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Does the GOP Need to Give Up Socially Conservative Positions?

I’m going to wander a bit off topic here for a bit, because I think figuring out the future of the coalition, so to speak, has an impact on gun rights.

There’s been a lot of talk in the comments about where the GOP needs to go on social issues, and a lot of talk about how the GOP just needs to give up on all that SoCo mumbo jumbo and focus exclusively on fiscal and liberty issues. Given that I am probably more socially liberal than your average Democrat, I find this position to be emotionally pleasing, but setting that aside, and looking at things as a careful observer of politics, I don’t think that’s true. I think the GOP needs to moderate its position on social issues, but I don’t think they need to piss away the SoCo vote entirely to win. A lot of our troubles lately have been that the GOP is just fielding awful and often underfunded candidates. But I do think there are some political realities SoCos need to understand, and the GOP needs to understand.

The first is that the gay issue is lost. To younger voters, speaking against gay rights and gay marriage  sounds like burning witches at the stake levels of  backwardness. This issue is changing very quickly in favor of social liberalism. Where the GOP needs to focus is on SoCo fears that churches will be forced to marry gays, or that religiously-owned businesses will be forced to accommodate gay lifestyles, despite religious objections. While I generally believe homosexuals should enjoy the benefit of living in a society free of discrimination, again, looking objectively, I think the GOP could stake out a narrow position that religious freedom trumps anti-discrimination laws under some circumstances. But this is a tightrope, and it’s a fine line between standing up for freedom of conscience and favoring discrimination against homosexuals. I don’t know if I trust the GOP to walk that line in what is a complex issue.

The abortion issue is not lost. There are still plenty of voters out there who believe abortion should be unlawful in some circumstances. But only a minority of people believe abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. SoCos need to accept they can only move the needle on abortion at the margins. This is a fact of life for just about every other issue, but for some reason social conservatives expect not only complete philosophical purity on this matter from candidates, but expect them to be vocal about it. All this without expecting it to carry any electoral consequences. That’s not true for any other issue, and it’s not true for abortion either. If you’re loud and proud that you reject abortion in all circumstances, you’re going to lose in swing states, and apparently even in some red states. If you reject the morning after pill, it’s going to be successfully spun as rejecting contraception, because that’s how most voters view it. The GOP should stay far away from anything that even smells like restricting contraceptives. They can make a case the public shouldn’t have to pay for it, but beyond that, stay away.

Now, the gun issue gets lumped into the tent of “socially conservative” quite often, but I don’t really think it belongs there. Guns are a liberty issue. To the extent that one wants to consider it a “socially conservative” issue, I don’t think it’s a losing issue for the GOP. We’ve seen repeated evidence that the anti-gun position is a losing issue for Democrats. My last headline on this topic was a bit of a joke, because that’s what Bloomberg is going to spin, but the truth is if we’d have given Bloomberg another few weeks to sink another few million into campaigning for McAullife on gun control, I think Ken Cuccinelli would be the next governor of Virginia. Somewhere between the time Bloomberg stepped into the race in a big way and the election, this race went from a blowout for McAullife to a nail biter. And I’m not the only one who noticed this. But even with all that, we can still only move the needle on the margins, it’s just that after years of doing that, we’re making steady progress.

Immigration is the other big social issue, though I believe that whole area is fraught with land mines. I don’t envy any political strategist trying to figure out how to navigate through it. I personally tend to favor easy immigration law, but more restrictive laws on earning citizenship. I tend to think the GOP should work out a deal where all the illegals who have been here for years have a path to a green card, but not citizenship. But would that be cutting the GOPs own throat? I don’t know. Like I said, it’s a tough issue politically. I tend to have faith that hispanics will integrate just as well as Italians and other formerly disfavored ethnic groups did. But I do think there should be long term consequences for entering the country illegally, and that consequence is you never get citizenship, or get to vote.

121 Responses to “Does the GOP Need to Give Up Socially Conservative Positions?”

  1. HappyWarrior6 says:

    You raise a good point about terminology. Where exactly do “gun rights” fit in to a candidate’s platform focus? I generally always lumped gun rights in as a social conservative issue, but it’s really not. I think I did that since the media seemed to do that with its classification of lumping everything non-economic (including immigration and guns) into a “social conservative” category.

    We all know there are candidates who identify as “socially moderate/liberal” but “economically conservative.” Where do gun rights fit in there? Are we sure that “economically conservative” means pro-2A? I’d like to see some anecdotal evidence.

  2. Jim Jones says:

    Now we’re getting into the sports aspect of politics. The goal of these massive dog & pony shows is to win the power conch. Given the way our political system has evolved, the Rs and Ds need to convince as many people as possible that their team is the best team to wield the conch.

    For a long time, the Rs used the SoCo vote to win. Now, in a lot of purple states, it is starting to look like the SoCo agenda is not a winning agenda. The Rs will never completely abandon the SoCo vote simply because they can’t get enough votes to win without that huge block. However, if they want to win the conch, they are going to have to start to modify their appearance to win over the centrists and independents.

    It is really unfortunate that we let sociopathic children rule over us. Politics attracts the worse kind of people among us; intelligent charming sociopaths who will say and do whatever it takes to get power. It baffles me, and I personally think that the liberty agenda should be front and center. Unfortunately, way too many people just want their bread and circuses to continue uninterrupted.

    • Ian Argent says:

      Politicians often have attributes often found in successful sociopaths. I could argue that successful politicians need these traits. Politicians have to be many things to many people to be successful.

    • Sebastian says:

      What Ian said. Politicians are always going to be mostly insane because you have to be in order to be good at it.

  3. HappyWarrior6 says:

    Also… what is lost on your analysis here is the need for conscience rights. That is a liberty issue. There are obviously going to be those of us who do not believe in gay marriage, and churches and religious organizations should not have that ideology forced down their throats. I have mentioned before that government should get out of marriage entirely.

    We also should not be forced to pay for abortions and contraception through public financing. As mentioned before, that should be a no brainer for the liberty minded. Chris Christie would agree with that perspective.

    There is an angle here that has come up which concerns me in your analysis. Simply put, “fighting discrimination” is not the government’s job. If we value freedom of association then that would follow.

    • Nate says:

      Simply put, “fighting discrimination” is not the government’s job.

      Does the electorate agree? If not, then it’s a bad position to take.

      • HaapyWarrior6 says:

        It’s the” liberty position” on this issue. If you do not accept it then what is the liberty platform again?

      • Archer says:

        In a perfect world, it wouldn’t matter. “Fighting discrimination” is usually a local social issue – the “bad guy” is often a single person or business. If the community is outraged enough to petition the government to “fix” it, then they should have been outraged enough to boycott/ostracize/discredit the offender themselves. That’s the “liberty/small-government platform” in action.

        It’s been said that government is good at doing only two things: nothing, and overreacting. Getting the government to fight that battle is the Confucian equivalent to using a cannon to kill a mosquito.

    • Sebastian says:

      I thought about going there in this post, but anti-discrimination laws are a whole ‘nother large post, so I figured I’d just address it in the comments if it came up.

      Philosophically, I think the job of the government, in regards to discrimination, is to ensure that the government doesn’t discriminate. As long as all are equal before the law, the government has no business interfering with private relationships. I generally believe that social shame is often enough to prevent private discrimination.

      But because racial discrimination had been done with government sanction and blessing for so long, it was pervasive culturally too. How do you break that without reaching private behavior? That’s really a choice between two evils, and pragmatic voters will generally pick the lesser evil. And so we have anti-discrimination law, and those laws aren’t going away. But most of those laws involve race, and to a lesser degree religion and sex (depending on context).

      But very few states protect gays from discrimination in public accommodations, and they are not a protected class for those purposes under federal law either. Since I don’t perceive that discrimination against gays in public accommodations is a widespread problem, I’m not sure that justifies government involvement in private relationships.

      But that’s a tricky issue, because as other commenters have pointed out, people don’t react well to denying some groups different legal protections as other groups. Employment discrimination is also viewed a bit differently, and that’s also a bit different from, say, housing discrimination.

      There’s a fine line here. On the one hand, you have people’s freedom of conscience, and I think you can get broad public support for the idea of protecting that. But on the other hand, you have to frame it in a way that doesn’t make it sound like you’re picking on gays, and trying to deny them equal rights in society. You might have a winning argument in the former. The latter approach is a loser.

      • HappyWarrior6 says:

        Right. I have a problem with “protected classes.” If you actually believe in liberty you will also say that liberty includes freedom of association. Either everyone or no one is a protected class.

        In terms of government-sponsored discrimination that is another thing entirely and I would agree.

        Really what I’m getting at here are the cases in two states involving, for instance, cake shop businesses that refused to bake wedding cakes for gays because it did not constitute a wedding. There is no reason at all for government to intervene or investigate in these cases.

        • Steve says:

          Happy, I think you fall into an understandable trap when thinking of the liberty platform. Not to be presumptuous, but based on your statements I think you want to see all positions reconciled against a minarchist principle. It’s as if you’ll only take up the flag if libertarians give lip service to following the minarchist rabbit hole down all the way to where SoCo positions are not compromised. It’s an appeal to purity (No True Scotsman), which is a trope we libertarians love, but the minarchist measuring stick you’re using just isn’t relevant to most libertarians.

          Contrary to media representation and the most ardent O.G. anarchist attracted to the liberty platform, libertarians DO compromise. If you look at statism as a dial, the libertarian critique doesn’t advocate moving the dial to zero, but basically cries out for pressure to move it back from eight to maybe four. The question of moving it from four to zero (getting rid of the Fed, finding a utopia where the government NEVER violates privacy ever, looks aside from private institutionalized discrimination and abuse, doesn’t put fluoride in the water) is an argument for a different day, and I won’t promise I’ll be on your side then. Today, the imperative is keeping the dial from going to nine and we’re on the same side on that. Not to sound like a broken record, but the Republican party establishment needs to move SoCo interests to the wall of the tent (not kick them out), and focus on individual liberty as the primary moral value in politics. That in no way means that the party advocates a neolithic anarchy. It does mean that we get more consistent in describing the role of government, and brainer about letting the Dems use liberty against us. It means if the party wants to be true to the founding principles AND represent a true alternative to statist propositions, we need to claim and hold a monopoly on liberty.
          As long as SoCo planks are condoning statist means, it’s impossible for the Republican party to articulate what differentiates them from their opponents.

