another coffee I may wake up from this dream.
Yeah, let’s keep dividing us up until we are completely ineffective. /s
The social issues need to be dealt with at the federal level, because they eventually get dealt with at the federal level through the judiciary anyway. Like sodomy, where a federal judge decided that enough states had repealed their sodomy laws, that sodomy should just be the law of the land.
Leaving social issues at the state and local issue is waving the white flag of surrender. The corporate interests who seek to impose uniformity on us all for their convenience will effectively enforce the gay agenda once a couple of states have fallen.
The only viable solution is to take over control of the Republican party, away from the party establishment, via the Primary system and by inserting Tea Party candidates into the RNC.
Social Conservatives make up 40 - 50% of the GOP voter base. Split them off and the Dims will have super majorities from then on.
I don’t think it is possible to eliminate all social issues, but they should be pared to a minimum. An interesting example though is family law, where the federals largely opt out because it is so nit-picking, ugly and time consuming. Somehow in the matters of divorce, most adoptions etc. they find a way to butt out.
Something along these lines is the only way to keep the country more or less together without civil war or brute force however. Dixie doesn’t want to live like New England, New England doesn’t want to live like Dixie.
That blue and red divide is intense and personal.
This discussion shouldn’t be had, until people understand what ideology is, and why, until this point, these issues were linked in the first place, and we only had two parties to begin with. Read my profile, stop by my site. I’ve devoted my free time to this for months now. This all comes down to a concept in biology called r/K Selection Theory.
The bottom line is, if I am right, Social Conseratives and Fiscal Conservatives should be organizing together, and finding common ground to unite them. A Social Conservative will not have to compromise much to agree with a fiscal Conservative and vice versa. They will both have the same underlying psychological structure, and will tend to agree with each other innately, on the grand, group-level scale.
If you divide them, you will be doing to so appeal to a very small segment of society, in the form of socially Liberal fiscal Conservatives (a biological oddity, in that it is a mix of r and K-strategies), and you will be taking on enormous weakness, by dividing the movement for the Libs. Libs would love to divide and conquer. You’d just be doing it for them.
Of course, if I am right, it couldn’t be done, as these are very powerful forces, molded by eons of selection.
Our answer is not reorganization. It is regrouping, and attacking more aggressively. We may need to tear our party down, or use the Conservative party to regain control, by nominating Conservative party candidates before the Republicans nominate their candidate. Then if the Repubs want to jump on our bandwagon they can, or they can try to run third party style agaisnt Conservatives.
More likely, we just need the economy to finally collapse under Liberal stupidity, so the populace will see it’s amygdala begin to again recognize that actions have consequences, and we can’t give free bread and circuses forever.
Bear in mind, I began my journey strict Libertarian, so I am not advocating compromise with Social Conservatives as an arch Social Con.
You can’t honestly have one without the other and anyone who says they can is either and idiot or a liar.
So if you exclude social issues and hope to just build a fiscal conservative party, you can probably count me out.
Besides,what do you mean fiscal conservative. Do you mean the Libertarian, cut all social programs and safety nets, or the more moderate, cut waste and inefficiency but not shirk our duties? Do you mean the Paul Ryan cut entitlements first, or the Romney get jobs first (even though I don't have a plan)?
I think, and hope, you won't be able to field much support with the libertarian model of eliminating safety nets. And that we need a different approach than Paul Ryan's to fiscal conservatism to be able to win.
We need a fiscal conservatism that focuses on getting our jobs back. Unfortunately neither candidate or party understands that Free trade with low wage countries has decimated our industries and cost our people their jobs.
And we need a fiscal conservatism that focuses on cutting waste and fraud, while strengthening safety nets to do what they were intended to do, provide a hand up.
Well, social liberalism is only made possible by fiscal liberalism. So opposing fiscal liberalism would seem to be a required theme for a unified opposition party.
There is no such thing as fiscal conservatism without social conservatism. If you cultivate an “anything goes,” “if it feels good, do it” society, you create an irresponsible population who will be unable to support themselves and will demand a welfare state.
Yes, it’d be great if everybody learned proper morality on their own and never even thought about breaking any laws. If that happened, the libertarian dream of anarchy would work, because nobody would ever engage in harmful, antisocial behavior. But that’s never going to happen, so we need laws to enforce basic morality including protections against theft, against murder including that of the unborn, and against the social and economic cancer caused by narcotic use. There is absolutely no libertarian argument for same-sex marriage. Why should the legal system offer special tax and other benefits to anybody for engaging in a specific sexual lifestyle?
Without morality, there is no such thing as fiscal responsibility. With the increasing breakdown of religious values in society, we absolutely need a more active legal system to promote and enforce decent, healthy values. The whole point of forming a political party is to make sure the legal system reflects OUR values, and not the morally bankrupt values of the socialists, hedonists and other worst elements in society.
Well, if the courts would stay out of it, and let the people decide, that would work fine with me.
If you don’t like it in State A, you could move to state NY, and vice versa.
Sorry - too many folks here read what you just said and assume you want to inject heroin directly into kids’ arms.
I have yet to see a fiscal conservative/social “moderate” hold firm to fiscal conservatism in any meaningful way.
My last GOP congressmen was one of these shape shifters. Sure he consistently voted for lower taxes but has also consistently attacked the “tea party taliban” and “anti abortion extremists”. He’s spent the last 6 years since being tossed out of office, endorsing democrats over conservatives.
The Constitutional question is "Who's authorized to pass those laws?" What is the "socially conservative" answer to that question?
