Monday, November 24, 2008

Kumbaya for Republicans?

Net Right Nation has this piece that talks about Gov. Huckabee's prescription for future electoral success is to oust all versions of Libertarianism. While Huckabee may have a certain amount of charismatic charm, especially to the Social Conservatives, I disagree with him vehemently that we need to remake the Constitution into an updated version of the Bible.
But I suppose that I am not so different, in my piece below, Wedge Issues, I thought that for the Republicans to succeed, they would have to minimize the influence of Social Conservatives, since so many independent and undecideds are swayed by the MSM portrayal of SoCons as narrow minded bigots, who want to keep women barefoot and pregnant, force you to worship their versions of the Deity and keep gays in the closet where they belong. This is totally unfair and untrue, but the power of the MSM is not to be underestimated in their efficiency to create a false narrative that is believed by the masses.
But then I read this, "A Libertarian Defense of Social Conservatism" and I had my Road to Damascus moment. Some of the good bits:
The most obvious point to me is that it is the do-gooding liberals who are telling us all what we can and can't do. The religious right usually just wants to be left alone, either to home school, pray in public or not get their children vaccinated with who-knows-what. Inasmuch as the "religious right" wants some things outlawed, they have failed miserably for at least the last 50 years. Abortion, sodomy, and pornography are now all Constitutional rights. However, praying in public school is outlawed, based on that same Constitution.

Just think for a moment about the things you are actually forced to do or are prevented from doing. Seat belts. Motorcycle helmets. Bicycle helmets. Smoking. Gun purchase and ownership restrictions. Mandatory vaccines for your children. Car emissions inspections. Campaign ad and contribution restrictions. Saying a prayer at a public school graduation or football game. Trash separation and recycling. Keeping the money you earned. Gas tax. Telephone tax. Income tax. FICA withholding. Fill in this form. Provide ID.

For the most part, the list just cited is post-1960. Neither Pat Robertson nor James Dobson ever forced any of that on us.
and on the hot topic of abortion:

Let's talk about the unavoidable issue: abortion. Who made it a federal issue? The ACLU and then the Supreme Court. Before 1973 it was left to the states; some allowed it, some didn't. Different states could adopt different criteria. Some might allow it under all circumstances. Some other none. Some at 12 or 20 weeks. Some might define "health" of the mother in different terms.

But all that flexibility was halted with Roe v Wade. Since 1973 abortion has been a Constitutional right. Do you know where that right is found in the Constitution? In these words of the 14th Amendment: "[No state shall] deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." Those words, according to our finest Constitutional scholars, mean it's OK to shove scissors through the skull of a baby and suction its brains out, as long as that skull has not yet left the birth canal. I'm sure you see that in those words of the 14th Amendment. Look hard, into the penumbras and emanations - it might take a little imagination.

Regardless of what you think about abortion, to find it in the 14th Amendment is an act of ink-blot reasoning. It might almost be OK, if it meant the court said we have true sovereignty over our own bodies. But the court explicitly said otherwise.

The privacy right involved, therefore, cannot be said to be absolute. In fact, it is not clear to us that the claim asserted by some amici that one has an unlimited right to do with one's body as one pleases bears a close relationship to the right of privacy previously articulated in the Court's decisions. The Court has refused to recognize an unlimited right of this kind in the past... We, therefore, conclude that the right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision, but that this right is not unqualified...

So you do not have the right to do with your body as you please. Neither women nor men own their own bodies. That's what Roe v Wade said. In short, the decision was not "pro-choice". It was pro-abortion, pure and simple. That is the only choice it protected.

If taking abortion out of the hands of the federal government and putting it back into hands of the states, where it is legislated per each state's popular sentiment, let it be. I can stand that kind of "social conservatism." It sounds like federalism and democracy to me.
and finally, on the point that I mentioned in Wedge Issues,
I am not dead set against gay marriage. I'm mildly against it, but if it comes to an honest vote in my state and passes, I can live with that. But so far, every single time the issue has gone to a popular vote, the people voted it down. The only reason it is legal in two states right now is because of the courts in those states; a mere handful of robed Merlins made the decisions.

I also think it a bit risky to redefine such a fundamental institution that has been defined as between one man and one or more women in every successful civilization I know about, for the last 6,000 years or so. How about we use federalism and the states as laboratories before we dive head-first into opaque water on this one?

This last point is where I think libertarians and SoCons should be in absolute agreement, that the problem is not a creeping agenda of the Left, it is the interposing of two state's supreme courts on the will of the people, leaves all of us at risk. Whether gay marriage or abortion, these are purely court creations that do not reflect the will of the people. It is understandable why SoCons are concerned about this recent abuse of power by courts and feel the need to make laws and constitutional amendments to take back the powers that the courts have usurped. Even Democrats realize how tenuous these court made manifestations of their agenda are when they try to extract pledges of support for Roe from Supreme Court nominees because they know that it was wrong even if they believe it is for the right reason.
A useful and winning technique would be to combine the SoCons and libertarian's fear of intrusive government and unwarranted court created "rights" in unity to reverse the growth in government.
What libertarians and SoCons need to resolve is what is the proper method to avoid "cultural suicide" that is the greatest fear of the SoCons. My suggestion would be to change the entire Republican apparatus. Both Republicans and Democrats have optimized their ability to turn out their base. But outside of elections, what do the parties do other than pester us for contributions to this or that urgent need to get "our man/woman elected?" What the Republicans,whether libertarian or SoCon need to do, is to live exemplary lives, and demonstrate the advantages of their lifestyle and their choices. But more than that, what is needed is that personal assistance that only real people can provide, not bureaucrats or agencies. Conservatives have already been recognized for their generosity. If a single mother was to be helped by a SoCon couple in some way, it would also expose the single mom to the advantages of a stable dual parent relationship, in other words, what she doesn't have. It doesn't take a government to tell her that when she can see it with her own eyes.
If we can make a personal connection with the disaffected, without "preaching" but in the spirit of kindness and generosity that government cannot provide, we have a chance to expand the electoral base and move people out of their conditions much more effectively than any agency or program has ever done.
Who knows, together at a very minimum, we could close down the Departments of Education, Homeland Security and Energy, transferring any regulatory powers to the Commerce Department where there would at least be a fig leaf of constitutionality, and recall those judges who have superimposed their views on the rest of us, regardless of the law.
Well, at least I can dream, can't I?

1 comment:

Mark T said...

So if I understand you correctly, 1) You're not opposed to abortion per se, and would have no problem if it were legal in Montana. You just don't like Roe V Wage; 2) Social Conservatives pose no threat to separation of church and state, and merely want to live their lives without encroachment of busybody liberal who inflict abortion and gays on them - they are perfectly OK living in their own sphere; the fact that peope vote down gay marriage is final, just as people in the south in the 1950's woudl have voted down civil rights. We have no use for courts to define values.

You're trying to sound reasonable. Getting whomped in elections has that effect. Here's the agenda of the Christian Right, your so-called socons - About.com gives a fairly unbiased analytic overview. Check this out.