There should be no political division between social and fiscal conservatives. They equally depend upon and affect each other and cannot be separated. The so-called fiscal conservatives make the mistake of discounting the importance of social degradation. Nevertheless, I find myself having to address the current self-destructive trends of the social conservatives (along with the usual libertarians) for they are equally short sighted and destructive. Because of the emotional nature and religious motivations of the social conservative, there tends to be more passion and irrationality than with the fiscal conservatives. Also, due to the nature of those who stand for liberty, we tend towards more independent thought and therefore are more easily agitated towards division and splintering. This does not bode well for winning elections. And some pride themselves in losing, rationalizing it in creative ways, over thinking, and even treating it as a virtuous act.
These have now become a new type of useful idiot that the left has learned to be a reliable non-vote. All the left need do is watch, as the single issue voter has a temper tantrum, takes their ball goes home and refuses to participate. Yeah! They clink their champaign glasses; another half vote for the democrat left. This year, however, it could be even better for the democrats, because now these virtuous mavericks have gone quite mad and are considering sabotage as a way of really teaching those wayward republicans a hard lesson. But time after time the hard lesson that they teach comes right back and kicks them in their “jack-ass”. The government gets bigger with more and more entitlements buying more votes for the permanently ensconced Democrat Party. Then the republicans, who’ve now learned their hard lesson, follow behind making more and more concessions of their long forgotten principles in a desperate attempt to pull some voters back. And the country moves quicker and quicker towards tyranny. This makes these virtuous saboteurs more disillusioned as they disperse in any number of directions abandoning the corrupted country and quitting politics; going “Amish” to one degree or another.
I don’t mean to single out the social conservatives in this charge as they are not the only single issue voter; they are just the newer group of useful idiots. The libertarians have made it their continuous practice for years. They’ve been at it so long that we don’t even consider them as possibly influencing much less voting for republicans. It is particularly frustrating for me because I would call myself a “moral libertarian” and am quite the fan of Ayn Rand. But the libertarians (Rand as well) are purists and cannot tolerate anyone who dares veer from their purist agenda. I pointed this out to a well known libertarian how closely Thomas Jefferson and Rand align but Jefferson discovered these truths from a godly perspective and Rand from an atheistic one. But this libertarian was so dogmatic that he acted as if he could never politically support someone like Jefferson because of his religious beliefs. This is political insanity and a path to permanent defeat.
This is a textbook example of “cutting off your nose to spite your face”. It’s a child’s response to dealing with morally complex or ambiguous situations. It’s the teenager who commits suicide to get back at his parents. It’s voting for evil because the candidates on the ballot are simply not good enough. The democrat left is all too ready to exploit these angry voters. It is currently engaged in this very exploitation in key races in Illinois. There are certainly many more across the country because this is a big page in the democrat play book. All they need do is highlight one of these hot button issues that ignite the single issue voters, pointing out the heresy of the targeted candidate (whether true or not -the democrats can lie as easy as breathing), thereby picking off whole groups of solid voters -as these talk amongst themselves- who would otherwise disagree with the democrats on all the other issues. The democrats divide and conquer their enemies and watch as we shoot ourselves in the foot time and time again. The new useful idiots never see it coming. The more seasoned realize, however, that no matter how hideous your nose may look, you kinda need it, and the face looks better with a nose, any nose.
Politics is very much like war (a war of ideas), and just as serious though lacking the finality. The useful idiots blind themselves losing sight of who the real enemy is. The democrats happily play the role of Tokyo Rose to dispirit and create dissension. Primaries (before the real war campaign) are the time for choosing who will represent the party (the military commanders), a time to fight over ideas and vote your conscience. And limited are your choices on even these things because the majority still wins and you may not get your chosen leader. It is the nature of both democracy and war. Try harder next time. When the general election begins, however, this is when alliances are made, battle lines are drawn, and the two sides and only two sides face off. You will no doubt be fighting alongside and taking orders from those whom you find repulsive and disagree with religiously and philosophically, but they can never be your real enemy. Even when things are F.U.B.A.R., it is considered treasonous to undermine the war campaign.
Many single issue voters find themselves on an unfriendly ship with a captain that seems to be chasing a white whale leading to certain destruction. Many times, the sailors do not understand the pressures and responsibilities of being a captain, and being a mere man himself, misinterpret his actions, not perceiving the nuances of the full battle plan. This is the atmosphere that gives rise to notions of mutiny. The mutiny almost never ends well, and is considered a high crime worthy of death. The country’s loyalties must lie with the captain regardless of his shortcomings and the mutineers if not put to death are forever banished. All mutinies are serious, even during peacetime, but in times of war, completely unthinkable, being destructive to captain, mutineer and country. Do not give ear to the whisperers who make gallant arguments toward mutiny in this current political war.
In any true war there are always only two sides. All the countries that participate in a conflict must always choose a side. Both war and politics make strange bed-fellows. This highlights the folly of the third party. Imagine a small country like Switzerland rising up in WWII in opposition to both the allied and axis forces and attempting victory. It would be suicide. The same thing happens to all the third parties in political campaigns only without the blood and the death, so they are able to come back and commit the same suicide cycle after cycle. The political suicide is not taken seriously; not carrying the same immediate, and ultimate consequences.
So, who are these deserters and saboteurs? I find that they fall into three main categories with much crossover between them: the self-promoters, the purists, and the naive political pacifists.
