As a serious proponent of capitalism, I read my handful of conservative blogs. Conservatives think they are capitalists. They're not. Anyone that can make any apology or excuse for Bush Jr. is not even close. Being a true capitalist, I also read my share of blogs that are pretty liberal. Liberals don't seem to understand economic freedom and conservatives don't seem to understand personal freedom. But I can't bitch about both of them in one rant. I've already ranted about Lessons from the middle for liberals so this time the bitchiness is awarded to: the conservatives.
What has my ire up is the total failure of conservativism. In fact, the term is no longer even meaningful. They don't conserve anything. At least "liberal" is still correct -- they are liberal with the use of public funds. What the hell does conservatism conserve? Even amongst the conservatives that consider themselves skeptical, capitalist and politically centrist -- they are none of these. Zip. Zero. Zilch.
And if you look at the trends, the party is shrinking. It may be in the minority now, but you just wait. The downward curve is pretty steep and if you want to ride that curve to the bottom, then feel free. But if you want to fix the problem, listen up. If there is one key divisive issue it's religion. I am not saying you have to abandon it in your personal life. I am saying that if you want to grow your numbers or even have a chance in your hell of winning, you'd better listen up and get it out of your policy.
Conservatives pride themselves on being the party of "freedom." Put your party planks where your mouth is.
- Quit arguing over endorsing religion by trying to put the Christian Protestant version of the ten commandments in public places. Put them in your churches where they belong and will be revered properly. You know you don't want some icon of Islam in your courthouse (even though there is an extremely similar set of Islamic commandments) and you don't want some silly atheist "there is no god" plaque either. We also know you don't want the Catholic or the Jewish versions -- and yes they are different. The reason you don't know about them is that you're too busy nailing up your own version.
- Stop your arguing over abortion. And yes, this is a religious issue. You don't have to change your opinions. You don't have to stop peacefully protesting. Just stop trying to legislate. This is an individual rights issue and if you think the rights of the fetus are in conflict with the rights of the mother: check your premise. Individual rights do not conflict. (I actually have some ideas here... I just don't have the science background to back them up. Maybe someday...)
- Stop trying to outlaw gay marriage. It's contract law. You make the same silly stupid arguments here that you made in the sixties about mixed race marriage. Tradition is not a logical reason for anything. We all damn well know you have no legal argument against this and it is all about what you've read in Leviticus. But we all also know you're picking and choosing your Leviticus references. When you have a Defense of Edible Crustaceans Act alongside your Defense of Marriage Act, I'll start to believe you endorse the whole book.
- Don't argue over endorsing religion on your currency. Don't try to appeal to tradition and pretend it's been there all along. It hasn't.
- Don't argue over endorsing religion in some silly pledge of allegiance. Don't pretend that religion has been there all along either. It hasn't.
- Quit the war on drugs. Prohibition has never worked and never will. Criminalizing something stupid just creates a dangerous industry of organized crime. Don't play into that. Will smart people do stupid things and do drugs? Will innocent people die? Probably, but those things are happening now when it's criminalized. It's odd that you whould outlaw drugs because they are dangerous, but would defend your guns to your death. (And no, I am not arguing for gun control.)
- Stop trying to insinuate religion into public schools. If you want to start a private school and teach it there -- go for it. But don't use the tax base to support it. This applies to prayer and it applies to teaching the "theory" of intelligent design. ID is not a theory. It's barely even a hypothesis. And if you say "it's only a theory" one more time about evolution then I'm going to require you say the same about Newtonion physics. "Theory" means something specific in science, and apparently not what you think it means.
- Don't ever ever ever try to rationalize or apologize for Bush or anyone in his empire. (I know this doesn't apply to religion, but golly gee whiz, this is still so frickin common that I cannot ignore it.) His economic policies that got us into this mess and his economic rescue plans are philosophic equivalents for Obama's plans. Sticking up for Bush while you bash Obama makes you look foolish.
- Fully and completely understand that separation of church and state protects both the church and the state. Christians cannot even fully agree how to interpret their own bible. (Wikipedia lists some 37 distinct different sects and sub-religions.) Just remember that yours may not always be the one on top making the laws. Maybe that's why some smart folk wanted them separated so long ago.
You want to be the party of freedom? Then embrace freedom -- all of it. Freedom includes the freedom to be stupid and the freedom to do things someone else doesn't agree with. If you want to waggle your tongues about freedom then drop religion from the party and try to bring the moderates and the libertarians back into the fold. If you don't want to do this, then drop out and get out of the way so the libertarians can make something of themselves.