Who betrayed my conservative principles?

I don't know what I should title this post. Maybe "How I became labeled as a conservative." But labels are the damnedest things. People start calling you something, and pretty soon the label begins to takes on meaning, and if you're not careful, the label can influence your thinking one way or another, and you can find yourself reacting. The reactions might take the form of conforming, rebelling, ignoring, or just passively going with the flow, but if you're a human being it's hard not to react in some way. Even not reacting -- what we would call ignoring -- involves a process of deliberation. You're not ignoring in the true sense of the word, because if you know something, you are not in a state of being ignorant of it.

I feel compelled to elaborate on a somewhat flippant statement I made in an earlier post:

Too bad we can't bring back the ideologically easy days when "conservative" simply meant those who supported the war.
Ideologically easy? Perhaps I spoke too fast. While it is undeniably true that many an American (and many a blogger) found himself or herself labeled "conservative," there's nothing easy about the underlying ideological question.

Why, how, and since when is it "conservative" to support your country during a war?

And since I'm on the subject of "easy" ideology, there's another form of "conservatism" which has been on my mind.

The failure or refusal to believe that President George W. Bush was like Hitler, and was running a Nazi-like regime.

Or how about not believing that the 9/11 attack was an inside job?

Just to be clear, yes, I supported the war, and yes, I ridiculed the idea that Bush was a Nazi and that 9/11 was an inside job. That being the case, I became tagged with the "conservative" label no matter how many times I said I was a libertarian. This debate (in which my libertarianism was attacked as suspect) is typical, and I lost track of the number of times I was called a conservative (and worse) by lefties. But hey, I'm one of those annoying snots who rejects all labels and refuses to be bound by them, so I contemptuously ignored most of these references.

Times have changed. It now seems that supporting the war, not believing 9/11 was an inside job, and opposing the belief that Bush is a Nazi are no longer conservative positions. Even foot dragging on Gitmo has become suspiciously liberal.

Where does that leave the previously labeled conservatives?

Why, they're supposed to be dragged into a contest. Something involving "conservative principles." What are they? Beats me, as it seems to depend on whom you ask. To some, it's enough simply to be against big government, or statism. But to others, you also have to be against all things which are said to threaten "family values."

Social and religious conservatives often use the term "family values" to promote conservative ideology that supports traditional morality or values.[2] American Christians often see their religion as the source of morality and consider the nuclear family to be an essential element in society. Some conservative family values advocates believe the government should endorse Christian morality,[3] for example by displaying the Ten Commandments or allowing teachers to conduct prayers in public schools. Religious conservatives often view the United States as a "Christian nation".[4] For example, the American Family Association, says "The American Family Association exists to motivate and equip citizens to change the culture to reflect Biblical truth and traditional family values."[5] These groups variously oppose abortion, pornography, pre-marital sex, homosexuality, some aspects of feminism,[6] cohabitation, and depictions of sexuality in the media.
I don't know how accurate the above list is, but it does not articulate either my political positions or many of my political principles, and to the extent it defines "conservatism," then I cannot truthfully be said to be a conservative, regardless of how devoutly I support the war, and regardless of how much I doubt Bush's Nazism and 9/11 involvement.

What I want to know is, whatever happened to my conservative principles? Can it be that I was a conservative, but no longer am? How is that possible? Looking back over the six years of this blog, I don't think my positions have changed on very many issues. I think I am conservative about some things, liberal about some things, and in general I still consider myself a small l-libertarian who simply thinks what he thinks. Naturally, to some I will always be a conservative, but to others I will fail the litmus test hopelessly.

Can I accomplish more with or without the label? I guess that depends on whether the conservative label is a matter of principle or pragmatism. And on whether the label is a definition.

Should labels be put ahead of principles, or should principles be put ahead of labels?

I don't mean to sound facetious, but I think it's often forgotten that betraying a label is not the same thing as betraying a principle.

AFTERTHOUGHT: I think much of the problem is that once you adopt any label shared by other people, they will then insist you adopt what they call their principles. (This can be further aggravated by an unfortunate tendency to confuse opinions with principles.)

UPDATE: My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link, and a warm welcome to all.

Your comments are appreciated -- agree or disagree.

