14 November 2008

Fiscal Conservatives, Social Liberals?

In the aftermath of defeat, Republicans and conservatives are debating the future direction of the party and the movement. While some argue that the GOP, at least, must reach out to new voting blocs, and therefore must moderate some of its recent positions, columnist Jonah Goldberg warns against alienating the core constituencies. Goldberg also denies an evolving thesis of conventional wisdom: that there's a growing schism separating people who are fiscally conservative but socially "liberal" from social conservatives.

In Republican circles, some people must be arguing that the first group must be their target for future success, but Goldberg questions whether the category even exists. "The idea that social liberalism and economic conservatism can coexist easily is not well supported by the evidence," he writes, "It turns out that people who buy into the logic of social liberalism, not just on abortion but racial and other issues as well, usually find themselves ill-equipped ideologically to say no to additional spending on causes they care about."

Goldberg may be missing the main point. He defines economic conservatism (allowing for a hair-splitting distinction between "economic" and "fiscal" conservatives) entirely within the context of government spending. To be a conservative, as he sees it, is primarily to be against "big government." This isn't untrue, but the terms of the debate are changing as we speak. The financial crisis and the Bailout are forcing the free market upon us as a fresh debate subject. The question is becoming less about how big government should be, and more about how free the market should be. Government's role becomes less a question of spending and more one of regulation. In this changing context, it doesn't necessarily follow that social conservatives will remain economic conservatives. They may opt for an older form of economic conservatism dating back to 19th century Britain, when Tories upheld state regulation of the economy while Liberals advocated laissez-faire. At the same time, libertarians will continue their commitment to limited government with free markets and (at least) cultural liberalism.

It's Goldberg's right to desire a Republican party dedicated before all else to limited government. But his argument that social, cultural or religious conservatives are the most dependable friends of limited government looks like wishful thinking. He acknowledges that "it's also difficult to be fiscally conservative and socially conservative if you've jettisoned the conservative dogma of limited government," making his faith in the Religious Right's commitment to limited government even more dubious. Again, Goldberg himself writes that "The religious right is much more likely to stop being 'right' than stop being religious." That coming near the close of his column makes reading it seem even more like a waste of time.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous1 says:

Jonah Goldhagen is, of course, the pseudo-historian who wrote the book "Hitler's Willing Executioners" making all Germans responsible for non-existent "gas chambers". He has not yet written a book called "Stalin's Willing Exectioners" making all Jews responsible for the crimes of Joseph Stalin. That thesis would be better supported by the evidence. Mr. Wilson is getting hung up on "definitional correctness". The real issue is not economic conservative versus social conservative; the real issue is making people both economic and racial conservatives. Economic conservatism no longer exists. Both parties spend money like drunken sailors. They merely quarrel over what the money should be spent on. Let us take representative Ron Paul, with whom I largely agree on most subjects. Paul loves to attack the government but refuses to talk about the preservation of the US as a white country. Thus, while Paul will wax eloquent over free markets, reducing government spending and returning to the gold standard, he adamantly refuses to suggest that America should belong to the whites who created it. At most, he will attack illegal immigration, which everyone knows is a code word for "race".

An individual who is economically conservative but socially liberal is merely someone who has had his brain fucked up by Jew bullshit. That is, he knows that excessive spending is a danger but thinks that mass murdering unborn babies and miscegenating are good things because the media rabbis tell him that babies aren't babies until they are born or that mestizo Indians crawling around in their own excrement are really an equal form of life. (Gee, I must be preaching "hatred" again merely by stating facts.) Jonah Goldhagen types invent all these nitpicking categories as a distraction. The real issues are as I state them.

Samuel Wilson said...

Don't take this the wrong way, but you're thinking of Daniel J. Goldhagen rather than Jonah Goldberg the newspaper columnist. As I never used the name "Goldhagen" in my post, I wonder at your confusion.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous1 says:

I stand corrected, but otherwisew my points remain the same.

crhymethinc said...

"Non-existent" gas chambers? Go back to Germany, Adolf. We don't want you're kind in this country any longer.