Skip to comments.Fiscal Conservatives and Libertarians Should Unite with Social Conservatives
Posted on 03/12/2014 12:57:55 AM PDT by Moseley
Should fiscal conservatives and libertarians join social conservatives to promote social conservative policies? Is the political divide between wings of the GOP based more on perception or passion than on reality?
Higher government spending is driven by social issues and liberal policies regarding families and children. In fact, fiscal conservatives can never achieve their goals of limited government, balanced budgets, and low tax levels without working on the concerns raised by social conservatives.
Focusing only on government spending ignores factors that lead to the desire to spend more by some politicians and some voters. Major drivers of skyrocketing national budgets include the breakdown of families and family support structures, poor educational achievement, and lack of parental involvement raising children, with related increases in drug abuse, crime, and poverty.
Ronald Reagan led a highly successful Republican Party by uniting the three legs of the conservative stool: foreign policy, fiscal, and social. Reagan understood how inter-related are all those concerns. Today a sharp divide is based on the assumption that there is no interaction or relationship among these threads within society. Reagan assumed they were all related.
The libertarian intellectual tradition once focused on the abuses or excesses of government force. Libertarians and fiscal conservatives ought to agree that government should not manipulate society through social redesign, engineering, and experimentation. All conservatives should support individual freedom. Left-wing social values and policies that shift our lifestyles ought to alarm libertarians and fiscal conservatives as a dangerous precedent.
So whether libertarians and fiscal conservatives agree or disagree personally with living by the particular lifestyle preferences of social conservatives, they should unite in opposing government policies that attack and tear down societal traditions. The proper role of government does not include modifying society or its traditions. A belief in limited government excludes government policies aimed at reshaping society.
On the other hand is the complaint that some social conservatives would force people to live by their traditional values or religious beliefs. This is an unfortunate misunderstanding, and sometimes even a few social conservatives fall into this error.
Social conservatives reacted to government policies harming families like the marriage penalty and welfares rules. Social conservatives demand that government stop its hostility to families and social traditions. Family values originally meant that government should do no harm to Americas families.
Liberals have distorted the family values movement. Even some Republicans believed the liberal spin. Yet the problem was always that liberals sought to use governments power to force non-traditional values upon the nation. Libertarians traditionally fought such abuses.
It is absolutely our concern in politics that government coercion, social intimidation or pressure must not attack traditional family values and traditional society. There is no place for government hostility to traditional families. It should be a personal and private choice.
A 2008 study found very conservatively that family fragmentation costs U.S. taxpayers at least $112 billion [in taxes] each and every year, or more than $1 trillion each decade. The study found that the true cost to taxpayers is probably vastly higher. The Institute for American Values study, The Taxpayer Costs of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing by Professor Ben Scafidi, a Ph.D in Economics, compiled existing research and data.
Because the Federal government is running a deficit, this $112 billion annually adds directly to the national debt each and every year. That deficit has accumulated over many decades, toward our $17 trillion national debt. Furthermore, since Barack Obama became president, government spending on social programs has skyrocketed. Under Obamas big-government policies, that 2008 estimate has probably grown to approximately $250 billion per year.
Family fragmentation contributes to child poverty, as has been studied extensively and widely accepted. Child poverty leads to higher costs to taxpayers through higher spending on anti-poverty programs and throughout the justice and educational systems, as well as losses to government coffers in foregone tax revenues.
Reduced parental involvement lowers academic involvement in school, increases the drop-out rate, increases the costs of schools, and reduces economic growth and U.S. competitiveness. Children raised with less parental involvement, guidance, and supervision experience higher crime rates, including later in their lives. Higher costs of police, courts, jails, property damage, losses, and business disruption from crimes impact the economy and government budgets.
Ben Scafidis study found that over the last forty years, the proportion of children raised outside intact marriages has increased dramatically. Between 1970 and 2005, the proportion of children living with two married parents dropped from 85 percent to 68 percent, according to Census data. More than a third of all U.S. children are now born outside of wedlock, including 25 percent of non-Hispanic white babies, 46 percent of Hispanic babies, and 69 percent of African American babies, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 2005 American Community Survey. In 2004, almost 1.5 million babies were born to unmarried mothers.