UPDATE: Thank you Sean Kinsell for the link. (Especially in a post which does such a great job of barfing at Andrew Sullivan!)

posted by Eric on 07.06.09 at 11:51 AM










Comments

Nice smart men like you get trapped into thinking that the name calling from the left is grounded in any value system at all. In fact, their actions are consistent with a tribal ethos, and not that of an independent citizen.

The left is a tribe. Conservative simply means, "Not one of us." Which also means you must be an enemy an be attacked. In fact attacking "Conservatives" is kind of a modern scalp hunting performed by Liberals to increase their standing in their tribe.

Mackay Rippey   ·  July 6, 2009 12:33 PM

Not to worry, Eric.

The conventional wisdom among conservatives (as opposed to those who would object to being labeled that way) is that there are three prongs: social, war, and fiscal.

I have at times been happy to be all three. I'm not such a social conservative any more, though I still tend to think that law ought to support traditional morals.

But there is now a growing small-government conservatism that believes people should be able to do what they want, but doesn't want government to condone immorality. There are lots of things that should not be illegal, but still ought to be frowned upon, or at least not encouraged.

The basic problem is that the government is now so big and our laws so intricate that public morality is shaped, to a large extent, by what is legal and what is illegal. The dichotomy is now increasingly no longer illegal vs legal, but illegal vs subsidized.

Anyway, the right-left labels are problematic, as you know. But one of the best results to come from Obama's election and conduct in office is that people will come to remember that you can't have government growth in one area without having it grow in all the others.

Loren Heal   ·  July 6, 2009 12:43 PM

Heck, I must be really old, I can remember when conservatives believed in God, guns and guts.

I always say I'm a "small-l libertarian".

But really, what does it matter? Arguing with anybody anymore is a waste of time.

You have to argue over reality before you can argue the positions and no matter what you call yourself, it you don't believe as your opponent believes you are a "conservative" and brainwashed by Karl Rove or a left-symp icehole.


And that's why I think we're at the end of civilization. Huge swathes of the country believe things that just aren't so and act accordingly with predictable and hilarious results.

I truly believe that Obama believes that America is the cause of all the world's problems and if we could just talk to them, well, an enemy is a friend you haven't hugged yet.

Take the mad mullahs, who've been "negotiating" with the EU(nuch)-3 for years to no avail.

They want the bomb because that'll make them powerful and feared and they are going to act accordingly, no matter how nicey-nicey you make with them.

Watching old Saturday Night Live "Weekend Update" segments is illuminating as Chevy Chase and Bill Murray and Jane Curtain all talk about how the "Peace process" in the Middle East.

Why isn't there peace? Because the Arabs want the Jews dead and gone and the Israelis want to stay alive and in their country. Since neither side will budge, negotiations are pointless.

We've unlearned so much that I just don't see a good ending to it.

Veeshir   ·  July 6, 2009 3:05 PM

I've been labeled as "Conservative" by my Liberal friends because I don't agree with them on everything. I've also been asked to stop subjecting them to my offensive politics. I try to explain that my goal (happiness, freedom, & prosperity for all) is not that different from their's, but they find disagreement with their ideas to be offensive.

I look at both parties and the politicians that make them up and have a hard time feeling any sort of comeraderie or kinship with them. The closest thing to a "party" I am comfortable with is the Tea Party movement. But if it becomes a real political part, I'm sure that won't last.

Like Veeshir, I've noticed that people seem to want their own FACTS as well as their own opinions. I struggle to find out what the facts are so that I can have an informed opinion. Others seem to struggle to find facts that fit their opinion. (I know, I'm not perfect and I'm sure I do some of that, too, but I fight it unlike others who seem to revel in it.)

Bolie Williams IV   ·  July 6, 2009 5:11 PM

In the end, you have to pull the lever for a Republican or a Democrat. You Sir, are a Republican. Like it or not, religious conservatives, libertarians, hawks, and anti-statest fiscal conservatives are all in a boat together if they have any chance to win. A vote for a third party is a vote for the other side.

Jason   ·  July 6, 2009 10:48 PM

Think of a label as a street sign that may give you a clue to what kind of people live in the neighborhood, but it doesn't (and shouldn't) describe every yard, garden, house paint, tree for everyone.