      • Arnie says:

        You should teach political science, Sebastian! Really, you should! That was the best exposition of socio-political reality on this issue that I’ve ever read! I couldn’t said it better! Thank you!

        As far as the tight rope between freedom of religion and a “right” to not be discriminated against by private citizens:

        I, like you, believe the free marketplace of ideas would boycott the nasty entrepreneur out of business especially with a neutral government in power. But that would be an act of liberty by the people, not the tyrannical arm of government.

        I personally put the clear reading of my First Amendment right to free exercise of religion ahead of the muddled back and forth “eminations” created out of whole cloth from the 14th Amendment (the legitimacy of which…I won’t even go there). Rand Paul concurs with that evaluation, but agrees with you on the political reality – as do I. To get a majority of voters to see that the 14th Amendment in no way, shape, or form, empowers the federal government to prevent private citizens from discriminating in the conduct of their privately-owned businesses according to their religious conscience is a Herculean task. But I believe it can be done. Let me show you how:

        Let me ask all of you: Is it permissible for a Jewish baker to discriminatorily refuse service to a neo-Nazi group that orders a special cake from him to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht this Saturday?? I suspect many, even most of you would say yes, as would I. But change Jewish to Christian and neo-Nazi group to homosexual couple, and Kristallnacht to wedding, and how many of you would change your answer? For those who would, why? Think about it!

        Get people to think. That’s how you change minds.

        Respectfully, Arnie

        • HappyWarrior6 says:

          Yup.

        • Ian Argent says:

          http://jonathanturley.org/2013/06/04/new-jersey-man-appears-in-court-in-a-full-nazi-uniform-to-reclaim-visitation-rights/ – curious case of a man who did (apparenlty) order a nazi-themed birthday cake, and some ensuing legal brouhahas

          • Arnie says:

            Wow! I thought I was speaking hypothetically, but there it is!!!! Thanks, Ian!

            Actually, this is a case where it suspiciously appears the State as well as the baker is discriminating against the neo-Nazi. I have no problem with the baker refusing the man service, that’s liberty. But the State taking his child from him without presenting (according to your article) evidence of abuse or neglect? That’s tyranny. What if he and his partner were same-sex? There’d be outrage from the liberal media (and perhaps rightly so); but because he’s a WASP in Nazi drag – this is the first I’ve heard of it. And where is the outrage blaming the baker for totally discriminating against the man because his Nazi beliefs offended the baker’s religious (or otherwise) morals? Why isn’t the baker being sued for discriminating against this man for his beliefs? Where is the government equal opportunity agent investigating this baker for discrimination?

            It’s enough to make you think!

            – Arnie

          • Sebastian says:

            I think those people are disgusting, but the state has no business taking their kids away because of it. Where does it stop? You’re on the road to tea partiers having their kids taken away. What about gun owners?

            • AndyN says:

              You mean like Brian Aitken? My, that was a mighty short road, wasn’t it?

              • Sebastian says:

                Well, in his case it’s more that he’s a convicted felon and it’s a custody dispute. That case is still awful, but not quite the same as the situation I am envisioning here.

            • Arnie says:

              Agree!!!

              • Arnie says:

                I mean agree with you about “where does it end? What about gun owners?” I agree! As disgusting as the neo-nazis are, due process must still apply!

                – Arnie

  4. Unfortunately, until SoCos decide that it is important to fight this battle in the popular media by making entertainment that will appeal to and persuade those in the middle, their position is a lost cause. The gay rights position has been won because of the left’s domination of the popular media.

    • Arizona Rifleman says:

      “The gay rights position has been won because of the left’s domination of the popular media.”

      That, and the whole “equal protection” thing.

      IMHO, so long as any two consenting, unmarried adults wish to legally marry they should be able to regardless of what’s between their legs.

      A religious institution should not be obligated or forced to perform a ceremony if they don’t wish to, but religious institutions are not required for people to get married: a couple should be able to go to city hall, a judge, etc., who as a neutral arbiter of the law, should not be able to refuse so long as the couple meets standard requirements (e.g. not being married to someone else already, not being related closer than some standard defined by law, etc.), to get married.

      Things certainly get more complex when you get into other situations, such as three-person relationships, but I don’t think we need to cross that bridge yet — such relationships are not legally recognized at present.

      Rather, same-sex marriage a simple application of equal protection to existing marriage laws: “if a couple consisting of an unmarried, consenting adult man and unmarried, consenting adult woman are legally able to marry, any unmarried couple should be able to marry”.

      • Arizona Rifleman says:

        Correction to my last sentence: replace “any unmarried couple” with “any unmarried, consenting, adult couple”. That should be assumed, of course, but I wanted to be clear.

      • Archer says:

        That’s always been my position. Government’s involvement in “marriage” should extend only as far as government’s tangible interest in “marriage.” IOW, the civil union contract (or marriage license) and the legal benefits it grants to the couple regarding taxation, power of attorney, Social Security, death benefits, community property rights, etc. From that angle, any “marriage” should be equal to any other, as it doesn’t impose on anyone else’s rights.

        Forcing religious persons and institutions to perform the ceremonies is different, as it directly imposes on their First Amendment rights. If the couple can find a willing priest/minister/pastor/rabbi/imam/whatever, great, but it’s not the government’s job to force that issue; they have no tangible interest in it.

      • Arnie says:

        I would agree, but I think we’ve now inescapably opened up the road to those other bridges, and more. Whether that’s good or bad for society is not my place to say. I’m just saying, if we reject the traditional-historical-Judeo-Christian definition of marriage (codified in Murphy v Ramsey, 1885, 114 US 15), I don’t see any reason why government should deny marriage to consenting polygamists, incestuous lovers, beastialists, etc., etc. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that!” ;-)
        Respectfully, Arnie

        • Arizona Rifleman says:

          In regards to bestiality, an animal is not a consenting adult. Same thing with inanimate objects. I should have specified “consenting adult human”, but I thought that was also assumed.

          My point is that two-party marriages have a long history in the country and there’s a significant legal framework built up around that concept. There’s no real legal issue with applying that concept to two-party marriages involving male/male or female/female couples instead of male/female couples.

          There is no similar legal framework for three-or-more-party marriages, and if society wanted to go in that direction then it would need to create such a framework — that would not be a drop-in change to the existing system.

          • Ian Argent says:

            “Drop-in change” – exactly. There’s a couple places where you’d have to file to fit, but you don’t even need the legal equivalent of a Dremel.

          • Arnie says:

            To Arizona Rifleman, re: “My point is that two-party marriages have a long history in the country and there’s a significant legal framework built up around that concept. ”

            True, sir, but cannot the exact same things be said about one man-one woman marriage? Long history in the country? Significant legal framework built up around that concept (Murphy v Ramsey, 1885)?

            If those are the elements composing your defense against plural or incestuous marriages (I’ll concede your point on beastiality), then look out! Your defense of non-related-couples-only-marriage will collapse just as quickly as one-man-one-woman-marriage did. I would think so anyway.

            Respectfully, Arnie

            • Ian Argent says:

              Polygamy is not a “drop-in” change, though; gay marriage, everything remains the same except who can enter is expanded – the default assumption of marriage laws being between two competent and non-blood-related adults remains intact. There’s a little bit of “file-to-fit” around the edges, but nothing ground-breaking

              • Arnie says:

                I think I see your point. And it does make sense. But there was a plural-married gentleman on this blog a few months ago who made a great case for legalizing his condition on the same basis as same-sex-ness: consenting adults. It doesn’t seem too big a leap to go from “expanding who can enter” to “expanding how many can enter” into marriage. It’s seems a blurry line once you remove old dogmas. Perhaps HappyWarrior6 is right: maybe the States need to get out of social definitions and focus only on the contractual issues.
                – Arnie

            • Arizona Rifleman says:

              @Arnie: “True, sir, but cannot the exact same things be said about one man-one woman marriage? Long history in the country? Significant legal framework built up around that concept (Murphy v Ramsey, 1885)?”

              Indeed, there certainly is a long history of male/female marriage. However, just because there’s a long history of a particular practice does not mean that something should be limited only to that particular practice.

              As I mentioned above, same-sex marriage is basically a drop-in change to the existing legal situation. Changes would typically be minor, such as replacing “husband” and “wife” on marriage certificates with “Spouse 1” and “Spouse 2”. Not a big deal. The existing laws relating to things like inheritance, hospital visitation, medical decisions, and other legal protections might need to have some minor rewording to the same effect, but no major changes. As Ian says above, it might not be perfect, but it’s basically “file-to-fit”.

              To me, same-sex marriage is a matter of equal protection. Denying one group of otherwise-qualified people access to a legal construct like marriage simply because they happen to be of the same (rather than different) sex fails, in my view, to provide equal protection under the laws. The same could be said about interracial marriage — there’s a long history of people marrying members of their same “race”, but that hardly means that marriage between people of different races should be prohibited.

              Plural marriages, however, would need major changes: if Spouse A is hospitalized and comatose, who gets to make medical decisions? Spouse B? What if Spouse C disagrees with Spouse B’s decision? That’s a whole new can of worms that would require a lot of changes to the existing laws.

              In my view, plural marriage does not have the same protection as same-sex marriage (and not just for practical reasons, as mentioned above): it’s illegal to discriminate against people due to certain characteristics, such as race, religion, sex, etc. Thus, the sexes of the couple seeking marriage should not matter in the eyes of the law, but the number of participants in a marriage are not legally protected (or at least not to the same extent). Laws can thus specify how many people can be married to each other, but can (or should) not require people be of a specific sex.

              As for incestuous marriages, there are already varying laws throughout the US — some states allow first cousins to get married, while others do not. The degree-of-relatedness is not a protected class, so laws can set requirements along those lines.

              In short: in my view, same-sex marriage is a matter of equal protection under the law. So long as people meet certain basic, objective standards (e.g. a couple must be unmarried, consenting adults to get married) the law should be blind in regards to skin color, religion, sexual orientation, age, etc.

              Your mileage may, of course, vary.

              • Arnie says:

                Thank you, Arizona Rifleman, that was very well-expounded. I appreciate that. Thank you!

