Question for my gentle readers: What do you know about social conservatives who are fiscal liberals?

by CynthiaYockey on May 30, 2010

I frequently read about people who describe themselves as fiscal conservatives and social liberals. When I was a liberal, I did not know the real definition of either term, “fiscal conservative” and “social liberal.” I thought the combination meant, “I am prosperous but don’t like paying my fair share of taxes, however I do like sleeping around and don’t like being guilt-tripped about it.”

If any liberals have stumbled in here and gotten this far, the liberal/Leftist mainstream media would never make sure you understand the terms and the theory behind them — although, funnily enough, conservative media does — so let me explain. A fiscal conservative is someone who embraces capitalism, social mobility and meritocracy as the formula for the progress of individuals AND their nation. He or she IS willing to pay his or her fair share of taxes but sees that the preservation of individual liberty requires that individuals be allowed to keep enough of the money they have earned to accumulate wealth AND to decide for themselves the good causes to which they will give their money. Their love of individual liberty extends into the social arena, so as social liberals they believe the government should mind its own beeswax and not have laws interfering in the business of consenting adults when no one is getting hurt.

Recently I had the thought that the conservative movement doesn’t just have social conservatives who are also fiscal conservatives, and fiscal conservatives who are also social liberals — it has social conservatives who are fiscal liberals. And it crossed my mind that this is the demographic that handed victory to Obama/Biden in November 2008 because John McCain was not enough of a social conservative for them, so they could not vote for his fiscal conservatism — and they couldn’t vote for Obama/Biden because of Obama’s extreme support of abortion — but they liked the idea of the all-succoring government that Obama promised and stayed home on election day and built stalls for their promised unicorns instead of voting.

Gentle readers — you have been conservatives much longer than I have. ARE there social conservatives/fiscal liberals on the Right? What do you know about their habitat, beliefs and behaviors? Are they the ones promoting the policies of “compassionate conservatism”? Do you think their determination to make conservatism pre-eminently about social conservatism and their willingness to sell out the ideals of fiscal conservatism — or their rejection of fiscal conservatism — have anything to do with how conservatism foundered during George W. Bush’s presidency?

If these creatures exist on the Right, what is the best way to learn more about them? I know they exist on the Left — they can easily be identified by their denunciations of lesbians and gays and their determination that we should never have equality under the law.

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  • Joe

    Cynthia: Ace and others have called Mike Huckabee a social conservative and fiscal liberal. From the perspective of many conservatives, one George Bush’s biggest blunders was his fiscal liberalism and that was also true for the GOP when it had majorities.

    So yeah, it exists. And it is very unattractive.

    Thanks, BTW for the tomato porn. Only a couple of months till tomatoes start to peak (in most parts of the country).

    • Stinky

      Joe, Huckabee is a great example. There is a video of him, as governor, in his pre-weight loss days, where he is giving a speech saying that he would sign any tax increase the Arkansas legislature sent him.

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  • Liz

    Yeah, they exist. I think they mean well ( I think that of everyone, almost regardless of their actions), but it’s based on an idea that they know what’s best and that the government has the right to enforce that. Not fun. It’s generally more overtly restrictive than the left, but they’re incredibly similar in where they think the government has a right to intervene/interfere.

    • Liz

      Just to be clear, they don’t actually believe in fiscal conservatism. You can generally see them in their assertions that not only should the government regulate moral matters, but that there needs to be more and more government spending in healthcare, education, social welfare, laxer immigration controls, etc.

      But on top of that they tend to want school prayer, no encouragement of single parents, abstinence only sex ed., no abortions, no govt funding of BC, no LGBT equality, and their concerns for immigrants tend to include worries that their morals and marriage/family prospects are being damaged by the current system.

      Just my two cents, from my experience with my family.

      • Liz,

        Hi, it’s so good to see you!

        You are quite right. Just before logging on this morning it popped into my head that social conservative fiscal liberals are for Big Government on both the social and fiscal side. This means that conservatism — which stands for small government — paradoxically is dominated by Big Government social conservatives. No wonder liberals are perplexed about what conservatism stands for. I don’t think the conservative movement really understands how disastrous this is for America and conservatism. My perception is that the Tea Party is about taking back fiscal conservatism — but the social conservatives are trying to figure out how to get control of it, too, for its money and power. And, of course, to stop all that crazy talk about smaller government.

        Cynthia

  • Anon

    Yes, there are social conservatives / fiscal liberals:
    – Mike Huckabee
    – Roman Catholic Church

    • Stinky

      Yes, yes, yes! I was raised Catholic as a child, but was in an apolitical family. It has been only over the last couple years that I discovered that a large number of Catholics are fiscal liberals and social conservatives. Frankly, that combination does not make sense to me at all.

  • SYD

    Linking you here:

    http://riverdaughter.wordpress.com/2010/06/02/christmas-in-june/#comment-482768

    Because I think it’s another one of Barack’s “little recognized” strategies. Appealing to the Social Conservatives who are fiscally Liberal….

    It was quite a trick, really. And the more I think about it the clearer the strategy becomes. If there really were Social Conservatives that are also fiscal Liberals… in the GOP, Barack figured out a way to peel them off. All the while assuring us Social Liberals that he was our friend.

    It’s like he was dancing around on stage with Donny McClurkin and Ellen Degeneres in the same campaign. (Oh wait, he did that. Didn’t he?)

    You are really on to something here, Cynthia. And I hope you will expound upon it in days to come.
    .-= SYD´s last blog ..For Two Whole Years Now I’ve Been Waking Up As a Political Independent =-.

    • SYD,

      Yes, I promise to expound on the phenomenon of social conservatives who are fiscal liberals, especially since my perception is that they dominate the conservative movement and are its face and voice.

      Cynthia

  • SYD

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