Why Did Social Conservatives Ally With Progressives?

Why Did Social Conservative Ally With Progressives?

Please discuss in the comments.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon on 11.16.08 at 05:19 AM


Hmmm...crickets. Probably because such an on-its-face ridiculous premise requires something backing it up.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Start with some kind of explanation. What issue are you alleging that social conservatives allied with progressives on?

Then provide some sort of evidence that this patently rediculous idea may be true. THEN an explanation of why may be considered.

But at this point it's a bit like saying: Why did Libertarians ally with Socialists?

tom   ·  November 16, 2008 9:26 AM


Public schools as indoctrination centers. Alcohol prohibition. Drug prohibition.

I will leave it to you to research the details.

Obviously, (and I know you tend towards socially conservative) you are totally ignorant of your own history. How convenient.

It is only an extraordinary claim for those ignorant of history or who would prefer to forget it (in which I do not blame you in the least - it is rather sordid).

But you know what Santana said - "those ignorant of history....."

M. Simon   ·  November 16, 2008 11:56 AM


I think this all goes back to a book I've been reading, A Conflict of Visions by Thomas Sowell. In his book he describes two underlying visions of humanity: a "constrained" vision where mankind is as he always will be, and government philosophy is constrained by the nature of mankind--and an "unconstrained" vision where mankind can be reshaped to be better with the suitable application of the correct governmental philosophy. (I know I'm doing this rather deep book a disservice by summarizing it here.)

In this framework, most of the social conservatives I've seen in the Republican Party are essentially "unconstrained" idealists: if we can only pass laws compatible with christian morality, we can instill morality and ethics and make the people of our country better people. (On the ground, most Christians I've known have had a more fatalistic--or "constrained" view: we are all sinners and we must all be saved one person at a time, but government cannot "save" people.)

This "unconstrained" view is really very similar to the liberal "unconstrained" view of government: governments exist to help mold mankind into becoming better people. Socialism is an "unconstrained" view, as is much of the far-left liberal idealism that we saw in the Obama campaign.

So really, it doesn't surprise me that social conservative leaders ally themselves with progressives: they both agree that government is the solution. They only disagree on the specific policies that we should pass in order to elevate mankind.

If the Republicans want to save themselves they need to move to a more "constrained" viewpoint of government--that government is not the solution. Ideally they can move towards Reagan's underlying political genius--which was not just that governments are "constrained" by the nature of mankind, but that mankind is fine just the way we are. Government constraint, in other words, is not a fatalistic fact of life, but an idealistic approach to governance which acknowledges that "...man is good, that what is right will always eventually triumph, and there's purpose and worth to each and every life."

William Woody   ·  November 16, 2008 2:26 PM

[sound of razzberry] I didn't.

Bleepless   ·  November 16, 2008 6:04 PM


I believe you nailed it. I call the unconstrained types Republican Socialists.

M. Simon   ·  November 16, 2008 6:06 PM

But you know what Santana said - "those ignorant of history....."

Uhh....Santana said "Oye como va!". Perhaps you meant Santayana.

From whence comes the retarded notion that social conservatism is activist in nature? Defending the social structure that has made this country the greatest nation in the history of humankind is hardly an "attempt to elevate" anything or anyone. Its merely being conservative. One must tax their imagination to call it something else.

The idea that defending the definition of marriage is some sort of IMPOSITION(?!?!!), can only be uttered by a dumbass, or a liar. Just what f%cking law was passed for the sake of "Christian Morality"? Is marriage an exclusively Christian concept now? Is it just the thumpers that get these ballot initiatives carried every goddam time they are up for a vote.

Stupidity on stilts is still just as stupid. You people need to get some new material.

I read this bullshit about all the "christian/social conservative legislation" here and there, but no one seems to actually cite any such legislation. That's not by accident. Its not mentioned because it doesn't exist. Its simply another straw man thrown out there by low-life bigots who lack the courage of their own convictions. Its much easier to simply blame it on the dirty Christians, and then wax poetic about how, "If only those people were denied any voice, what a wonderful country it would be."

Perverted is what it is. Its sick.

ccoffer   ·  November 16, 2008 7:59 PM


Santayana is correct. And thanks for the Santana reference. I'll post the youtube in your honor.