                If I may comment on one thing – In your own words:

                “In short: in my view, same-sex marriage is a matter of equal protection under the law. So long as people meet certain basic, OBJECTIVE standards (e.g. a couple must be unmarried, consenting adults to get married) the law should be blind in regards to skin color, religion, sexual orientation, age, etc.” [Emphasis mine]

                Agreed. The issue, though, is who decides what those “objective stsndards” are? At one time, the supreme Court recognized Jesus’ definition (Matthew 19:4-5) as the national standard for marriage – “the union for life of one man and one woman in holy matrimony” (Murphy v Ramsey, 1885). But as Sebastian pointed out elsewhere (and the 10th Amendment codifies), the people of each State sovereignly determine what those “objective standards” are – which, I reckon, makes them not really so objective after all.

                Some States agree with your view of what those standards should be. My State presently agrees, by constitutional provision, with Jesus and the supreme Court in Murphy. I have no problem with either because that’s the States’ sovereign prerogative. And if my State changes its standard to coincide with your view, that’s its prerogative also. I’ll either learn to live with it, or I’ll contemplate moving to another State that still agrees with my Lord. I honestly don’t know what I would do. But I will acknowledge that it is legally State law, and I will abide or leave. (Same thing if the State Constitution was changed to force me to public-school my children. The Feds can’t do that. The State can; but I’d definitely leave.)

                My fear is that some federal court, or the federal government in whole, will violate the 10th Amendment and force their standard down my and my State’s throats. That’s why I have guns. It’s why we all should have guns. Even if you agree with the federal standard, you should not let it shove its definitions down your State’s throat when the 10th Amendment reserves that power to you and your State alone. The recent Court ruling on DOMA actually enhanced State sovereignty in the area of marriage. In a major sense that was a good thing. What worries me are all the prognostications that the next case will reverse that and force a new federal definition arbitrarily down all our throats, and put a lot of Christian preachers, florists, and bakers in jail for simply obeying Jesus.

                Sorry, I didn’t mean to get into all that.

                You wrote a great comment, sir, and I thank you.

                Sincerely, Arnie

                • Arizona Rifleman says:

                  @Arnie: Thanks for your kind words. I certainly appreciate your comments as well.

                  You raise a good point in regards to who sets the standards. Everyone has their own biases, so it makes setting clearly-objective standards difficult.

                  I brought up the topic of interracial marriage because I think it’s more or less an apples-to-apples comparison with same-sex marriage: many people used to (and some still do, I suppose) think that interracial marriage is a bad thing. I’ve read documents from the past that claimed such race-mixing was sinful, a path to communism, and other bad things. Over time, society realized that it was wrong to discriminate on the basis of skin color, and race no longer has any bearing on the legality of marriage anywhere in the country.

                  The same should be, in my opinion, the case with same-sex marriage. The fact that two men or two women wish to marry doesn’t cause any harm to others any more than the marriage between two straight people causes harm to others, so there’s no reason to deny a couple the right to marry simply based on what’s between their legs.

                  To me, the fact that some state governments do not recognize marriages between same-sex couples seems absurd in the same way it would be absurd if a state did not recognize an interracial marriage. That seems to me to be a violation of equal protection.

                  In regards to your fears of a federal definition being forced upon the people, the only issue I would see as a possible problem is that of religious leaders having the right to free speech and freedom of religion being infringed on. Fortunately, there’s enough legal precedent that would make such a situation quite unlikely.

                  There should be a solid separation between church and state — such a separation benefits everyone. A religious leader should be free to preach as they see fit and the government should not be involved (with certain well-defined exceptions that apply equally to everyone, like immediate calls to violence, etc.). Similarly, specific religious doctrine or religious-based policies should not be enacted into law, nor should laws apply unequally to people.

                  Is it possible to completely separate religion from policy? Since many people are religious and laws are written by people, I would argue that it’s not possible, but government should nevertheless strive to be as religiously-neutral as possible.

                  In regards to Christian florists and bakers being persecuted in some way, a private person or business certainly has a right to refuse service to someone, that right is not unbounded: it’s certainly legal and proper to refuse service to someone who is being disruptive in one’s shop or to someone who is unable to pay, but it’s wrong and illegal to refuse to serve someone based on their sex, religion, skin color, disability, etc. Refusing to sell someone flowers or a cake because of a personal religious belief may be legal, but it violates Wheaton’s Law (http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/wheatons-law).

                  While bakers and florists may have more legal leeway, it’s not uncommon to read about pharmacists who have personal moral issues with dispensing certain drugs such as contraceptive pills or “the morning after pill” and so refuse to do so. In my opinion, their professional medical duty to provide medication to people in accordance with the law overrides their personal feelings — if they are uncomfortable with what the law requires someone in their profession to do, perhaps they should consider some other career choice.

                  Thank you again for the engaging and thought-provoking discussion. Alas, I’m afraid it’s late here (although I used to live in Arizona as the name suggests, I now live in Europe) and I must be off to bed. Take care.

                  • HaapyWarrior6 says:

                    No, it’s about freedom of conscience/freedom of religion, which is apparently a concept that eludes you. I do not recognize sham marriages, not do I profess adherence to a state that forces me to accept that view as morally legitimate as a business owner or private individual in order to function. I also want to see you enforce your beliefs at gun point when someone is filling your prescription because that’s what you want government to do.

                    This mindset is the real problem. You claim you want “liberty” and in the same breath you somehow seem to want to force me to do violate my conscience at the point of a gun. This is why no one here has a good answer unless that answer truly is real liberty with no strings attached. That means no government “hired guns” to force me to see it your way.

                  • Arnie says:

                    Thank you, Arizona Rifleman, for thoroughly addressing my concerns. I very much appreciate your tone!

                    I found hearty agreement with you up to your last couple of paragraphs:

                    To quote you: “In regards to Christian florists and bakers being persecuted in some way, a private person or business certainly has a right to refuse service to someone, that right is not unbounded: it’s certainly legal and proper to refuse service to someone who is being disruptive in one’s shop or to someone who is unable to pay, but it’s wrong and illegal to refuse to serve someone based on their sex, religion, skin color, disability, etc. Refusing to sell someone flowers or a cake because of a personal religious belief may be legal, but it violates Wheaton’s Law (http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/wheatons-law).”

                    (Being an old Star Trekkie, I am embarrassed to admit my unfamiliarity with Wheaton’s Law! But I like it!)

                    But the first thing I need to point out, and not just to you, Arizona Rifleman, for there are many in this thread who hold what I consider to be a misconception as to what our rights are. Our right against prejudicial mistreatment is against GOVERNMENT discrimination only, not private individuals. Constitutionally, no one has a RIGHT to anyone else’s private services. No one! It’s certainly not in the Constitution. Public services, like police and firefighters and public transit paid by public monies, yes, as per the 14th Amendment. But no one operating a strictly private for-profit business is bound by any federal CONSTITUTIONAL obligation to serve anyone he doesn’t want to. It’s just not there! It is absolutely unAmerican to require it and our Founders would be the first to take up arms to oppose it. If anyone can find a Constitutional provision proving me wrong I’ll publicly repent right on this blog site. But folks, it isn’t there. Such was anathema to the Founding Fathers! Absolutely deplorable! Like being forced to make shoes for British soldiers or their horses. They killed Redcoats over such tyranny! Now perhaps some modern State Constitutions require it, but I would not live in such States. They are not free! In my State, we are fighting attempts to put in local ordinances to that effect in our major cities. But right now, I can discriminate privately against sodomy unless the FREE market punishes me sufficiently to change my mind. Alarmingly, the US Senate is right now working on a national private-business-anti-discrimination-against-sodomy bill that is absolutely unconstitutional and will hopefully never be even considered in the House. People, we have got to stop thinking that we have a God-given right to force other people to serve us – we DON’T!!!! Not in a truly free country we don’t! That forced servitude supposedly ended in 1865!!!!

                    Now having laid that premise:

                    I for one would actually applaud a free market application of Wheaton’s Law upon those who discriminate on Arizona Rifleman’s aforementioned bases by boycotting, protesting, or disparaging the business with public acrimony. Indeed, I would personally join the boycott and hope to convince the “Dick” to reconsider his ways. But to use the strong arm of the law, particularly federal law to impose our moral standards on him – well, how is that not using the state to impose our particular “church” on that business? Is it not just as tyrannical for moral profligates to use government to force a druggist to sell contraceptives as it would be for prudish evangelicals to get government to ban their sale? It goes both ways, people. It seems to me you’re trading one tyrant for another, but tolerating the one whose agenda you happen to agree with.

                    I repair to the evidently true experience of the Jewish baker who refused to supply a cake for a wedding of two neo-Nazis –

                    http://jonathanturley.org/2013/06/04/new-jersey-man-appears-in-court-in-a-full-nazi-uniform-to-reclaim-visitation-rights/

                    The baker brazenly discriminated against the customers even though they did him no wrong. And his motivation was clearly prejudicial – a hatred of Nazis and their behavior. Yet no charges or even accusations were made against him. In fact, he’s kind of a hero. Surely, Arizona Rifleman, you wouldn’t deny this man his right to refuse service even though it was based solely on the baker’s prejudice against Nazis and their fascist values and behavior? You wouldn’t support the government forcing him by threat of fine or imprisonment to serve a cake for the Nazi wedding would you?

                    Yet if I replace the word Jewish with Christian and Nazi with same-sex you sounded like you would bring the whole power of government down to force the baker to violate his sincerely held beliefs by compelling him to give honor to as unconscionable a perversion as the Nazi celebration is to a Jew! That is not liberty, dear sir; it is tyranny. Boycott his business, organize protests, denounce him in the papers; I am ok with that. If a white baker discriminated against a black or mixed-colored wedding couple, I’d join you in the boycott! I’d rail against him in the papers! I’d yell in his face on the street! But put a federal government gun to his head and force him to behave like a Christian and love all his neighbors as himself? Never! Never!!! That is tyranny! It violates both the establishment and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment (not to mention the commands of Christ). And once I allow it done to others because I don’t like their beliefs, then I just legalized having it done to me by someone who disagrees with mine – or yours, or any minority’s. And if they can take away our First Amendment religious rights, they can take away our Second. Then its all over! It’s over!!!! We are all slaves then!

                    As the supreme Court acknowledged in Windsor, et al., last June, the federal government cannot disrespect the sovereign decision by the people of a State to define marriage. Just as part of DOMA was struck down for refusing to grant federal benefits to same-sex couples in those States that include such unions in their definition of marriage, the Court also let stand those DOMA provisions that recognized the right of the people in other States to deny same-sex couples equal status under the definition of marriage.

