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A Conscientious Objector in the Culture War ...
I used to be a liberal, along with all my friends, but then I evolved.
I was liberal on civil rights. I didn’t even object to affirmative action in the beginning. But then it started bothering me that a black kid whose father or mother was a lawyer or a doctor would get better treatment than a white kid whose dad was a coal miner in West Virginia. How was that fair? That white kid wasn’t privileged?
Simply being for women’s rights when the modern feminist movement began in the 1960s wasn’t good enough either, not as far as a lot of elite liberals were concerned. You had to buy into the whole feminist package. So you were expected to support women who wanted to be firefighters even if they weren’t strong enough to carry some big guy out of a burning building – in the name of women’s rights and equality. Sorry, no can do.
Abortion? Even being pro-choice wasn’t enough for a lot of liberal feminists. You had to also support late term or partial birth abortion. A woman’s right to choose apparently has no bounds in such matters. And you had to accept the idea that a 14-year old girl should be allowed to get an abortion – without her parents knowledge or consent.
So over the years I edged in the right direction, and now I’m as conservative as Rush Limbaugh on anti terrorism and national defense issues, for example, and on small government and lower tax issues as well. But not on social issues.
Frankly, I don’t care if Adam marries Eve or if he marries Steve. I just don’t care! I don’t think civilization as we know it will crumble if we allow gay marriage. But unlike many liberals, I don’t think you’re necessarily a bigot if you’re against it. If you simply hate gays, then yes, you are a bigot. If you’re against gay marriage, say, for religious reasons, I get it. Reasonable people, as they say, may disagree.
I don’t think a zygote, the size of a dot at the end of a sentence, is a human being just like you and me. So if there’s even a whiff of a chance that embryonic stem cell research will cure some horrible disease, I’m all for it.
If conservativism is a three-legged stool – defense, small government, social issues – I’m on board for two out of the three. In most circles that would be enough. But I’ve been “accused” of not being a “real conservative” because I can see the other guy’s point of view – a cardinal sin among the true believers.
And of late the culture wars have me wishing I were a conscientious objector. A couple of quick examples:
Let’s say President Bush had said, “I think more of us in this great nation of ours need to start taking a little more personal responsibility for our actions. And along those lines, I think all Americans who can afford medical insurance, ought to get it. And that’s not just a suggestion. I am proposing legislation that would make it mandatory for all Americans who have the means to buy it, to do just that. The time is over when some Americans don’t buy insurance – and perhaps use the money take a nice vacation to Cancun instead – and then expect the rest of us to pay their hospital bill.”
I don’t know about you, but that strikes me as a statement of conservative principles. (We can debate whether the idea is constitutional some other time.) It sounds to me like an idea conservatives would be proud to support. And I’d bet you anything, a whole bunch of conservatives – especially the ones with megaphones on talk radio -- would do just that. If Bush had said it.
But when Barack Obama says pretty much the same thing, conservatives denounce the idea in the harshest language and call him a socialist -- and worse.
Now let’s consider another example taken from the news. Try to imagine that George W. Bush -- or better yet, President Palin -- said this: “We’re going to put the terrorists behind 9/11 on trial – in a federal courtroom in New York City.” Now imagine that Bush’s (or Palin's) attorney general publicly stated that a guilty verdict is the only one acceptable, that “failure is not an option.” And on the outside chance the terrorists are acquitted, he might send them back to an open-ended military detention.
I can hear the screams from the liberal elites. “Why try a terrorist in New York City and open all those wounds?" they would demand to know. "Why put New Yorkers through the agony. Only a dummy like Bush (or Palin) would come up with such a lame-brain idea.” Yes, of course, liberals prefer civil trials to the kind the military holds. Of course, many of them don't trust the military when it comes to trials or just about anything else. But remember, it was Bush's idea. Or Palin's!!!
Yet, when Obama comes up with it, they applaud.
And when his attorney general says, “failure is not an option” we get nothing from those sensitive souls at the ACLU. And nothing from the Upper West Side liberal elites along the lines of, “Doesn’t that statement mock the very idea of a fair trial? Isn’t the attorney general saying, ‘he better be convicted or heads will roll in the federal prosecutor’s office in New York City.’ And while we’re on the subject, is the AG really saying he won’t let him go free if he’s found not guilty? Only a moron like Bush could find such a right-wing, fascist attorney general!"
Where are the protests from the Left about this "failure is not an option" business and about how even terrorists, if acquitted, should be set free?
You see, liberals only complain about Bush and the loudest of the loudmouths on talk radio only complain about Obama. Those are the modern day rules of war. To do anything else is tantamount to giving ammunition to the enemy.
As I said, there are times when I wish I were a conscientious objector in the culture war. The hypocrisy makes me sick.