Editor’s Note: This piece was originally written on June 16, 2015.
As liberalism continues to promote bondage of one form or another — financial, sexual, and so on — and as liberals continue to wage war on the truth to the point that a seemingly never-ending number of Americans are living in a world where children in the womb aren’t really human, where humans with a penis and the Y-chromosome aren’t really men, where white is black, where the criminals are the good guys and the police the bad guys, where marriage is not the union of one man and one woman, where student loans don’t have to be repaid, and where blizzards are evidence for global warming, it is becoming more important than ever that conservatives be able to distinguish themselves clearly from such nonsense.
Sadly, the lure of liberalism has proven too much for some otherwise well-meaning Americans, and what it means to be a conservative has become far too ambiguous. This is especially the case when it comes to the “social issues.” In spite of much evidence to the contrary, for many years now the GOP has been told that it’s time to capitulate on, or abandon, the social issues.
This is especially the case with libertarians. A few months ago, libertarian Neal Boortz went on another rant against the time and attention GOP candidates give the social issues. Abandoning the social issues has long been a favorite idea of libertarians. Unable to win elections on their own, they continuously attempt to pull Republican candidates leftward on abortion, homosexuality, marriage, and the like.
Recently, though less combatively, libertarian Greg Gutfeld from Fox’s The Five also lamely attempted to push Republicans into dropping their opposition (those Republicans who still bravely maintain such opposition) to same-sex “marriage.” He went so far as to use the “born that way” myth, and even suggested that same-sex “marriage” was a conservative idea. It seems that Mr. Gutfeld and those like him need to hear a good definition of what it means to be a conservative.
Of course, some of the best definitions for “conservative” or “conservatism” have been around for decades, or even centuries, and are still in much use today. In Abraham Lincoln’s Cooper Union Address, a 7,000-word speech where he argued against expanding slavery into the western territories, and the speech that some believe won him the presidency, Lincoln asked, “What is conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried?”
In a 1977 speech to CPAC, Ronald Reagan said, “Conservative wisdom and principles are derived from willingness to learn, not just from what is going on now, but from what has happened before. The principles of conservatism are sound because they are based on what men and women have discovered through experience in not just one generation or a dozen, but in all the combined experience of mankind…the principles we hold dear are those that have been found, through experience, to be ultimately beneficial for individuals, for families, for communities and for nations — found through the often bitter testing of pain or sacrifice and sorrow.”
A recent Townhall column asked, “Who is Really a Conservative?” The columnist looked to Calvin Coolidge — “perhaps the most conservative president of the last century.” Coolidge noted that in America’s founding documents, “there resulted the recognition that freedom was a birthright. It was the natural and inalienable condition of beings who were created ‘a little lower than the angels.’ With it went the principle of equality, not an equality of possessions, not an equality of degree, but an equality in the attributes of humanity, an equality of kind. Each is possessed of the divine power to know the truth.”
The columnist also quotes conservative commentator Dennis Prager, who defines conservatism “by what he calls ‘The American Trinity,’ which preserves three fundamental truths. First, ‘In God We Trust’ is the foundation for the rule of law. Manmade laws are designed to protect God-given human rights. From that, ‘E Pluribus Unum,’ a unified and diverse people are encouraged to live peaceably, with ‘liberty’ in their pursuit of happiness.”
If you’re looking to define conservatism — and for that matter, what conservatism is not — you had better take into account what Rush Limbaugh has to say on the matter. After a week off from his top-rated talk show, Rush returned this week, and one of the first things he addressed was an email that he received while on vacation. Evidently the email linked to a Business Insider piece entitled, “Wall Street is getting tired of funding socially conservative Republicans running for president.”
The piece begins, “For years, when it came to presidential candidates, Wall Street made huge compromises in order to support the Republican Party. The money men in New York City set aside their socially liberal views in order to support fiscally conservative candidates because that was the only way to get on the same page as the GOP base. The result has been a series of candidates Wall Street’s big donors didn’t really want. It seems those donors are getting tired of that outcome.”
Responding to the piece, Rush said, “This irritates me to no end. I’ve had — as I’ve reported to you on several occasions here — many of my Republican friends over the course of the years have also said the same thing to me as though somehow I’m the leader of the social movement aspect of the Republican Party. They come up to me and they practically wag their fingers at me. ‘We just can’t win. We got get rid of the social issues.’”
Of course, “socially liberal” almost always implies issues that reside within the sexual realm. Thus, as I’ve noted before, “social issues” is a bit of a misnomer. We’re really talking about “moral issues.” Those who want to focus on government spending, job creation, or other conservative fiscal policies often fail to realize that the morality that tells us that “It is no act of charity to be generous with someone else’s money” is the same morality that tells us that it is wrong to kill a child in the womb, and that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.
Thus, in spite of all the science and the sound morality that reveal otherwise, if you’ll cave when it comes to the life of the most helpless among us — a child in the womb — and if you’ll cave on the oldest institution in the history of humanity, the institution at the foundation of every culture that has ever existed, the real question is, how can you be trusted on ANY issue? In other words, if you are a liberal on the most important moral issues of our time, then you are not a conservative.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of “Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World.” Contact him at [email protected]
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