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‘It’s Do or Die for Us’: Social Issues, CPACers, and the Future

Libertarianism and conservatism meet but much debate remains on any course adjustment as the GOP moves forward.

by
Rodrigo Sermeño and Fallon Forbush

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March 17, 2013 - 11:57 pm
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NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – Many young conservatives who were at CPAC want more attention paid to fiscal rather than social issues – a fact not only emphasized by some of the straw poll questions but by the opinions expressed by many of the participants at the three-day conference.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), one of the conference’s most popular speakers and winner of CPAC’s straw poll, urged Republican leaders on the event’s first day to pay attention to the “Facebook generation.”

“They doubt Social Security will be there for them, they worry about jobs and rent and money and student loans. … They aren’t afraid of individual liberty,” said Paul.

“Ask the Facebook generation if we should put a kid in jail for the non-violent crime of drug use and you’ll hear a resounding ‘no.’ Ask the Facebook generation if they want to bail out too big to fail banks with their hard-earned tax dollars and you’ll hear a ‘hell no,’” he continued.

Former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), the senator’s father and a staunch supporter of individual liberty, won the 2010 and 2011 straw polls, but never successfully competed for the Republican nomination.

Many organizations that promote individual liberty took part in the conference. The Competitive Enterprise Institute hosted a gay-rights panel. Students for Liberty, a libertarian nonprofit, had a booth at the event and its founder, Alexander McCobin, participated in a panel alongside Jeff Frazee, the executive director of Young Americans for Liberty – another libertarian-leaning organization.

Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, commended Sen. Paul for his filibuster earlier in the week and said, “I for one applaud this new generation of liberty-minded Republicans.”

Not all participants equated the increasing support for individual liberty at the event with support for certain social issues, such as gay rights.

Evelyn Weinstein, a student from the state of New York, told PJ Washington about her confrontation with another participant over her support for gay rights.

“I’m a fiscal conservative, I believe in individual rights and small government, and I’m standing here being called a liberal because I support gay marriage,” said Weinstein. “If there’s a future for the conservative movement, it will have to be one that supports gay rights, especially with my generation – it is do or die for us.”

Weinstein – along with other young conservatives – filled a room at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, the site of this year’s gathering, to hear a panel voice the need for tolerance within the Republican Party.

The panel happened a day before Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announced his reversal on gay marriage after his son told him he was gay.

“[I want] him to have the same opportunities that his brother and sister would have—to have a relationship like Jane and I have had for over 26 years,” he told the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Friday.

“I don’t have a problem with gay marriage,” said Ben Dorchester, an attendee from Pennsylvania. “I see why so many conservatives disagree with it and they’re entitled to their opinion.”

Dorchester said he would support a Republican Party candidate that embraces gay marriage because he does not “believe conservatism is a take-it-all movement. Many people may disagree on several issues and still agree on core conservative values.”

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Top Rated Comments   
There's a great deal of debate as to whether we should or should not separate "fiscal conservatism" from "social conservatism". I say that there is no essential difference between the two. As per buzzsawmonkey below (http://pjmedia.com/blog/its-do-or-die-for-us-social-issues-cpacers-and-the-future/?show-at-comment=118136#comment-118136) we need to stop blindly accepting the Progressive's vocabulary and agenda.

Conservatives are conservative because they see the wisdom in long-established ways of doing things, ways that have been proven over time. Progressives value intentions over results, personal gratification over long-term thinking, the individual over the society. They also tend to argue by extremes: your way is wrong, you are an extremest, we must go to the opposite extreme instead. Obesity is bad, obese people drink too much sugar, we must bad large soft drinks.

Conservatives, on the other hand, pursue the right solution. Results are important, regardless of intentions, and we must consider not only the intended results but the second- and third-order side effects. We favor time-tested ways of organizing a society because they are time-tested. We change them reluctantly and carefully because we value not only the individual but the society in which we must live - and it's stability leads to the wellbeing of the family and ultimately the individual.

