Tag Archives: Social Conservatism

Why are social conservatives unable to exert political pressure?

Hillary Clinton and her ally, the Human Rights Campaign
Hillary Clinton and her ally, the Human Rights Campaign

Right now, social liberals are having great success pushing through their agenda. Social conservatives seemed to be getting coerced and/or punished so effectively that many are wondering whether the tide can be turned at all.

Ben Shapiro, who writes at the Daily Wire, explains what’s been happening lately:

Leftists, the most tolerant people in America, are now demonstrating their tolerance by boycotting entire states that do not govern in accordance with leftist social policy. On Tuesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he would bar non-essential state-funded travel to Mississippi after the state passed a bill re-enshrining First Amendment protections for freedom of religion and association. Cuomo, who termed the law “sad, hateful,” isn’t the only big government leftist to utilize the power of taxpayer-funded nastiness: the mayor of San Francisco, Ed Lee, did the same.

Lee and Cuomo also announced travel bans to North Carolina, where the governor recently signed a bill that mandates that local governments may not allow people to use single-sex bathrooms based on subjective gender identity rather than biological sex; that bill also makes state anti-discrimination law supreme and exclusive over local anti-discrimination laws that would compel businesses to hire people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

It’s not just government, either. Icons like the wildly overrated Bruce Springsteen are cancelling concerts in North Carolina; businesses like PayPal, which do business in countries like Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, which actually prosecute homosexuality. States like Virginia and Georgia have vetoed similar legislation out of fear of corporate and governmental blowback from companies ranging from Apple to Disney.

The left has ratcheted up their pressure on states to crack down on Americans who don’t want their daughters peeing next to grown men, to prosecute businessowners who don’t want to cater same-sex weddings. They’ve utilized their economic power to punish private actors who may or may not even agree with the left in an attempt to coax those actors into putting indirect pressure on their representatives.

Maggie Gallagher, a pro-marriage activists who has written some great books on marriage that I really liked, has some practical advice for social conservatives in National Review.

She has five points – here are four and five:

4) Social conservatives aren’t doing politics.

Before I explain what I mean, let me ask you to answer a simple question: What is the national organization that fights for religious-liberty protections by spending money in federal elections? Currently, there is none. There are many good nonprofits who issue voter guides or get pastors together. There are public-interest law firms galore. These are all good things to have — but there is a hole in the center of our movement.

How big is the hole? For my own amusement, I tried to figure out how much money social conservatives (excluding pro-life groups) spent in national elections in 2014 compared to what they spend on 501(c)3 and other nonprofit strategies. I looked for every organization I could find that has marriage or religious liberty in its mission statement and then compared it with election expenditures by either c(4)s or political-action committees (PACs). Then I asked around to major social-conservative donors I know to see if I had overlooked any major organization.

How big is the hole in the center of our movement?

In 2014 pro-family social conservatives invested $251,633,730 in tax-deductible 501(c)3 efforts (excluding pro-life efforts).

How much was spent on direct political engagement, counting both state and federal organizations? $2,484,359.

That 100-to-one ratio of doing politics by indirect versus direct means explains a lot about the relative powerlessness of social conservatism.

Social conservatives can’t get much out of politics because we aren’t in politics. We just talk like we are on television, when the Left allows us to get on television. Meanwhile, we don’t build political institutions that matter.

Social conservatives need to think like a minority and organize politically to protect our interests. Which leads me to Maggie’s fifth Big Truth of social-conservative politics:

5) The most important thing social conservatives could do in the 2016 cycle is to demonstrate to Democrats that extremism in pushing unisex showers on public schools or oppressing gay-marriage dissenters will cost them the White House.

In theory, this shouldn’t be hard to do: A July 2015 Associated Press–GFK poll showed that 59 percent of independents and 32 percent of Democrats agree that when gay rights and religious liberty conflict, religious liberty should have priority. Social conservatives should use the issue on offense — not just to gin up “the base,” but to persuade soft Democrats to abandon the party of anti-religious aggression. If intensive messaging to Democratic voters in a key swing state could move just 10 percent of them to switch their votes, the whole political dynamic of this issue would change.

