Are Social Cons Saving Liberalism? Roger L. Simon Thinks So, Sees Libertarian Shift as Future of Conservatives, GOP

A few
weeks back over at PJ Media, Roger L. Simon penned
an interesting piece
arguing that social conservatives are
helping liberals out by pushing culture-war themes in an America
that has long moved on to more basic economic issues of governance.
It’s not that personal lifestyle issues don’t matter, he says, it’s
that most of them (maybe all of them) should be dealt with in
non-political channels.

Citing polls that we use frequently here at, Simon
notes with approval that distrust of government is at record highs
and that a new generation of kids are growing up sans a lot of
their parents’ baggage:

When you come down to it, virtually nothing associated with the
liberal platform met with their approval — even legalization of
marijuana was dealt with in most instances with a shrug — except,
you guessed it, same-sex marriage.

That appears to be the one issue militating against a coming
Republican majority, but it is an exceptionally potent one because
it is used, fairly or not, to paint the right as bigots.  And
young people, again not surprisingly, don’t want to hang with
bigots — so the whole house of cards goes down.

On the other hand, I sensed no hostility toward religious
people.  Several of these
kids were religious — a few devoutly. They were
quite thoughtful on the subject of abortion with a variety of
 views. But to them gay marriage was a done deal. Remember,
they come from a generation in which nearly all of their gay
contemporaries are out. These are their friends and classmates that
are being discriminated against.

In terms of politics, Simon looks toward libertarianism as the
ideology of the future. Not because it stops discussion over any
issue, but because libertarianism removes many of those issues from
politics and put them back in places better suited to hashing out
differences. It’s a stark – and I think convincing – message to
conservatives and one they should heed when considering political
alliances. Any energy coming from Republicans these days is because
the large failure of Barack Obama
and liberal Democrats’
political agenda and because of the libertarian wing of the GOP and
its focus on civil liberties, foreign policy, and fiscal rectitude.
It’s not because cultural warriors are getting the vapors over the
gays or drugs or the need to triple defense spending.

People under 40 (plus or minus a decade!) simply don’t think
about things the way Americans did a generation or two ago and many
of the political linkages borne out of the Cold War era in U.S.
politics – especially on a broadly defined right – are simply
defunct. Indeed, even among religious Americans, the once-hugely
important dividing lines among Evangelicals, Catholics, and
have dissolved in a way that was unthinkable during Ronald
Reagan’s first presidential term (back then, ecumenism was a dirty
word and Jerry Falwell was as likely to fulminate against Roman
Catholics as against any group in America).

Simon concludes:

I have to say in all candor that political opposition to
same-sex marriage is the Achilles’ heel of the right going into
2016. Social conservatives who intend to make a serious issue out
of it should realize that the fallout from their views could
adversely affect all of us in a catastrophic way.

No one is going to be happy here. SoCons who continue to press
this issue on the political (not the personal or religious) stage
have to realize that they are damaging many of us who have other
concerns domestic and foreign, many of which we would probably
agree on more easily.

This is a great moment.  A seriously smaller government is
a real possibility with electoral victories in 2014 and 2016.
 Let’s not jeopardize them by emphasizing an issue more
properly, and unquestionably more successfully, dealt with in the
private realm.

Read his whole column.

Simon’s libertarian swerve started a discussion among other PJ
Media columnists,
which is gathered here

from Hit & Run

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