Just this past September, at the Values Voter Summit, Sen. Jim DeMint made the remark that “you cannot be a real fiscal conservative if you” are not a social conservative and also said “we need a big God to have a small Government.” Then again, just this week, he just reaffirmed this idea.
I think there is a predominant feeling in the conservative movement that, at a time when the nation is faced with an overwhelmingly leftist government, the last thing the conservative movement needs is to let God and “social issues” (whatever that means) out of the closet to divide and splinter the movement. Coupled with the increasing influence of libertarianism and with an aim toward unity in the conservative movement, religion and issues that are closely linked to religious belief have been locked up, kind like that crazy aunt that’s just a little bit too Christiany for polite society.
The Tea Party movement, which has spearheaded the conservative revival in America has been focused on the over-size and over-reach of government and the cancerous growth in government spending. Are not the issues of government intrusion into the life of the citizen and the insane amount of deficit spending both moral issues? Isn’t the question of the extent to which the government can take the fruit of one person’s labor and give it to another, whether you want to call it charity or theft, a moral issue? Isn’t the printing of $900 billion dollars of paper money, apart from any value to back it up, whether you want to call it “Quantitative Easing” or fraud, a moral issue? If these are moral issues, which I certainly believe that they are, then are they not also issues that affect society; are they not “social issues”?
What’s fascinating about these economically social issues is that people can disagree about them and still be friends at the end of the day, but try calling abortion murder or talking about the necessity of God for a good society and you might as well be Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s long lost brother trying to institute a Christianist theocracy. Why is this case, when both printing money out of thin air and killing an unborn baby are both moral issues that affect society?
Progressivism tries to make a way out of this by tossing around the word tolerance like rice at a wedding, but why tolerate one and not the other? Conservatives, on the other hand, must come to terms with the fact that there is a connection between religion and politics, between economics and the good, between the good and God. Social issues matter and are much broader than we think.
Conservatives and Christians have tried to show, however clumsily, that the family is essential to a stable and flourishing society. A man by the name of Glenn Foster, standing on the shoulders of Abraham Kuyper, taught that each person has a function and so do institutions like the family, the church and the state. While these different institutions have different functions and areas of sovereignty, they are all still human intuitions and are therefore all under the moral law which is written on the heart of all human beings.
The reason why “social issues”, in the popular sense of the term, are so divisive is because of cultural relativism–a sort of Leftist “relativity.” Like time is relative to the speed at which you are traveling, truth is relative to the speed at which a culture is developing and right and wrong changes as time and culture do.
This is where the heart of the problem is. Without a steadfast moral compass, grounded in truth, we are left in skepticism, and morality becomes little more than a populist battle between utilitarianismand ethical egoism, with politics and the state becoming the means to whatever “good” is currently deemed to be the best at this point in history, whether it be the mass destruction of another race or the mass consumption of whatever makes you feel good, so long as it doesn’t intrude on my liberty to do what feels good to me.
What if all political opinions actually proceed from our moral judgments? And what if our moral judgments were based on what we believe is good? And what if what we believe is good for us as human beings depends on what we believe a human being actually is – evolved from a chance explosion or created by God, or some combination of the two? Would this allow us to conclude that every political decision is a moral issue that affects those around us?
Everything is interconnected.
Economics deals with more than just money. Not only are we about to “stimulate” the economy again with $600 billion in treasury bonds, which will devalue the dollar, but we are lying to ourselves because the “new money” has no real value to it.
All choices are moral, and every political decision is “social” just as the more commonly acknowledged social issues like abortion, stem-cell research, gay marriage, etc. Social issues do not end there; they extend to the questions about the role and size of government, and beyond.
Politics is about making choices that will lead to the best outcome and that would include economics, but what is truly the best for mankind is a moral question. Economics is not just about math. It affects peoples’ lives and goals and it drives the spirit of the American Dream.
Think about it! Every decision you make has a moral component.