Skip to comments.Social Conservatismís Staying Power: A philosophy that the Right must not abandon
Posted on 04/28/2012 12:41:24 AM PDT by neverdem
The Case for Polarized Politics: Why America Need Social Conservatism, by Jeffrey Bell (Encounter, 322 pp., $25.95)
I recently attended a political meeting in New York City at which the people tended to identify themselves as fiscal conservatives and social liberals. They argued that conservatives should focus on the nations economic challenges while either ignoring or downplaying social issues. Its a point of view shared by Indiana governor Mitch Daniels, among others. When he was considering a presidential run, Daniels memorably told an interviewer that the next president would have to call a truce on the so-called social issues.
But in The Case for Polarized Politics: Why America Needs Social Conservatism, Jeffrey Bell argues that social conservatism is uniquely and idiosyncratically American, emerging from basic principles of our national politics, and that it would be ill-advised for those on the libertarian right to try to make it go away. Social conservatives remain a key constituency in the Republican Party; socially conservative principles continue to come to the fore in public debate; and social issues have helped Republicans more than hurt them at the polls. In 1984, for example, Ronald Reagan argued in an address to Protestant clergymen that people of faith should unapologetically defend their values in the public square. Walter Mondale, the Democratic nominee, castigated the president for inserting religion into politics and compared him with an ayatollah. Yet in the two months after the speech was delivered, Reagan took a huge lead in the polls that he never relinquished.
Four years later, GOP strategist Lee Atwater persuaded George Bush to highlight his disagreement with Michael Dukakis on a variety of social issues, helping turn Bushs deficit in the polls into a resounding triumph: an eight-point winning margin in the popular vote and victories in 40 states. The 1988 election set the stage for further social activism within the Republican Party. More recently, President George W. Bush argued that the values expressed in the Declaration of Independence were universal, a position held by most American social conservatives; the Left, unrelenting in its battle against traditionalism, detested him for it. Bush served two terms. As Bell notes, Republicans who shift to the left on social issues wont simply alienate the substantial number of Americans who remain committed to our founding precepts; theyll also make political enemies of the many recent immigrants who are socially conservative.
The books thesis—that Republicans who embrace social conservatism can win, and that social conservatism is in keeping with American tradition—is a useful one in this political season. Bell holds that the narrative of the nation is tied inextricably to religious influences. To deny these influences comes with a hefty political price; to embrace them requires courage, but in the end, they foster respect for the national purpose. As Bell sees it, America needs social conservatives, even if their presence leads to polarization.
It would be interesting to read the most comprehensive lists of conservative positions on social issues that people can post here.
Pro-life on abortion
Against gay marriage, civil unions, ENDA laws, and curriculum
Against affirmative action
It has always been my belief that fiscal conservatives are correct. There is no room for expansion.
Pro drug control laws (that pesky argument with the libertarians.)
I'm sure there's more.
I would say that social conservative position are essential, particularly so at the State & local level.
As for “polarization” in modern politics that is inevitable. as the Federation grows larger it invariably also grows more diverse with each new mind with his or her own ideas. Even the existing allotment of Government controls on every issue will find less and less ground of agreement among our people and their States. This is to say nothing of the inexplicable growth in federal power. That is to say Federal attempts to shove us all into its centrality dictated square hole.
As we becomes squished into conforming with that mold inevitably two things happen:
1: we try to make the shape more agreeable to us.(thus invarably less agreeable to everyone else no matter whom we are).
2: Our tempers flar as we have to fight others to do that.
Polarization is the unavoidable and logical consequence for both sides locked into this unwinable fight with each-other with ever growing stakes.
If one isn’t social conservative, then one is not conservative, they are just a liberal who approves of conservative economics, that is why the half to 2/3rds liberal, and part conservatives came up with the name, libertarian, it is a comfort zone for liberals that like the economics of conservatism.
Conservatism is merely an intellectual manifestation of the psychological drives underlying a K-selected reproductive strategy. As a result, all Conservative drives will abide by the four main traits inherent to K-selected strategy, (ie. Competitiveness, abstinence until monogamy, later age at first intercourse (delaying mating until maximally competitive) and performing high-investment, two-parent child-rearing.)
The goal of Conservatism, like K-selection, is to produce the highest quality, instead of quantity, and to see it succeed in free, fair competition. Give children optimum rearing conditions. Make them as competitive as possible. Make the competition as honest and fair as possible, and see success/fitness rewarded.
The only real difference between Conservatism and the K-selected psychology is that Conservatism adds in our history of group competition (just a more complex form of K-selection/competition), adding a whole raft of pro-social drives designed to make us behave within a gorup so as to maximize group success. Politeness, decency, altruism/charity, loyalty, respect for authority in time of conflict, drives to punish anti-social activity, etc.
