It is a favorite pastime of progressives to berate conservatives for what they consider to be hypocrisy. For example, it is a fatal error for a Republican senator to be chasing a secretary around his desk, literally. But it is perfectly forgivable for a Democrat president to be “serviced” by a young woman crouching under his desk, literally.
To my millennial-generation son this makes perfect sense, and is NOT evidence of progressive hypocrisy — people with no morals cannot be faulted for moral turpitude. Good grief, THAT is how low we have sunk, folks… It is OK for Democrat politicians to behave immorally because they do not claim to have any morals…
So in this vein there was a letter posted in a local paper citing quotations from no greater champion of conservatism than Barry Goldwater himself to assert that Goldwater made “war” on the religious right, and was in favor of “gay” rights… The author combined that with a usual progressive lament that Christians are making “war” on all other religions. Seems to me like the “peace loving” progressives are rather too obsessed with “war” and they are always “fighting” for one thing or another.
It seems not to bother the progressives that there are several unsupported assertions and factual and logical errors in this kind of argument; most notably, WHAT conservatives, WHAT Christian religions right are making “war” on other religions? WHICH other religions? The news for years now has been a philosophical war on CHRISTIANITY by progressives, homosexuals, abortionists, marxists, cultural relativists, historical revisionists and others, and of course a bloody physical war on CHRISTIANITY by muslims all over the world. If there is a “war” on other religions by Christians, I’d like to see some proof being offered; it is simply a matter of intellectual honesty and integrity, and, of course, courtesy to one’s readers. The only “religion” that Christians and Jews might and most certainly SHOULD be making “war” on is marxist progressivism.
The other problem with all these musings on the topic of the morality and hypocrisy of conservatives is that the critics of conservatism consistently overlook the fundamental issue that human beings NEED some form of moral guide to their actions, as Ayn Rand had explained in “Philosophy, Who Needs It.” Something has to teach us right from wrong. And of course the other problem is that progressives like to overlook or deny the fact that their “morality” comes from Karl Marx and the Communist Manifesto.
So if Barry Goldwater had a problem with a surging religious activism in politics, at least he recognized Ayn Rand’s point and he actually published a little book, “The Conscience of a Conservative.” How could anyone using Goldwater quotes to make a wildly partisan point fail to mention THAT? Very easy, for a progressive. In the very preface of his book Goldwater disputes defining conservatism only in economic terms and explicitly reasserts the religious foundations of conservatism. But of course Goldwater’s concern is constitutional political theory, and he lays out his case in the traditional historical terms of the state versus the individual. (Marxists, on the other hand, see everything only in economic terms; in fact, marxists see no distinction between economics and politics, and therefore marxists see everything as class warfare.)
As a constitutionalist, I recognize as ALL constitutionalists must recognize that there is absolutely NO room under the US Constitution for the FEDERAL government to have any role or say on any social or moral issue. The enumerated powers are specific and do not include sex, love, marriage, abortion, health care, education, “political correctness,” financial assistance, or anything else you can think of as a “social” issue. NONE of this is any of the FEDERAL government’s business, and therefore Goldwater was right, as any constitutional conservative is right, to resist attempts to make it so, whether the attempt comes from marxists or religious fundamentalists. Under the First Amendment it simply is not the business of the federal government to enact the tenets of any religion, but to concern itself only with issues in civil law that apply to all people within the full spectrum of their beliefs. THAT is what equality under the law means.
The social issues became fodder for activists eager to use federal power to advance their pet causes, because federal judges at all levels, driven by ideological activism, a desire to redefine the Constitution, expand federal power, bow to popular will, feeding an urge to make their mark on history, or whatever extra-constitiutional reason, failed their oath of office and decided to shoe-horn issue after issue into the tight confines of the enumerated powers by deliberate misreading and misapplication of the “general welfare,” “interstate commerce,” and “due process” clauses in the Constitution and in the Amendments, taken totally out of their historical, legislative and legal contexts. One judge after another failed to tell litigants to take their case somewhere else, it is not within the powers and concerns of the federal judiciary to rule on social and moral issues or anything else not specifically enumerated in the Constitution.
When you go down that road, there is nothing that cannot be related to “general welfare,” “interstate commerce” or “due process.” Think about what that means; no amount of intrusion into every possible human activity is outside the realm of federal power as long as there is a “due process” to specify the details of that intrusion. That is how dictators justify their actions; HItler tattooed serial numbers on his victims and kept detailed records… Stalin staged purges and show trials… they all killed millions and it was all “legal.”
If you want to see a full discussion of these points, read Ayn Rand’s works of fiction such as “Atlas Shrugged” and non-fiction such as “The Romantic Manifesto,” as well a Leonard Peikoff’s “Ominous Parallels” and “Objectivism, The Philosophy of Ayn Rand.”
But if the federal government cannot constitutionally address issues outside the enumerated powers, what about the states? The 9th and 10th Amendments clearly and specifically reserve to the States or to the people all powers not enumerated in Article 1 Section 8. So if California decides to be the land of fruits and nuts, who cares? If you do, you can always vote, or vote with your feet and leave the asylum. If the disfigured morality of the coastal liberal elite approves of their refusal or inability to replace themselves because of their faith in abortion and infanticide, or to pollute the festivities of the Rose Bowl Parade with a homosexual “wedding” on a float, they’ll reap what they sow and they’ll exterminate themselves. Like we should care? Well, yes, we should; a people remain free only as long as they remain moral. Once we let the government at any level define what is moral, we shift individual responsibility from self-restraint and adherence to simple moral principles to hair-splitting arguments over what is legal. That is how we make the transition from Lincoln’s government of, by and for the people to a government of, by and for the lawyers; that is how we got a dictatorial bureaucracy — at the federal, state and local level — drunk with power and contemptuous of both the people and its elected representatives.
The only way to prevent that from happening, or the to correct the distortions that have already been imposed on us, is to demand that the state constitutions, state laws and regulations, the charters of local governments, and local laws, ordinances regulations all parallel the restraints on government powers that are enshrined in the US Constitution, and to make sure that at all levels government limits itself to only those few functions that the private sector cannot and should not be providing. And again, if you read Ayn Rand, her libertarian predecessors and successors, and indeed the US Constitution on which all libertarian theories are based, you learn that the functions of the government of a free people pertain only to matters of national and domestic security and fair and impartial justice. Everything else is well within the powers of competent sovereign individuals to handle among themselves.