Leaving It To Obama

Commenter Fritz in a reply to a comment by Edgar at Older Protestant White Guys had this to say about the "leave us alone" crowd in the last election.

Edgar, you state that the "leave us alone" crowd are at fault for Obama's victory. OK. I'm one of the "leave us alone" crowd and, while I did not vote for Obama, I certainly was not going to vote for McCain. As far as I could see, he was much less in favor of leaving me alone than Obama.

Social conservatives have to come up with compelling reasons for those of us who are not social conservatives to, well, put up with them anymore. And it will have to be a damn good reason because I for one am tired of them. I want a small and limited government. Social conservatives want a large and annoying one. And as long as that is true, we had might as well have socialists in charge because, for the most part (i.e. except for gun control), they are less obnoxious.

While I did vote for McCain I can definitely understand the sentiment. In fact if National Defense had not been my prime issue I might have done exactly the same thing. The smugness of social conservatives is a huge turn off for me. As a member of the "leave us alone" crowd I'm tired of it. I'm tired of "we know what is right" as an answer to every challenge of their policies instead of reasoned discussion. And God forbid you hit one of their hot buttons like the Drug War or abortion. They go stark raving loony.

Of course the crowd coming in is no better when it comes to their hot issues and I'm tired of them already. As a commenter pointed out in another post - the only people who generally want to get into government are people who want to do something. In fact they want to do a lot of somethings. All very expensive and producing results the opposite of those claimed. That fits in very well with the first rule of politics. Get elected and once elected betray those who elected you.

You know maybe there is some truth to the old wisdom about the general crookedness of politicians and the low morals of actors. The nice thing about actors though is that you don't have to buy a ticket to the show. With politicians there is no way to opt out. They have a captive audience so to speak.

I have a few words for their kind:

Leave Us Alone

Cross Posted at Power and Control


posted by Simon on 11.12.08 at 05:06 PM










Comments

Serious question - I am socially conservative, but vote generally minarchist, except where it comes to state & local issues. I think the purpose of federalism is to let states be socially conservative if their voters wish it. This is consistent with what the framers seem to have envisioned.

So am I right to think that in the new Republican Party, the one that is going to take everybody to new heights of being left alone, you'd just as soon that people like me stay home or don't bother? I was being facetious before but I'm starting to get a sense that if you can't have things entirely your way, fed, state, local, and neighborhood association, then you don't care to have the vote (or more importantly the pols who feel they need to pander for it) because I only agree with you 80 or 85% of the time.

You can think however you like, but good luck with implementing that. It's worked out real well for the Libertarian Party, and considering the Leave Us Alone conservatives, who don't have any positive agenda whatsoever are at best 30% of the Republican vote, it doesn't strike me as great electoral policy. I think you'd do better trying to negotiate a truce on social issues - e.g. a plank that abortion is properly a state issue - but if you think "f*** off and die" is going to win you some elections, please, go ahead and give it a shot. Let me know how it works out for you, 'kay?

Al Maviva   ·  November 12, 2008 6:11 PM

Al -- good question. Those of us of a "leave us alone bent" have gotten a "f*** off and die, oh and vote for us while you are doing so" message from social conservatives for years. That's simply not convincing any more.

I'm OK with abortion being a state issue. And drug legality being a state issue. And gambling over the Internet not being a Federal issue. If social conservatives want to put that into the GOP platform and run on it, well, I could seriously get behind it.

Right now the GOP has worked itself into being a regional party of the Old South. How's that working out for you?

Fritz   ·  November 12, 2008 9:02 PM

Remember the old joke about the two most widely told lies -- "the check's in the mail" and "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you."

When social conservatives figure out how socialist it is for them to want government interference in the daily choices and lives of Americans, that's when they will become winners. Until then, they are losers alongside the far left who differs from them only in what part of our lives the government should interfere with first.

Al, I doubt that I'm describing you above, but I am describing the most vocal (thus most annoying) segment of social conservatives.

Along the way, could someone come up with a better moniker than "Leave Me Alone"? Anyone who's had a teenager in the house is going recoil automatically :-)

Donna B.   ·  November 12, 2008 9:06 PM

Donna B.