The study found:
To the extent that the decline of marriage increases the number of children and adults eligible for and in need of government services, costs to taxpayers will grow. To the extent that increases in family fragmentation also independently drive social problems faced by communitiessuch as crime, domestic violence, substance abuse, and teen pregnancythe costs to taxpayers of addressing these increasing social problems are also likely to be significant.
In a more recent report Poverty and Education: Finding the Way Forward, the Educational Testing Services estimates that child poverty costs the American taxpayer $500 billion per year. It also found that 12% of children in poverty live in two parent households as compared with 60% of all children.
Moreover, even for adults, an employee going through a divorce may be a distracted and ineffective worker for a year or two. The study finds: In addition, family fragmentation seems to have negative consequences for adults as well, including lower labor supply, physical and mental illness, and a higher likelihood of committing or falling victim to crime.
Neither fiscal nor social conservatives should impose their values on anyone. But neither should tolerate liberal extremists who use the government to impose their hostility to social traditions upon American families. Left-wing plans to redesign social relationships and their disdain for parents are bankrupting the Treasury as well as our culture. Libertarians should oppose that inappropriate role for government.
Fiscal conservatives and libertarians can get behind the right kind of social conservative. I am a social conservative, but I am trying to get the government out of our lives, not influence government to make everyone act like they believe what I believe.
Just add that to ethanol and higher power prices due to shutting down the coal plants and whatever else the kenyan can figure out in his quest to eliminate the middle class and/or institute famine.
Whenever I read articles like this I can’t help but think of Mike Huckabee. Huckabee oversaw a doubling of his state’s budget during his tenure as Governor.
As far as I’m concerned I think the title of the article should instead be, ‘Social Conservatives should unite with Fiscal Conservatives and Libertarians.’
Hickabee is more socialist conservative than Social Conservative...he’s a big government politician, just like Gingrich.
I don’t mean to nitpick, but in this case I can’t help it.
Gingrich coordinated/oversaw the first federal balanced budget in 30 years, in my mind that doesn’t exactly equal Huckabee’s doubling of his state’s budget.
Liberdopians will never unite with social conservatives, they are far too concerned with baser instincts and desires to focus on advancing civilization
In their pursuit of political relevance, Libertarians must understand three important points:
1) A libertarian is differentiated from the statist by virtue of enforcement not morality; i.e., libertarianism alone does not define one’s morality.
2) A woman’s sense of liberty is not defined by the right to kill the nascent, human life in her womb. The libertarian should be cognizant of both the mom and the new life.
3) No citizen should be forced to service, support, nor subsidize homosexual behavior.
The three groups have certain beliefs in common: limited government (oh woops except for constraining individual liberty when it conflicts with one group’s social values); lower taxes (except when it suits some of one group’s belief in social philanthropy ); and a reduction in regulations (oh except when that one group wants to impose its family values on everyone else.)
By all means let’s use the ideological beliefs of that one group as the underlying common denominator for unifying the three groups under the Republican party. That has worked sooo well in the past.
Conservative social issues DO NOT require government services, but CUT government services.
I don’t mean to nitpick either. Gingrich balancing a budget doesn’t make Huckabee a Social Conservative.
My last “fiscal Conservative” congressman wanted me to pay for abortion.
If they are not socially conservative, they are very likely not fiscally conservative either. Liberal social policies have a huge cost to society.
Social conservatives who don't trust the voters should ask themselves, how do we ever expect a strongly so-con candidate to win?
I agree with this. I don’t understand why social conservatives have allowed themselves to be used by the GOPe so badly.
I think SCs have made some errors in which people they have supported and made alliances with. They have also wasted energy on hopeless and insignificant causes like teaching creationism in public schools.
The idea that we can have a nice society to live in without some kind of social conservatism is absurd.