Is Trump the Death of Social Conservatism?

The Donald

Ace of Spades notes:

But I don’t think I’m going to be adapting my views to the socially-conservative mainstream any longer, because I’m not sure these views are actually the Republican mainstream any longer. I knew social conservatism wasn’t quite as believed as was claimed; I knew many politicians claimed to be pro-life who were in fact pro-choice, and I knew many of the Beltway class of advisers, think-tank workers, etc. were pro-choice, or more pro-choice than the GOP was as a formal matter. They were certainly more pro-gay (if not always actually pro-gay-marriage).

This is what I’ve been saying. Trump took every southern state East of the Mississippi. The SoCo emperor has been shown to have no clothes. Whether you vote for Trump or not, I think there’s opportunity here for those who don’t believe in fighting culture wars using government. I’m just now sure how to exploit it.

I think the overall issue of this election is that the working class never recovered from the Financial Crisis of 2008, all the while DC elites were busy waging culture wars rather than helping said working class. Trump is the backlash. To a large degree Bernie is that same backlash reflected in the Democratic Party, but they’ve been able to keep Bernie down better because the Dems are actually less Democratic.

At the end of the day people will vote their pocketbook before anything else, and Trump and Sanders are talking pocketbook issues. That’s why “free shit” works on people, provided other people are paying for it. Cracking down on immigration sounds great if you’ve seen your wages depressed through competition with people who can live on less than you do. I think people who work for a living are tired of culture warrioring, which is honestly an hobby for elites. While they are falling further and further behind, the elites are arguing about bathrooms. Think of the absurdity of that, and you can understand why they’re willing to elect someone like Trump or Sanders.

47 thoughts on “Is Trump the Death of Social Conservatism?”

  1. Ace is wrong The real battle is the social war. From men allowed to use women’s bathroom to conservative allowed to speak To face book slanting their news feed To being invaded. To have our guns and allowed to reach our children. That is the real war Religious freedom is included in that. The right to life people lost the battle when the Supremes said it was allowable. Besides they got Trump to agree. He even said he would defund Planned Parenthood.

    1. The bathroom stuff is absurd. It’s not a SoCon issue for me (I am not a SoCon). It’s more about letting a grown adult with a penis (aka: man) into a restroom with my 7 year-old daughter. I suspect this is a major overreach, and will cross political boundaries.

      Especially now that many men like me are suddenly willing to ‘transition’ ourselves at Target, et al into the ladies room. And we will: leave the seat up; after we pee all over it. Of course, only after we smile towards the ladies.**

      ** In Anticipation of the Horrid Fears: Damn, ya’ll need to take a joke…


  2. I’m definitely not surprised at the Trump phenomenon. Its the R’s version of Obama. A person saying the right things to the masses, and touching the right nerves, while the elites (even though they are elite) talk about the wrong things.

    History is full of societies choosing bad leaders because of the environment and their ability to communicate. We saw it with Obama, so we should’t be surprised with Trump.

    I don’t know if it is the death of SoCos, because nothing about this election follows the norms. Only a couple elections from now will we really know.

    1. “I don’t know if it is the death of SoCos, because nothing about this election follows the norms. Only a couple elections from now will we really know.”

      I suspect it’s not either, but I think their dominance of the coalition is potentially at an end. As RAH pointed out, Trump is saying the right things to SoCos, but I don’t think anyone really believes that’s his instinct. You saw his raw instincts when he first commented on the bathroom law in North Carolina, then abruptly changed directions.

      What I think Trump has shown is that a lot of people, even religious and socially conservative people aren’t interested in fighting culture wars using government so much as they are interested in economic and national decline.

  3. I read the other day that Reagan talked about his about about conservatism. Trump talks about making America great , to getting jobs back , to not allowing America to be pushed around. That it is better to be feared than loved, Those are conservative ideas.

    There is a reason Trump decided to go under the GOP banner not the Democrat banner. He lives in the bubble His social and business circle is liberal. It is amazing that he has picked up on the issues that really bother normal Americans. For a man that lives in the liberal bubble of Manhattan to go against immigration takes a lot of fortitude. If you recall how many businesses said they were cutting ties. He said go ahead. Trump has balls and Americans respond to that.

  4. This is one aspect of philosophy vs reality. For years, the “Conservative GOP” has been running on social issues – abortion, freedom of religion, gun rights, etc. – and then joining with the Dems on raising the debt, opening the borders, and destroying the economy.

    And every election cycle, the GOP would come back to the voters and say, you have to vote for us because – social issues.

    But, replied the voters, you lied about borders, deficit spending, jobs. And the GOP would respond – social issues.

    The Republican voter has realized that by voting GOP, he is entrusting a diseased, infested country to plastic surgeons. But, responds the GOP, at least the corpse will look good.