I have been working with a group by e-mail to come up with something and that is the best we could do so far.

Look up the "Leave Us Alone Coalition" for precedent.

BTW I call what you speak of Republican Socialism or Cultural Socialism.

Al - You win elections by attracting voters. You don't own them yet. So you might want to consider how to attract a winning coalition. Abortion is not an issue that works for me. And the Drug War is so obviously counter productive that it is to laugh. A I said I voted for Republicans -straight ticket - because of National Defense, I may do so again if the Ds show incompetence in that area but, the rest of the package is a turn off for me. I assume you have some military competence. Look at the electoral map and figure out what your problem is.

And note: the vaunted Republican Economic Liberty/Conservatism is no where in evidence.

M. Simon   ·  November 12, 2008 9:29 PM

I really don't understand this new jihad against social conservatives by libertarians, especially the contention that the social conservatives are driving libertarians out of the Republican party. I'm afraid it has the ring of the fox who is caught by his ear so he tries to escape from the trap by gnawing through his own neck.

Cut off the social conservatives from the Republican party, you cut off the head. Social (specifically protestant biblical) moralists were the impetus behind the founding of the Republican party and they have never composed anything but an absolute majority in the party, not to mention a plurality in the nation at-large.

So actually the line of attack doesn't bother, it's a bit like watching someone try to move a mountain by undermining the slope they're on. You'll move the mountain all right --just make sure you get out of the way.

What does bother me is the utter lack of coherence in asserting that social conservatives desire a larger government in any way. No social conservatives I know of are calling for a larger government for any purpose. We want:

Less federal funding of abortions
Less state funding of abortions
Less federal court interference in state laws (i.e. abortion)
Less federal interference in how we educate our children.
Less court interference in state marriage laws that have existed since the founding of the state (this is state in preparation for federal due to the stated desire of gay activists to move from state laws to federal recognition of gay marriage via the full faith & credit clause with a pliant federal court).

This is what all social conservatives, Republican and Democrat, Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, and Mormon agree on and desire. You'll notice the preponderance of the word "less."

That's because the only reason for the existence of a "social conservative" movement at all is the VERY HEAVY federal government and especially court interference -- instigated by social liberals and democrats," I might add -- to change longstanding social norms and laws WITHOUT the consent of the people.

At the very least Roe vs. Wade should be reconsidered in light of the wealth of information we now have since 1971 available confirming the full personhood of a human foetus in gestation, so that both person's rights are considered.

tom   ·  November 12, 2008 9:51 PM

Tom, I would be more than happy to give you a list of places where social conservatives have increased the role of the Federal government over the years.

1. Co-opting drug policy from the states. Having the Federal government make drugs illegal on the Federal level. Threatening doctors in states which have passed laws allowing the medical use of marijuana. Using the Federal government to destabilize foreign governments and conduct foreign wars in support of Federal drug policy.

2. Co-opting gambling laws from the states, making gambling on the Internet illegal. And this action is likely to get us in a trade war.

3. Using the carrot of Federal funding to demand the teaching of ineffective "abstinence-only" sex education.

If you want to propose an amendment to repeal the full faith and credit clause, then go for it. I remember back in the day when state divorce laws (as in when a couple could seek a divorce at all) varied. Do you think that a couple that got a divorce in one state should find themselves remarried if one of the two subsequently moved to such a state? You are opening a can of worms if you decide that states can pick and choose what contracts they will acknowledge.

Fritz   ·  November 12, 2008 10:18 PM

tom, the first three items on your list have to do with abortion and that's a problem for most Americans, I think. On that, you're out of touch.

Government, possibly even state government, should not be involved in deciding when life begins. Or ends. Regardless what we've learned since 1971 we still don't know the answer to either question without a reliance on gut feeling or faith.

While I could never imagine having an abortion, I could also never imagine the government telling I could not have one. Or that I must have one. Like I said earlier, the far right differs from the far left only in which decree would come first.

Governments in some states now tell women that they cannot have their babies at home. They've basically outlawed midwifery.

That's just as bad as the restrictions on home-schooling isn't it?

To me, a true conservative would like for government to stick to its constitutional duties and stop making more and more things illegal and/or regulated out of existence.