Sometimes someone goes by and changes the sign, but the people and their homes remain fairly the same.

Darleen   ·  July 6, 2009 11:07 PM

I take a glass-half-full view.

I am actually relieved that Democrats are actually concerned with natural security at least when they are in power. During the Bush years, I was seriously worried that the US had an active fifth column that had taking over a worryingly larger percentage of the population.

I think, however, the biggest problem politically in the US today is the one that has been so booby-trapped that Republicans are afraid to talk about it :

Blacks vote 90-95% democrat. No matter what, nothing can make them vote any other way. Even the fact that George Wallace ran for Pres. as a Democrat as recently as 1976, and the existence of KKK leader Robert Byrd in the Senate, blacks vote uniformly for one party.

This is unheard of in any mature democracy, and any other demographic group, whether race, gender, sexual orientation, age, or income bracket.

Blacks will vote 90-95% Democrat no matter what. Even if the KKK has a Democrat fundraiser (which they used to a few decades ago), blacks will still not waver.

I have no problem with them voting 60% Democrat. Despite that still being the majority, it at least means that there is a competition between 2 parties. But 90-95% is too much. It is a problem. And the whole country is suffering for it.

GK   ·  July 6, 2009 11:14 PM

While it may be fashionable and 'edgy' to support a third party, strategically, it is just about the dumbest thing a voter can do. Supporting a third party mathematically guarantees that the candidate the most opposed to your objectives will win.

Perot supporters made Clinton President.
Nader supporters made Bush President.

Thus, all third party enthusiasts are actually lazy, fad-swayed people. The real rewards come from the hard work of rebuilding and redirecting your own party. Not being 'edgy' and supporting a third party.

GK   ·  July 6, 2009 11:23 PM

These days libertarians and classical liberals are considered conservatives.

To be a "Liberal" nowadays in the US you have to be "progressive", which is to say you have to be a socialist.

Steven Den Beste   ·  July 6, 2009 11:24 PM

I'm old enough to remember when it was the Right that demanded (and mostly got) adherence to its uniformity of thought and the Left was the free-thinkers. For the past 30 years or so, though, it has been the Left more and more insisting on uniformity of thought. I believe this is the Stalinist impulse that was lacking in the (more widespread) American Left prior to the early '70s or so. (The earlier uniformity of thought on the Right appeared to me to be a combination of a kind of Burkean conservatism and a religious (especially Judeo-Christian) conservatism.)

Currently, you are most likely to be labeled by whether or not you support the current 'Party line' as defined by the more 'Progressive' elites (which is pretty much limited to some pseudo-intellectuals in Academia and the Townhouse or whateverthehell that group of Lefty bloggers is calling themselves now) in toto.

JorgXMcKie   ·  July 6, 2009 11:24 PM

While it may be fashionable and 'edgy' to support a third party, strategically, it is just about the dumbest thing a voter can do. Supporting a third party mathematically guarantees that the candidate the most opposed to your objectives will win.

Perot supporters made Clinton President.
Nader supporters made Bush President.

Thus, all third party enthusiasts are actually lazy, fad-swayed people. The real rewards come from the hard work of rebuilding and redirecting your own party. Not being 'edgy' and supporting a third party.

GK   ·  July 6, 2009 11:24 PM

While it may be fashionable and 'edgy' to support a third party, strategically, it is just about the dumbest thing a voter can do. Supporting a third party mathematically guarantees that the candidate the most opposed to your objectives will win.

Perot supporters made Clinton President.
Nader supporters made Bush President.

Thus, all third party enthusiasts are actually lazy, fad-swayed people. The real rewards come from the hard work of rebuilding and redirecting your own party. Not being 'edgy' and supporting a third party.

GK   ·  July 6, 2009 11:25 PM

A conservative to me is a pragmatist who knows that the vast majority of new things are failures and is primarily motivated by the desire to not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

This seems obvious to me.

Steve G   ·  July 6, 2009 11:35 PM

"A vote for a third party is a vote for the other side" I'm sorry, but as long as people hold this attitude, the current "Republican" party has absolutely no incentive to change. It is only when people start pulling the lever for third parties that they will start listening. Yes, we'll hurt in the process, like we are hurting now.

dmitry   ·  July 6, 2009 11:40 PM

Go ask college faculty and PhD students to label the Cato Institute. 9 out of 10 will call it "conservative" even though Cato is probably more fervently anti-Iraq War than are they.

