I’m sick of the whole libertarian versus social conservative schism. It’s blown out of proportion. I’m not sure why this dichotomy has taken hold, but I blame the libertarian wing and fiscal conservatives for underestimating the culture war, religious zealots for co-opting culture issues and the media for exploiting this wedge and exacerbating the problem.
It may be semantics, but unfortunately social conservativism has become synonymous with the Religious Right. We are told there is this epic battle between the Religious Right and Libertarians. Meanwhile, there exists a right of center majority in America that has become fearful of these extreme labels and has shied away from the Republican Party.
First, we should start distinguishing culture conservatives from social conservatives. There are a slew of cultural issues that are not religious in nature. Issues such as our territorial sovereignty; our legal sovereignty; our language; our education system; the integrity of our Constitution and the rule of law; respect for our founding fathers, our holidays, and our past times; preservation of our traditions, our common history, and our heritage. We are taught and cajoled into respecting and celebrating every other culture on the planet regardless of their flaws and failures, yet we’ve been shamed from celebrating our own.
These aren’t “social issues” and our American culture is not the domain of pastors, preachers and priests. These are American issues and they are the domain of all patriots including libertarians. True, many social and religious issues fall under the rubric of the culture war, but culture conservatives view issues through a cultural bias, not a religious one. I support many issues advocated by the Religious Right because they are American in nature and because they often represent eternal truths, not because I am a Christian or a theocrat.
Second, libertarian and social conservative issues are not always mutually exclusive. Much unites them, but there seems to be small contingents on each side that cannot get past abortion. Issues regarding life and few others may cause some tension, but the same be said of many factions within the Republican coalition. The Republican Party is nothing but a political apparatus. The Republican Party doesn’t represent a uniform brand of conservatism. We must respect the entire conservative coalition that creates a majority party.
We often focus on issues that divide us, but we should also work on issues that unite us. This should decrease some of the enmity fomenting between factions. Aren’t school choice and homeschooling rights of equal importance to libertarians and social conservatives? Isn’t the second amendment of critical importance to libertarians and cultural conservatives? Can’t we all agree on lower taxes?
Third, too many libertarians and fiscal conservatives buy into the negative media narrative on the Religious Right. The truth is that this country and its leaders have always been very religious, but we never have succumbed to any kind of theocracy and individual liberties have always been cherished.
The Religious Right isn’t going into Boston or San Francisco and demanding that liberals accept their way of life. Quite the opposite. For decades now, the ACLU and liberals have been going into small heartland communities and demanding everything from a cessation of moments of silence in homeroom, to the removal of nativity scenes in local parks, to the acceptance of pro-gay literature in elementary schools. If you truly are a freedom loving libertarian, you must understand that socialism and political correctness represent a far greater threat to your freedom than the Religious Right.
This country was pro-life for over a hundred and fifty years. It has always supported traditional marriage. This was the norm from George Washington to Abraham Lincoln to John Kennedy. Somehow, the liberals and the media have spun the narrative so that the radical social engineers represent the norm, while traditionalists represent some new threatening faction. It’s an inversion of the truth.
So, don’t buy into the media fabrication that you must be “an anything goes, laizzes faire, pro-gay marriage, super capitalist libertarian” or “a Bible thumping, tee totaling, Religious Right theocrat”. Too much unites us.