Donna B.   ·  November 12, 2008 11:55 PM

tom,

It is not a jihad. We just want them to

Leave Us Alone

We promise to return the favor.

M. Simon   ·  November 13, 2008 12:33 AM

tom,

Let me add that no one is making anyone have an abortion. Despite the funding, which I agree should end. Not the government's business.

Take this to heart and you might enlarge the map:

Don't want an abortion? Don't have one.

M. Simon   ·  November 13, 2008 12:40 AM

You know, I'm starting to like you "Leave Me Alone", guys.
I cannot cotton to the "no child with tatoos left behind" liberals anymore than I can the stand the smug arrogance of the socially conservative religious wing of the Republican Party.
Nor, I'm afraid can I be anymore eloquent than Fritz.
Let's remember that those Protestant Biblical Moralists were slave owners and seditious scallywags: and they got a jump on making a buck by about 150 years over the rest of us so the $$$ have certainly added up.
Leave Me Alone and if you don't like abortions, or drugs, gay marriages...Then don't have one.

Philip Rosen   ·  November 13, 2008 12:55 AM

"Let's remember that those Protestant Biblical Moralists were slave owners and seditious scallywags: and they got a jump on making a buck by about 150 years over the rest of us so the $$$ have certainly added up." -- Philip Rosen

Slaveowners and seditious scallywags? um... check some census records, dude. Most southerner never owned slaves. And some southerners fought for the union.

And getting a jump on the bucks? LOL!! Ask my ancestors.

Good grief, man what poisonous pablum have you been reading?


Donna B.   ·  November 13, 2008 3:02 AM

I am truly sick of self-righteous people (of whatever political persuasion) depicting southerners as stupid racist uneducated evangelical hicks.

Are there some who fit that description living in the south... you betcha! But you are going to find them in New Hampshire, California, and various other "non-south" states too.

Donna B.   ·  November 13, 2008 3:07 AM

Al,

Suppose the "leave us alone" crowd is 30% of thecoalition. Can you win without them?

The first rule of any coalition is that its policies are driven by the weakest members.

In Parliamentary democracies this is more obvious.

M. Simon   ·  November 13, 2008 3:10 AM

tom,

How do you propose to enforce the full personhood of the foetus?

Ban birth control methods that prevent implantation?

Punish women who have miscarriages?

That is where I see this breaking down - enforcement will require a very intrusive government.

BTW what was Hippocrates' position on abortion? He lived 2,500 years ago. Was he ignorant of how babies were made? You don't need the "soon we will know" argument. We have known for 2,500 years or more.

Also note: Palin has done more for the anti-abortion forces by setting an example than 30 years of kvetching by moralists. Let that be a lesson to you. If you can take one.

M. Simon   ·  November 13, 2008 3:23 AM

I am truly sick of self-righteous people (of whatever political persuasion) depicting southerners as stupid racist uneducated evangelical hicks.

Are there some who fit that description living in the south... you betcha! But you are going to find them in New Hampshire, California, and various other "non-south" states too.

True. But you have to admit that until recently the South disproportionately sent those types to Congress.

M. Simon   ·  November 13, 2008 3:27 AM

Actually, I was referring to the Protestant Biblical Moralists who started in the Northeast and then moved South. I knew I should have checked those census records first though, I've been meaning to read those over.
While you claim that most Southerners never owned slaves, it seems ironic to have fought over that as a crucial issue. Check some history books dude. I'm pretty sure the South came down on the wrong side of that one.
Lastly, I never meant to portray Southerners as stupid racist uneducated evangelicals...they do a great job of that themselves. Sounds like you should probably move. And you can keep Texas too. I think they just decided to do away with evolution all together.
Just machinating on my poison pablum...

Philip Rosen   ·  November 13, 2008 3:27 AM

BTW while Hippocrates is a novel reference, it is archaic. Wasn't it during Hippocrates time that 11 and 12 year old girls were forced into arranged marriages, often as the second or third wife. How did he feel about that? Do you share those views with him as well? I'm also sure he had slaves, probably some of my ancestors forced to keep his books.
The fact that man had some knowledge of biology back then doesn't mean we should leave it there, otherwise we wouldn't have vaccinations, amnioscentis, chemotherapy, etc. You're almost making the argument like that book, "Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Nursery School", only you learned it before the invention of the microscope.
Science book that doesn't espouse people living on the earth with dinosaurs = priceless.


