Why I Have Decided to Leave RedState (...or Goodbye Cruel World)

After much thought and consideration, I have decided to leave RedState. I think it’s right to explain why.

In a Nov. 26 post, Erick listed some basic principles about RedState. The first of which was “you must be pro-life to write on our front page.” Whether this was commonly known or not, it was news to me.

Before I go any further, I should get a couple of things out of the way. First as to my position on abortion; although I am strongly opposed to late term or partial birth abortion, I do not believe that a single cell is the same as a human being and therefore I do not fit the common definition of pro-life. Second, I am fully aware that this restriction applies only to front page writers, and since I am not a front page writer it has no practical effect on me. And third, I do not dispute the right of the creators of RedState to put in place any rules that they feel are appropriate.

Even though I could continue to write my diary at RedState with no restrictions, I find the pro-life rule disturbing none the less. I find this rule troubling for two reasons, one practical and one personal.

On a practical level, I believe that a requirement for this level of ideological purity among the most senior levels of RedState is politically unwise. It is said that conservatism is a three legged stool consisting of social conservatives, economic conservatives and national security conservatives. The success of the conservative movement has depended on unifying these three strands.

If each of the three parts of the movement begin to impose exclusionary litmus tests, conservatism as a cohesive movement can not survive.

A national security conservative litmus test would exclude Sen. Sam Brownback who said “I do not believe that sending more troops to Iraq is the answer. Iraq requires a political rather than a military solution.”

An economic conservative litmus test would exclude Governor Mike Huckabee, who was described by the club for growth as having “profoundly anti-growth positions on taxes, spending, and government regulation.”

And lastly, a social conservative litmus test would exclude Mayor Rudy Giuliani who when asked “If hypothetically, Roe v. Wade was overturned, and the Congress passed a federal ban on all abortions and it came to your desk, would you sign it?” answered “I probably would not sign it. I would leave it to the states to make that decision.”

Advocating the issues we believe strongly in is perfectly appropriate. As individuals and as conservatives we each have a slightly differing perspective. But only by banding together as people who share a broad range of ideological similarities, we can achieve our common goals.

We need Sen. Brownback to fight for lower taxes.

We need Gov. Huckabee to fight for traditional values.

We need Mayor Giuliani to fight the war on terrorism.

If we begin to exclude those who agree with us mostly, but not completely, the movement will fracture and none of our goals will be achieved.

Beyond the practical opinion that this policy is unwise, it disturbs me as a matter of principle. This rule, in effect, says that anyone having respect for human life but defining the beginning of that life at a point other than a single fertilized egg is somehow deficient, unworthy, a lesser conservative.

I am not a lesser conservative.

I believe in free markets. I stand with Adam Smith, Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek.

I believe in a strong national defense. I stand with Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and George W. Bush.

The founders of RedState have a right to believe that those who think as I do are not true conservatives.

I have a right to say “No”.