A Moratorium on Controversy Requires Postponement of Change
So a group of gay conservatives and some Tea Party figures are urging the Republican Party to keep away from social issues while they’ve got a role in untangling our big-government mess. One particular comment highlights, in a humorous way, the strange assumptions that social liberals make about the universality of their causes:
“When they were out in the Boston Harbor, they weren’t arguing about who was gay or who was having an abortion,” said Ralph King, a letter signatory who is a Tea Party Patriots national leadership council member, as well as an Ohio co-coordinator.
I’d suggest that anybody who’d been openly gay or advocating for abortion may very well have found himself in the water with the tea. The notions that governments should redefine marriage to eliminate its opposite-sex character and that people had an unassailable right to kill their own children in the womb would not have come up because the would have been found universally appalling.
This is not to say that our forebears, right on taxation and representation, were necessarily correct in their social views. But unity on civic matters is easier to separate from social matters when there’s already cultural unity on the latter.
What this means for current conservatives is that the libertarian types cannot expect their socially conservative allies to tie their own hands while liberals advance their own causes. What it must mean not “to act on any social issue” is that libertarians and social conservatives must accept the status quo and work together to prevent attempts at radical change while the economic and political-theory issues are predominant.
That’ll be a tough promise to keep. After all, judges must still be appointed, and social conservatives, with an eye on the long term, will not forgo the opportunity to change the judiciary’s take on Roe v. Wade. On the other side of the coin, the persistence of liberals on such issues as same-sex marriage may require social conservatives to seek a Constitutional amendment just to maintain the current state of affairs.
What libertarians and “moderates” usually intend when they urge conservatives to hold off on “pushing” social issues is for liberals to keep up the fight for their shared causes while conservatives sit on their hands. That’s not likely to prove feasible.