Philip Rosen   ·  November 13, 2008 3:50 AM

Philip,

Geometry and mathematics was around that long. Should we discard all that knowledge because the people who invented it got some things wrong?

All I'm saying is very narrow. Humans knew that abortion was the taking of life 2,500 years ago. Current science has confirmed that truth.

Still, I would keep government out of it. Enforcement would be very intrusive.

M. Simon   ·  November 13, 2008 4:12 AM

You know M. I think I'm starting to like you. I wholeheartedly agree that there is useful knowledge that is still valuable. I also believe it is our responsibility to stand on the shoulders of those early thinkers so we can increase the wealth of knowledge they started us off with.
My issues lie with anyone pushing a religious agenda which ultimately conflicts with science and allows for the "faithful" to crush scientific and social progress and dehumanizes anyone like me who doesn't believe in their god and doesn't want to be "saved". That and I hate big government. I basically want the government to make sure there's no toxic waste in my toothpaste and shut the lights on the way out.
I'd be for Ron Paul if he was Pro Choice and had a little (okay a lot) more backbone in his foreign policy.

Philip Rosen   ·  November 13, 2008 4:26 AM

I think it's a dumb idea to respond to an electoral defeat by arguing about who to kick out of the movement or party. We should be trying to find common ground and reach out to people who supported Obama last time.

Blaming social conservatives and trying to turn the Republicans into a slightly bigger version of the Libertarian party will guarantee Democrat statist/socialist control for decades. Plus, if you alienate the social conservatives enough, they might rejoin the Democrat fold.

Trimegistus   ·  November 13, 2008 8:21 AM

1. The Federal war on (some) drugs was started in the early 1970s by well intentioned liberal. the only significant opposition came from conservatives who saw it as gross overreach of Federal authority, it has been an equal opportunity employer ever since. Blaming this on social conservatives is simple minded and ahistorical, the left is chock full of bona fide drug warriors (Obama already has a bunch on his short list.)

2. Legal restrictions on gambling are hardly the sole province of social cons, unless you define all big government power grabs at revenue sources to be inherently conservative. How many States have some form of lottery? Are they all social conservative States? No, the left has a large interest in controlling what the proles do with 'their' money and they are equal players in this game.

3. As stated before most social cons want the Federal government out of education. Period, full stop. They're the people who are howling loudest for vouchers and school choice remember? So long as the Federal government dominates eduction people will fight for the ability to indoctrinate - rather than fight each position, let's just eliminate the entire incentive.

But this

Government, possibly even state government, should not be involved in deciding when life begins.

takes the cake. I'm not an absolutist, I do support first trimester abortion for some of the very issues discussed above (competing interests, privacy concerns, criminalization of the non-criminal.) But you do understand that we are a government of the people, by the people, and for the people right? Meaning that the People are exactly who should be deciding these issues. And, in my estimation, the more directly they decide such issues of fundamental import, the better and more representative our government will be.

If 'we the people' speaking as the government cannot decide such issues then we effectively have no government.

Anarchists rejoice.

If we leave it up to the mandarins in high office then we no longer are a government of or by the people. whether or not it is a government for the people will be decided by the few oligarchs who claw their way to power. Good luck with them.

The leftists will not leave you alone. Ever. At present you may like the style and fit of their chains better, but chains they are.

ThomasD   ·  November 13, 2008 8:37 AM

You are right about not trying to assign blame, except that the war on drugs was started by Nixon, the Republican. Again thank the social conservatives for the most expensive boondogle on domestic soil aside from the homelsand security innitiative.
Do not think either way however that just because there are personal decisions to be made regarding drugs, abortion, or gay/human rights that we should all get to vote on them. We can vote all we want on taking away civil rights from minorities, and logically the 90% heterosexuals will always outvote the 10% homosexuals. Doesn't make it any more valid or acceptable. I think you see my point. You can't legislate away social issues because that's not government, it's discriminatory self justification.