Ah. I see you are not familiar with the history of the Marriage License in America. Another sordid episode foisted on us by Southern Social Conservatives. It was to prevent miscegenation.

It is no wonder social conservatives are ignorant of their own history. It is one ugly bitch.

BTW I pointed out a number of examples of social conservatives allying with progressives. I take it you did not look into it. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

Note: I never said social conservatives should be denied a voice. What I suggested is that they be denied the force of law.

It is one of the reasons I love Palin: she prefers to lead by example rather than use government guns to enforce her views. That IMO is the way forward.

M. Simon   ·  November 16, 2008 8:56 PM


Please read again what Woody has to say.

Republican Cultural Socialism is no more attractive to me than Democrat Economic Socialism.

Both run on the premise that government can perfect man with the right laws. I have no faith in the perfectibility of man: or as my Christian friends like to say: we are all sinners.

So what can be done? Well, government rightly ordered can reduce the direct harm we do to each other. You know like assault, theft, fraud, etc.

M. Simon   ·  November 16, 2008 9:09 PM

"Note: I never said social conservatives should be denied a voice. What I suggested is that they be denied the force of law."

Yet the validation of relationships between any pair/group of sexual deviants should have the force of law irrespective of social convention or popular will. Yeah. Right. Its a principled argument...in some universe I suppose.

The way forward? Forward to what, pray tell?

Using guns? Using government guns? Why have you chosen only one type of sexual deviant to enshrine? Why is their fetish so important to you as a matter of justice? What about all the other people "born" with a compulsion for this or that fetish? Do their rights mean nothing to you? Or do you wish to abolish any law defining marriage? That would, of course mean no laws acknowledging any such thing as marriage. Marriage would then mean anything......and thus, nothing.

You are either not very honest, or not very intelligent.

ccoffer   ·  November 16, 2008 9:22 PM


ccoffer   ·  November 16, 2008 9:27 PM


The winds of change are blowing. It is obvious if you look at the trends. You may not like those trends but they are there.

Drug relegalization is coming (there are now 13 States that have decrimed pot). And gay marriage is coming - it is just a matter of time. What I would like to see is gays taken out of the "protected class". A Ward Connerly movement re: sexual orientation. I think that is doable.

I don't think churches should be forced to marry gays. That is doable.

Stopping gay marriage is a lost cause. IMO. Just as criminalizing all (or even most) abortions is a lost cause.

I'd like to see the Republican Party take no position on lost causes. If for no other reason than getting our economic house in order is a greater priority (at least for now).

It would be nice to get cultural liberals who are economic conservatives on our side to roll back economic socialism and crony capitalism.

M. Simon   ·  November 16, 2008 9:58 PM

Just to be clear I wasn't calling the social conservative commentators in the Republican Party who advocate passing laws aimed at elevating our society "socialist"--only that both they and socialists believe that governments can make people better by passing the right laws. The only difference is what those laws should be.

But it's not "Republican Cultural Socialism"--socialism is an economic structure, not a political philosophy.

And ccofer,

From whence comes the retarded notion that social conservatism is activist in nature? Defending the social structure that has made this country the greatest nation in the history of humankind is hardly an "attempt to elevate" anything or anyone. Its merely being conservative.

It's clear you didn't understand my point. The question is does government define social structure (and thus has a position in defending it), or can government only work around existing social structure and try to otherwise stay out of the way? Or, put it this way: are we a Christian nation because of Government mandate, or were we a Christian nation before our Government formed--and the best Government can do is stay out of the way?

The moment social conservatives attempt to use the government to promulgate the idea of a christian morality, no matter how it is dressed up as "defending our nation" or "preserving our culture", what you're really doing is using the government to reform mankind. That is, you have ceded ground to liberals as to the role of government--by asserting the liberal ideal that government intervention is good--and are now arguing over how to arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.

And when it comes time for the voters to vote, who do you think they'll vote for? The imperfect liberals promising hellfire and brimstone to those who don't support their government mandates? Or the perfect liberals who tell us hellfire doesn't exist, but hope and change does?

This is not to say that Christian Conservatism doesn't have a role in the Republican Party nor should they not be allowed a seat at the tables of power in this country. But Christian Conservatism must become truly Conservative again when it comes to the idea of a limited governmental role. Otherwise we'll continue to see an encroachment of liberalism in this country and the growth of our government into all of our private affairs.

