Thursday, July 02, 2009

Limited Government & Social Conservatism

As far as I can see, we have allowed the opposition to frame the arguments, and now many in the GOP want to jetison social conservatism from the party platform.

I'm not sure what all the evil laws are that the Social Conservatives have gotten passed as far as cramming their ideals down "America's" throat -- even though all the polls keep saying we're a center-right population. So what do people mean when they talk about social conservatism?

Defense of marriage and pro-life, basically. And where social conservatives lose is by making the wrong arguments and allowing the opposition to frame the debate.

Most social conservatives are also pro-limited government. But the opposition frames it as wanting to "force" your values on the rest of the country. The key is to frame your socially conservative arguments in the context of limited government. And stay consistent with the Constitution.

Here's the Defense of Marriage soundbite we should stake out and stick to as conservatives, as it is philosophically consistent with our limited government position:

Marriage is not a government institution and therefore government, [especially the Federal government] has no business defining it one way or another.

We can expound from there, but that is the base position that is consistent with the Constitution and limited government.

Why is the government involved in marriage to begin with? Why do I need permission from the government to marry as a consenting adult? The government adopted what has been understood worldwide, for the most part since history began as the nucleus of a family, I would say mostly for legal purposes. Spouses have obligations to one another that are recognized as contractual, and they have obligations to their children. The government has flipped this on it's head by requiring that I get a license to do it. My church, my community, my family ... they are the ones who should be doing the approving or disapproving.

I have no legal problems with gays saying they have adopted a similar social convention which involves a similar contract between same-sex couples. Same tax breaks (whole other discussion, though, really)... anything the government should be involved in as far as contractual obligations go.

Whether or not private sector employers or insurance companies or hospitals want to consider them family should be left to those institutions. It is none of the government's business what my definition of a family will be.

Which brings me to point #2 on the matter... this isn't about rights. It's about acceptance. The gay movement says it wants tolerance -- and it has that. What it wants is acceptance, by force if necessary. Take the word "Marriage" out if it in the legal documents, and I'm good with it. Domestic Partnership is fine by me, and they can even call Marriages "Domestic Partnerships" and gay people can even call their Domestic Partnerships "Marriage" if they so desire -- that's fine. Free speech and all. They can call it whatever they want. And I can call it whatever I want.

What I DON'T want is a law that says "Marriage means this". Once this is done, the door is open for me to be tried for a "Hate Crime" if I say that it is something different, or especially if I teach my kids that it is something different. As Andy Rooney said once, thinking gay marriage is wrong is not hate, it's an opinion.

Tolerance and acceptance are not synonymous. In a free country, my point of view, my culture, my religious beliefs, whatever you want to call them should never be put in the position of being outlawed if they don't directly interfere with someone else's life, liberty, or property.

All consistent. Not cramming my values down anyone's throats.

And on the pro-life issue ...

Is it really such a stretch to have the opinion that life begins at conception that it is lumped in with belief about walking on water and reincarnation? I mean, we are talking about an observable, physical event here. But bring to bring that up as an argument is grounds for immediate dismissal as a religously zealous hack. Progressives have shut the pro-lifers out of the debate on that end. As well as the other end. To ask for an inch on either end in the Progressive handbook is akin to them being asked to give up the entire battle.

I don't think kids having to get permission from their parents to get an abortion is a bad thing, and I definitely (like most of the rest of America) think late-term abortions ... when it's not a choice between mom's life and the baby's ... are just wrong. And that's where the line in the sand is. It is not social conservatives who haven't been willing to compromise on this issue. Our esteemed president apparently doesn't think it's wrong even to let a baby die outside the womb after a botched abortion attempt. If we can't even ban partial birth abortions -- who is cramming whose values down everybody's throats?

And whose throat is ultimately being sacrificed in the process?

Again, we're not talking about whether or not we believe there was a big bang or an old bearded spirit waved his hand and created everything. We're talking about something that is undeniably alive, and undeniably .... human.

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