Philip Rosen   ·  November 13, 2008 9:55 AM

Since when was Nixon a conservative?

My issues lie with anyone pushing a religious agenda which ultimately conflicts with science and allows for the "faithful" to crush scientific and social progress and dehumanizes anyone like me who doesn't believe in their god and doesn't want to be "saved".

Funny, that sounds like Al Gore and his followers, including armies of drones who voted for Obama because he'll "stop the oceans from rising". I'm sure they'll be as entertained as I am to learn they are evil conservatives.

The relentless shattering of individual freedoms for the purported good of the collective and "dehumanization" of anyone who doesn't believe the sacred texts and worship the prophet isn't coming from the right, no matter how much you want to believe that's so.

Heather   ·  November 13, 2008 10:39 AM

simon says:
"tom,

How do you propose to enforce the full personhood of the foetus?

Ban birth control methods that prevent implantation?

Punish women who have miscarriages?

That is where I see this breaking down - enforcement will require a very intrusive government."

Simon, completely false dilemma.

There is a large distance between the Warren court 'discovered' constitutional Right to Abortion under Roe v.s Wade, and "heavy enforcement" of the general right to life.

Recognizing the full personhood of a foetus does not mandate heavy government interference in the matter, and especially not heavy federal court intereference. State laws have a lot of distinctions and some interesting variations between homicide, manslaughter, assualt, and self-defense. If the matter were left to the states as it should be, the argument for both the pro- and con-abortion would be much more reasoned, nuanced, and coherent. People would have the choice if they so desired to live in states that closest matched their personal views on the state's role in the matter. Something all libertarians should be in favor of.

Abortion is the number one uniter of all social conservatives because it deals with the fundamental right -- the right to life. And the federal court's unilateral decision on it based on some extremely flimsy and non-common sense reading of the consitution unites many who otherwise may be opposed to anti-abortion laws at the state or other local level.

tom   ·  November 13, 2008 11:19 AM

I'm sorry that you are so misinformed, but Nixon was the darling of the Conservatives who funded him, up until he went to China. Then they further distanced themselves during that whole messy watergate thing. Getting caught was something the Right simply would not tolerate.
Also, I'm really no fan of Gore. Voted for Bush against him, two guys that couldn't put their heads together to make an ass. I thought I choose the lesser of two evils, realized he was just the lesser. No I'm pretty cool voting for the Dems this time just to clear out the GWB cronies. And they can even keep their disgusting war/oil profiteering. Lunch is at Dick Cheneys house. He got us that really expensive import beer. Oh and his gay daughter who clearly chose her sexual orientation as apposed to being made that way by the "profit" will be trying to defend why she should be allowed to adopt and why the Flintstones is not a documentary.

Philip Rosen   ·  November 13, 2008 11:34 AM

Nixon, who instituted affirmative action?

Nixon, who founded the EPA, which promptly banned DDT?

Nixon, whose idea of good economic policy was wage and price controls?

Nixon was not a Goldwater conservative. Nixon was not a Reagan conservative.
Nixon was a big government pragmatist.

Phillip Rosen, I don't think the entirety of the evidence supports your conclusion. It's as if the Country Club Republicans did not exist!

As regards abortion, I just can't figure out why the 'leave us alone' party couldn't include people, like me, who think 'us' includes people who haven't been born yet, and hope we can leave them alone by not killing them. It would seem that allowing some people to kill other people is alot like allowing some people to own other people. Do we also want to leave slave owners alone? (And yes, illegal slavery does exist in this country.)

Yours,
Wince

Wince and Nod   ·  November 13, 2008 2:02 PM

I try to stay out of abortion debates because there is no profit in it ever. But I just want to gently suggest that there is a difference between "life" and "human life" -- and that the correct number of chromosomes may not be the best way to clarify the difference.

I don't see how a fertilized egg cell can be called human. The notion honestly doesn't make sense to me. Or an undifferentiated clump of cells. I only see the question being relevant once the foetus has a functioning central nervous system so that it can actually have experiences. I still believe that the woman's right to autonomy over her body trumps any foetal rights, but at least, for me, the question is at least understandable.