Fiscal conservatism ultimately requires in the population a sense discipline and responsibility.
The idea that s nation can ignore issues of morality and character and remain fiscally conservative is a pipe dream. The two always have to go together.
The Libertarians’ failure to understand this is why their advocated solution of the Libertarian state is as impracticable as the socialist/communist utopia.
Is a discussion that needs to happen....
the gop-e and the libs are the ones driving the wedges here, and once this is recognized, things can move forward..
how about if instead of discussing the issues that have driven a wedge between social conservatives, fiscal conservatives and libertarians, we begin by focusing on what we all have in common. I think it will be found there is far more in common than most think....
here are the points I think we can all agree on..
1) the fed has overreached to the point that most cannot even determine what is constitutional and what is not. We do not need more laws, we need fewer laws.
2) most, if not all social issues are not powers granted to the federal government. Therefore, they are reserved by the states and the people respectively. Funds and efforts can be better spent and far more success achieved on the local level than on the federal level.
3) rules and regulations coming from places other than the legislature are inherently unconstitutional, and must be done away with ( epa, fda, dea, etc.)
4) we just cannot spend more than we take in. Period.
5) in order to be fair to all, ALL must pay taxes. Period.
6) welfare is to be considered a lifeline, not a lifestyle.
food, shelter and heat are all that is necessary to survive.
7) the best defense is a strong and sustainable offense. Offensive capability is a must for our military and for our country’s survival. This does not make us the worlds policeman.
8) no more nation building.
what say you, fiscal and social conservatives and libertarians, is this a start?
Your primary problem is that there is no Conservatism without the social conservatives. it takes ALL of conservatism to actually BE conservatism.
your second problem is that social conservatives are flatly the largest voting bloc among conservatives... Absolutely dwarfing the rest, maybe even combined. You cannot win without them.
Lastly, your entire premise is flawed. There can be no fiscal conservatism without social conservatism. The reasons we are in the mess we are in is directly because we have not followed the precepts of social conservatism. It is IMPOSSIBLE to apply any form of fiscal conservatism without addressing the social issues that are driving the massive overspending.
People should ask honestly themselves if they are are embracing, and/or at the least, enabling goals of the left, which would have gotten them lynched in 1790 America.
The battle must be first against big Government.
I am a social conservative, but I see that Progressives above all promote their social and cultural agenda through the power and money of the Federal Gov’t.
When the Central Gov’t is all-powerful, change can be forced on society from above, from a small clique. Government becomes greater than society.
When power is diffuse, and States and local governments are the Government that contacts most people’s daily lives, then society is greater than Government, and society will organize itself easily within the Natural Law.
The two do have to go together intellectually, but there is a very salient point about the role of secular government in its ability to force morality and character. That is the question. About the best government can do is to allow for freedom, which by definition, means property rights and law and order.
The original intent of the Constitution was that the national government was supposed to be the "government of the States", and not be involved in the day-to-day affairs of individual citizens. This produces a national government that is, at least cosmetically "libertarian".
If that's not acceptable to social conservatives, then they've effectively set themselves against anyone arguing for compliance with the original intent of the Constitution. I don't see how that's going to ever work for a "Constitution" party, unless it's just going to become a label, calculated to create a perception, rather than an actual statement of purpose.
It depends. I want a Constitutionally limited small government, but even when I agree with the social and religious viewpoints, I don't want them to be part of our government or laws. Yes, our laws and our government need to based on moral and ethical principles, but not on any specific religion, much less dogma.
Maybe individual states can find a common religious theme that they feel the need to legislate, but I won't accept it anymore on a federal level. The first amendment actually should be used to protect against that.
If the theory that social conservatism is the problem was correct, Scott Brown should have won by a landslide with his open support of gay marriage and abortion.
Really? One can't stomach the queers unless one also believes strongly in a centralized, planned economy?
I completely agree.
This thread title is an expression of how the very phrase “fiscal conservative” means torn between voting GOP or voting democrat.
Social conservatives are already fiscal conservatives, that is how a Romney/Ryan ticket naturally wins an incredible 79% of Evangelicals, the most social conservative voters in America, who are also the most fiscal conservative voting group in America.
“Fiscal Conservative” was coined to create a niche voter, one who recoils at the whole conservative package, and who wants to drop whole conservatism while retaining the economic portions that they like. By definition, it is a move to the left, and a removal of conservatives from the culture and life of the nation.
It sure doesn’t have enough single minded adherents to create a party large enough to defeat the democrats, if so, the libertarian party would amount to something. The Libertarian is the party that already embraces the politics of the one issue “fiscal conservatives”.
we need a fiscal conservatism that focuses on cutting waste and fraud, while strengthening safety nets
There isn't enough "waste and fraud" to cut in Medicare/Medicaid to come within a light-year of solvency. The march of demographics is simply that relentless.
We need either (1) a big cut in benefits, (2) a big increase in taxes, or (3) a big injection of young immigrants paying into the system, or (4) a combination of the above. There's no free lunch!
So we should roll back society and culture to 1790?
Slavery back in? Women's suffrage out? Pot perfectly okay?
Great post, point very well taken.
I don't remember "social issues" even being discussed when I first became a "conservative Republican."
I liked it that way!
A viable and effective conservative third party is a fantasy no matter how it is pitched. In addition to the nearly impossible burdens of funding, organization, staffing, and candidate recruitment, ideological disputes inevitably lead to infighting and fractures.