    Let’s cure and stabilize the structural issues in this country – disdain for the constitution, suppression of free speech and religion, destruction of the military, racial schism, catastrophic debt – and then worry about the social issues.

    And for that, you don’t go to a plastic surgeon. Unfortunately, you have to go to someone who will apply the most painful therapies, if necessary.

    But the GOPe is still screaming – social issues, conservative “philosophy”, Ronald Reagan. And some [e.g., George “we are not taxed enough” Will] call for the GOP to put Hillary in the White House.

    No, thank you, Mr. Will.

    1. That’s one of the reasons I’m worried about gun rights, because it’s getting lost in the greater issues of the day. Granted, I don’t think people are in the mood to talk about gun control either, and I think Hillary making that the center of her campaign is a huge mistake.

      1. The difference is that the number of people supporting gun rights is increasing, while the number of people against gays (marriage, icky feelings, whatever), abortion and such are decreasing.

        We are the ones keeping gun control at bay, not the establishment. We keep demonstrating to our brothers and sisters (and even “those in-between”) on both sides that it’s about them – not politics. That fits a “Me” culture just fine, and we are winning that fight for now.

        I have no problem supporting an (R) that does not think the government should intrude on two humans who want to argue about who does the dishes (aka: marriage), whether they be same-sex or not. Hell, it wasn’t that long ago that the government claimed my inter-racial marriage to be a crime. Gay marriage does not hurt my rights, so I just don’t care.

        Point is, in my world ‘conservative’ is the classic liberal: leave me alone to do my thing and I’ll do the same for you. When you cross the line to use the government to tell me how to live, we’ll have a problem.

        SoCons are basically Mike Bloomberg but substituting sex for soda.

        1. “We are the ones keeping gun control at bay, not the establishment. We keep demonstrating to our brothers and sisters (and even ‘those in-between’) on both sides that it’s about them – not politics. That fits a “Me” culture just fine, and we are winning that fight for now.”

          I completely agree that’s the primary difference between our culture war and some of the others the right likes to fight, and we have been doing it right… by winning the culture first and then getting the state to reluctantly reflect the predominate culture. I think the only folks who want to fight some of the other cultural wars all reside inside the beltway.

          1. I agree that the SoCon crowd in DC lives in their own bubble; all they care about is finding ways to get donors pissed so they can refresh their expense accounts.

            However, many citizen culture warriors live in San Fran, NYC and West Hollywood. The people behind gay marriage executed brilliantly, and I know that they patterned themselves after the our gun citizen lobbyists. They watched, learned and then applied what works for us to their own issue. For a while, they were pretty open about how they learned their trade.

            Note also recent “citizen lobbyist” movements. Once you get past the screaming babies in some groups, there is a common element we’d recognize.

    2. Unless the GOP has a veto proof majority they have to compromise to get the budget passed. Could they be more hard nose? Well Cruz did that and made the Federal Government shut down How many of you sent approval calls to the house GOP and Senate in 2013?

  5. Sure, beat up on the Christians because there are far fewer of them than there are libertarians. Then kiss your self-defense rights goodbye.

    1. I think there are far more Christians than libertarians. I am not beating up on Christians. I am saying that libertarians may have an opportunity here to wield more influence once the Era of Trump ends.

      1. Unfortunately, when the counterrevolution happens after the Trump debacle, it will be the RINOs who are in control again and the conservatives and libertarians will still have no where to go except home. I am a libertarian and atheist that long ago came to realize that the the evangelicals are the only natural ally for us. They only want a few things. The collectivists want everything.

      2. Yah. “L”ibertarians might get 2% of the vote instead of 1% WOO HOO! FEEL THE POWAR!

  6. As a lifelong anti-authoritarian I have long harbored a theory that for most issues, the appeal of/for “social conservatives” was that the issues were implicitly authoritarian in some way. In other words, a high level of authority would need to be implemented, if the social conservative position on an issue were to become public policy.

    It is therefor not surprising to me, at all, if social conservatives have largely shifted their support to Trump. He is the candidate who most promises to provide what they are really seeking.

    With regard to firearms rights, I have always thought it incongruous that they would be classified as a social conservative issue, but then, I have always believed that gun rights were primarily being used as a “decoy” issue, to attract grassroots support for social conservative candidates who would never deliver anything in proportion to their rhetoric on the issue. E.g., if there was a limb to go out on, and political capital to be expended, as a rule of thumb it would usually be expended on, say, hindering abortion or harassing immigrants, before any would become available for pursuing gun rights.

  7. I can see how brainwashed people are when they constantly fear a theocracy by religious people Most religious people want the freedom to practice their religion , have their children taught in their beliefs and to be left alone.

    It is the authoritarian left that wants to impose their beliefs on Christians They must approve of gay marriage, the must allow birth control in the sisters of the poor. They must allow men to use their women’s bathrooms. They are discriminated at colleges and universities. Their businesses must be closed . Who are the REAL Authoritarians? Not the Christians .

