Thursday, January 5, 2012

Abortion and Same-sex Marriage: Give it up, already!

As frequent readers of this blog, friends, and associates know, I have no problem calling myself a conservative. It is true that I am a supporter of the Cato Institute, that I hold a number of distinctly libertarian positions, and that I have voted for many democrats in various elections, but at my core the blood of Burke runs through my veins (along with heaps of Hobbes, dashes of Locke, and sprinkles of Machiavelli).

The Federal Government, in my view, is a limited government. It should possess those powers given it by the Constitution and no more. And it should fulfill its essential obligations, above all else. The most critical of these are maintaining security, maintaining the legal and economic system, and protecting private property. Over the course of the last two hundred years, there has been a somewhat steady erosion--checked and even reversed in moments--of these fundamental duties, in favor of international law (a nonsensical concept), equality of outcome, and social justice. And--in my view--that can't be helped. Nothing lasts forever.

But the goal of a conservative is to achieve--whenever possible--those moments in which the erosion can be checked. Sometimes, this means surrendering some changes in one area to achieve what is needed in others. The Presidency of George Bush is a perfect example of this, as domestic policy went largely the wrong way in those years.

Now, I feel we are at--or very near--another watershed moment, a much bigger moment than has been seen in decades. Federal authority is being expanded for the sake of undermining the essential obligations that the government is supposed to fulfill. And this is happening via the creation and growth of new government programs and bureaucracies designed to establish "equality" via punitive measures that destroy freedom.

Many of the Republican hopefuls--like those in the tea party movement--recognize this, I think. But at the same time, they also spend what is in my opinion an inordinate amount of time on specific issues that--in the context of the most important problems--are just not that significant. I'm speaking of abortion and same-sex marriage.

The libertarian in me says "let it go, people have a right to make choices." For no matter what anyone says, an abortion is a medical procedure and it can be justified. Is it a "good thing"? No. But it must be allowed though not encouraged. And same-sex marriages will take place in defacto form if the States do not allow them. The struggle against them is pointless and--again, in my opinion--deeply wrong-headed, since people must be allowed to seek happiness, especially when that happiness promotes social cohesion with no cost to others.

Just today, fresh off his strong showing in Iowa, Rick Santorum engaged in pointless bickering over same-sex marriage with people in a crowd he was addressing. It's stupid. Sure, it plays well to those wound up in the morality of the issue, even though it's not the role of the state to arbitrate morality. But it also provides ammunition for those on the other side of the political divide. And to what end? The President of the United States should be concerned, first and foremost, with making sure the government is doing what is supposed to be doing, per the Constitution, and not doing the things it is not supposed to be doing.

Then, there is pragmatic reality of political capital. It needs to be spent on the most critical issues, not wasted on the far less critical. And right now--from a real conservative's point of view--those issues are the military, the economy, and the unabated spending of the Federal Government.

Drop the side shows, my Republican friends. Stick with the critical stuff. Before it's too late.

Cheers, all.


  1. Abortion should assume pre-Roe status, some states you can, some states you can't. The Tenth Amendment says that's okay. Or it did at one point in time anyway when the USA still practiced federalism.

  2. The only people that want to ban abortion are those who would also support banning interracial marriages, woman voting, child slavery, etc, is acceptable in some states in the USA. A "republic", is what so many people say the USA is. A 'republic' protects the minority. This is how past politicians like Thomas Jefferson, were so successful in stopping the legal practice of Puritans demanding Quakers pay for their churches, and more recently, why black people were allowed to live free and not be legally hung. Both of these were not supported by the majority, just as most things we take for granted today. If we want to be something other than the "United States of America" then we are not a "republic". Any 'right' that is allotted to people in one state, should also be accepted across the country.