                    Regardless of which State you live in, your First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights to freedom of religion, conscience, association, and privacy cannot be violated by a State or federal law that prohibits private discrimination. Not legally anyway! But the left-wing religious nuts are doing everything the ignorant public will toletate to cram their tyrannical religion down our throats. But not while I live and breathe and have guns! Not while I live and breathe and have guns.

                    Again, I am guilty of preaching. Sorry, A-R.

                    Your dissertation was really quite good, Arizona Rifleman. I only ask that you consider the principles of liberty with regard to anti-discrimination laws. Are they truly compatible? Do we dare crack open a door for government tyranny to try to remedy what some consider a social “unfairness?” Do we really want to make sich private-sector unfairness a crime, punished by the power of the State? Do we really want to throw out our Constitutional rights to private liberty? If we do, then we just opened the floodgates to wealth re-distribution, Obamacare times a million, and ultimately a communist state that imposes on us it’s brand of state-religion. I don’t think there’s any getting around that!

                    With sincerest respect,
                    Arnie

                    • Gray Peterson says:

                      Political Ideology is not a protected situation. As a general rule, 50 years ago, Congress codified what more than half of the states already did: Prohibit certain classes of businesses (public accomodations) from refusing service to someone on the basis of both inborn characteristics (race, gender) and non-inborn characteristics (religion).

                      The reasons why the gays pursuing ENDA and other protections are pissed off at being picked on by the “freedom of association” folks is that they are essentially being blamed for pursuing inclusion of a scheme that the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s created as part of a wider nationwide law against discriminatory effects in both the state governmental sphere and the publicly accessible business sphere.

                      The “freedom of association” finger-pointers are pointing the finger at the wrong people. When the finger-pointers tell the gays ™ they are effecting people’s rights, the response is “why are you picking on us? Why aren’t you attacking the organizations which supported the ’64 Civil Rights Act and opposing them politically for all situations (race, gender, religion) and not just gay people”?

                      They have a point, and the “freedom of association” finger-pointers have no substantive answer to this.

                    • Arnie says:

                      Gray Peterson: You are right that its the part of the ’64 civil rights law that is at fault, and if I recall my history, it required many if not most Republicans to pass it. Libertarian-Republican Rand Paul came out strongly against the unconstitutional parts of that law early in his campaign but backed off when the media got away with mis-characterizing his position.

                      I guess you’re right that I shouldn’t be blaming the same-sex community for using an unconstitutional provision that’s been used successfully by other groups. I’ll try to restrict my criticisms to the bad law itself and to those who claim it is defensible on its merits.

                      However, I cut the same-sex community no slack when they hypocritically ban Pastor Donnie McClurkin, one of their former “switch-hitters” from singing at the Martin Luther King, Jr., 50th Anniversary Memorial service last Summer because he repented and turned straight (his words). They claimed THEIR right to freedom of association when they removed him from the docket. I’m sure you’ll agree that demanding rights for themselves that they proscribe to others is worthy of our most vehement reproach. [To his great credit, Pastor McClurkin chose not to sue the DC mayor and governmental event organizers for discrimination under the law – something the 14th Amendment DOES permit!]

                      But my position stands – it is wrong and unconstitutional for the federal government to force private citizens to serve other private citizens against their will. Their is no provision for that federal power anywhere in the Constitution! No true libertarian would support such a provision. If they did (as I used to), they’d be a hypocrite (as I used to be). Perhaps the best statement I’ve ever read on this truth was made just this morning by our host’s dear wife on today’s Dick Metcalf article:

                      “This is a message to Dick: The Bill of Rights is a limit on government powers to silence you (in the case of the First Amendment), not a promise for any job you want with any private company you desire to work with and a free pass to say anything you want or BEHAVE ANY WAY YOU WANT WITOUT CONSEQUENCE FROM OTHER PRIVATE CITIZENS.” [Emphases mine]

                      I absolutely could not have said that better!!! (Thank you, Mrs. Bitter!) In the same way, the 14th Amendment prohibits ONLY government discrimination in how it deals with people under the law (as in the DC government’s ban on McClurkin). It has absolutely NO application to the associative behavior choices of private citizens. None! The portion of the ’64 civil rights law that intrudes upon my discriminatory choices is blatantly unconstitutional! That is a true libertarian position, that is Ron and Rand Paul’s position, it’s my position, it was our Founding Fathers’ position, it was the 14th Amendment framers’ wording, and, IMO, it’s the position of every liberty-loving soul who isn’t a hypocrite!

                      And it’s why I have guns!

                      Respectfully, Arnie

                    • Arnie says:

                      “Something the 14th Amendment DOES permit!” — I was referring to Pastor McClurkin’s right to sue the DC government for discrimination, not the government discrimination itself. Sorry, I should have worded that better.

                      – Arnie

                  • Alpheus says:

                    I completely disagree with you on the contraception issue. I personally gave no qualms with making these things legal–heck, making all drugs legal–but just because a substance is legal, doesn’t mean that a given pharmacist should be required to provide it! It shouldn’t matter why the pharmacist thinks a substance is bad; of you disagree with a pharmacist about something, then it’s up to you to find a pharmacist whose conscience matches yours.

                    • Arnie says:

                      I agree, Alpheus. A scrupulous pharmacist should not be forced by government to look for a new occupation; that would be tyranny. Rather the prodigal customer is free to look for a new pharmacist; that’s liberty! Long live liberty!
                      – Arnie

                    • Ian Argent says:

                      That’s an easy thing to say for someone who lives in an address with multiple pansies convenient and accessible, where not all pharmacists have religious scruples against providing contraception…
                      In either case, someone is either having their religious values trampled or getting to impose their religious values on a non-co-religionist.
                      For a reductio ad absurdum, should a devout Baptist be able to be a bartender and refuse service of alcoholic drinks?

                    • Sebastian says:

                      Well, to be fair, in a free market that person wouldn’t be a bartender for long :)

                    • Arnie says:

                      I agree it’s not an everybody-wins solution, but in reality, only one party is being forced by government to violate his or her conscience (tyranny), and it’s not the non-religious customer. It is government tyranny that is the real evil here with repercussions for us all. Liberty protects both parties from government compulsion. According to our Founders, that is America’s raisón de ètre. If that is compromised, kiss the Second Amendment good-bye!

                      As I tried to explain elsewhere, no one has a right to compel non-contractual service from another private person. That went out in 1865. And tyranny was supposed to be gone in 1783. There is simply no constitutional, natural, or God-given right to be served by other private citizens. There is a natural, constitutional, God-given right to religious liberty, conscience, and association.

                      Rights trump desires! Even if it seems unfair. That’s liberty!

                      With sincere respect to all,
                      – Arnie

        • Sebastian says:

          I think the states have the power to define marriage. The 14th Amendment made laws that defined marriage in racial terms unconstitutional. It removed the power of the states to define marriage in that context. It was not understood to remove the ability of the state to define marriage at all, nor the ability to define marriage as being between a man and a woman. If people want that outcome, they have to amend the Constitution again. But the states do have the power to define marriage legislatively. This is my view on the matter.

          So I don’t view one opens the door for another, because there’s not really any changing social mores on beastality or polygamy that would create support for it. I continue to believe society will view that as abhorrent behavior. Same with sibling or close cousin marriage (though some states allow 1st cousin marriage). The only thing that opens the door for those things is if you reach the gay marriage issue, incorrectly in my view, through the 14th Amendment. That’s why I don’t support judges making these decisions. They should be up to state legislatures.

          • Ian Argent says:

            At one point (at least according to a hazily-remembered Volohk article?) NY apparently sanctioned 1st cousin marriages for “members of the jewish faith” only. At any rate, we’ve gotten along with different states setting (Slightly) different boundaries for permissible marriages, with the understanding that they would recognize the marriages performed in other states as legitimate.

          • HappyWarrior6 says:

            The best thing is for governments to get out of defining marriages as a whole. They’ve done a bad job at at and I don’t trust them doing it.

            • Ian Argent says:

              Easy to say, not so easy to do. Marriage has a whole lot of civil and even a couple of criminal law implications. Easy to modify to include homosexual relationships, hard to delete from the common and codified law

              • HappyWarrior6 says:

                Easy, but not a good idea.

                • Ian Argent says:

                  You’re going to get my stock response on the topic. If a heterosexual couple who are both serial divorcees, atheistic, adulterous, and sterile, can get married under the authority of the government, I can’t see why a loving gay couple ought not to be able to.

                  • HappyWarrior6 says:

                    And I’d rather avoid the issue, removing government from defining marriage as a whole.

                    • Sebastian says:

                      That’s actually rather hard to do. What happens when two people have irreconcilable differences in a divorce? That’s long been something handled by courts, which means you need laws that define marriage.

                    • Arnie says:

                      Sebastian, could that not be accomplished in the realm of civil contracts or something like that, without the State getting into definitions? Maybe not, but just wondering.
                      – Arnie

                    • Sebastian says:

                      It could be, but then you’d be signing a contract that maybe we would or wouldn’t call marriage, but it in effect would be. The primary reason for the state to be involved in marriage is for divorce and probate reasons. There’s also many areas in law where spouse is used in the definition, so then you’re back to having to define marriage.

                      I think getting the state out of the business of recognizing marriages is interesting libertarian Philosophy. I think it’s much harder to do in practice, because marriage touches so many areas of law.

                    • Sebastian says:

                      And I’d further add that our system has no idea how to deal with polygamy legally. That’s one reason the state has to be able to define it. Who gets what in a polygamous divorce? Probate law becomes harder too. You could certainly develop law around this, and some societies have, but it’s not law we’re used to dealing with in this country because a lot of it morally repugnant to us.

                      Now you could always just leave divorce to the church, but then you’re mixing church and state, because at some point, in a contentious divorce, you need to bring in someone with authority to settle the matter, and churches don’t have courts and police to enforce judgements.

                    • Arnie says:

                      Yes, I can see how the State would have need or at least benefit of definitions in cases like the ones you present. What a can of worms!

                      Thank you, sir!

                      Sincerely, Arnie

                    • Sebastian says:

                      Almost everything in law is a can of worms if you really look at it. That’s probably the reason our founders weren’t too keen on throwing out hundreds of years of English Common Law after the revolution, and largely kept that system in tact. There’s a lot of collective cans of worms that had been previously dealt with by that system.

