Clarification: when I go after social conservatism, I mean Newt Gingrich and his ilk

by CynthiaYockey on February 20, 2011

Ever since the Republican election victories in November when people who ran as fiscal conservatives burning to save the American economy turned out to be social conservatives whose real top priority has to do with burning all right, but actually is that gay people should all die in a fire, I have been perplexed about how to keep the humorous and loving tone that I strive to make the hallmarks of this blog while addressing the issues involved in this colossal bait-and-switch.

Today I saw the light: I figured out how to be specific. I was thinking about how dear Shakey Pete and I disagree about the equality of gays — my equality — but I admire his life as a Viet Nam war veteran and sheriff’s deputy (now retired). It occurred to me that if I am going to talk about flavors of fiscal conservatism, such as Randian conservatism, after Ayn Rand, then I can be more clear about what there is to praise or criticize about social conservatism by adding the names of specific people or groups as adjectives, for example, Shakey Pete social conservatism: good; Newt Gingrich social conservatism: bad. (Alternate name: whited sepulchre social conservatism.)

I didn’t have a handle on the epic sociopathy and narcissism that is Newt Gingrich until dear Kathy Shaidle linked a profile of him recently. I find it bizarre that a man who has been so destructive to marriage in his own life was included at CPAC and lionized, while the efforts of gays to create families were denounced from CPAC’s main stage by Ann Coulter as part of the fell designs of the Left to destroy the family.

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  • Amy

    He’s a dick. Never liked him, never will.

  • You don’t have to Google, I wrote about it in March 2009, “Why can’t I own Canadians?”

    Straight people really don’t understand the whole “camel’s nose in the tent” aspect of the battle over marriage. It is NOT that if gays win, there will be polygamy and people marrying robots (a spectre that actually was raised in testimony recently in Maryland to oppose the marriage equality bill under consideration). No, if gays lose, religions are going to press the fight to use marriage to give them control over every detail of their members’ lives.

  • Attmay

    Social CINOs pay lip service to conservative values because it’s all about religious fundamentalism. Fiscal issues, defense issues, everything else is a smokescreen to them. If I recall correctly, they originally became a voting block to support Jimmy Carter, who talked about his religious faith constantly during his 1976 campaign, and by the end of his one, disastrous term, they jumped ship because he failed to deliver what they wanted.

    The GOP lost the South for 100 years after Reconstruction. If they don’t want to lose what they have left of the Northeast and the West Coast as well as places like Chicago, the neo-Dixiecrat fundies have got to go. If they think they have nothing to lose by alienating gay voters, they’re wrong, because they won’t just alienate gay voters. They will alienate heterosexual voters who consider religious intolerance a deal-breaker. They already have. They’re not going to go crawling back to the Democrats who don’t want them around either.

    • Liz

      I wouldn’t go that far – apart from the gay issue, I happen to agree with a lot of what they say about how to live your life, and not all of them want the government to impose. Besides, I have many such people in my family and friends.

      In my experience, if you explain to soc cons (the ordinary people, rather than the “leaders” who have a vested interest in maintaining their position)why equality is important for gays’ moral stability and for society as a whole, they will listen.

      As long as you work on the assumption that they are intelligent people and worthy of respect – I’ve had members of my family say things along the lines of “no one’s ever bothered to explain this before. They usually call me stupid and a bigot and tell me to shut up.” It’s possible to bring them round to your position.

      I have no problem with going to the courts, but we also have to deign to have the argument. “Shut up, she explained” will not help – they have a constitutional right to lobby the government and elect people who represent their values, same as everyone else.

      Purging them won’t help. If the soc cons sit it out, then the Democrats will win. That is not in question – Obama won in 2008 not because of the youth/black/female vote, but because whites sat out rather than vote for McCain.

      The soc cons need to stop seeing Teh Gheyz as the enemy, and fiscal conservatives and marriage equality advocates need to calmly explain our positions.

      • Liz,
        I agree with you and one of the reasons I founded this blog is to have exactly those conversations with the social conservatives I love and respect like Shakey Pete and my friends from high school — as you say, “they are intelligent people and worthy of respect.” And I love them dearly. What I try to explain is how equality for gays fulfills their deepest spiritual goals for society of morality, social stability and devotion to family. What is tricky is to separate them from the leaders who are lying to them from motivations they claim are spiritual but really come from greed and lust for power.