    1. “Most religious people want the freedom to practice their religion…”

      If you will pardon me, those of us who are old enough to remember when religious people exercised a good deal more control than they do today, know that that condition does not last long, before they feel obligated to impose their version of “normalcy,” “Real Americanism,” “True Christianity,” etc., on dissenters. E.g., as I allude to elsewhere, when I was in public school, Christian Protestants (or “WASPs”) considered themselves to be the standard for what was acceptable Americanism. Less than thirty years before that, the Ku Klux Klan had burned Catholic churches (here in Pennsylvania) in broad daylight, to the cheers of the neighbors. And the KKK was manned not by redneck street thugs, but by the solid citizens of the community. The father of my best friend from school had gotten in trouble as a kid, for sneaking over to the country club one afternoon and setting fire prematurely to the Klan’s cross, that had been prepared for the rally that evening.

      1. So your fear of Christians (WASPS) does not have sell by date? We do not live in that time frame. Besides I never experienced the burning of Catholic churches .neither did my mother and father both born in the teens and 20’s. My father was brought up in Pennsylvania and my mother in Boston. Was that burning done by the government ? Was it done at all? We still have some church burnings.

        As to the KKK burnings done by solid citizens. I am sure that is so. If we revolt we would be considered solid citizens. People do band together to take action whether it is wrong or right. But is was not the government.

        My mother did have a dislike of Papists.(Catholics) from her girlhood. Boston at that time was stronghold of Catholics.

        As to the schools correcting the Lords Prayer. If it was said wrong is that not the purpose of school? I never had that but most Catholics went to Catholic schools and Protestants went to public school. Jewish children had their own school. My older siblings never noticed the Protestant teachers chastising Catholic children either.

        So all the Catholics wanted was to be left alone and live by their own doctrine. Does that mean Catholic doctrine tried to force Catholics to abide by the doctrine . Yes of course it did. That was not and never was a theocratic state. If you are referencing blues laws . It really was not a bad thing to have Sundays off. It allowed people a day not to work Not true now. People are forced to work Christmas and Sundays on a regular basis.

        Your experience does not persuade me that we have an issue with Christian right imposing their opinions by Government fiat.But we are having the LGTB agenda being forced on us by Government fiat. The DOJ action is proof.

        I sent my child to Catholic school for high school. He is not Catholic and he challenged them a lot. But he was treated fairly at all times.
        I have seen this hatred of Christianity a lot from the recent children of public schools in the last 10 years. So I believe it is indoctrination.

    2. Not sure you understand Trump’s stand on gunz. This is Bane’s take on things.

      You know where I stand — unconditionally against the presumptive Democratic nominee. I have said that I am willing to vote for the “Best of Show” from the Westminster Kennel Club as long as he or she has an (R) after her name. That’s because I vote guns, and the choice seems pretty simple to me. Let me list the ways:

      • The Democratic nominee has called for “Australian style” gun confiscation if elected. Let me repeat that; The The Democratic nominee is in favor of door-to-door confiscation of legally owned firearms.

      • The Democratic nominee has stated her specific opposition the Second Amendment and the Supreme Court rulings in Heller and McDonald that interpreted the Second Amendment as an individual right. There is no doubt that should she be elected and quickly fills the currently empty seat, the Bloomberg organization, with it’s unlimited funds, with push a 2A case to challenge to the Supreme Court ASAP.

      • Because of the recent death of Justice Scalia, the incoming President will be able to immediately either shift or retain the 5-4 majority that passed both Heller and McDonald. Given the ages of several other Justices, the incoming President will likely have the power to change the Court for at least a generation.

      • The Democratic nominee has stated she will spend “every day” of her Presidency thinking of ways to destroy the “gun culture,” e.g., “us.”

      • The Democratic nominee unconditionally favors banning “assault weapons” and other non-specifiedd “guns.” Any new assault weapons ban would likely be modeled on the bill proposed after Sandy Hook, which is far more restrictive and far more specific than the Bill Clinton AWB. That is, it would ban guns by name, as opposed to by some vague set of specifications, e.g. wording such as “…this legislation bans the possession all guns derived from the AR-15/M-4/AR-10 platform, or using any version, caliber or modification of the AR-15 lower and/or upper receiver and any other firearm using a operating system derived from a current military platform such as the AK-47, the M1A/M-14, etc., including but not limited to, the Ruger SR556, the Ruger AR556, the Ruger SR762, the Ruger SR22, the Ruger Mini-14…and on and on.

      • The Democratic nominee opposes concealed, open and Constitution carry and will support Federal legislation to curtail or eliminate these Fundamental rights.