                      The French, on the other hand, took a different approach after their revolution, and it didn’t work out too well.

                    • Ian Argent says:

                      Law-making is a lot like programming, except the “hardware” you’re running it on is human behavior and the specs are poorly drafted and contradictory.

                    • Arnie says:

                      Sebastian: “The French, on the other hand, took a different approach after their revolution, and it didn’t work out too well.”

                      Amen to that, Sir!!!!!

                      As for the common law, I agree, but I confess I don’t really have a handle on just how that operates. Someday you should sit us all down and give us an overview. I guess I could google it, but I’d prefer hearing it from your perspective.

                      Sincerely, Arnie

    • Nate says:

      Unfortunately, until SoCos decide that it is important to fight this battle in the popular media by making entertainment that will appeal to and persuade those in the middle, their position is a lost cause. The gay rights position has been won because of the left’s domination of the popular media.

      I don’t think this is ever going to happen. Liberals are just better at entertainment, IMHO. All the conservative attempts to entertain anyone but other conservatives have gone over like a lead balloon. They just don’t have it in ’em.

  5. Lauderdale Vet says:

    Re: Gay Marriage – I like the way @PatheosCatholic put it a while back, “Let Government Certify & Churches Sanctify”

  6. Stephen says:

    Totally agree with everything you said in the mainpost and what “Lauderdale Vet” added below.

    I’m a Suburban/White/Christian conservative, but I know and work with quite a few openly gay people. They’re good people and friends and one older gay couple I know has been together since the 1970’s — I don’t have any problem with the .gov giving them the same legal template my wife and I enjoy to share responsibilities if they want it. That said … once the gay community suddenly realizes they’re now liable for community property, commonlaw marriages (that will come as a shock to some when they discover that co-habitating can have some automatic legal implications if one party chooses to invoke it — i.e. break up with that young “rent boy” you’ve been with for a couple of years and he’ll come after your car) but the Gay community will have to deal with that.

    But churches must be protected to choose whether to sanctify those marriages — mine won’t, other’s will. Which is another reasons Cons need to take this on — if Libs get control of this movement, church’s are screwed (mosques will probably get a special waiver, of course).

    In terms of abortion I think in this country we can comfortably draw the line at when the fetus if viable. It’s a bit arbitrary and arguable the point that happens, but it’s not a religious standard and every poll I’ve seen supports it across a broad spectrum of society. At some point the baby becomes a person, and it’s difficult to support that that point is the exit from the birth canal.

    Good stuff. thanks.

    • Gray Peterson says:

      “But churches must be protected to choose whether to sanctify those marriages — mine won’t, other’s will. Which is another reasons Cons need to take this on — if Libs get control of this movement, church’s are screwed (mosques will probably get a special waiver, of course).”

      What are you talking about? If 1A already protects churches against discrimination cases in employment (see Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC), how in the heck could a church be forced to open its aisles and shrines for gay couples?

      What you’re saying makes no sense.

  7. Arnie says:

    I think you described the proper Republico-libertarian position on the issues perfectly, Sebastian, at least at the Federal level. I could whole-heartedly support such a candidate for a federal office, and perhaps even for Statewide office (the more local government becomes, the more i believe the right to association should allow majority determination of community standards – a precedent of court history).
    Of note, I just heard Rush Limbaugh report on Virginia voting stats, that Cuccinelli WON the independent vote 47% to 38% for McCauliff. The Libertarian got the rest. If true, I’m not so sure Cuccinelli’s SoCon position would lose in a two-horse race. Then the question of pragmatism isnt should Republicans moderate against one of their bases, but rather do WE pro-gunners support third parties that have no chance because we like their purity on other social issues, or do we do the pragmatic thing and actually put a Republican pro-gunner in office?
    I’m not criticizing third party voters; I’ve often been one myself, and for social values reasons. But in every case, the Republican candidate was both anti-gun and anti-SoCon values, so there wasn’t really a conflict of conscience involved for me. I was once a rabid socon, but you folks have helped me see the hypocrisy of that position (I can use government to force you to conform to my values, but you can’t use government to tax me to support your values), and to moderate to a more libertarian position, similar to the one Sebastian described above, very much in agreement with what I think is HappyWarrior6’s position (I’m willing to tolerate your immorality as long as I’m not forced to serve, endorse or pay for it). For that, my friends, I thank you!
    Gratefully, Arnie

    • HappyWarrior6 says:

      Arnie… Well-stated. That’s my position as well.

      I have really gone back and forth on libertarian/con. I think there are so many problems today with the republican/con lineup (aggressive foreign policy and the creeping police state being another issue that is more concerning) that I truly do find myself looking at all candidates through more of a liberty-minded lense. I think the numbers add up. If the GOP can recruit a libertarian-Republican he could clean up. I was thinking Rand Paul would be a start. I really liked his father a lot and voted for him in both the 2008 and 2012 primaries. So, for me, I have also undergone that transformation as well.

      • Arnie says:

        Thank you, sir! I think I’m following you on the path to political understanding. I like what you write because you write what I tend to be thinking! :-)
        – Arnie

    • Jack says:

      He won the independent vote but he also lost the moderate vote by about the same margin.

      So there’s something at work, which may simply be how those terms were defined for the exits.

    • Archer says:

      There’s been a lot of talk that the indy voters would have stayed home in a two-horse race, so their votes didn’t “rob” Cuccinelli of anything. There’s no way to prove that, but it’s a possibility that’s been raised.

      Other than that, I agree with you. I’m socially moderate myself (“SoMod”?), but the prospect of having the government – especially the federal Leviathan government – dictate what I can and can’t do tends to irritate me. I’m religious, but I reject religious-based political arguments on the principle that basing politics on religion boils down to government imposing religion on the masses. SoCons’ make some good points, and SoLibs’ make some good points, but catering to one extreme or the other is not going to win elections, produce good policy, or be fair to anyone but the “winners” who now have the power to implement their ideas and force the “losers” to pay for them.

      The “proper” compromise is that the government won’t stop the people from their activities, but the people will have to pay for it themselves. The government won’t stop it, but also won’t fund it or via taxation force anyone else to fund it.

      • Arnie says:

        ‘The “proper” compromise is that the government won’t stop the people from their activities, but the people will have to pay for it themselves. The government won’t stop it, but also won’t fund it or via taxation force anyone else to fund it.’

        Exactly my convictions as well!!! Thanks, Archer!

  8. Robb Allen says:

    Eh, I hear more people claim the GOP is SoCon on issues than I hear the GOP talk SoCon on issues. I think the GOP’s problem is they can’t message worth a crap, and instead their opponents make them all seem like snake-handling Jesus freaks.

    And people buy into that caricature .

    Regardless, I only want freedom and liberty. I want people who *represent* me, not those who want to lead me better than the other guy. Those people can’t seem to exist in the current system.

    • Sebastian says:

      I think that’s largely true. My argument here, if you boil it down, is that they have to message these issues better more than they have to give them up. But that does mean you don’t stake out the extreme position on the issue. You accept that you can only move the issue at the margins and message to the margins. Politicians do that all the time on guns, which is why you won’t even hear politicians running on something as simple as removing suppressors from the NFA, even though that seems like it shouldn’t be a radical position.

      • motomed says:

        How often has a candidate been asked a detailed question about the NFA that leaves no room for a thoughtful answer? Truth be told, if he were, his answer would piss off roughly half of the people he’s hoping will support him no matter what he says. That’s the position many republicans are in on the abortion issue. It’s not really fair to compare the two.

        • Sebastian says:

          Not often, because it’s not a hot political issue. But if a candidate were asked about that, he’s unquestionably throw us under the bus immediately, but then talk about all the other gun rights issues he’s in favor of, pledge fealty to the Second Amendment, and do everything else possible to walk the tightrope between pissing off his base and not seeming like a loon.

          The problem is a lot of these guys are answering truthfully, when they ought to be dodgy about it. If you were running in a district that could support a pro-life candidate, or a state in the case of a Senator, the way to approach the issue would be:

          Blowdry Reporter: “Do you support abortion in the case of rape or incest?”

          Canadidate: “Well, I am pro-life, but I can accept exceptions for extreme cases like rape and incest, or the health of the mother.”

          Blowdry Reporter: “But you support restrictions on a woman’s right to choose?”

          Candidate: “I support restricting abortion in the case of late-term pregnancies, yes. But the Supreme Court has been pretty clear that the government cannot prohibit abortion in all cases.”

          Blowdry Reporter: “That’s the Case of Roe v. Wade, do you support Roe?”

          Candidate: “I am pro-life, and I believe abortion is morally wrong. But Roe is the law of the land unless the Supreme Court changes it.”

          Now there’s a possibility that a reporter will just keep pressing, but I think saying you think Roe was wrongly decided is a safer position than saying you believe women who are raped need to carry that pregnancy to term.

  9. motomed says:

    You either believe in liberty or you don’t. You either believe in the Bill of Rights or you don’t.

    I find it odd that you are comfortable consistently making arguments that appeal to the principle of liberty and the second amendment on the issue you care most about, but then dismiss appeals to liberty and the Bill of Rights on issues you care less about. If you are so willing to dismiss these arguments on other issues, why do you expect them to be effective arguments on your pet issue?

    It’s a very short sighted strategy to just ask the GOP to adopt positions that reflect current sentiment on issues so they can win elections. While this may have the benefit of winning a few elections at present, it also means you are putting a bunch of people in office who are freed from any principled point of view that might keep them from changing their views on things you’d rather not have them change their views on in the future.

    Instead, I’d like to see the GOP unite behind the concept of liberty, and actually mean it. Liberals have united behind the concept of equality. They are consistent in this and have sold the concept well to the general public over many years. They have done this to the point where all they have to do is frame an issue around the concept of equality, and it becomes a conversation stopper. They win. The GOP has no message, no guiding principle, nothing for the general public to even attempt to understand. I’d rather see the GOP get serious about liberty and take a few hits at current for the sake of building for the long term. I’m confident that embracing liberty is a winning strategy, the GOP just has to be consistent and invest the time and energy into explaining the concept. Having no guiding principle and just going whichever way the wind blows while liberals continue to define every issue around their engrained concept of equality is sure to be a losing strategy now and in the future.