        I agree with you that it was socons who gave the election to Obama, but I think they were social conservative/fiscal liberals who couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Obama due to his position on abortion, but who were hoping he really could pay their mortgages and deliver all those unicorns he promised. It seems to me that the majority of social conservatives on the Right may say they are fiscal conservatives, too, but since the government grows even when they are in power it is obvious that they really are fiscal liberals in practice, no matter what they promise to get elected.I first realized this when it occurred to me that people who are primarily fiscal conservatives always identify their position on social issues, to wit, “fiscal conservative, social liberal.” When I noticed that social conservatives almost never do that, it occurred to me that they were really fiscal liberals, but thought it impolitic to say so. That is why I say that the Big Tent of conservatism is so large that it includes two groups who have mutually exclusive goals: social conservative/fiscal liberals vs. fiscal conservative/social liberals.

        The anti-gay social conservative groups are going to self-purge, no matter what we do. But I think that’s because equality for gays is an impediment to their real goal, which is to overthrow the U.S. government and establish their religion as the law of the land. I’m not making that up — some of these groups explicitly state that as their goal. I doubt that their rank-and-file members — the intelligent people, worthy of respect — really share that goal. So the larger view of the battle for gay equality is a battle to preserve the Constitution, U.S. government and the American dream from the totalitarian assaults of both religion and socialism.

        • Attmay

          We can win the reasonable people over, I have no doubt of that; gays on the left failed to win people over because they don’t understand the people they want to persuade. We have the living proof already: the cultural cost to society as a result of the emotional cost to gays after being told that our unions are unworthy of the same protections as heterosexual ones, and that our mere state of being is a sin based on a criminally bad translation of the Bible. We have also seen the benefits of those who have defied the naysayers and joined their lives together in matrimony, regardless of the legal status, and those who have made the decision to raise children who would otherwise be stuck in orphanages or bounced from foster home to foster home. There is also the entire concept of civil marriage, which is legally distinct from a religious ceremony.

          Part of what helped Obama in 2008 was those on the right who sat it out rather than vote for John McCain, even after Sarah Palin was chosen as VP. They knew what Obama was going to do but they still decided to do nothing to stop it.

        • Anonymous

          The social conservatives I am familiar with have no particular problem with gays, per se. I keep repeating myself here but if Cynthia and her Margaret or the lifelong bachelors we know out here in Dogpatch who share housing “to save money” were the face of the gay movement you would face no big objection from us. The Phelps crowd of Westboro “Baptist Church” are Democrats. Get used to that fact.

          We don’t much worry about you, we are, as Christians, concerned about your immortal souls but, as sinners ourselves, well, there is little enough love in this world.

          Our battle is mainly about the debasement of the culture. We would like children to have a chance at childhood before seeing sex at age six.

          None of us saw Newt as anything but a brilliant tactician, certainly not a role model. Then, of course, he let Clinton beat him over the government shutdown. Now we wish he’d shut up and write his historical fiction novels.

          Here is our main objection to the organized gay groups. Every year there is a big ol’ gay pride march in New York City. Every year NAMBLA wants to put in a float. Every year there is a big hue and cry that NAMBLA has nothing to do with gays. Every year that NAMBLA float is there. Not to mention the various folks dressed in ways that would have made my Momma blush, then make sure her revolver was handy. Seems to me that if I wanted to show folks that I was proud of who and what I am, I’d dress in a way to show pride, not debasement. Seems to me that if I wanted to show folks that gay does not equal child raper, I’d kick NAMBLA so far away from my parade their asses wouldn’t catch up to them ’til about August the twelfth.

          Every day somebody goes out of their way to offend us hicks from the sticks. And then y’all act surprised that we’re offended?

          Still and all, my brand of social conservatives is not your enemy. The two biggest dangers you face from us is that if you are physically attacked we’d pull iron and try to stop it and we’d put you in our prayers.

          • Attmay

            Peter,

            I have been critical of the image that Pride parades have put forward. I have also been critical of their muddled message. We should be marching for our rights, not having a Mardi Gras. I also have my problems with increasing cultural permissiveness to some extent; I’m embarrassed when I see films that are ostensibly for children doing jokes that belong in R-rated movies without trying to leave it to one’s imagination. And I won’t lift a finger to defend NAMBLA’s transparent attempts to muscle into the pride parade and piggyback onto our movement (nor will the majority of gays).

            But the anti-gay bigots who cynically manipulate those who should know better know where to go to get the goods. And it’s not to gay weddings, or the christenings of the children of gay parents. The worst elements of the pride parades play right into their hands.

            Your brand of social conservatism is not the brand that the professional bigots are selling.

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