Between the Texas GOP coming up with a truly idiotic party platform to GOProud having to close shop for a while, people in the Republican Party seem to be out to sabotage real conservative values in favor of this mentally deficient red-headed-step-child of real conservatism called “social conservatism.” Really this needs to stop and it needs to stop now.
So let’s first deal first with the pragmatic issues.
The first is that as conservatives we love eating our own. Look at GOProud. GOProud was actually the conservative alternative to the Log Cabin Republicans which have really just become a bastion of liberalism. Now, GOProud early on made headlines by taking on social conservatives head-on. This was probably a great idea. But regrettably the founders of GOProud forgot that their purpose was to advocate for conservative principles, and got bogged down in the personal failures of not reaching social conservatives. The founders resigned from GOProud, I can only guess out of bitterness, started publically attacking GOProud at every turn for still attempting to succeed where they had failed. They even went as far as gloating on Breitbart.com this weekend when GOProud closed its doors. I can understand why GOProud felt the need to close the doors, rebrand, and come back (hopefully sooner rather than later, a lot sooner if the email they’re sending out to supporters are not just hopeful).
Now I can understand the frustration that came from battling social conservatives. They’re not a particularly bright bunch, they have no ability to think long term, and like any liberal they would use the full extent of government power to enforce their beliefs on others. (Which is why social conservatives aren’t really conservatives at all.) But the frustration that comes from trying to get past this near-Sisyphean task of undoing the damage done by Social Conservatives is no reason to take out your venom on the people who are still fighting. It’s tempting, I get that, but as conservatives we have a responsibility to save our venom for the liberals who are ruining this nation. And GOProud is just one of the more common examples. There are dozens of examples of conservatives becoming over frustrated with the psychotic fringes of the Republican Party (the nutty libertarians like the Pauls, the actual RINOs like McCain, the self-aggrandizing demagogues who care only for their own ego like Cruz). But it is the social conservatives that seem to do the most damage to the party—both in driving away the large majority of moderates who probably do agree with conservative economic values and in disheartening what actually is our base (Santorum won exactly two states that didn’t have open primaries where Democrats could vote for him, and according to Gallup 71% of Republicans believe that abortion should be legal in some shape or form…does that sound like the idiotic Social Conservatives are actually the base of this party? No, no it does not).
So, while there are numerous things that Social Conservatives do wrong, probably right now the most idiotic is utter stupidity about gay marriage and gay rights—as demonstrated by the absolute idiocy of the Texas GOP platform. This should be so far down on the list of issues in the world—you know with the massive economic and world safety issues, but hey let’s argue about whether or not the government wants to validate your life with a piece of paper—but the left knows that it’s an emotional issue that will trump reason, and Social Conservatives are too stupid to even recognize it’s a trap even after the spikes have impaled them over and over again.
Now it doesn’t take much to dismiss the liberal case when it comes to these issues as liberals aren’t doing anything based on rights or logical argument, but merely to rile up people’s emotions. Give in on the reasonable things and the liberals will just go a dozen steps further. So there is no point even addressing their points. But before we deal with all the reasons why social conservatives are wrong, let’s lay out what the correct and conservative view on this issue should be.
Rather than arguing whether we should have civil unions or full marriage rights for gay couples, in reality the only conservative point of view is that the government should not have anything to do with the religious institution of marriage. The real conservative view is that there should be no laws on marriage. Now, as conservatives, we do recognize that certain laws should be put in place when they foster behavior that is beneficial to individuals and society so we should offer civil unions for any two people who do not have a preexisting legal relationship. To ensure that these civil unions come with all the legal benefits that marriages have previously carried.