      • The Democratic nominee supports universal background checks that would completely eliminate the private sale of firearms, even to family members. Under the Bloomberg Model bill adopted in Colorado and Washington and the only bill that has been mentioned as a model, the definition of the word “transfer,” long defined by BATFE as “transfer of ownership,” the standard BATFE still uses, would be changed to “transfer of possession,” e.g. the physical act of handing a gun to anyone is defined as a “transfer” and as such must go through an Federally licensed dealer. Loaning a gun to a competition shooter whose gun has gone down or loaning a rifle to your friend for hunting season would be banned by Federal law. As originally drafted by Bloomberg’s antigun attorneys, the law was so broad-reaching that, technical, it would be illegal, a felony, to allow someone to “house-sit” in your home if you had weapons locked in a safe, even if the house-sitter had no knowledge of the combination nor any other way to access your personal firearms.

      • The Democratic nominee has called for he elimination of the law protecting firearms manufacturers from frivolous lawsuits and has in fact called for people to be able to sue gun manufacturers for criminals’ use of stolen guns.

      • The Democratic nominee has called for a huge expansion of gun bans for “domestic violence,” to include the “sexual assault” allegations built into the “Yes Means Yes” legislation currently in place on most college campuses and written into law in liberal states. This is a massive expansion of gun bans and. based on the current laws circumvents 4th and 5th Amendments Fundamental Rights.

      • Previously, the the Democratic nominee has called for the registration of all handguns and federal licensing of all handgun owners.

      • The Democratic nominee has a NRA rating of “F.” From the NRA: “Hillary Clinton’s extreme views are completely out of touch with the American people.”

      • The Democratic nominee has received awards from antigun organization.

      • The Democratic nominee has vowed to do everything in her power to destroy the NRA, America’s largest civil rights organization.

      OTOH, here is the platform of the Republican nominee as it relates to the Second Amendment and guns. Every point of this platform has been backed up in speaking engagements by the presumptive nominee. It is consistent with information I gleaned from my personal conversations with Donald Trump Jr. prior to the beginning of the campaign, and it is consistent with information I have heard from other 2A activists who have had direct contract with the Trumps.


      Donald J. Trump on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

      The Second Amendment to our Constitution is clear. The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed upon. Period.

      The Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right that belongs to all law-abiding Americans. The Constitution doesn’t create that right – it ensures that the government can’t take it away. Our Founding Fathers knew, and our Supreme Court has upheld, that the Second Amendment’s purpose is to guarantee our right to defend ourselves and our families. This is about self-defense, plain and simple.

      It’s been said that the Second Amendment is America’s first freedom. That’s because the Right to Keep and Bear Arms protects all our other rights. We are the only country in the world that has a Second Amendment. Protecting that freedom is imperative. Here’s how we will do that:

      Enforce The Laws On The Books

      We need to get serious about prosecuting violent criminals. The Obama administration’s record on that is abysmal. Violent crime in cities like Baltimore, Chicago and many others is out of control. Drug dealers and gang members are given a slap on the wrist and turned loose on the street. This needs to stop.

      Several years ago there was a tremendous program in Richmond, Virginia called Project Exile. It said that if a violent felon uses a gun to commit a crime, you will be prosecuted in federal court and go to prison for five years – no parole or early release. Obama’s former Attorney General, Eric Holder, called that a “cookie cutter” program. That’s ridiculous. I call that program a success. Murders committed with guns in Richmond decreased by over 60% when Project Exile was in place – in the first two years of the program alone, 350 armed felons were taken off the street.

      Why does that matter to law-abiding gun owners? Because they’re the ones who anti-gun politicians and the media blame when criminals misuse guns. We need to bring back and expand programs like Project Exile and get gang members and drug dealers off the street. When we do, crime will go down and our cities and communities will be safer places to live.

      Here’s another important way to fight crime – empower law-abiding gun owners to defend themselves. Law enforcement is great, they do a tremendous job, but they can’t be everywhere all of the time. Our personal protection is ultimately up to us. That’s why I’m a gun owner, that’s why I have a concealed carry permit, and that’s why tens of millions of Americans have concealed carry permits as well. It’s just common sense. To make America great again, we’re going to go after criminals and put the law back on the side of the law-abiding.

      Fix Our Broken Mental Health System

      Let’s be clear about this. Our mental health system is broken. It needs to be fixed. Too many politicians have ignored this problem for too long.

      All of the tragic mass murders that occurred in the past several years have something in common – there were red flags that were ignored. We can’t allow that to continue. We need to expand treatment programs, because most people with mental health problems aren’t violent, they just need help. But for those who are violent, a danger to themselves or others, we need to get them off the street before they can terrorize our communities. This is just common sense.

      And why does this matter to law-abiding gun owners? Once again, because they get blamed by anti-gun politicians, gun control groups and the media for the acts of deranged madmen. When one of these tragedies occurs, we can count on two things: one, that opponents of gun rights will immediately exploit it to push their political agenda; and two, that none of their so-called “solutions” would have prevented the tragedy in the first place. They’ve even admitted it.