But proving that would require raising a significant amount of money — say at least $2 million — and demonstrating in a key swing state, such as Ohio or Pennsylvania or Florida, that the Democrats’ anti-religion intolerance against gay-marriage dissenters could cost them something they care about: The White House. Power.

I see no signs yet that any such thing is happening among social conservatives.

But it could.

We should fill the hole in the center of the social-conservative movement by getting into politics for the first time in 50 years. It could happen.

I noticed that Maggie’s web site “The Pulse” is very pro-Cruz. They do not like John Kasich at all on social issues, and they were not fans of Marco Rubio’s tepid response to the gay marriage ruling.

Trump gets 5% in straw poll of informed voters at Values Voters Summit

Texas Senator Ted Cruz
Texas Senator Ted Cruz

I was actually thinking of going to this annual Washington conference of value voters, because the speakers line up so closely with my values. You might think that it’s all social conservatism, but this is actually a really good place to find good talks on the free market system, as well as peace through strength foreign policy.

Anyway, they took a poll of the values voters, and Ted Cruz won:

Sen. Ted Cruz won the Values Voter Summit straw poll for the third year in a row on Saturday, a strong showing of support from evangelical voters for his 2016 presidential bid.

The firebrand Texas senator won a whopping 35 percent in the poll of summit-goers, ahead of runner-up Ben Carson’s 18 percent. That margin is significantly wider than last year, where he edged out Carson by just 5 percentage points.

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (Ark.) took third with 14 percent, followed by Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) with 13 percent. Real estate magnate Donald Trump finished a distant fifth with 5 percent.

Carson won the event’s poll for vice president, his second consecutive win for that category.

Family Research Council Action president Tony Perkins announced the results Saturday afternoon to applause from the conference’s attendees. Perkins’ group organized the three-day event.

Eight GOP presidential candidates took to the summit stage in order to make their case to the religious conservative audience—Cruz, Carson, Trump, Rubio, Huckabee, as well as Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Rand Paul (Ky.), and Gov. Bobby Jindal (La.).

The results confirm Cruz, Carson and Huckabee’s strength among religious conservative voters. Each rely on the voting bloc as a core piece of their electorate, but the huge win for Cruz is likely encouraging considering recent polls showing the senator outside of the top tier with evangelicals.

But the figures are surprising for both Rubio and Trump. Rubio’s finish shows him continuing to make gains with religious conservative voters as he rises in national polling. But the result is a disappointment for Trump, who had led with evangelicals in two recent polls.

The Values Voter Summit though is Cruz country and several conference-goers mentioned his name first as the person they trust most on issues important to social conservatives when interviewed by The Hill during the event.

[…]A handful of candidates didn’t attend the summit—Jeb Bush, Govs. Chris Christie (N.J.), John Kasich (Ohio) and Carly Fiorina.

The ones that didn’t attend are, not surprisingly, the same ones I marked as social moderates. Better than a Democrat, not as good as real conservatives like Jindal or Cruz.

Anyway, Cruz’s speech was awesome:

And his list of Day One promises was also amazing.

Sample:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) electrified conservatives at the Values Voters Summit in Washington on Friday as he laid out plans for his first day in the White House.

Cruz vowed to rescind all of President Obama’s “illegal and unconstitutional executive actions,” said he would order the Department of Justice to prosecute Planned Parenthood, instruct the DOJ and Internal Revenue Service to end religious persecution of citizens, “rip to shreds” the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran and move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Upon each declaration, Cruz received huge applause and a standing ovation.

“That’s just day one,” Cruz said. “There are 365 days in the year, four years in a presidential term, four years in a second term. By the end of eight years, this ballroom is going to be a whole lot bigger. By the end of eight years, there will be a whole lot of reporters and journalists who have checked themselves into therapy.”

And if the idea of connecting with socially conservative voters is appealing to you, be sure to go to FRC.org and subscribe the daily and weekend podcasts. These podcasts are my favorites, along with The Weekly Standard podcast.

My original list of favorite candidates in the 2016 GOP primary:

  1. Walker
  2. Jindal
  3. Perry
  4. Cruz
  5. Rubio

I really hope Jindal, Cruz or Rubio can take this thing, because I don’t want to have to be promoting someone I am not excited about.