    • Sebastian says:

      I agree that the GOP can win on a liberty oriented platform. I think that’s what they should be speaking about publicly. But when you get down to specifics, you have to accept where voters are on those specific issue and push the issue at the margins. If you keep doing that, election after election, that’s how you move the center of an issue closer to your liking. Ultimately, principles don’t matter worth a damn if you can’t win elections on them, and to win elections on them, you have to appeal voters who aren’t ideological, and who don’t understand the specifics of issues anyway. People love liberty. People love equality. I absolutely agree with you that these kind of vague principles are winners, and that the Democrats are much better at messaging on them. But that’s largely because the Democrats are much better at making their specifics match their overall message. The GOP is lousy at that, and part of the reason they are lousy at that is because they float candidates who stake out extreme positions on specific social issues that cost them elections.

      • HappyWarrior6 says:

        But the problem is your liberty oriented platform still requires government force… i.e., forced discrimination laws to cater to the whim of whoever does government’s bidding. It’s one thing to end government-sponsored discrimination, but another entirely to put limits on individuals and businesses. See my comment about “protected classes” above.

        • motomed says:

          No force required. I agree with you, a fully developed liberty based platform would be able to explain to everyone that they are overall better off if there are no protected classes. we are at a point in society where discrimination isn’t tolerated on a large enough scale to warrant protected classes anyway. You and I can appreciate how this would work out quite well, but most people can’t because they have been convinced that liberty is scary and leaves people helpless. They have had their innate desire for equality nourished and defined for them, but we haven’t nourished and defined for them the notion of liberty in a way that allows them to appreciate and seek it for its own sake. That’s our job. This seems to be Rand Paul’s MO as well, hope he has some luck with it.

          • Sebastian says:

            I agree with you. I’d bet if you polled eliminating anti-discrimination laws it wouldn’t crack 20% in favor. I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t crack 10%. Purity doesn’t win elections. Even trying to make an argument that we don’t need to expand the classes of protected people is a tough sell, and part of the reason it’s a tough sell is because a lot of people still believe discrimination is a problem. They are right. It’s not nearly as widespread as it was, but it’s still out there.

            • HaapyWarrior6 says:

              The problem is you and i differ on what is discrimination since you clearly don’t agree with me with the wedding cake scenario, and that’s troubling. That is not liberty. That is government force.

              There will always be discrimination with or without government. The casen I bring up isn’t even discrimination. However, this should not gauge our response. Ending the expansion of anti-discrimination laws is the prudent way to go.

              • Sebastian says:

                My personal view is that someone religiously opposed to gay marriage shouldn’t be forced into providing services to a gay couple getting married. I agree with you on that. But you have to be very careful how you frame it. You have to frame it in terms of protecting religious freedom and freedom of conscience rather than framing it as not expanding protected class status to gays.

                • Arnie says:

                  A reasonable strategy, for now.

                  But I wonder how long before “fairness” trumps freedom of religion. I see anti-free-exercise trends in the military, in public schools and universities, and right now in the town of Greece, New York. These aren’t protection from in-your-face establishment behaviors by people in authority over people subject to their authority; these are simply people freely exercising the same religious rights people have been freely exercising for over two centuries in this Country – now suddenly they are being prohibited, sued, and even punished for it. No sir, I don’t like those trends. And I don’t like the prospects. I don’t like them at all!

                  Respectfully, Arnie

                • Gray Peterson says:

                  Sebastian,

                  The real issue here is thus:

                  Can a wedding cake maker or florist refuse to provide service to a couple who is inter-racial or inter-religious?

                  The answer, for the most part, is no. It’s been that way since the 1960’s. A wedding cake maker or florist could not cite religion to refuse to do so, particularly if they were a for-profit business.

                  The problem is that Arlene’s Flowers case in Washington State, the owner of that business wants a judge to determine, on a case by case basis, whether or not a religious belief is actually sincere enough to warrant a judicially created exception to the law in that specific circumstance.

                  Rather than going for the principle that anti-discrimination law doesn’t apply to them at all under any circumstances, what she wants the judge to determine is that gay weddings are a bridge too far for religious beliefs, in a way that isn’t currently the case with inter-racial marriages or inter-religious marriages.

                  Tell me, class, why does she and others like her keep losing? Anyone? Bueller?

      • motomed says:

        I’m curious what you’re basing the claim on that these positions are costing the GOP elections? Especially when looked at on the whole and taking into consideration that in some areas these extreme positions are almost necessary to win. Is there some evidence I’m missing or is it just opinion? I’m honestly asking. Plenty of GOP candidates with no history of extreme positions or foot in mouth incidents are losing elections, too. The problem seems to be much bigger than that. The last two GOP presidential candidates were nowhere near the extreme and they never stood a chance at winning. I suppose you could argue that the presence of the position anywhere in the party hurts the whole group, but if that were the case, democrats should be just as harmed by the many members of their party with views just as extreme but in the other direction, and nobody seems to be making that claim.

        • HappyWarrior6 says:

          I tend to think it’s more messaging than policy on the average, but there is certainly a policy component to look into. We haven’t examined the GOP’s economic positions so much, but I do think that could also be affecting their prospects even in red states. Again, though, I think that is part of the messaging when looking at the overall picture.

          • motomed says:

            agreed. if I believed a candidate would actually balance a budget as well as generally defend liberty, I would tolerate almost anything else from that candidate.

            • HappyWarrior6 says:

              The key unifying force here economically, if we could draft a perfect candidate tomorrow, would be that all of us would support the ending of the PPACA, or at the very least the end of the individual mandate which would basically end the revenue stream for the ACA.

              I think we’ve really been left with an issue (not of our choosing) that could unite a lot of people with very little effort. There is lots of evicence that this was one of the things that brought McAuliffe down in the polls to such a close race, as well as the gun issue.

        • Sebastian says:

          It’s not scientific, it’s observation. I suppose that would be more correctly placed in the realm of opinion. But in multiple high-profile races, the Democrats have successfully beat candidates by playing up social issues. That would tend to point to social issues cutting in favor of the Democratic position. I have little doubt these social issues would do better with better candidates, but the standard playbook in the Age of Obama has been to play up the culture wars, and downplay the fact that the Democrats are spending the country into bankruptcy, screwing up foreign policy, and ruining the health care system. That was SOP during the Clinton years too, BTW, only Clinton had the benefit of a strong economy. I’d also point out that in high profile races the GOP has won strongly, it hasn’t been with candidates that are remarkably socially conservative, or who at least don’t run on those issues. Even the Bush Presidency barely won a plurality the first term, and then by a smaller margin than Obama did for the second. The Republican Party has not fared well wearing social issues on its sleeve, by my observation.

          • motomed says:

            The GOP has made it really easy for the dems to focus elections in this way, because other than on healthcare, the GOP has also been spending the country into bankruptcy and screwing up foreign policy. A lot of GOP candidates have to run on social issues by default, because that’s the only area where most of them look all that different than their opponents. So I see it not so much as these candidates taking hits because of social issues, but because they were just crappy candidates to begin with who had nothing to offer. Think about most any candidate that comes to mind who has been hurt by the social conservative issues, or had a foot in mouth rape/incest moment, take that thing away, they still aren’t a very appealing candidate.

    • Arnie says:

      “Instead, I’d like to see the GOP unite behind the concept of liberty, and actually mean it. Liberals have united behind the concept of equality. They are consistent in this and have sold the concept well to the general public over many years.”

      Excellent observation, motomed, and suggested course of action. I think a platform of LIBERTY would be a winner! Plus it’s constitutional (so is equality under the law, but not equality of condition – condition is the consequence of choices, chance, and circumstance). I am including the concept of liberty in all my letters to my elected officials.

      – Arnie

  10. Andy B. says:

    I am going to repeat one of my big pet peeves, as a problem contained in the issue we are talking about. I will begin with one of my Old Stories from personal experience, but try to truncate it a bit:

    When we tried to form a functioning statewide “Keystone Firearms Coalition” nearly twenty years ago, we elected as its first chairman one of the earliest people to come to us with high enthusiasm. He was super at running a meeting, which with gun owners is like herding tomcats. But, all he ever did was buttonhole the rest of us principals in the organization, about how we should expand our focus to include “other issues” than gun rights. Eventually it came out, via a slip by his wife, that he had not the slightest personal interest in guns. As soon as he was outed, he disappeared like a puff of smoke. There was no acrimony or recriminations involved; he just knew he was outed and instantly disappeared.

    We had known that among other things he was Christian Coalition, but had thought nothing of it. In terms of “conservative” affinities, it seemed completely to be expected. But in fact he was a “stealth” infiltrator, hoping to use our efforts to build a political organization that, once it had lured a number of people, could slowly be converted to “other issues” — the ones Christians really cared about. Gun rights were to be only a decoy for those other issues.

    I have since had additional, extensive experience with that phenomenon.

    Sebastian’s excellent essay implicitly assumes there will be a high degree of honesty when it comes to parsing issues and alignments. In fact there never has been, and the use on the right of “front” issues for other agendas has been widespread; “stealth” has been used so effectively that hardly anyone recognizes it, and most think it went away almost thirty years ago. In fact it became so effective that no one can see it anymore.

    I will stop there, and just ask simply, how is that to be dealt with as things evolve in the future?

  11. HaapyWarrior6 says:

    I believe enforcing Sebastian’s social philosophy still means government being used in full force, violating consciences, complete with weapons aimed at civilians. That is not a liberty platform. Back to the drawing board.

  12. Matt says:

    Since I like to play in these things, I don’t think immigration is going to be the winner the Democrats think it will be.

    Long term, perhaps. The vast majority of illegal come from places where government power, abuse and buying off the populace with gifts is de rigueur. More than likely they’ll vote Democrat when the time comes.

    Short term, I don’t think the political climate in Washington is going to work on major reform. ObamaCare aside, enough people remember the broken promises of the 1986 amnesty on border protection in exchange for citizenship and the numerous subsequent smaller amnesties since. Got the amnesty, nothing else. This time will be no different in many eyes and rightfully so. So there is no trust on the issue.

    The deeper problem is one of basic justice. Many people, while they are sympathetic to the plight of illegals and what they are trying to achieve, are NOT sympathetic to the means. And more critically, view it as being rewarded for bad action. The classic “Two wrongs don’t make a right”. Immigration reform is the political expression of that concept.