      We need real solutions to address real problems. Not grandstanding or political agendas.

      Defend The Rights of Law-Abiding Gun Owners

      GUN AND MAGAZINE BANS. Gun and magazine bans are a total failure. That’s been proven every time it’s been tried. Opponents of gun rights try to come up with scary sounding phrases like “assault weapons”, “military-style weapons” and “high capacity magazines” to confuse people. What they’re really talking about are popular semi-automatic rifles and standard magazines that are owned by tens of millions of Americans. Law-abiding people should be allowed to own the firearm of their choice. The government has no business dictating what types of firearms good, honest people are allowed to own.

      BACKGROUND CHECKS. There has been a national background check system in place since 1998. Every time a person buys a gun from a federally licensed gun dealer – which is the overwhelming majority of all gun purchases – they go through a federal background check. Study after study has shown that very few criminals are stupid enough to try and pass a background check – they get their guns from friends/family members or by stealing them. So the overwhelming majority of people who go through background checks are law-abiding gun owners. When the system was created, gun owners were promised that it would be instant, accurate and fair. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case today. Too many states are failing to put criminal and mental health records into the system – and it should go without saying that a system’s only going to be as effective as the records that are put into it. What we need to do is fix the system we have and make it work as intended. What we don’t need to do is expand a broken system.

      NATIONAL RIGHT TO CARRY. The right of self-defense doesn’t stop at the end of your driveway. That’s why I have a concealed carry permit and why tens of millions of Americans do too. That permit should be valid in all 50 states. A driver’s license works in every state, so it’s common sense that a concealed carry permit should work in every state. If we can do that for driving – which is a privilege, not a right – then surely we can do that for concealed carry, which is a right, not a privilege.

      MILITARY BASES AND RECRUITING CENTERS. Banning our military from carrying firearms on bases and at recruiting centers is ridiculous. We train our military how to safely and responsibly use firearms, but our current policies leave them defenseless. To make America great again, we need a strong military. To have a strong military, we need to allow them to defend themselves.

      There is not one single thing in that platform that I disagree with. In fact, I could have written that. It is a nearly perfect stand on guns and the Second Amendment. This is, my friends, as good as it gets.

      1. The problem is I don’t believe a word he says. Sure he says the right thing now, but in the past he’s been in favor of gun control. I could easily see another major mass shooting, and Trump decides enough is enough and pushes hard for gun control. And a compliant Congress will go right along with him.

        With Clinton, they will push back hard. Look at what Obama has accomplished despite a major mass shooting involving kindergarteners- very very little.

        1. I have trouble believing any politician. but the bottom line is if you vote for Trump you are voting for these things. If you vote for Hillary or if she gets elected it means you can have all of those negative beliefs and still get elected.

          If Hillary wins we’ve proven to the politicians that gun rights people have 0 political power and we can be safely ignored. No matter what Trump actually does if he wins it means a pro-gun candidate can win and being pro-gun may help you.

          There’s only 2 viable candidates right now. There’s no point in reading tea leaves at this point — vote based on their platform. And Hillary’s platform SUCKS.

          1. I’m voting for neither. I reject your premise that I must vote for a “viable” candidate. I will vote my conscious, and if the choice is between two liberal Democrats, I’m not voting for either. I didn’t vote for Bush in 04, McCain in 08, or Romney in 12, and we survived all three. So I’m not voting for Trump in 16.

            1. Then the anti-gun democrat is more likely to win and the pro-gun democrat is more likely to lose.

              But if that’s what you want, more power to you …

  8. There is no fundamental difference between ‘social conservatives’ and the progressives; both run to Uncle Sam to implement a political solution to a cultural problem.

    You want gay marriage, abortion, etc. to become non-issues? Start by out-breeding the liberals, stop sacrificing your offspring to public education, and focus on fulfilling the Great Commission (ie change the culture, and the politics will follow).

    1. You want gay marriage, abortion, etc. to become non-issues? Start by out-breeding the liberals, stop sacrificing your offspring to public education, and focus on fulfilling the Great Commission (ie change the culture, and the politics will follow).

      Most SoCos I know are doing this.

    2. “Start by out-breeding the liberals”

      “Full Quiver,” anyone?

      “stop sacrificing your offspring to public education”

      Christians didn’t seem to mind public education at all, when I was a kid, and they controlled it. E.g., the Protestant teacher could correct Catholic kids from saying The Lord’s Prayer the “wrong” way, and openly ridicule them as they left class for their Confirmation lessons.

      “focus on fulfilling the Great Commission”

      By implementing your Seven Mountains doctrine?

      Sorry, no.

  9. So Weatherman the appeal for social conservatives is not the use of government force. That is the province of the left.