Fritz   ·  November 13, 2008 2:43 PM

I think my comment that government should not be involved in determining when life begins or ends was somewhat misunderstood - I meant that questions of science cannot be determined by a vote. Neither can questions of faith.

What government can do is make actions illegal, so it can punish. The abortion question should be re-worded to ask at what point in a pregnancy is an abortion considered a punishable action.

Thinking of it that way leaves out discussion of how and when a birth control method works and it clarifies when a third party can be held responsible for the death of a fetus.

Donna B.   ·  November 13, 2008 2:44 PM

Fritz,

I've given up trying to protect fertilized egg cells and or an undifferentiated clump of cells until technology changes and we can terminate a pregnancy and keep those cells alive, and maybe not even then. I was born two months premature. I say I was a baby. Yet right now, in my red state, Kansas, we can't keep a mother from aborting a baby at seven months. The combination of absolute privacy rights and absolute health rights regarding abortion seem to be as iron clad as absolute property rights were regarding slavery.

M. Simon,

It seems to me that some level of pro-life IS libertarian, and that effective absolutism on abortion is anti-libertarian. But no, go on and demonize social conservatives like me. We could have laws which protect property rights, right of contract, free speech, a free press, privacy and life. We could compromise and work together.

Maybe you could think of building an effective coalition as an engineering problem. There are trade offs.

Yours,
Wince

Wince and Nod   ·  November 13, 2008 3:15 PM

Philip, I know you will simply think of me as one who wants to "whitewash" the civil war as not being about slavery, but that isn't the case.

It was also about a lot more. You cannot say that every confederate soldier was pro-slavery or that every union soldier was anti-slavery. You can say that a majority on both sides thought blacks a lesser form of humanity.

Most of the soldiers on both sides were drafted. Weren't there some protests about that in New York?

It's as gross an over-simplification to say the Civil War was only about slavery as it is to say it was only about state's rights.

And let's not even get into how reconstruction contributed to the massive corruption in government after the war... but that is one of the causes of all the stupid racist evangelical Democrat senators and reps the south sent to Washington for a long time.

Donna B.   ·  November 13, 2008 3:17 PM

Wince,

Yeah, as I said, I side with the rights of women over their bodies but I certainly understand that there is a reasonable debate at 7 months gestation (I was a premie at 8 months). I honestly don't see that at 2 months.

But there is more to "social conservative" than abortion. Social conservatives fight to ban adults from being able to patronize sexually-oriented businesses. Social conservatives fight to ban the sale or possession of vibrators. Social conservatives try to censor websites in California because someone in Tennessee is offended.

And It may be true that social conservatives were not the original drug warriors. But that is the group most determined on really destructive policies now.

Fritz   ·  November 13, 2008 3:55 PM

Social conservatives fight to ban adults from being able to patronize sexually-oriented businesses. Social conservatives fight to ban the sale or possession of vibrators. Social conservatives try to censor websites in California because someone in Tennessee is offended.

Not really. There is no energetic popular movement among social conservatives to do any of these things. There is considerable NIMBY on these matters. Sometimes it's more about property values than anything else. But precious few are going to man the barracades over those issues.

There is an energetic popular movement among social conservatives to protect their children from exposure to these things. There is an extremely energetic movement among social conservatives against child p****graphy. There is also an extremely energetic movement around abortion. These are the issues social conservatives are going to the mat over. The rest are part of the culture wars, and for the most part social conservatives don't want speech codes and political correctness from silencing us on these important matters.

Yours,
Wince

Wince and Nod   ·  November 13, 2008 4:49 PM

Here's my 2 cents worth.

I'm an old WASP who grew up in the south with a heritage there that goes back well more than two hundred years. I can relate well to much of the discussion in this thread.

I'm a believer that the smaller a government is the freer the governed. The closer to the governed that the government operates, generally the better off the affected people will be.

The first and foremost responsibility of the Federal government is our national security and the purpose of that is to preserve and protect our Constitution wherein our individual liberties are guaranteed.

