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Roger L. Simon

‘Mind Your Own Beeswax!’: How Social Conservatives Can Win By Losing

November 28th, 2012 - 8:05 pm

Hypocrisy is rife in American politics, particularly on the Left.

We are by now used to the likes of Oliver Stone and Sean Penn — who themselves live, quite literally, like Medici princes — spewing endless neo-Marxist drivel like sophomores at a four a.m. reefer klatsch. (Most recently, Stone has unleashed upon the public the eponymous Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States, a work best described as “Stalin porn.”)

Perhaps more significantly we are used to the giant leftist hypocrisy of supporting supposedly exploited Third World nations that themselves espouse and seek globally to expand virtually everything leftists claim to abhor (misogyny, homophobia, theocracy, etc.). Go figure.

But the Right is guilty of its own kind of hypocrisy. It’s interesting how some of those who most vociferously object to government interference in our economic affairs are most desirous of government interference in our personal ones.

I’m referring of course to social conservatives, who want to legislate our morals and values according to their views.

To be clear, I am quite sympathetic to the social conservative argument on abortion. Life, it appears to me, does begin at the moment of conception. (I can’t think of another time.) And at whatever phase of pregnancy an abortion occurs, a choice must be made between human lives, a horrible, and perforce immoral, situation.

I am less sympathetic to the social conservative position on same-sex marriage, which seems to me a civil rights issue.

But hold your tongues (and you blog comments) for a moment. Arguing my positions on these issues is not my intention here.

My point is: The social issues, whatever your position, are best dealt with outside the governmental realm.

I realize this is an unattainable goal and that government will always intrude in our private lives to some degree, but we must fight against it as much as possible for several reasons.

To begin with, social conservatives will be vastly more successful at having their views accepted if they make their case extrinsic of government.

Don’t believe me? Well, most of us remember “Mind your own beeswax!” from grammar school. That made an impression for a reason. People resent intrusion in their private lives to the extent that they often will do just the opposite of what was sought or recommended.  Generally, people don’t want anonymous others, folks they barely know, the government most of all, telling them what to do about matters that are extremely personal. They would prefer to hear that from close friends, family, clergy and healthcare professionals they know and respect. Wouldn’t you?

This is a great part of the explanation for why the Republican/conservative side lost in the election, although the popularity of the pro-life position has grown considerably since the 1970s. Democrats may hold the nanny state prize for our economic lives, but Republicans were given the nanny state prize for our private lives. We are the busybodies.

Unfair? Sure, considering the idiotic intrusions of the likes of Michael Bloomberg who wants to tell us how much soda pop we can drink. Also, because we’re really not, at least not most of us.

But the perception is real, especially among women. The rise of the bogus women’s issues during the campaign around such absurdities as free contraception (how about free cigars?) were made possible by this same perception.

Republicans have been losing the (majority) women’s vote for years and it is only going to get worse if we don’t take the social issues off the table and put them back where they belong — at home.

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