There is no such thing as "libertarian" to lefties. The most ardent Che-loving socialists consider themselves "moderate" and everyone else "radical right." The sun will rise in the west before they change their minds.

Jack   ·  July 6, 2009 11:54 PM

Is it Alinsky that said to mock all things moral? What's wrong with morality? Is there no benefit at all to exercising some control over one's impusles to porn, gambling, prostitution, drink, drugs, lying, cheating, stealing? Or is it no longer desirable to attempt to keep our impulses in balance and simply become gluttons of whatever provides us instant pleasure?

And isn't lumping all Christians into one finger-wagging group that thinks alike as offensive as lumping all libertarians or conservatives or liberals into one "group" of identical drones?

While I can find plenty of Christians who, like progressives, want to mind the business of others, I think that Christianity is more like a gymnasium for the soul. The fact that there are fat people in the gym -who aren't breaking a sweat - doesn't mean that the goal of improving one's body (or soul) is any less of a worthy endeavor.

It often seems to me that a healthy "balance" requires not always being considered cool.

Becky   ·  July 6, 2009 11:54 PM

Can't fool me. This is an extended exercise in subtle sarcasm.
Before Jan 20, libs could pretend that conservative actions and principles were the worstest things on earth.
Since then, they have to act in accordance with reality, which has a conservative bias, and so they're doing a lot of the stuff they hammered Bush for.
But they can't be becoming conservatives. So, instead, all that stuff they insisted was undiluted evil is actually realistic and liberal.
Nope. I picked up on the slyness halfway through the second sentence.
You were kidding. Right?

Richard Aubrey   ·  July 7, 2009 12:19 AM

"liberal" and "conservative" (and the rest) are relative terms. It is possible to be consistent in your positions and find the label change. Remember, as the abolitionist party, the Republicans were the liberals when they were formed, while the Democrats (northern and southern) were the conservatives.

Social conservatives are in the minority (in terms of wide national support) among the different types of conservatives, and have the least constutionally tenable position(s). Therefore, it should come as no surprise that both the Democrats and their cheerleaders (almost all television and film media, and a good share of the heavyweight papers) paint all conservatives as social conservatives.

I think most "conservatives" don't want a "values" conservative like Palin to represent them, but would *love* a "money" and "government" conservative like Reagan...

Antaine   ·  July 7, 2009 12:37 AM

"Perot supporters made Clinton President. Nader supporters made Bush President."

If true, then Republicans should support the Green Party and Democrats should support the Reform Party.


drimin   ·  July 7, 2009 12:42 AM

ps - that wasn't to imply that Palin doesn't also advocate those "Reagan issues," but at a time when Republicans are losing ground because they allow themselves to be painted as social-focused conservatives, I feel she makes it a little too easy for the other side to minimize or completely ignore the parts of their message that could do us a tremendous amount of good given the current financial and political (domestic and global) climate...

Antaine   ·  July 7, 2009 12:42 AM

SDB: Part of it is that the Dem/Left crowd has seen itself, for quite some time now, as The Last Desparate Stand Against Darkness. If that's the case, then brother, you sure-hell don't stab a buddy in the back; and anyone marching in sorta the same direction is your buddy. Solidarity Is Strength.

Indeed, I think that 2008 will be seen as a very important year in American politics: It was the year when the gays finally admitted that they'd hated women all along, and the blacks finally admitted that they'd hated gays all along.

*****

As for Obama, regarding Gitmo et al, he's proceeded exactly as I expected: He started reading his first NIE, and suddenly everything George W. Bush ever did made perfect sense.

DensityDuck   ·  July 7, 2009 12:43 AM

He started reading his first NIE, and suddenly everything George W. Bush ever did made perfect sense.