In the centuries since our forefathers settled this continent, there has developed what I'd like to refer to as the American Culture. That culture was formed initially from European roots and thus its moral code has Judeo/Christian origins. But the American Culture, though western and a derivative of European culture, has unique features. It is adaptable and responds well to change and diversity. Most people who have direct knowledge and experience agree that the American Culture is well differentiated from European or South American cultures. Over a long period of time, people from all over the world (and from many cultures very different from ours) have emigrated to the United States seeking greater personal freedom and economic opportunity. They still do. Recent political events demonstrate that our country remains true to these principles.

Much of our political bickering pales when compared to what I view as the two major issues, and they are connected. First, culture matters. No other culture on this earth places value on individual liberty as we do. American culture is worth defending and preserving. The greatest threat now to American Culture is Islamic radicalism and a major responsibility of the Federal government should be to insure that radical Islam makes no progress in this part of the world.

So I'll be pleased to see us preserve our entrepreneurially focused market economy and have the feds protect us from outside forces bent on destroying our way of life.


Bob Thompson   ·  November 13, 2008 4:55 PM

I really don't understand this new jihad against social conservatives by libertarians, especially the contention that the social conservatives are driving libertarians out of the Republican party.

Listen to talk radio here in Houston. The local conservative talk station, with hosts that are part of the state party apparatus, will not accept anyone who is not pro-life and against a federal constitutional amendment banning abortion and gay marriage. To them, you're not a "real" conservative.

It's telling that the evangelical wing of the Republican party supported Huckabee, who is a Huey Long populist with Southern Baptist social views. I'd say that the small government, federalist libertarians are more in line with the overal conservative program than the Huckabee supporters were.

ech   ·  November 13, 2008 5:29 PM

Bob...

I don't think radical Islam is any threat to our culture. It is a threat to individual Americans, but that is different.

The response of the American government (and especially the Bush administration) to the 9/11 attacks have done far more damage to America than the attacks did. We are less resilient as an economy (far less) than we were at least partly because of the expense of the Iraq War. We have made air travel inconvenient and discouraged foreign tourism. We are breaking down some of the last barriers against warrantless surveillance.

Truthfully, I view Madonna (and the rest of our gloriously seamy pop culture) as perhaps our most effective cultural weapon against radical Islam. And that weapon gets wielded while making profits for our businesses and at no cost to the taxpayer. It doesn't get better than that.

Fritz   ·  November 13, 2008 5:30 PM

Fritz,

I didn't suggest that much of what the Bush Administration has done to counter Islamic radicalism has been wise or effective. This doesn't alter where the responsibility lies to counter threats.

If you don't perceive a cultural threat, then that's another matter. May I ask if you see any such threat to our European cousins. From my view, the Europeans, and to some extent the Canadians, have already capitulated on free speech on matters related to Islam and I certainly see that as having a seriously negative cultural effect.


Bob Thompson   ·  November 13, 2008 5:55 PM

Bob,

First, the Federal government has a responsibility to counter military threats, not cultural threats (whatever those really are).

Yes, I think European cultures have more cultural concerns. Their societies are smaller. And they also already ban speech (witness the German laws against Holocaust denial).

Do you perceive that American culture can effectively be attacked by radical Islam? How would you envision such an attack proceeding?

Fritz   ·  November 13, 2008 6:11 PM

I agree with Bob, the threat from radical Islam is cultural, at least according to their statements.

If we give up our freedoms, convert to their religion, and live under their laws, they'll have to come up with another reason to kill "us".

Donna B.   ·  November 13, 2008 6:12 PM

Fritz,

Soviet styled communism from its inception until its fall was an example of what I see as a cultural threat. After ww2 the Soviets were also a serious military threat. The feds were involved on both fronts, and many of the same criticisms were leveled that we observe today when the action is against threats not military.

Bob Thompson   ·  November 13, 2008 6:36 PM

Donna,

I agree that the jihadists would like to be a cultural threat to us. I just don't see how they can be a cultural or societal threat -- except that American government actions in response to them have severely damaged American society.