    1. I am thinking of the apocryphal quote attributed to George Washington, “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, — it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant, and a fearful master. . .” You are correct to the extent that the left deludes themselves that their policies will not need to be enforced by force, or that that force will not shortly become blind and brutal; but they will profess, and seem to believe, that they do not wish it to be that way.

      On the other hand, you illustrate that the right is equally or more delusional. I’ll avoid an essay but offer as an example the gun rights movement’s delusion that “Getting Tough on Crime” is equivalent to being pro-gun, which it never has been. But, it is a way to introduce an authoritarian dimension, which the right seeks, into an issue that should be inherently anti-authoritarian.

      I know many will dismiss both sources as liberal or leftist, but there have been at least two studies purporting to have shown that authoritarianism is a common denominator among those who identify as “conservative.”

      The Authoritarians is a summary of a study done by Professor Bob Altemeyer of the Department of Psychology at the University of Manitoba. The Rise of American Authoritarianism is an article referring to several similar studies.

      Both cite things I observed empirically over the many years I fellow-traveled with political activists on the right, mostly but not exclusively related to gun rights.

  10. While I agree with this**, the question is whether gun rights are framed as a pocketbook issue or a culture warrior issue. If they are framed as a culture warrior issue, then Houston we have problems and gun rights are easily put to the side or set as a low priority. This is what is happening in MD, where Hogan is placing a very low priority on gun rights and loosening Good and Substantial, in favor of pocket book issues.

    This would also be bad news for the new NRA campaign. So, yes, the NRA may be freedoms safest place (and I like these ads) they may not have the impact we hope.

    However, I truly think gun rights are a pocketbook issue these days. With budgets tight around the country, 911 response times up, and terrorism that could happen anywhere, I thought David Clarke’s PSA was more on-point. IL, NJ, and a number of other states and cities are scrambling in the face of too much debt and budgets suffer. Urbanites are also turning against overbearing police. Puerto Rico default is the canary in the coal mine.

    We just can no longer afford massive govt spending and unfunded pensions, and a consequence is that is that people need to take personal responsibility for their own protection.

    So while I 100% agree with your point that pocketbook issues will Trump culture issues in Nov (pun intended), a corollary to that is that is we are not framing the gun rights debate to win over pocketbook voters.

    **You can look no further than Maryland for an example of what happens when Mr pocketbook Hogan runs against Mr culture warrior Brown.

    1. I do think guns is a culture war issue, and unfortunately it’s probably going to take a back seat to other issues if Trump is in the White House. However, if we get favorable people on the Supreme Court, the gun thing might end up sorting itself out through the courts, which would be ideal.

      1. It does not *have* to be a culture war issue, that is my point. Move to Baltimore and experience 9 minute wait for a 911 call on Friday night, you will see my point. It costs $140,000 per officer in cities. Baltimore gets about 3000 costing $425 million annually – for a city of 620k. They cannot afford more due to budget constraints.

        Just as self-serve gas stations replaced full serve (void in NJ) because of cost, and DIY assembled furniture like Ikea became popular because it was affordable, “do it yourself” security will replace full serve police, because cities are in debt to the hilt. And by do it yourself, naturally I mean CCW. Baltimore homicide detectives are nothing but a clean up crew now anyway. I think their closure rate is sub 33% now.

        1. I think your “pocket book” versus culture war has validity. But emotion outweighs abstract any time. A good example of you pocket book is rural Idaho reduced income reduced police 40 % So people have to to take control of their own protection.

          However that again is emotion “fear” When a riot occurs people buy guns fast. Every mass shooting increases gun buying. We can not trust that others will protect us so we will protect ourselves. Self sufficiency is a cultural item though. The liberal push the nanny state and conservatives push self reliance.

  11. I was just re-reading Ace of Spades’ column, and noticed the following:

    But the fact that a clear social liberal, who practically no one believes is “pro-life” or even pro-gun. . .

    Even pro-gun? Ace’s little semantic slip there reinforces my longtime belief that for social conservatives, gun rights have always been the hind-teat issues, something to mess around with once the important stuff like abortion and LGBT suppression were cleaned up.

    1. My longstanding view is that the folks who claim to speak for social conservatives and evangelicals in DC, many of whom are Dominionists, don’t really speak for the rank and file. Or at the very least, when the chips are down, culture war issues aren’t as important to them as other issues.

      People say the same thing about NRA, of course, but NRA has numbers that most of these groups could only dream of, and NRA is a dues paying organization, which most of the other right groups in DC are not. Of course, there are plenty of people out there who will say NRA does not speak for them, but most of those folks who claim that think the NRA is too soft.

      1. “My longstanding view is that the folks who claim to speak for social conservatives and evangelicals in DC, many of whom are Dominionists, don’t really speak for the rank and file…”

        But the problem is, their rank and file lets them speak for them; and to the degree the rank and file are aware of what they are saying (hardly at all), do not choose to contradict them very strongly.

