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Can a Porn Star Be a Conservative?

Pornographic actress Brandi Love caused quite a kerfuffle when she attended the Turning Point USA  “Student Action Summit” event in Florida over the weekend. The controversy that resulted after she was asked to leave the event has ignited a debate on the right over whether someone like Love could be considered a conservative despite not espousing some social principles that are common on the right.

When she showed up at the event, Love tweeted a selfie with the caption: “It’s good to be around so many young conservatives. Gives me some hope!”

The porn star elicited strong reactions on social media from those who became upset when they realized she was attending the event. Some pointed out that kids were in attendance. Others argued that a conservative group should not interact with members of the adult film industry.

Former Kansas State student Jaden McNeil wrote on Telegram, “Imagine sending your kids to this conference think[ing] they’re gonna learn about Christian Conservative values, and they come home with photos with pornstars.”

Others defended Love, arguing that the conservative movement should be a bigger tent. The Federalist’s Ben Domenech tweeted:

“I’m disappointed that @TPUSA kicked out @brandi_love for no reason whatsoever. She’s a Florida conservative businesswoman who loves America. The right has an opportunity to be the big tent party. Don’t be a bunch of prudes.”

Shortly after the porn star posted her tweet, she was asked to leave and told that her ticket purchase would be refunded. Love responded in a tweet with an image of the email.

“Can’t make this sh** up lol!! I just watched [Turning Point USA founder] Charlie Kirk, [political commentator] Dan Bongino, [GOP Senator] Rick Scott and [libertarian columnist] Kat Timpf speak about freedom, censorship, how inclusive the ‘movement’ is …etc….,

“And then they had me thrown out of the Turning Point USA conference,” she continued. “The Republican Party is broken.”

Love posted another tweet explaining that she “was not there representing my profession” and that she was “there as a citizen to be around other conservatives.”

Andrew Kolvet, a spokesman for Turning Point USA defended the organization’s actions in a statement released to Newsweek and to RedState on Sunday. He wrote (in part):

“Ms. Love purchased an adult VIP ticket. She was not invited nor was her attendance somehow requested by the organization.

“The Student Action Summit is a youth conference with 15- and 16-year-olds in attendance. As a matter of policy, TPUSA does not allow adult entertainers, influencers, or brands to participate in its events designed for minors. This was not a decision intended to be unkind to anyone, but in the interest of the student attendees in attendance, and their thousands of concerned parents.”

The statement also noted that:

“TPUSA makes no apology for this, a position which should not be controversial, especially when minors are involved. Parents deserve this type of assurance and TPUSA intends on giving them that confidence.”

Regardless of what one thinks about TPUSA’s decision to remove Love from the event, the brouhaha still raises an interesting question: Can a porn star be considered a conservative and welcomed into the movement?

One on hand, it can be argued that social conservatism is – and should still be – an important part of the conservative movement. Opinions might vary on whether pornography should be illegal or simply discouraged by the broader culture. But questioning whether accepting a proponent of adult entertainment is a sacrifice of conservative values is valid.

Conversely, it could also be argued that while conservatives can still hold on to their own personal values, individual liberty is still a core tenet of conservatism. Indeed, some might contend that the idea that one should be able to do with their lives what they wish.

In my estimation, neither of these positions have to be mutually exclusive. One can personally disapprove of pornography and refrain from consuming or supporting it. They can raise their children to avoid this type of material and use their voices to persuade others to do the same. I could never accept a solution that involves the government outlawing the practice, but again, people should be able to make whatever choices they want in this regard.

It is also important to point out that individuals who may not espouse every socially conservative value can still be allies. Can a porn star promote the ideas of limited government, individual liberty, free markets, and other foundational conservative principles?

Of course they can. And the conservative movement and Republican Party would be foolish to alienate these individuals. Domenech made a compelling point – does it make sense to keep our tent small while deceptively claiming that we have a broad tent?

If conservatism is going to win out, we need more adherents in our ranks, not fewer. It would be the height of folly to alienate fellow Americans who are willing to fight against the creeping Marxism that is becoming more dominant in our society because of a few disagreements over social issues.

This idea holds true for porn stars, members of the LGBTQ community, and others. The way forward is to make alliances, not become more exclusive. Otherwise, the left will continue to gain more supremacy over the culture and the government.