Why fiscal conservatives should care about abortion rights

I'm Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve this study
I’m Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve this report

One reason to care is that abortion providers get taxpayer funds. Consider this report on Planned Parenthood funding, which was reported by Life News.

Excerpt:

In a new report published by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the pro-life legal group lays out the various ways Planned Parenthood has engaged in abuse and potential fraud with American tax-dollars. The report alleges that 45 public audits of Planned Parenthood affiliates, and 57 known audits of state family planning programs, found that a “total of more than $129.7 million in waste, abuse, and potential fraud in federal and state family planning funding programs, the lion’s share of which goes to Planned Parenthood.”

Additionally, the report says that $14.4 billion of Planned Parenthood’s federal Medicaid expenditures were improper payments and the abortion company engaged in other billing violations, including “billing in excess of actual acquisition cost or other statutorily approved costs for contraceptives and Plan B products, inappropriately billing for services that were not medically necessary or not provided at all, and duplicate billing.”

ADF’s report, Profit. No Matter What., reads, “Updates in this 2015 edition include a new federal audit of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, specifically aimed at Planned Parenthood of North Texas; new federal audits of state family planning programs in California and Nebraska, totaling nearly $12 million; and more complete information on Planned Parenthood and other abortion and family planning facilities’ other financial malfeasance.”

Fiscal conservatives are opposed to government waste. We shouldn’t be handing taxpayer money to organizations that engage in fraud and abuse. If you’re against government waste and fraud, then you’re against government waste and fraud in abortion. I know pro-choice libertarians who want to remove government funding for abortions for precisely this reason.

Now let me give a reason. Everyone understands that when you have this much debt, and so many entitlement programs going bankrupt, that we cannot afford to eliminate the next generation of works. Who will pay for these entitlement programs if there are no workers? We are competing with all the other left-leaning countries for skilled immigrants. That may be part of the solution, but it is not the full solution. Not only should we not be aborting the next generation of taxpayers who have to keep these programs afloat, we should also be encouraging natural marriage, since this is the best environment to raise future workers who are moral and well-adjusted. Divorce and single motherhood are not good for raising the next generation of productive workers. Many social issues play a part in the economy.

A primer for social conservatives who want to argue for their views with economics

Somehow I missed this editorial from Ross Douthat, which appeared in the radically leftist New York Times. He responds to the charge that conservatives don’t make economic arguments for their socially conservative views, even though the data is there to support such arguments. What he writes is a pretty good primer on evidential arguments for social conservatives. My regular readers will recognize some of the names he mentions from previous posts on this blog.

Excerpt:

Here are a few (of many) possible answers. The first is that social conservatives actually do make such arguments, even if the phrase “negative externalities” isn’t deployed with quite the frequency Caplan would like. Look at any prominent document on changing family structures, for instance, from The Moynihan Report down through Barbara Dafoe Whitehead’s famous “Dan Quayle Was Right” to the “marriage gap” arguments of today, and you’ll find an intense focus on the socioeconomic costs of the trends the writers are describing and/or deploring. Indeed, the entire corpus of socially-conservative intellectual efforts, from 1970s-era neoconservatives like Richard John Neuhaus and James Q. Wilson down to the present era, is shot through with arguments that are, if not purely economic, at least heavily informed by economic questions.

Right now, whether you’re reading Jonathan Last on demography or Kay Hymowitz on young manhood or Brad Wilcox on marriage and middle America or Mark Regnerus on the market for premarital sex, the case for social conservatism is reliably — perhaps even too reliably, I fear, in some of my own work — framed in the language of costs and benefits, mobility and opportunity, education and income and life outcomes. (And likewise on issues that fall within the socially-conservative penumbra, like immigration, crime, and drugs.)

But note that very few of the writers and intellectuals I’ve just mentioned are practicing economists: They’re political scientists, sociologists, journalists, and so forth. (Arguably the most influential socially-conservative champion of free market economics in the last generation, Michael Novak, earned degrees in theology and philosophy, not economics itself.)