    As an immigrant, this issue is actually #1 on my “piss me off” single voter issue. Gun control is #2 with taxation a close #3. Why? Because of the message it sends to people like me. I follow the process, spend the time, pay the money, deal with the years to get somewhere and then the Government says that following the law isn’t important. The ONLY attribute illegals have going for them is they are HERE. What about all the people overseas patiently waiting for visas or opportunities to come here? The immigration equivalent of “wet feet, dry land” ala Cuba?

    The message is legal immigrants don’t matter. Get enough lawbreakers inside the border and basically they can shake down the Government for legal permission to stay since it is easier to bribe them with amnesty than deport them.

    It’s offensive. Deeply. It cheapens and denigrates every legal immigrant who has followed the process. Especially if amnesty does lead to citizenship.

    I have no problem with a US immigration policy that says they favor the unskilled, low value or just plain downtrodden of society and allow them to come here. Change immigration law to favor those classes of potential citizens. Immigration policy in any country is a statement of the caliber of potential citizen desired within it. What the country wants and stands for. If you want a bunch of dolists, fine. But you make the law to reflect that. You don’t have one legal, difficult policy for the desired immigrants and a bitch-and-moan based one to placate the whiners and Dreamers because doing the right thing is too damned hard.

    If they grant amnesty to the illegal here, I will write USCIS and the President if my N400 paperwork isn’t yet complete to demand my US citizenship immediately and unconditionally. And for every other legal immigrant in the line. We’ve at least paid taxes, endured and demonstrated ourselves productive members of this society. If they’re going to make a mockery of legal immigrants, the legal ones at least deserve the rewards of that before the Government decides to yank it out from under them.

    I would also challenge anyone to find a legal immigrant who has gone through the green card or naturalization process who supports amnesty. You’ll be hard pressed. You should also be standing a little away from them as the concept is bound to piss them off immensely. Every single legal immigrant I’ve met gets quite angry at the suggestion so I know I’m not alone in that viewpoint.

    • Arnie says:

      Matt: Right on, fellow-citizen!!! And thank you for doing it right! I am your number one fan!!!!

      – Arnie

    • Sebastian says:

      See, I think doing the right thing should be easier, especially for Canadians. I’m OK with handing out green cards like candy to skilled people form other developed countries, and put them on the path to citizenship if that’s what they want.

      I see what you are saying about amnesty though, and politically it’s a difficult issue. You don’t really want to reward people who didn’t follow the rules, but if Democrats manage to make a winning issue out of it, then what?

      • motomed says:

        Then what? Sell those new citizens liberty! If most immigrants are forced to tell you in one word why they are here, they would say “opportunity.” It shouldn’t be a tough sell to convince them that opportunity and liberty are far more synonymous than opportunity and equality. They had equality where they came from, life sucked for everyone, that’s why they left! As usual, I’d like the GOP to take the long view. Immigration reform is a done deal waiting to happen, stop making enemies, start selling them liberty! Even if the ultimate reform deal leaves them unable to vote, I’d still like the millions of immigrants to be in general support of the concept.

      • Arizona Rifleman says:

        Your mention of making things easier makes me wish that the US and Canada had something analogous to the European “Schengen Area”, which allows for the free movement of people across borders.

        For example, a Dane can easily move to Germany, find a job, buy a house, etc. and has essentially the same rights within Germany as a German citizen. No need for visas or anything along those lines. (Similarly, one can move between states in the US with minimal hassle.) Citizens from non-Schengen countries need to have a passport when entering the Schengen area but once inside, they can move about as they please (e.g. an American can get their passport stamped in Paris and travel to Frankfurt, Zurich, and Rome without any passport control, though they’re limited to a 90-day stay as a tourist).

        I’d like to see something similar with the US and Canada. In an ideal world I’d like to see such an arrangement exist between the US, Canada, and the EU/Schengen Area. At the very least, significantly streamline the paperwork needed for migration and work between the three countries/areas.

      • Matt says:

        Sadly Sebastian, it’s a winning issue for them because it is easy to sell a reward to someone who didn’t earn it and doesn’t really care how they get it as long as they get it.

        “Then what?” would depend on the nature of the amnesty. I really have no problem with your idea of “green carded forever” with either no path to citizenship or very, very long one. Long as in “15-20 years after 5 years of being on the green card”.

        I have no problem with it because it would create a high caliber of citizen assuming that such an amnesty didn’t have special provisions for the “amnestees” that waived the rules for their class of green cards. If they are held to the same standard of straight-and-narrow law-abiding behavior as anyone on a greed card, it actually works for me. Why? Because any violent crime or practically any felony is a deportable offense.

        Make it clear you remain here from this point forward on your own good graces. Descend into a thug life, commit crime, etc and you’re gone. And because it would be a long time, if ever, to citizenship, good, upstanding individual becomes the norm. That would at least indicate they will have earned the right to citizenship by putting those shadows they’ve lived in well behind them and shown they can thrive in the light.

        But if the amnesty was an unconditional, short wait, fastest path to the next Presidential election and voter registration drive, I think immigrant activism might be my next side gig. I’ve often wanted to go to those illegal immigration rallies in DC where the sign claim they are “American Too” and hold up a sign with a copy of my green card and a message along the lines of “I’m legal. I followed the rules. You didn’t. GTFO and get in line.”. I suspect it wouldn’t go over well. But it would go a long way towards showing the stereotype of an immigrant doesn’t apply.

        While I say that being a victim of or related to gun violence doesn’t give you a moral soapbox to deprive me of my rights, my status as a legal immigrant gives me a voice that is harder to dismiss than just another white, xenophobic, uneducated, Tea Party Republican redneck racist. Because the only label that applies to me in that list is “white”. And I would use that status shamelessly and look to rally any legal immigrant to get their citizenship and destroy those politicians who shamefully went vote-buying.

        I’m looking for a consistent policy on immigration. Not one set of rules for legals and another for illegals for political gain. As I said, while I think it would be bad policy, if we want to be the place for the poor and unskilled to flee to and see what they can make of it, make it a policy and be honest. Then I have no problem with it. I have no problem with a touchback provision. Just like it is applied to those waiting for a visa out of country. Let them wait their turn in line.

        But the proposals they are floating around basically hold the illegals to a looser, lesser standard. A standard that is not acceptable under current immigration law.

        It’s a difficult issue because it pits our natural empathy for the plight of other against the foundational view of equal justice under the law that is uniquely American. Hence the conflict. One of those sides is going to suffer. And I think unless the process is watched carefully, a lot of unspoken but intended consequences will sneak in (i.e. Dreamers getting fast-tracked on citizenship without limitations on who they could sponsor. Which means you could argue there was no “amnesty” for illegal parents but their adult children could sponsor them on unlimited green cards under family immigration rules.).

  13. JBS says:

    I’ve always seen the abortion issue as a liberty issue. In both cases, its an individual’s liberty versus a busybody bureaucracy.

    I have frequently told my friends that it is contradictory to support individual choice in one area but not in the other.

    • Sebastian says:

      Well, if you believe life begins at point X, and we allow abortion at point Y, and therefore you think point Y is murder, it’s hard to argue from an individual liberty point of view, since most people agree there’s no liberty to commit murder.

      You can argue it’s not murder, but then you’re arguing over X and Y rather than liberty.

      • JBS says:

        Let me clarify:

        I’ve always seen the abortion issue and firearms possession issue as liberty issues. Its a matter of individual liberty versus a busybody bureaucracy. In the case of abortion, its an individual’s liberty versus a busybody bureaucracy up until the cry is heard throughout the house.

        I have frequently told my friends, be they pro-life, pro-choice, pro-gun or anti-gun, that it is contradictory to support individual choice in one area but not in the other. I myself am logically consistent by strongly supporting individual liberty in both instances.

      • benEzra says:

        “Well, if you believe life begins at point X, and we allow abortion at point Y, and therefore you think point Y is murder, it’s hard to argue from an individual liberty point of view, since most people agree there’s no liberty to commit murder. You can argue it’s not murder, but then you’re arguing over X and Y rather than liberty.”

        How is that different from the argument that self-defense is murder? In neither case is there universal consensus, in both cases there are religious and philosophical arguments on both sides, and on both issues there is a small but very passionate contingent that says ____ is murder and must be stopped at any social or political cost.

        For both of those issues, consensus is absolutely not achievable, so it comes down to personal choice based on one’s own beliefs. Both sides can try to persuade others to adopt their thinking, but neither side can use force to compel compliance by the other side. And in the case of abortion, which I think is a sad and tragic thing, I do think that ultimately that choice has to rest with the woman. For people who believe in God, the concept of being accountable to God rather than the State for some difficult/controversial choices seems strangely foreign, but in a free country it is unavoidable on issues where consensus is impossible (whether the issue is abortion, self-defense, gay relationships, divorce, whatever).

        I also find it sad that so many who claim to be passionately pro-life won’t open their wallets (via direct contribution, crisis pregnancy centers, or otherwise) to help poor women afford to carry their babies to term, never mind helping them raise them for 18 years, when the primary reason for abortion in this country is financial hardship. A poor mother with two kids who is working 50-60 hour weeks and barely getting by can’t just take off work for 2 or 3 months for a baby, even if she desperately wants to, and certainly can’t afford prenatal care or delivery.

        Finally, the single most effective way to halve the number of abortions in this country isn’t bans (which aren’t achievable anyway), but rather making hormonal contraception over-the-counter and inexpensive. A lot of unplanned and unsupportable pregnancies occur because some women can’t afford $100 doctor visits in order to buy $5 birth control. That is a free-market solution that libertarians, liberals, and conservatives could all agree on, but it is something that some SoCons have fought tooth and nail.

        • Sebastian says:

          Well, it’s not really all that different, which is why we have arguments over it. But there the argument isn’t over where life begins, but in what natural right is the prerogative of the state and which are retained by individuals. We generally leave retribution to the state, and take some means of defending property off the table, and leave that also to the state.

          Finally, the single most effective way to halve the number of abortions in this country isn’t bans (which aren’t achievable anyway), but rather making hormonal contraception over-the-counter and inexpensive.

          No argument there.

      • RP says:

        I really think it can be viewed as a liberty issue.

        If you’re forcing people to make serious life decisions based on religious beliefs they don’t believe in, I think that’s a liberty issue.