Abortion is about respecting compatriots (even unborn), high-investment parenting, and seeing everyone have a chance to compete fairly.
Gay marriage goes against the concept of marriage as a means of fostering high-investment parenting, with the optimization of the child’s rearing experience of paramount importance.
Affirmative action interferes in free, fair competition among men, and offers the prospect of rewarding failure at the expense of success.
All Liberal drives are outgrowths of r-selected behavioral urges. Like bunny rabbits, Libs exhibit an aversion to aggression/pacifism, embrace of promiscuity, support for single parenting, and ever earlier exposure of children to sexual themes and experiences. Their aversions to prosociality and drive towards disloyalty to in-group are just attempts to capitalize on the group competitive environment, through betrayal and selfishness at a time when everyone else is selflessly driven to altruism, loyalty, and violence. They are exploiters.
All of this comes down to r and K-selected reproductive strategies, and the psychological drives which motivate them. That they exist together in our species, and are so divergent in their nature is just an outgrowth of our unique evolutionary history. See www.anonymousconservative.com/modern.pdf for more on this.
A lot of people think beating Obama and overturning Obamacare will be huge victories, but they are relatively new things we have been occupied with, but I remember we were all pretty much in the same place before Obama without any realistic solutions. We can't even stop liberalism, so I doubt we can rollback anything since we haven't been able to in decades. We are always on the defensive, and were aren't capable of ever having a federal government the size and power it was meant to have. It's over for us, because we live under tyranny right now, and have for long time. We are just getting worse, and we tried our best, but we can't change it, and we have too many liberals in our nation. Everyone, including Conservatives, are more liberal than before. It's like a virus that slowly spreads everywhere, and can't be cured, but slowed a little with hard effort. We just choose the speed we head in the wrong unconstitutional direction.
I say we start planning to leave the Union now on our time instead of waiting for everything to break down. States need people to start movements, and see how they are received. I think it's a much more realistic idea than it has been in a long time. Conservative States need to start talking with each other, and planning for the fall of the Union. They need plans, and ideas about forming a Union, and keeping as much prestige and power as we can. Start drilling, and the other common sense things States aren't allowed to do by the feds. There are some good States out there that could form a large powerful Union, and with state rights restored it wouldn't be nearly as hard to get along, especially with states that haven't went total nuts already, and still share things like common sense.
Every single economic challenge we have is "social".
If you eat your seed corn (abortion, sterilization & rampant birth-control) then don't expect a bumper crop of economic agents.
Don't take God out of our history. As Newt has said, If you take God out of our history, you can't understand America.
Social conservatism I would define as a belief in Judeo-Christian morals and a belief in a heteronormative society. I would submit that history shows us that this is the most successful model of civilization and that those who wish to change this are in fact trying to rip that civilization down, as per Cleon Skousen’s assertions here:
27. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a “religious crutch.”
28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of “separation of church and state.”
An open sewer with a balanced budget and no debt is still an open sewer. Those who think that their stock portfolio is the only measure of conservatism should take note.
I would argue that they are essential Primarily at the federal level e.g. inalienable rights endowed by our Creator. The federal government amasses power at the expense of freedom and does so by directly replacing inalienable truth with government truth.
As for polarization in modern politics that is inevitable. as the Federation grows larger it invariably also grows more diverse with each new mind with his or her own ideas. Even the existing allotment of Government controls on every issue will find less and less ground of agreement among our people and their States. This is to say nothing of the inexplicable growth in federal power. That is to say Federal attempts to shove us all into its centrality dictated square hole.
Polarizing issues have always been present; however, it was the basics that comprise the limited republican federal government the founders established that were the only things federal government at one time concerned itself with.
NOW; however, the federal government concerns itself with all manner of issues and those pleading for consensus in all things are in essence those promoting government control of all things -an imposed tyrannical top down social order.
Modern politics, my ass! It is 'progressivism', mob rules 'democracy' that subverts the republic and encroaches upon individual freedom that politics for putting it's king in the throne instead of the other's king.
Our goal as conservatives should be to dismantle the throne that progressivism has built on government 'values' RATHER than coronate another RINO who would be king.
Why not simply say "Christian morals"? Is "Christian" viewed as insufficient by itself that "Judeo-" has to be added?
I used the term because Judaism and Christianity, though related, are not the same thing.
Yet the hyphenate conveys the pretense that they are the same thing, or a new hybrid: a religion called “Judeo-Christianity”.
Hardly that much. I have some Jewish acquaintances and they sort of wince when I employ the term Western Christian Civilization. I figured I’d spare the FR community a flame war between the Jews and Christians.
Few if any of them would ever label their own views on morality or ethics "Judeo-Christian". So why should Christians sign on to that watered-down hybrid when those who are Jewish do not?