        As a former activist associated with more than just gun issues, my own experience is that there were more than enough “stealth” activists at the grassroots level who were infiltrating every organization that had even a hint of a “conservative” or “libertarian” bent, with an eye toward advancing their own agenda, even if it meant subverting the agenda of the organization that was allying with and helping them. These were not high-profile people in Washington or Harrisburg, “speaking for” evangelicals. They were stealthy little evangelical activists infiltrating as they sought opportunities for their own collective agenda. (Ironically you may recognize that tactic as being “Leninist” in origin, though it is probably older than history.)

        My favorite firsthand example was the Christian Coalition guy who got himself appointed chairman of a nascent state-level gun rights group, who from that position did nothing much except lobby the rest of us to expand our gun rights focus to “other issues,” which we resisted. It was some months before his wife accidentally outed him at a statewide meeting, as having no interest whatsoever in guns or gun rights; his agenda had been for other people to form a political organization that might, just might, be steered and adapted to serving the social conservative issues that he really cared about. He disappeared without a word as soon as he was outed, and was never seen nor heard from again. The organization he had infiltrated shortly failed, mainly for other classic reasons, but he certainly had not helped anything during its vital formative period.

        Then of course we have their front organizations like GOA and NAGR, but each of those deserves an essay of its own.

    2. Ace said social liberal is not pro gun That is true. Not that social conservatives are not pro gun.

      I am sure that to many fighting battles against being force to approve of gay marriage and dysfunctional confused gender people is more important that gun rights. The right to have you own personal beliefs is more important than gun rights. If I don;t have the right to freedom of belief then my gun rights failed to secure that.

  12. I’m a Christian and I try to teach my family socially conservative values. But I don’t think it’s the government’s job to enforce morality — in fact I think the government by nature cannot enforce morality. So I believe the government should be based around personal freedoms and that as Christians and the Church we need to be teaching morality to the willing, not using our votes to force it upon the unwilling.

    From my perspective … when I am my community choose to live in a Godly way and encourage others to do so we do God glory. When we vote for politicians and use the police to force unwilling people to live in a Godly way we’ve accomplished nothing.

    I also live in the modern world and have co workers and friends who are gay and even in committed gay relationships. They are open about it and are good people though I think they’re living their lives in the wrong way it’s their choice.

    And legal gay marriage doesn’t make more people gay any more than legal gun ownership makes more people murderers. It may make the particular lifestyle in question a little easier, but in sexual preference and violence humans have always found a way …

    1. I have long believed in getting government out of the marriage business.

      However, a candidate who supports abortion “rights” (expressed, implied, or enshrined as a “right to privacy”) is dead to me. I simply will not support a candidate who will claim to be “for the children” but is perfectly fine with slaughtering them. That is an untenable position no matter what their position is on guns. The God-given (not state-given, or state-acknowledged) right of self defense starts in the womb. We can talk fractional and incremental fights on the pro-life front, but don’t lie to me. I don’t support murder of innocents whether it’s with a gun, chemicals, or a scalpel.

      Sebastian- I’ve read your previous posts on this subject too, FYI, and I can also understand the hesitation to ban the practice outright because of the prohibition-era arguments. I guess to me if we advocate life and the preservation of it, we need to be consistent. There are easy steps that even Whetherman would agree to, like banning PP and Title 9 funding since we can at least agree that government should not be in the business of “fundamentally transforming” society. That seems to me an easy point of agreement. The fact is government fails when it tries to transform society.

      1. I actually also think that abortion is a place that government can intervene because it is protection of a life. But that said … where do we say life begins? Once a fertilized egg is floating about trying to attach (life begins at conception)? less than 10% of these ever attach, and though I’m anti-abortion I wouldn’t tell a woman she can’t take action to stop the implanting.

        Then you have the early stages where a blob is slowly growing. Does that get the full protection of the state? I would say that it’s a life to be protected at that point, but again … I’d say that it’s a moral choice as to whether that’s a growth with life potential or an actual life.

        I think we can draw the line (and from what I’ve seen most Americans would agree with this) when the baby is viable. Which is pretty early in the pregnancy, but not in the first trimester.

        So yes — I think in the law some incrementalism is appropriate with abortion. But at some point before it’s delivered a baby is a person and deserves the protection of the law regardless of your religious beliefs.

        Both my children were delivered full term but with induced labor. I remember holding my newborn children and thinking … “You, from a Democratic party perspective, we could have cancelled out this inducing today and tomorrow gone to an abortion clinic and killed this beautiful little baby. how do they live with themselves?”

        1. The problem is you can’t hold time frame alone as the determining factor in viability arguments (if you care to use that as an argument, which I don’t since, again it’s not a concrete one). There is also a biological consensus on life having already begun, regardless of viability. Is a child who is suddenly a few hours older than “first trimester” suddenly more viable strictly due to gestational age? These debates about banning abortion in the second versus third trimester are especially silly. What it comes down to is what is murder and who carries the legal protection of the state to carry it out?