William Woody   ·  November 16, 2008 10:29 PM


In fact, if you agree with Jonah Goldberg it is socialism. Or if you want to get more virulent one of its variants - fascism. I'll stick with the less loaded term - socialism.

BTW the rest of your point is spot on.


Let me take a different tack. Do you like Sarah Palin politically?

M. Simon   ·  November 17, 2008 12:17 AM

Why? That's easy. Behold the common element:
they are bossy. Yes, both groups are interventionist and have deluded themselves into believing all of their preferences are moral imperatives, but they are well aware that their laws and regulations will not achieve their pure ends. It is the successful grasp of authority that is their true aim. It's a coalition of opportunity in a purportedly majoritarian democracy.

Brett   ·  November 17, 2008 1:07 AM

simon says,
"Public schools as indoctrination centers. Alcohol prohibition. Drug prohibition."

Simon, why if I tend towards what is now termed "socially conservative" am I forced to accept the attitudes of "social conservatives" from the 1920s and 1930s?

Well, being that "social liberals" in the 1920s and 1930 advocated euthenasia of the handicapped, forced sterilization of undesirables including minorities, and oh, yeah, "de-judification" of the financial industry, do you support those things as well?

Those are two entirely different species much less universes, and it's intellectually dishonest to claim that I must be for public indoctrination just because I'm against federal court protection for the unrestricted killing of unborn children in the womb.

What's amazing to me is this rank dishonesty from the libertarian side, continuing to insist against all logic that what current social conservatives want is more government intereference in our lives when all we want is for the "social liberals" of both parties to STOP RAMMING THEIR CURRENT MORALS down our throats.

tom   ·  November 17, 2008 9:23 AM


You still have the Cultural Socialism attitude as far as I can tell.

BTW are you in any way working to end drug prohibition? I didn't think so.

Santayana "Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it".

Is any one forcing you to have an abortion? If drugs are legal does that mean you will be forced to take them? No one is cramming anything down your throat. It is your illusion. If gays get to marry (they will it is just a matter of time) it will have zero effect on the relationship between me and my mate. How about you?

Now I voted straight Republican in the last two elections and campaigned for others to do the same, so I am blameless in the matter.

However, I'm trying to help you get the votes of other libertarians who do not see things the way I do. If you don't want their votes well fine. Enjoy Mr. Obama and his Democrat controlled Congress. Your attitude put him where he is today.

Down with Economic Socialism
Down with Cultural Socialism
Down with Socialism

Now that is a pretty coherent governing philosophy.

I put up a series of videos of Jonah Goldberg discussing "Liberal Fascism" and he touches on Cultural Socialism in his discussion with Glen Beck. You should watch all the videos. There is a very slight possibility that it might open your mind.

M. Simon   ·  November 17, 2008 11:31 AM

Woody, you said what I'm thinking and you said it better than I would have. Nicely done.

tim maguire   ·  November 17, 2008 3:58 PM


You are as wrong as you could be in your assumptions about social conservatives. I am actually in favor of decriminalizing drugs, although at least intially with some restrictions like we have for highly addictive prescription drugs. But marijuana should be legal tomorrow.

Probably because my current job (courtesy of military orders) involves stopping the smuggling of them, I realize how utterly ineffective interdiction is. In fact, the truth is even the DEA knows they have no hope of stopping the flow. Their actual goal, from my close perspective, to me appears to be 1. raising cost of drugs on the street 2. taking down cartel leaders 3. seizing property so they can fund themselves better (unconsitutionally, IMHO).

Your confusion over what drives modern social conservatives appears to be informed more by liberal caricatures of social conservatives than the actual voice of social conservatives.

Do you want to read some primary socially conservative sources? May I suggest First Things, or the New Criterion. Both intellectual centers of modern social conservatism. If you can find a single article calling for stricter drug enforcement or more government involvement in education, etc, please let me know.

No one forces someone to do drugs, which is why the case for crimilization is weak.

Abortion, on the other hand, violates a fundamental right -- the right of each person to life. Considering it otherwise requires a definition of "human life" as a thing beginning after a live baby's head passes the vagina. Not exactly a "scientific" standard.

