We’ve been hearing for months (years?) now that social conservatives are ruining the Republican party because they aren’t willing to compromise in order to get things done. In fact, even Maggie Gallagher, over at NRO’s The Corner, talked a little bit about this perception, and how it has grown from a kernel of truth.
Well, what is a Social Conservative? How do you identify these people who are refusing to compromise with the rest of the Republican party? I ask not merely out of whimsy, but because knowing the answer will enable Social Conservatives (amongst whom I count myself) to self-identify, and to clearly delineate who is, and who is not, deserving of the title.
So I figure, there’s probably 10 or 20 good platform positions that make a real social conservative, and if you’re on board with 80% of them, you probably qualify. After all, to keep the post white, you have to re-paint it every year, so if you’re on board with 80% of the positions, you’ll probably not have deal-breaking objections to the other 20%. But lets see how this goes.
1) Opposition to government subsidized abortion. Abortion in and of itself is murder (believes the social conservative), but each of us is responsible for his or her own actions. But having the government support this is beyond the pale.
2) Opposition to gay marriage. Our society has endured this long because of traditional societal institutions that we value. Just because we don’t remember WHY they are valuable, does not mean they are not worth keeping. Opposition to polygamy would fall under this category as well. Some social conservatives would oppose “no-fault” divorce laws, but I don’t think that warrants a separate bullet-point.
3) A desire to see entitlement spending by government reduced (ie, welfare, WIC, AFDC, etc), not out of fiscal restraint, but because goverment handouts rob people of their own pride and motivation to succeed or fail on their own. “The character of America is that every man can make himself.” Not that the government will take care of you if you make a mess of yourself.
4) A desire to allow free expression of faith in public places, including government buildings and property. IE, 10 commandments? Okay. Prayer in schools? Okay. Wiccan gatherings in State parks? Okay by me.
5) A desire to see our borders secured effectively by the government. The govt. does many things it should not, and even more things it need not. And it doesn’t do what it should, which is ensure that our borders are secure. Socially, this encourages respect for the law. (This point would also be a national security issue for NatSec Cons) Included in this point would be opposition to Amnesty for illegals currently in-country.
6) Strong support for minimal government regulation. How much is too much? Just to propose a rough, silly standard, I’d say that if you can’t print all the regulations that affect your workplace on 150 single-spaced, size 14 Times New Roman font, double-sided pages, then you’re over-regulated. Thinking “nuclear power plants” = 150 pages, personally. (I expect that’s really extreme on my part, but it does no good to say “minimal government regulation” if you can’t define what those words mean. Without definitions, I’m as bad as a democrat and just using weasel words)
7) Support pushing education-system evaluations to the lowest possible level. Instead of having the stupid Department of Education in DC evaluate my kids school, I think **I** should be the one to evaluate their school.
8) Support for the death penalty as a method of retributive and preventative justice, when applied after thorough and fair review.
9) A Strong desire to see the flag respected and to honor our Armed forces.
10) opposition to legalization of any currently illegal drugs.
11) opposition to legalization of child pornography, prostitution and to explicit sex on broadcast TV.
12) support for tort-reform, if couched in terms of “reducing the sue-happy nature of our modern culture.”
Unfortunately, those are all I can think of so far. I feel confident there would be at least 20 points, but it’s quite possible that the points outlined above wouldn’t qualify. I’m interested in your thoughts on the matter, and any points you may have to add.