Conservatives Aren’t Conservative Anymore
WASHINGTON – Some new polling today reveals that Rick Santorum could be in for a very good day. Contemplate that for a moment. Rick Santorum, a perfect example of religious conservatism or fundamentalist Republicanism, take your pick, but he’s certainly not conservative in the actual meaning of the word. That Rick Santorum also believes abortion is done cavalierly and is better left in the shadows shows religious conservatism at its core (see the video above). I write about this subject at length in my book in a chapter title “Is Freedom Just for Men?” Needless to say, Mr. Santorum couldn’t be more wrong.
Erick Erickson revealed in a post this weekend the fundamental problem with Republicanism today. It’s not conservative at all anymore.
This cannot end well for him, particularly doing this claiming to be a Christian. And it might not end well for the rest of us either. Barack Obama has gone to war with Christians’ consciences and he is perverting God’s word in the process to get his way on public policy. – The Perversion of the Words of Our Lord Jesus Christ by the Sinner Barack H. Obama, by Erick Erickson
In a rambling, self-importantly arrogant post, Erickson pontificates on what he thinks he knows about being a Christian through a literal analysis of the Bible. Then he stands in judgment over Pres. Obama.
The self-righteous never see irony coming.
There is nothing Christian in Erickson’s harangue against Pres. Obama. There is also nothing conservative about it.
Conservatism has a measure of grounding when you listen to analysis of it from people who don’t wrap their religion through their conservative ideology.
A religious conservative can be against abortion. But an ideological conservative, while being against abortion and not wanting to fund it, cannot simultaneously take a person’s liberty away by forcing pregnancy on a woman when natural law protects her right to personal autonomy.
The very notion of conservatism is rooted in personal liberty. Whether religious conservatives like it or not, to be true to conservatism, they must honor that liberty. Today, they do not.
Any conservative with intellectual or political integrity would understand that conservatism of any depth must be rooted in the fundamental idea that interrupting the freedoms of any person through the intrusion of government, whether federal or state, is abridging a person’s autonomy in a manner that is the anti-thesis of conservatism.
Religious conservatism or fundamentalist-based Republicanism is actually a self-righteous marketing attempt to make people like Erickson and his ilk think they are on higher ground and have the ultimate interpretation of right and wrong. You hear it through Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and the rest of the self-righteous radio crowd.
It’s the blatant hypocrisy to claim to be a conservative, but think religious dogma should hold more sway than an individual who’s privacy and personal freedoms are innate to being a person in the first place.
Conservatism without religion can make sense.
Add religion, however, and conservatism becomes authoritarian in nature, relegating women to non-persons, second class citizens and slaves, because the state or federal government, through religious dictates, is now in charge.
Conservatism’s very nature is about doing less, leaving the individual alone to prosper and live without interference, which certainly should include women.
However, since Ronald Reagan invited the “Moral Majority,” which was neither moral or a majority then or now as it exists in other forms, conservatism was bastardized into something that now includes a campaign to take over the domain of a woman’s very body through means of the state or federal government.
Erick Erickson sees no problem with this, because he’s a religious conservative, not a conservative.
You can be religious and you can be a conservative, but once you put the two together in an ideological philosophy you lose the moorings of anything that has integral grounding in what conservatism actually means.
Not even Ron Paul passes this test as a Libertarian. He’s said before that he’s against abortion, because it’s violent, which is perfectly acceptable, but that he’d allow the states to decide the law governing abortions. This fails the basic autonomy test and the very notion of liberty that’s in Libertarianism, which he proved in an interview with Piers Morgan.
The biggest impediment to curtailing abortions is the refusal of religious conservatives and fundamentalist Republicans to accept the primary component to being a person, which is the body that houses the soul, assuming it exists, is something over which no other, certainly no politician, clergy or the state, has control.
This is about personal autonomy and living freely without any dependencies, the first component of personhood. It’s not abortion, but includes it, because religious fundamentalists are using political means to wage a war against the very notion of women’s individual freedom.
If people believing in true liberty don’t start taking religious conservatives on, whatever party they are in, over their fundamentalism, women’s autonomy won’t be sacrosanct one day.
This includes taking on people like Pres. Obama when he decides that a safe pharmaceutical like Plan B can be used as a stick to the contraceptive carrot that came afterward, because women’s individual freedoms remain a bargaining chip for politicians and their supporters.
The ultimate example of this was seen through the Susan G. Komen fiasco last week, when Komen decided to make ideology more important than the health of women, especially poor women, who have been a political football since the Hyde Amendment. Yes, Pres. Obama used poor women as a football too, and he did it through the religious conservative playbook that created Hyde in the first place.
Taylor Marsh is the author of the new book, The Hillary Effect – Politics, Sexism and the Destiny of Loss, which is now available in print on Amazon. Marsh is a veteran political analyst and commentator. She has been profiled in the Washington Post, The New Republic, and has been seen on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Arabic, as well as on radio across the dial and on satellite, including the BBC. Marsh lives in the Washington, D.C. area. This column is cross posted from her new media blog.