        • Sebastian says:

          All law is informed by morality. Whether that morality comes form religion or another source I don’t think is all that important, and a lot of our moral values are fairly arbitrary.

          • Arnie says:

            “Whether that morality comes form religion or another source I don’t think is all that important, and a lot of our moral values are fairly arbitrary.”

            Please forgive me Sebastian, but I think the source is important:

            “And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
            — George Washington in his Farewell Address

            With greatest respect, Arnie

    • motomed says:

      not to open up a giant can of abortion worms, but just like all things abortion, you can’t decide anything until you determine the moral status of the fetus, and once you have determined that, all remaining questions pretty easily answer themselves. If the fetus has full moral standing, you can’t kill it, you just can’t. A committed libertarian would have to be opposed to abortion in all circumstances including rape and incest. If the fetus is a bag of cells, you can kill it just as simple as popping a zit, no big deal, and the libertarian is left defending the woman’s right to do whatever the hell she wants with the bag of cells up until the point we’ve decided it stops being a bag of cells and starts being a human being. I would hope we can agree that moral status isn’t something individuals get to decide on a case to case basis.

      The moral status of the fetus is the defining question, and it’s one nobody wants to deal with. I cannot wrap my head around how anyone sleeps at night without having a clear view in their mind as to when and how the fetus acquires full moral status. Those who argue seriously either side of the debate understand this, and they understand that the only morally defensible positions lie at either extreme. Any argument that applies moral status at a time other than conception or birth is pretty easily torn apart by people on either side of the debate who study the issue. Roe didn’t deal with the moral status of the fetus, they just spit out a decision that they thought would appease the most people at the time. The viability standard exists in written laws, it doesn’t exist in medicine, and isn’t really taken seriously in philosophy, either. It also creates all kinds of other unworkable issues, if that standard determines moral status. It’s a standard that on the face of it has plausibility, and it also allows us to draw lines in the sand to appease the masses, but unfortunately it’s a garbage standard. I think most people have a sense that it is a very weak standard, but they also know that abandoning it makes things really difficult, so they just don’t do business with the issue at all. That’s sad.

      I understand what Sebastian is saying about doing work at the margins, but to those who follow the issue seriously, the rape and incest question is just silly. Such conditions wouldn’t lead to an exception for allowing abortion any more than they would allow an exception for killing a two year old who was at that time determined to be the product of incest. If the general public were educated on the issue, the only positions they’d find offensive on abortion are those that aren’t at the extreme, because any position that lies anywhere in the middle isn’t even intellectually honest. A person educated on the issue doesn’t find the rape and incest answer surprising at all, just as one shouldn’t be surprised by anyone on the other side of the issue being in support of late term abortion, sex selective abortion, etc.

      I’d also like to point out that this has nothing to do with religion, regardless of what side you end up on. Religious folks may have an additional reason to be pro life, but a rabid pro life position doesn’t depend on religion at all.

      Anyway, my intention wasn’t to open a giant bag of abortion worms, but then I started typing :)

      • RP says:

        The moral status of the fetus is the defining question

        I disagree. I think the “defining question” in this discussion is: Do you believe in forcing your opinion on the moral status of the fetus on everyone?

        • motomed says:

          absurd. Do you believe in forcing your opinion on the moral status of the two year old on everyone? I suspect you do.

          and if you think this is a ridiculous comparison, you’re not keeping up. There is already plenty of literature from the realms of philosophy and medical ethics advocating for “post birth abortions”

          • benEzra says:

            There is a huge difference between the 2-year-old case and the abortion case: consensus.

            Perhaps one or two people in a million think killing 2-year-olds is acceptable.

            Perhaps 900,000 people in a million think abortion is acceptable in cases of rape or incest, and approximately 500,000 in a million think abortion in general should be the choice of the mother, not the state. Regardless of one’s views of the rightness or wrongness of that choice, it is a fact.

            There are many achievable ways to reduce the number of abortions in the United States (which I suspect is already lower now than it was even prior to 1973) but without a near-universal consensus, bans are not among them, IMO.

            • Sebastian says:

              If that is the case, how is any law that doesn’t have support of 99% of the people moral then?

              Actually, I’m open to the idea that we should require strong supermajorities for nearly any criminal law. But that’s not how the system works now.

            • motomed says:

              what level of acceptance do you require before it stops being ok to tell others not to kill X group of people, just curious? You gave two extreme examples, where’s the line? You wouldn’t force your opinion on where this line is on others, would you?

        • HaapyWarrior6 says:

          There is innocent life present. If you do not believe in killing innocents then you still stand for life. If you don’t mind wanton killing and disrespect for life, you will call it forcing your will.

        • Sebastian says:

          What if I argue that infants don’t have status as people? Is that imposing my moral opinion on others? Or is the fact that most people would be revolted by the idea of killing a baby because, say, the mother couldn’t afford to take care of it make it OK?

          My point is, all law is forcing an opinion about morals on everyone.

  14. tincankilla says:

    In a simple answer to your question, yes. Or rather, if the GOP is going to win elections, then you need to stop telling other people how to live their moral lives.

    HaapyWarrior6 nailed it: “enforcing Sebastian’s social philosophy still means government being used in full force, violating consciences, complete with weapons aimed at civilians. That is not a liberty platform.”

    Make the partisan fight over economics and national security and we still have plenty of disagreements, but at least they’re core to national welfare and not used as a side show to distract us from our increasingly aristocratic society.

    • Sebastian says:

      Just to be clear, it’s not my social philosophy. More like a strategy for the GOP to achieve a viable coalition that can win elections. How to deal with the SoCo vote is part of that, because they represent part of the GOPs base.

    • HaapyWarrior6 says:

      My comment about social philosophy was directed at whomever wanted prosecutions and/or investigations to take place if a private business chooses to conduct business and serve/hire whomever they want. That is a true liberty platform. “Protected classes” is not. Under the 14th amendment, either every citizen would be a member of a protected class, or it doesn’t apply at all.

      • Sebastian says:

        “Protected class” is legal terminology:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protected_class

        I think a good argument can be made the entire approach is philosophically wrong, and this is anti-liberty. But it’s not been good politics for years now to argue agains the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and subsequent amendments. It’s an interesting philosophical argument, but it’s not a hill I expect the GOP to want to die on.

  15. Missing Link says:

    The problem I see with the Republican Party as of late is they are forgetting the underlying assumptions of what it means to be a conservative – that being the right to be left alone.

    Being left free from government interference should be the cornerstone of all Republican positions. Its the whole tyranny of the majority thing.

    Gun owners for the most part, want to be left alone. Free from meaningless government restrictions. However, I’d bet that rational restrictions that would actually accomplish something would not be opposed. i.e. focus gun laws on criminal behavior instead of law abiding citizens.

    Gun owners also by and large support (or should support) the constitution. Even the parts we don’t like.

    With that in mind, how does the right to be left alone and the constitution apply to areas the are costing votes, and can these votes be gained in a way that is 100% consistent with core values? I’ve been giving this quite a bit of thought as of late, and my evolving conclusions are yes.

    For gay marriage, this one seems pretty simple to me. If two people want to enter into a gay marriage, and they are both consenting adults, who cares? Gay relationships might make you all warm and fuzzy inside, or they might want to make you puke your guts and get all medieval on them. But that’s not the point. If the government is going to dictate who can get married, then it needs to recognize any and all marriages that are recognized by an accepted religion. In other words, the right of gay people to be left alone should trump the rights of those who feel offended. If you don’t agree, then substitute the 2A for gay marriage and you’ve got the anti 2A argument of wanting to feel safe.

    Abortion. Discussing abortion is so toxic that all rational discourse is nearly impossible. Yet it needs to be done. Like it or not, Abortion is a constitutional right. Its a fundamental right on nearly the same level as the 2A. While the reason its a fundamental right is very different, it is what it is.

    Recognizing that abortion is protected under the constitution doesn’t mean you have to like how it became protected. In fact, anyone who has actually read Roe v Wade should be able to see that the reasoning is really tortured. Even if you like the result, (the right to abortion) you have to recognize the dangers in using such convoluted logic (if the right to abortion can be found in the constitution, than any right or power can be found in the constitution).

    Yet absent Roe being overturned or a constitutional amendment, it is the law of the land. On par with the 2A.

    So conservatives need to accept it. And stop putting up bullship laws designed to limit access to abortions. Let women have abortions if they so choose. After all, this is exactly the same argument we make with gun ownership. Having this choice reflects a deeper meaning though. It means we trust citizens to make the right choices, and just because there is a right to abortions doesn’t mean that every woman will automatically choose them.

    Conservatives need to tie the abortion argument with another fundamental conservative belief – that people left to their own devices can thrive, given a fair chance.

    To that end, conservatives have a huge opportunity that’s been squandered for 30 years. Revise assistance to the working poor. Under the existing programs, the poor are all but guaranteed to a lifetime of poverty and dependence. Offering a republican plan to give tools to the working poor that allows them to accumulate wealth and skills to a better life that doesn’t include dependence is what being conservative is being about – faith in people to rise to the occasion if given the opportunity.

    If single mothers had this option as an alternative to existing welfare, or abortions, I bet more would choose it, and vote red to boot.

    Why this hasn’t happened, I don’t know. It sucks to be you is not a good policy for republicans.

    Finally, it is possible to still oppose abortions and gay marriage outside the government restrictions. Recognize abortions as a constitutional right, and fight to keep the government from restricting them. But change hats to a private citizen and encourage people to explore other options, well guess what, that’s what conservatives should do.

    Respect the constitution even if you disagree with portions of it, and use the power of free speech to show people a different path.

    • Arnie says:

      I like your reasoning, Missing Link! I’m a SoCon, but even I recognize the futility (and perhaps hypocrisy) of trying to impose my standards on those of a different persuasion. I like your suggestion that I work privately to persuade individuals to change their minds. I hope to do that using Jefferson’s free marketplace of ideas.

      Your quote: “In other words, the right of gay people to be left alone should trump the rights of those who feel offended.”

      Agreed, and I’m sure you would agree that it works both ways: “The rights of Christian bakers to be left alone to obey their religious conscience trumps the desire of those same-sex couples who demand they bake them a “wedding” cake.

      I’d be happy with that fair arrangement. Unfortunately, considering the lawsuits they’ve pursued, it doesn’t appear the Social Liberals would be! Maybe THEY have become the obnoxious tyrants?

      Respectfully, Arnie

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