          1. There’s no real concensus on when a few cells becomes a human, and the argument is moral not biological.

            Law isn’t perfect, but we have to set legal standards. i.e. if you beat someone badly in some states and they survive 1 year and 1 day before dying, it’s assault. If they die in 364 days, it’s still murder. Is that the right standard? It’s arbitrary, but the standard has to be set somewhere. Same with life.

            Take whatever position you like, but understand that a hardcore “life begins at conception” stand will go nowhere and get no one elected, and the Democrat position of “life begins at 51% out of the birth canal” will win out. On the other hand the American people seem ready to at least declare that a fully formed baby, even in the womb, is worthy of protection.

  13. This idea that government can not impose morality is ludicrous. The laws against fraud,theft ,murder all rest on morality. So sure Abortion can be outlawed just as it was before. The reality in the US is since the Supreme Court said it was Ok it will not be outlawed.

    So for some that is a line that they will not cross. It is logical and principled. I have no issue even if I do not agree totally.

    Ace is depressed and he lives in a very liberal blue area. It hard to keep up when Conservatives and Evangelicals jumped for Trump. After all the evangelicals do not expect Trump to outlaw abortion they know that is a long haul. Have to change opinions first. But they want to win and Trump has balls.

    Ilya Shapiro explained it best

    Roberts essentially told would-be Trumpistas not to bother the courts with important issues, that if you want to beat Obama you have to get your own strongman—complete with pen, phone, and contempt for the Constitution. So they did.

    Ilya Shapiro
    May 5, 2016
    How John Roberts Begat Donald Trump
    [H/T to Glenn Reynolds.

    1. I stand with my argument. The government HAS imposed morality in the past just like the Saudi government does in not letting women drive or vote. I’m against that. But the problem is by nature a government is run by non-moral people (are people who spend their lives seeking power ever the most moral in a society?) and the best we can hope for them is basic laws to keep us hurting and stealing from each other.

      If you want morality legislated upon you, look at how well that worked in Afghanistan. Who’s morality do you want?

      1. On the one hand, I agree with the notion that all government law is imposed morality. The question merely is, how much morality should be legislated? It may seem obvious that things like murder and theft should be illegal, but anarcho-capitalists would disagree: even these things should be treated as civil matters, and should be addressed by private arbitrators rather than by government judges…

        On the other hand, we would do much better if we were to think of every law and regulation in terms of morality. For example, we consider more and more laws to be felonies. We would do well to think of felonies as actions so bad, so immoral, that they deserve the death penalty, even if we don’t actually impose that particular sentence.

        Heck, we would do well to remember that if we’re passing a law, or creating a regulation, we are saying in essence, “This is so bad, we’ll hunt you down if you do this, and if you resist, we may even kill you.” How many laws and regulations do we have that are really so bad that we should do this? How many would go away if we fully appreciated the moral implications of the laws we create?

        But we don’t think of laws in terms of morals. We vaguely tend to think of them as attempts by bureaucrats and lawmakers trying to make our lives better, whether we want them to or not…

  14. First of all, I don’t think Conservatism is going to die any time soon, at least, the way I tend to think of it: It’s an ideology that basically says we need fiscal responsibility in government, and a a certain respect for morality in personal life.

    So Trump won’t kill conservatism; he *does*, however, create a major risk that conservatism will simply not be represented in politics at all. If he succeeds, he’ll have pushed conservatism out of the Republican Party altogether–both social and fiscal–and the Republican Party will become what the Democrat party is now…and it looks like the Democrat Party is heading towards becoming all-out socialist…

    A major problem conservatives currently have is that we simply don’t have good spokesmen that are reaching out to the voters, which is particularly difficult, because the Media has had such success in suppressing the message. We haven’t had a good spokesman since Reagan.

    The biggest problem we have in government — and I wish more social conservatives understood this (although some do) — is that we have a Federal government that tries to control everything. This morning, I learned that Obama is trying to force every school in the nation to accept “trans-gender” bathrooms. The problem with this isn’t a “trans-gender” issue — the fact that a President can make such an edict, without any debate, and doing so by holding the federal funds of schools hostage, should anger ALL Americans.

    The fact is, all these “social” issues–marriage, drugs, bathrooms, abortion, school, et al–shouldn’t be addressed at a Federal issue. The primary reason why they are issues at all is because we became convinced at some point that these ought to be responsibilities of government, when they are, at the very least, State issues, but more pointedly, ought to be private issues, with no State involvement at all. Whenever the Federal Government takes over the issue, all debate gets cut off, forcing a polarization on the issue that would otherwise not exist if we were to just work out these issues in the legislatures.

    Full disclosure: I consider myself an anarcho-capitalist conservative libertarian Republican, so I’m sure my observations are biased in certain ways…

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