In a previous NYT piece, he had also linked to a new 2014 study from the Journal of Sexual Research which showed how delaying sexual activity improves relationship quality and stability.

Abstract:

While recent studies have suggested that the timing of sexual initiation within a couple’s romantic relationship has important associations with later relationship success, few studies have examined how such timing is associated with relationship quality among unmarried couples. Using a sample of 10,932 individuals in unmarried, romantic relationships, we examined how four sexual-timing patterns (i.e., having sex prior to dating, initiating sex on the first date or shortly after, having sex after a few weeks of dating, and sexual abstinence) were associated with relationship satisfaction, stability, and communication in dating relationships. Results suggested that waiting to initiate sexual intimacy in unmarried relationships was generally associated with positive outcomes. This effect was strongly moderated by relationship length, with individuals who reported early sexual initiation reporting increasingly lower outcomes in relationships of longer than two years.

That’s nothing new, but it shows that research falsifies the standard leftist/feminist narrative about recreational sex being normal and healthy. The sexual revolution is very much an idealistic flight from reality. Reality is generally more conservative than the leftists present in their sterile classrooms and popular culture entertainment. You’re not going to see the conclusions of mainstream research reflected in a feminist university professor’s angry rhetoric, or in TV shows and movies written by privileged radicals who have made all the wrong choices in life.

Assistant to Kermit Gosnell admits to killing ten born-alive babies

WARNING: this story is really horrific. Reader discretion is advised.

CNS News points out that Gosnell joked with his staff about later-term abortions.

Excerpt:

Dr. Kermit Gosnell, an abortionist now on trial in Philadelphia charged with seven counts of first-degree murder–he allegedly cut the spinal cords of late-term aborted babies who were born alive–apparently used to joke about the large size of some the infants he aborted and in one case, according to what a co-worker told the grand jury, said, “This baby is big enough to walk around with me or walk me to the bus stop.”

Gosnell, 72, who ran a multi-million dollar abortion business in West Philadelphia, was arrested on Jan. 19, 2011, and his trial started Monday, Mar. 18, 2013. The first-degree murder counts refer to seven late-term aborted babies who were born alive and then killed, their spinal cords cut with scissors.

Gosnell is also charged with the third-degree murder of a pregnant woman, Karnamaya Mongar, 41, who died after being given a pain killer at Gosnell’s office. He also faces several counts of conspiracy and violation of Pennsylvania’s law against post-24-week abortions.

In testimony on Monday, Adrienne Moton, who used to work for Gosnell at the Women’s Medical Society in West Philadelphia, said she recalled one baby – “Baby Boy A” – who was aborted  in July 2008. Baby A was so large, Moton took a photo of the child with her cell phone before Gosnell took the baby out of the room.

“I just saw a big baby boy. He had that color, that color that a baby has,” Moton said in court. “I just felt he could have had a chance. … He could have been born any day.”

Moten described how she helped to kill at least 10 born-alive babies by cutting their spinal cords.

More on the story from Life Site News.

Excerpt:

The grand jury report includes the account of another of Gosnell’s employees, Kareema Cross, describing the moment of Baby A’s birth:

After the baby was expelled, Cross noticed that he was breathing, though not for long. After about 10 to 20 seconds, while the mother was asleep, “the doctor just slit the  neck,” said Cross. Gosnell put the boy’s body in a shoebox. Cross described the baby as so big that his feet and arms hung out over the sides of the container. Cross said that she saw the baby move after his neck was cut, and after the doctor placed it in the shoebox. Gosnell told her, “it’s the baby’s reflexes. It’s not really moving.”

A neonatologist who testified on behalf of the grand jury said that Gosnell’s explanation for the baby’s movements was false, and that in all likelihood Gosnell failed immediately to kill the baby, and that his “few moments of life were spent in excruciating pain.”

The neonatologist also estimated the baby’s age as around 32 weeks gestation.

[…]Gosnell’s lawyer is arguing that the prosecution can’t prove that any of the seven babies he stands accused of murdering were born alive. He told the courtroom yesterday that the prosecution of his client is a racist-inspired “lynching.”

Gosnell is calling the charges against him an “elitist, racist prosecution”.