Before you cry for some drastic social change, whether public acceptance of homosexual behavior, legalization of previously controlled substances, or acceptance of women into the military, first do the research into why these things were not done or prohibited previously. Study history, study the failures of those who did accept or practice them, learn from our predecessors' mistakes.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What we see with the comments of several of the allegedly conservative posters here a complete acceptance of the leftwing political agenda at its own face value:

From their unthinking acceptance of the term "gay"---a 19th century slang term applied to theatre people, drug addicts, prostitutes, practicing homosexuals, and other bohemians---being applied to the current incarnation of the homosexual-rights movement;

To their refusal to look at any aspect whatsoever of the history of that movement;

To their refusal to look at the current social effects of having granted that movement's past demands;

To their unthinking acceptance of that movement's current demands without any examination whatsoever;

To their taking of that movement's word as to the probable effects of granting its current demands;

We can see a complete and utter abdication of historical analysis, and of critical thinking about cause and effect, about the nature of "rights" as they exist under the Constitution, and about the difference between "rights" and "legalization. There is not even a whisper of intimation that they apprehend that these issues exist, let alone require thought, analysis, and discussion.

Instead we see merely a series of exhortations, in most cases in the crudest terms, that others follow their lead and cave to the movement demands as presented.

I think that is intellectually shameful.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (35)
All Comments   (35)
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Rand Paul? He's doing well now but will be run out of town the same way they shoved his dad into a little box and kept him there. Social conservatives view anybody who's not them as a morally-depraved enemy. Anyone who doubts this need merely peruse the comments here, or in pretty much any other PJMedia thread.

Look, all of this is very simple. The Reagan coalition is dead. Conservatives filed the divorce, but they still want to screw the ex-wife they dumped. Conservatives won't compromise on their principles, but feel entitled both to libertarian votes, and to tell libertarians to compromise on THEIR principles.

It ain't gonna work. Republicans have nothing to offer except scorn and contempt on the social side, and weak-sauce budget proposals like Paul Ryan's completely unserious train wreck on the fiscal side.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Since Classically Liberal Christians are beyond the pale for you libertarians, good luck with the Totalitarian Communists, I say. Bye! Bye!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Social (moral) issues should be the subject of a "discussion" between a person and his/her god - not with a bureaucrat from either party.

Liberty sells. Tyranny of any flavor does not.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So what are all of you all-knowing windbags going to do when gays are getting married all over the place? Does it occur to any of you that you could simply be wrong? Perish the thought.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
'Tis the voice of the jackass; for I heard him bray,
"When my dreams come to pass, it will be a great day!"
Heedlessly reciting slogans he's been taught
With complete disregard of the ruin they've wrought.

---apologies to Isaac Watts and "'Tis the Voice of the Sluggard"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
My intel on the CPAC shindig was that young people supporting Rand Paul were present in abundance, and view their elders as "the establishment." I wrote about Rand Paul's filibuster here: http://clarespark.com/2013/03/09/feel-no-pain-rand-pauls-secret/. His elevation will mean the end of the Republican Party forever. Welcome to the left-wing anarchism and even communism.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's nice to know that Rand Paul stands for Communism. Great catch, Ms. Spark.

Wow, learn something new EVERY day around here....
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Traditional Christian marriage is the lifetime, indestructible union of one man and one woman for the procreation of marriage. That is why the recognition of divorce and the legalization of contraceptives were so destructive of marriage. We can go back only 100 years, when no self-respecting woman would want to bear a bastard and when it was argued whether widows could remarry (St. Paul arguably said "no"), to see what a change has happened in our culture. Gay marriage is hardly a threat, it is merely a reductio ad absurdum of what has gone before.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Politics is about power. The DOM Act was a huge mistake, because it made "conservatives" particeps criminis in federalizing the gay marriage issue. Or perhaps it was not a mistake, because the Republicans have been as eager as Democrats to demolish what was left of the Constitution. It is an issue that should have been left to the states.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A Conservative should not believe in specail rights for ANY group.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Exactly. That is why the entire "civil rights" industry is anathema to any conservative. It was shocking when Bush 43 chose to expand the industry. Even today, the House of Representatives can eliminate it at the federal level simply by zeroing out its appropriations. The fact that Republicans, too, batten off the civil rights industry tells us all we need to know about how "conservative" they are.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Um, can we talk about a more important issue - abortion?

North Dakota just voted to heavily restict it. We are finally starting to turn the tide on this mass murder, and now we social Conservatives are supposd to go back into the closet?

And BTW, CPAC has long has a rather strong libertarian contingent, which dominates the straw polls.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There's a great deal of debate as to whether we should or should not separate "fiscal conservatism" from "social conservatism". I say that there is no essential difference between the two. As per buzzsawmonkey below (http://pjmedia.com/blog/its-do-or-die-for-us-social-issues-cpacers-and-the-future/?show-at-comment=118136#comment-118136) we need to stop blindly accepting the Progressive's vocabulary and agenda.