This needs to include:
- Joint property along the lines of corporate law
- Power of attorney
- Privilege equivalent to attorney client privilege
Ensuring that civil unions have these three issues covered in detail will ensure that all legal rights and privileges we that have traditionally entwined with the religious institution of marriage apply. And by linking the joint property rights to the language of corporate law and the spousal privilege to attorney client privilege, you ensure two of the most powerful interest groups in any age and any society (business and lawyers) will be hell bent on defending the institution of civil unions and all its right and privileges with force well beyond anything the fractured power of churches can provide now.*
Now, this allows any two people, gay or straight, to have all the legal rights that we now attribute to marriage and that is all the government will have the power to regulate. They can get a marriage by a church if they want, or not. They can get married but have no civil union. It’s up to them. But like good conservatives who understand how deadly it is to have a government with control over religious affairs, this preserves the positive effects of the legal institution of marriage, without affecting religious liberty–because everyone forgets that not every religion is the same and some religions are beginning to acknowledge same sex marriage, and thus to have a government policy that is in line with one violates the First Amendment rights of other churches. The only way to not violate religious liberty is separate the legal aspects of the institution from the religious aspects. (This should also be a state led thing with the federal law changing only once the majority of states have caught on to what real conservative values are.) The arguments of liberals and social conservatives in their all or nothing mind set will violate religious liberty. Real conservatives who are actually trying to abide by a belief in the rights of individuals and churches, the principle of limited government, and the need to have legal structures that benefit society can only support the civil unions for any two people, and marriage is separate institution specific to the whichever church you belong to.
Okay so let’s go through the social conservative arguments against this.
“But people will call themselves married without it being so sanctioned by a church!” So, lots of people call themselves members of this or that without belonging to an actual organization. That’s the beauty of religious freedom you get to say whatever you want. You can’t have religious liberty and feel you can impose your religious beliefs on others. And you can’t be against religious liberty and call yourself a conservative.
“This will lead to polygamy.” No it won’t. (At least not more than we have it already). Why? Because, by making power of attorney part of the civil union you prevent more than two people from joining into this merger. Power of attorney cannot reasonably be given to more than one person as decisions have to be made by individuals—granted power of attorney can be given to a trust, legal partnerships, or corporations, but all of those are legally individuals. Thus it prevents the idea of this ever involving more than two people.
“This will lead to incest and bestiality!” Social conservatives are afraid of some really weird things. One with animals, animals aren’t legal people ergo they can’t be involved in a legal contract. Two, perhaps you missed the point where I said “two people who do not have a preexisting legal relationship.” I already have rights of de facto power of attorney and property when it comes to family members (if there is no spouse or children that supersede my claims).
“Marriage is for having children.” Parental rights are already covered by other laws than marriage ones; you could at least try to make an argument that is even remotely grounded in current law. Or perhaps an argument actually based in religion (I’ll refer you to actual religious scholars and philosophers, like St. Thomas Aquinas, who state quite clearly that “the principal end of matrimony, [is] namely the good of the offspring.” Marriage is for raising children, not having them, and that is the actual religious principle that governs marriage.)
“Studies show that children do better in a household with a mother and a father, so your claim about this being a law that supports the well-being of society is wrong.” No, studies show that children with a two-parent household do better than children with single parent households. Very little research has been done to show if there is a difference between two gay parents and two straight parents, but I’m going to go out on a limb and use reason and common sense and say there will be relatively little difference in the stability of the upbringing.
Now for some reason though I have heard numerous people talk about the intelligence of this option, it’s never asked on any polls (I suspect you would find that the vast, vast majority of the nation would be in favor of it) but that’s probably because without this both liberals and social conservative lose their all important emotional issue…but every conservative should push this option every time they can.
Further while this is just an example of a long list of issues that social conservatives foolishly push that are in no way conservative. And when anyone of us have to confront these issues we need to be ready to both destroy the inaccurate arguments of liberals and social conservatives. They need to be confronted so that conservatives don’t get blamed for these ideas which have nothing to do with conservative beliefs. And while they are infuriating and can cause us to be drained intellectually, it is a fight that needs to be fought.
*It will be even stronger if we reform tax law and welfare to remove the disincentives against marriage.