Fritz   ·  November 13, 2008 9:19 PM

Fritz,

Let me clarify that I am less concerned about the radical Islamists who commit acts of terrorism than I am about the radical Islamists who emigrate to the U.S. but never assimilate into our society and culture and spread Islamic radicalism from within our borders. People of this ilk have never had any intention of leaving behind them the customs of their native land and adopting the ways of their new land. Their intent is to change the ways of their new land. The time horizon for these people is measured in generations. Unlike most Americans who were born here, these people know their history and time is on their side. They know how to preserve and protect elements of their culture that they value. Witness what goes on in Europe when some aspect of their religious culture is caricatured or criticized. They have the model for what their want to accomplish in place in Europe and I don't think we want that here.

Also, I need to say here that all other cultures of the world that send immigrants here, whether it be Latin America, East Asia, Africa or any other do not pose this kind of threat to our culture.

So diversity is welcome to join us from all over the world but the destruction of our culture is unwelcome.

I guess this is what makes me a conservative, I see things in our culture and society that I think are worth preserving, against all threats.

Bob Thompson   ·  November 13, 2008 10:37 PM

Bob...

I understand your concern. And I agree that is their goal. I simply don't think they can pull it off.

The same traits you describe (long time horizon, not assimilating, etc.) were used to spread concern about Japanese immigrants, and earlier about Chinese immigrants, and even earlier about Catholic Irish and Italian immigrants (Are you familiar with the Thomas Nash cartoon with bishops as alligators threatening children?). I think American popular culture is simply too pervasive and too corrosive.

Fritz   ·  November 14, 2008 1:10 AM

Thomas D.,

The War On Drugs was pure Nixon. If you don't even know that how reliable is the rest of your comment?

M. Simon   ·  November 14, 2008 2:56 AM

Thomas D,

3. As stated before most social cons want the Federal government out of education. Period, full stop. They're the people who are howling loudest for vouchers and school choice remember? So long as the Federal government dominates eduction people will fight for the ability to indoctrinate - rather than fight each position, let's just eliminate the entire incentive.

Government schools were foisted on us by social conservatives in cahoots with progressives in order to "reeducate" immigrant Catholics and Jews.

Trouble is that it got away from the socons and now progressives are in charge of reeducation.

Screwed by the policies of a previous generation of social conservatives are we?

If you actually knew some of the details of American history you wouldn't be spouting the stuff you do.

Why not come out direct and say social conservatives are destructive of their own ends? You might gain some humility and start thinking of how policies you advocate could go wrong.

M. Simon   ·  November 14, 2008 3:12 AM

I think it's a dumb idea to respond to an electoral defeat by arguing about who to kick out of the movement or party.

The idea is to make room for more folks of the social liberal and economic conservative type. It is not about kicking any one out.

Oh, yeah. It would have been nice if the social conservatives in Congress hadn't been lying about being economically conservative.

Lying ruins the brand. Plus I'm told it is immoral behavior. Kind of tarnishes the social conservative side of the brand too.

M. Simon   ·  November 14, 2008 9:29 AM

Wince,

It seems to me that some level of pro-life IS libertarian, and that effective absolutism on abortion is anti-libertarian.

I agree. Safe, legal, rare. And the trimester system is not a bad compromise.

M. Simon   ·  November 15, 2008 8:02 AM

The Warren Court should have quoted the IXth Amendment instead of making up penumbras.

As to nuanced enforcement: there are problems. For a long time pot was treated as if it was as dangerous as heroin.

In fact heroin - if the antidote is readily available - is less dangerous than aspirin. If pure it does not harm the body.

What we get with fanatics leading the charge is an ever more intrusive regime. The Drug War has shredded the 4th Amendment and has lead to agitation against the 2nd due to prohibition induced violence.

If we get the fanatics in charge of the abortion question things could go very bad - say weekly testing of women for pregnancy. Just like the random drug tests used to keep "druggies" from getting and holding jobs. And why do we need tests since drugs "obviously impair performance". Well that is just it. They don't obviously impair performance.

My take: any woman who would abort in the 7th month is obviously unfit to be a mother. What to do about it? Make adoption easier. And quicker.

M. Simon   ·  November 15, 2008 8:25 AM

The Drug War began in 1914 with the Harrison Narcotics Act. That was accomplished by a socon/progressive alliance. The same alliance that brought us alcohol prohibition in 1920.

Drug War History

M. Simon   ·  November 15, 2008 8:34 AM

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