And yes, it is possible for someone to force an abortion. I had an ex-girlfriend get an abortion because despite her being there & willing at the conception she decided she wasn't ready for a baby. It didn't matter what I thought or did. I don't have parental rights until the child is born.

By the way, it is possible to force mothers to have an abortion. China does it every day with something called a "one-child" policy. Think that can't happen here? Just wait till carbon-caps require a reduction in population.

I'm not sure abortion should be illegal. I agree with George Bush that it's not about laws, we have to change hearts, not laws. But that doesn't mean access to it should be unfettered at any time in pregnancy, tax-payer funded, and even encouraged. (at fetal ages well past the age preemies survive at every day!). And as for the damage Roe v.s Wade has done to our court system over the years, you need only look at the judicial wasteland that has followed to see the poisioned fruit of that case.

And yes, I agree with Woody that when we rely on solely on government to promote common social morality you end up with bad morals and bad government.

But we live in the here and now, not a libertarian utopia. So the proper role of a social conservative, rather than throwing up one's hands, is to prevent harm at the individual level wherever possible.

tom   ·  November 17, 2008 4:57 PM

Because history and philosophy are mediums of human endeavor dead as poetry.

Read your Rousseau. When society becomes a god, a caste of priests are needed to interpret His will, and if you can't hear the evangelizing in the sermons of the cult of the common good then you're just another stone on Atlas' shoulders. The social conservatives and progressives are comrades of the same mindset bending knee to mildly different delusions.

Drew   ·  November 17, 2008 10:28 PM


May I apologize for misunderstanding you.


When Nixon started the drug war a bag of 5% pure heroin cost $30. Today a bag of 80% pure heroin costs $4. Cheaper than a six pack of beer. And I haven't even accounted for the reduction in price in inflation adjusted terms.

So let me ask you - how is that raising the street price on the street working? Not only is interdiction not stopping the flow. It is not keeping the price up.

What the DEA is telling you is total BS. Well it is a government program. What do you expect?

And Re: the yearly pot eradication programs. In the Midwest they go out and collect a lot of ditch weed that is the result of WW2 hemp production. And you know what? Every stalk of ditch weed is accounted at $4,000 street value. Gather up 100,000 of these useless (as a drug) plants and the folks involved have taken $400 million worth of drugs off the street. Yeah. Right.

Let me add another data point. A number of years back the gvmnt. busted a warehouse in Los Angeles with 20 TONS of cocaine in it. The street price? Narry a ripple.

The Drug War really has nothing to do with drugs any more. It is a government jobs program. Prison construction. Guards unions. Lawyers. Judges. DEA agents. Police gestappo ahem SWAT teams. Police depts. "short of manpower" etc. Military interdiction teams. etc. etc.

In my town the strain on the "justice" system got a 1% "public safety" sales taxed passed. It is still not enough.

Socialism for sure. But the money is not even going to the needy. None of it. Unless you count the $20,000 a year room and board systems called prisons.

And our media? Well they are totally in bed with this. Just as they are in the tank for ∅. As some wag once put it: If we ever got honest reporting about the drug war it would be over in months.

M. Simon   ·  November 19, 2008 8:57 AM

Another data point:

My town of 150,000 supports TWO grow op stores.

When they first opened the police busted one store because some sales clerk had an "illegal" conversation with a customer.

Nowadays the cops don't even bother.

In addition this is the first local election I can remember when the cops didn't have a major "headline" bust just before the election.

Just like you the police are becoming demoralized about the whole thing.

And how about this. I got a number of articles on the nature of addiction published in the local weekly. I used to talk to policemen about it. They were interested. Once it started seriously ruining morale some one from the police dept. leaned on the editor to get me to write about other things.

Given what has happened this year re: busts, I'd say I did a pretty good job although I haven't written for that paper in years.

It is real hard to get honest men to go out and bust dealers and users for taking and distributing drugs to ameliorate the after effects of trauma or other mental problems.

My sincere hope is to ruin your morale even more. So much that you will start telling the truth to the rest of your team.

The NIDA says Addiction Is A Genetic Disease.

Now there is a government approved source you should be able to hand out to your friends.

M. Simon   ·  November 19, 2008 9:24 AM

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