Conservatives are conservative because they see the wisdom in long-established ways of doing things, ways that have been proven over time. Progressives value intentions over results, personal gratification over long-term thinking, the individual over the society. They also tend to argue by extremes: your way is wrong, you are an extremest, we must go to the opposite extreme instead. Obesity is bad, obese people drink too much sugar, we must bad large soft drinks.

Conservatives, on the other hand, pursue the right solution. Results are important, regardless of intentions, and we must consider not only the intended results but the second- and third-order side effects. We favor time-tested ways of organizing a society because they are time-tested. We change them reluctantly and carefully because we value not only the individual but the society in which we must live - and it's stability leads to the wellbeing of the family and ultimately the individual.

Before you cry for some drastic social change, whether public acceptance of homosexual behavior, legalization of previously controlled substances, or acceptance of women into the military, first do the research into why these things were not done or prohibited previously. Study history, study the failures of those who did accept or practice them, learn from our predecessors' mistakes.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
And sometimes, friend, something done for a long time was just a very long-lived mistake and I don't think I even need to provide you examples.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yes, like abortion. A very long-lived mistake.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If something is, indeed, a "long-lived mistake," it is up to those who believe it a "mistake" to prove it.

That has not been done. There is, meanwhile, abundant evidence that granting the demands of the agitators would be a serious mistake indeed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Referring to http://www.ruthinstitute.org/index.html and also to the excellent book on human societies "Man on Earth" by John Reader, marriage has always - since the beginning of human society - been defined as a contract between a man and a woman. Although there may be additional clauses, the fundamental basis is that she allows him sexual access and agrees to bear his children, he agrees to protect and provide for her and those children. The purpose of the marriage contract is to ensure that children (which after all are essential to the perpetuation of any society) are cared for and raised in a socially responsible manner conducive to an orderly society. ("Bastard" has always been in insult, since it implies that one grew up without the civilizing influence of a father).

Because the marriage contract is a contract, it is the concern of and subject to governmental concern. It always has been, and this Progressive assertion that marriage is somehow a purely religious function is a load of horse-hocky. Now of course all religions bless marriages, and in many societies (but not all) religious officials are authorized by the state to conduct marriages; however, marriage is and always has been a civil function. When Jesus asserts that in heaven people will neither marry nor be given in marriage (Matthew 22:30, etc) it probably isn't because there are no longer men or women, or even sex (I'm guessing), but because there is no longer a state.

It is important to note that this definition of marriage has held even in those societies that accept homosexuality (which, really, is most cultures outside of the Judeo-Christian heritage). The most notorious example of this is ancient Sparta, where homosexuality was ingrained in the culture to such an extent that wives literally had to pretend to be young boys in order to have sexual intercourse with their husbands. Nonetheless, the basic institution of marriage was still held sacred. Likewise, in first century Rome homosexuality was accepted, and - just to show that there is nothing new under the sun - there was even a push to legalize homosexual unions as marriages. It failed.

This is not to say that there are not other aspects of marriage that are also important. Marriage serves to keep the sexual impulses of males in check - the western insistence on monogamy particularly allows "Beta" males access to wives and helps keep them out of trouble; it helps to keep the population in check (Reader points out that in almost all societies, the more restricted the available resources, i.e. on small islands, the more difficult it is to get married and the more stringent the penalties for sex outside of wedlock); and it helps to ensure that older members of society are properly cared for. A marriage of even a barren couple serves as an example to other couples, especially younger ones, of what a marriage can be, and helps serve these ancillary purposes even if no children proceed directly from the union.

You might notice that I have said nothing of love here. As was stated more or less explicitly in the marvelous play "Fiddler on the Roof," love proceeds from a marriage, as the spouses learn each other; 20 years or so after their arranged marriage, Tevya and Golda finally realize that they do, in fact, love each other quite deeply. It is desirable to have husband and wife love each other - realizing that what modern society defines as "true love" is really just infatuation - but it has never been part of the legal definition.

Polygamy - whether polyandry or polygyny - is defined as multiple simultaneous marriages, not one marriage with multiple partners. After all, if a man with two wives divorces one, the divorce doesn't affect the legal status of the other wife. Nor, in any polygamous marriage, are the two wives (or two husbands) expected to have sexual relations with each other.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
1500 yeears ago the Rabbis mentioned that one of the few comaandments that the pagans of their time observed was that they did not write marriage contracts for homosexual marriages. (Another was that they only sold human flesh privately.)

It is amazing that we are about to sink below the Roman and Persian pagans.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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