Oh, heavens. It made sense to him before. Do you seriously believe all that "hopychangy" claptrap Obama recited off the Teleprompter before the election had anything to do with what he really believes? Obama is a tool. Every office he's ever run for was to serve the Chicago Democrat Machine, to win them more political power. All his campaign promises expired the day he took office: Now he does whatever makes the party bosses happy. Keeping terrorists in Gitmo makes them happy. Spening $800 Billion dollars on DNC wishlists makes them happy. Handing the 2010 Census over to ACORN makes them REALLY happy - they can gerrymander the whole country to keep them in power decades after Obama is a short paragraph in the history books. Obama is an empty suit who does what he's told and hasn't an original idea in his head. From the day he entered politics he's read from scripts others wrote for him. Whatever "there" is there is a preening little thin-skinned narcisist who thinks the whole world should revolve around him.

Orion   ·  July 7, 2009 1:12 AM

Loren said:

"But there is now a growing small-government conservatism that believes people should be able to do what they want, but doesn't want government to condone immorality. There are lots of things that should not be illegal, but still ought to be frowned upon, or at least not encouraged.

The basic problem is that the government is now so big and our laws so intricate that public morality is shaped, to a large extent, by what is legal and what is illegal. The dichotomy is now increasingly no longer illegal vs legal, but illegal vs subsidized."

Bravo -- that fits my views 100%.

Many of the so-called social issues would be best dealt with similar to what I call 'the alcohol' model: an activity is perfectly legal, but limited/regulated (DUI, etc) at the margins and certainly not endorsed. prohibition was a terrible idea for all sort of principled and pragmatic reasons -- but that does NOT mean that drunkeness is just fine and dandy (with indoctrination by the public schools) nor does it mean that teetotalers and abstainers are guilty of thought crime. Nor does it mean that (in most people's views) that foolish behavior with drinking should not get a pass (and the practitioner special exemption) just because 'she can't help it'.

That's the precise problem I have with some of the more pure libertarian positions that I'm otherwise quite open to: the prevailing liberal hostility to even traditional social pressure means that we approach 'that which is not forbidden is compulsory.'
Just because something is, or should be, legal, doesn't mean it is 'good' and therefore worthy of active promotion.

[On a semi-related note, I find it ironic and hypocritical that that the hardcore pro-choicers jump on an absolute individual right, a concept which they otherwise have no use for in any other domain but theirs. And that the gay/lesbian SSM (endorsement demanding)crowd and their supporters jump on the claim of innateness for homosexuality (which I see as a continuum from 'biological' thru 'psychological' - and yes, sometimes 'choice'), when they otherwise don't believe in any such thing as 'human nature' in any other domain, other-wise insisting everything is just historical accidents of culture and that human beings are infinitely malleable under the right (left) form of social engineering.

I struggle with the awkward and unsatisfying 'libertarian-conservative' descriptor.

newscaper   ·  July 7, 2009 1:53 AM

Actually, regarding Obama in office regarding Bush nat'l security policies...

Y'all are giving Obama way too much credit. He neither 'saw the light' once sworn in, nor was simply blowing smoke all along for his left-wing base.

What he is actually doing is this -- he's in fact a leftist-loving, appeasement-minded Jimmy Carter II on broader foreign policy. he's not trodding Dubya's path there at all.

The *only* place where he's done a 180 is on the subject of terrorist attacks within the US -- and that's essentially just motivated by the fact that an attack is the biggest vulnerability which could derail his #1 agenda, which is to bring the US economy under socialism, albeit in fascist-corporatist clothes -- "Oh, the govt doesn't own the company outright, we just tell you exactly what you have to do at every step."

newscaper   ·  July 7, 2009 2:05 AM

Loren said:
:But there is now a growing small-government conservatism that believes people should be able to do what they want, but doesn't want government to condone immorality. There are lots of things that should not be illegal, but still ought to be frowned upon, or at least not encouraged.

The basic problem is that the government is now so big and our laws so intricate that public morality is shaped, to a large extent, by what is legal and what is illegal. The dichotomy is now increasingly no longer illegal vs legal, but illegal vs subsidized."

I think this is where you'll find most of the right, including those called social conservatives.

Anonymous   ·  July 7, 2009 7:19 AM

What I find most off-putting when I read a lot of Libertarians is their disdain of Christianity or traditional morality. They seem to find a need to put lots of distance between themselves and the 70+% of the American people that go to church and believe in God. Libertarians want cafeteria style morality: small government, low spending, low taxing, free to flout convention but no social constraints even of an informal nature like social ostracism.

Libertarians also don’t want to be viewed as associated with the knuckle-dragging Neanderthals that disapprove of gay marriage, pre-or-outside of marriage sex. I mean, what’s the problem with Governor Sanford and his series of affairs? Who are we to judge? Right? Bring back Elliott Spitzer and let’s re-think the outworn opposition to polygamy.

The one thing that history and experience has taught thoughtful people – as opposed to ideologues – is that in the absence of social constraints, we will have legal constraints. And absent either social or legal constraints, we have social disintegration with its attendant pathologies. For references see the out-of-wedlock birth rate in the “African American” community. Thanks, Libertarians.

Moneyrunner   ·  July 7, 2009 8:24 AM

Loren Heal's three prongs: social, war, and fiscal are useful. I would be considered conservative on war and fiscal issues. Some few might consider me conservative on social issues, but not true social conservatives.

KenB   ·  July 7, 2009 10:13 AM

The divide that matters today is between those who believe in individual liberty and responsibility under the rule of law and those who believe in collective action directed by a vanguard class using Chicago/Alinsky methods. Call the former whigs, classical liberals, or (in America) conservatives and the latter socialists, progressives, or modern liberals. It is the world of the Wealth of Nations, Federalist Papers and Democracy in America that is at risk, and those who would defend that world need to rally to the Republicans. Differences among ourselves are for another day.

Mahon   ·  July 7, 2009 11:05 AM

Moneyrunner:
"Libertarians want cafeteria style morality: small government, low spending, low taxing, free to flout convention but no social constraints even of an informal nature like social ostracism."

Uh, you're mixing up libertarian and libertine, hardly an uncommon error but no less bad for that. Who are these libertarian thinkers who argue against social convention and community mores, even if not enforced by law? I don't think I've ever encountered one, and I make something of a hobby of counting ways my fellow libertarians drive me bonkers. The arguments you tend to encounter are actually that laws (against drug use, for example) aren't necessary precisely because social convention and self-interest are strong enough to keep most people in line. I'm not saying I buy those arguments in every case, but they're not against using ostracism to enforce rules.

Sean Kinsell   ·  July 7, 2009 11:35 AM

And naturally I forgot my original point in commenting, which was to say: Eric, thanks for the link back!

Sean Kinsell   ·  July 7, 2009 11:36 AM

My problem with the exclusion/dismissal of social conservatives from the public discourse, is that it leaves those who do not invoke a Diety ... but still take positions that are faith-based, be that in their own omniscience or that of others ... exclusive access to our institutions to shape policy, under the cover of "well, we're not religious".

Those that worry about an evangelical theocracy as a result of public respect for spiritual worldviews don't understand evangelicals and their concept of the "priesthood of the believer" ... we are actually your first line of defense against theocracy, because we oppose it ourselves. That's one reason why there are so many different churches in your phonebook.

***************

Regarding third parties ... a third party is a fools' errand if we are looking for a long-term solution to the dysfunctions of our government.

But not for the reason everyone thinks it is.

Sooner or later, the third party -- like the (D) and the (R) -- will become an institution .... and institutions naturally gravitate towards their own care-and-feeding as the primary objective of their operation.

No, what we need to break the current paradigm, is the ability to organize support behind good candidates WITHOUT the use of organizations that are destined for institutionalization and/or becoming the new mother pig for the professional-political class ...

... that, and mechanisms within our systems of governance that effectively work against party-politics gamesmanship, such as term limits and alternatives to seniority-based control, that truly make our Representative "one among equals" instead of part of a pecking order -- and less susceptible to pressure from his political allies to play the game instead of supporting good governance.


Rich Casebolt   ·  July 7, 2009 1:05 PM

Liberals live in the world as they would like it to be, Conservatives live in the world as it really is.

GFK   ·  July 7, 2009 2:28 PM
I think most "conservatives" don't want a "values" conservative like Palin to represent them, but would *love* a "money" and "government" conservative like Reagan... Antaine · July 7, 2009 12:37 AM

Oh, good grief -- when has Palin attempted to push her social conservatism as policy?

She appears to be libertarian in governance.

mockmook   ·  July 7, 2009 7:36 PM

Sean Kinsell,
Yes, of course it’s easy to conflate Libertarians and Libertines, because in many cases they appear to be one and the same. Some of their single issue dedication to being able to use hallucinogenic drugs is an example of some of that orientation. I’m sure you have noticed.

I am on the fence on that issue as all Conservatives should be because Conservatives are –by definition – cautious about changing the rules for fear of unintended consequences. Who would have guessed that the “War on poverty” would appear to have as its primary result, not a reduction in poverty, but an increase in unwed mothers and a subset of young men (and women) whose lives are truncated by drugs, violence and functional illiteracy?

But it’s not what I had in mind. Our host is an excellent example of Libertarian thought, agreed? Yet he explicitly disavows the definition he quotes of “family values.” What is the part that he disagrees with? The nuclear family? Christianity? Displaying the Ten Commandments? Opposition to abortion? Pornography? I could go on. So our host does not share “traditional values.” Which is fine as far as it goes. But in his support of publicly available pornography, his issues with the nuclear family, Christianity, and all the other issues that he and I may disagree on, he never once says that he would support my right to pray during a commencement ceremony, to exhibit a crèche in the public square, in sum, to do any of the things that people in 1950 thought was perfectly right and proper even though we were not ruled by a theocracy.

If I am going to take Libertarians seriously, not just as enablers of libertinism, I expect a respect for the rights that have been taken from people who are more properly considered conservatives. People who believed in the First Amendment. The people who wrote: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” knew that they were preventing a “Church of America” similar to the “Church of England.” Little did they suspect that “prohibiting the free exercise thereof” meant that you could keep your prayers in church, thanks you, but keep them out of our faces in schools, playgrounds and public places … we’re Libertarians.

In fact, what I find is the “good Libertarians” totally silent on the issues that matter to Conservatives –especially Conservative Christians – even though we are talking about freedoms that Libertarian say they espouse. Meanwhile raging atheist Libertarians use forums to call Christians theocrats no better than Jihadists only looking for excuse to put non-Christians into concentration camps. In fact, I am reminded that Moslems are frequently accused of not speaking out against violent Jihad. Ironic, isn’t it?

Moneyrunner   ·  July 7, 2009 8:10 PM

Sean,
Forget diety; they don't work. Exercisey, on the other hand, can significantly improve your health.

DensityDuck   ·  July 8, 2009 2:32 AM

Moneyrunner:
"Our host is an excellent example of Libertarian thought, agreed? Yet he explicitly disavows the definition he quotes of “family values.” What is the part that he disagrees with? The nuclear family? Christianity? Displaying the Ten Commandments? Opposition to abortion? Pornography? I could go on. So our host does not share “traditional values.” Which is fine as far as it goes. But in his support of publicly available pornography, his issues with the nuclear family, Christianity, and all the other issues that he and I may disagree on, he never once says that he would support my right to pray during a commencement ceremony, to exhibit a crèche in the public square, in sum, to do any of the things that people in 1950 thought was perfectly right and proper even though we were not ruled by a theocracy."

Is it pressing too fine a point here to say that the issue here is government enforcement versus government permission? The bullet points you're addressing in the Wikipedia list Eric cited are enumerated under "Some conservative family values advocates believe the government should endorse Christian morality." That's "endorse," which when we're talking about the government can generally be assumed to involve coercion, not "get out of the way of." I can't speak for Eric, but I'd be very surprised if he opposed nativity scenes at Christmas or school prayer as long as non-believers weren't forced to participate. I mean, I don't think you're intentionally moving the goalposts here, but your previous comment--the one I replied to before--accused libertarians of being against any and all social norms. And I still think, as a blanket statement, that that's not the case.

Sean Kinsell   ·  July 8, 2009 7:39 AM

Oh!!! It is a great site! Im bad speak english. sorry.... i'm speak Russia "SPASIBO"))
.

DADDYPADDY   ·  July 11, 2009 8:22 AM

Comments left on a blog can only mean that blog posts are worth commenting on. Great content and intelligent posts are what keeping readers going back to your blog day after day

Forexbus   ·  July 14, 2009 12:21 AM

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