The smallest, but perhaps the noisiest category are the self-promoters. The self-promoter is someone who stands for a certain issue not so much because they care about the issue but because by standing firm, and shouting loud, they distinguish themselves from the crowd and therefore promote themselves. The issues are really secondary. It is all about them. Sabotage is usually a good tactic for the self-promoter because by its very nature not many people have the stomach for it. It’s radical and a great means to distinguish the self promoter from the crowd. They are incapable of admitting they are wrong. They prefer going down with their ship rather than admit their position could ever have been miscalculated. They glory when their sabotage is successful because that demonstrates their knowledge and influence. When their sabotage fails, they become the gallant victims of the powerful forces that they were fighting against. We are continually encouraged to join them in their personal crusade against these “secret forces” whether true or not. Sometimes they are true, so the self-promoter can be entertaining and/or informative, but the truth remains secondary to the self-promotion. To expose a self-promoter, simply ask a probing question and notice how defensive they become on their positions and how impudent, that one would ever question their authority on the subject.
Next, there are the purists. These are the pious, the myopic single issue voter certain that their particular issue is the one important issue which overrides all others. It is the only issue that really matters to God, and if a candidate can’t get this right, then they must be wrong on everything else. These are perhaps the most difficult to argue with since they speak, according to themselves, as the moral voice of God or reason (in the case of the libertarian). (And what pragmatic argument can stand against that weight?) They are on a mission from God. Like the self-promoter, their issue is undoubtedly important, but no one issue is the only issue. In politics, as in reality, you must take what you can get. Remember the old adage: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”. What can be changed is to vote the democrats out of power. What can’t be easily changed or determined are the beliefs and/or future actions of every candidate. The purist cannot accept this impurity and they become marginalized useful idiots with big mouths for the democrats to exploit.
For the purist, the candidate must both say the right thing and say it in the right way. To use the abortion issue as an example, it is not enough to simply save the life of the unborn in whatever manner possible. Instead it must be done in a certain up front and pure manner. One candidate, as a matter of tactic, was hoping to make abortion illegal after 16 weeks, and that would have been miraculous within itself. This would have saved unborn babies but to the purists, this was an unacceptable way to do it. They demanded the phrase “life begins at conception”. The fiscal conservative may actually save more unborn babies by cutting funding for planned parenthood (what the democrats are accusing even some liberal republicans of) for simple economic or legal reasons without ever being “pro-life”. Additionally, it is very possible that the non-pro-life office holder will go along with pro-life legislation such as cutting funding simply out of party loyalty. Unborn babies are saved but the purist does not recognize or comprehend such scenarios. So his purity leads him to sabotage the very thing he claims to care so much about. The purist would do well to learn what is meant by “Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself?” (Ecc. 7:14) But, of course, they would point out that this was written by the impure Solomon, so what does he know?
These purists could also be likened to the “sons of thunder” whom Christ rebuked when they suggested, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” [Luke 9:54-56]. God is not a proponent of sabotage or overly pious fools who pretend to be delivering the judgment of God. “Vengeance is Mine” saith the Lord.
Another unintended consequence of puritanical sabotage happens when the democrats eventually get elected (to the ironic groans of the useful idiots who just voted for them). The economy of course becomes worse, production decreases, welfare increases, regulations increase, more unborn babies die, the gays can marry, and society crumbles a little more. At this point the good conservatives in the flocks of the purists find it impossible to stay in the state either for financial or social reasons (it does not matter). So they leave. And the next election cycle has fewer conservatives to vote in better candidates in the primaries; they lose the war in the general election and the cycle of defeat and democratic misery goes around again. But the purist then glories in his self-imposed persecutions, proclaims God’s judgement upon the impure, and hunkers down in his cave with his ever decreasing flock who still rely on his every word. These flocks make up part of the final category.
These are the naive, the political pacifists and politically immature (not as an insult, but rather as reality), who maintain an idealistic world view. These are primarily deserters rather than saboteurs, though the saboteurs help them justify their desertion. These are voters who vote their conscience without thinking too deeply as to the larger implications of their actions. Being political pacifists, they object to the political war and oftentimes do not vote in the primary, which is when their conscientious vote is most needed. Their vote is considered “sacred” and only feel good about it when they can find a candidate who shares their deep concerns and with whom they feel they can trust. Strategic voting doesn’t feel right to them, because voting is a testament of their beliefs to God and the world. They do not accept losing very well, and in the face of it, either choose to no longer play, or lash out in self-destructive behavior against those who have hurt them. Oftentimes, as explained above, they are led by one or more of the self-promoters or purists whom they allow to do their thinking for them. By doing so they feel safe.
Safety is a prime motivation for these folks to either simply not vote, or to vote destructively based on a simplistic world view, their fundamental ignorance, or the advice of those they listen to. They simply do not know what they do not know, and it humiliates and intimidates them to learn. Many of them remain blissfully ignorant of how the political war affects their daily lives. This has lead some religious sects to claim that a the religious person has no place in politics. Of course this means that they have no place in public life. -and they go “Amish” to one degree or another.
One of the simplistic arguments that the naive make is to point out that the world is destined to end in chaos and destruction, so why bother trying to slow it down? They are ignorant of the scriptures and what Christ advised; “We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work.” [John 9:4] When the end comes, there will be no doubt, all work will cease.
All these voters fail to realize the uncomfortable truism that every election is a choice between the lessor of two evils. It is not your moral affidavit before God with which He will use to judge you by. In every human candidate there will always be something that will turn a voter off. Christ is not on the ballot, nor are we voting for a Savior. The government and the politicians are not here to save us (hopefully), nor to save society from moral decay. That was supposed to be the job of the pulpit but the pulpit is silent, so the pulpit expects governmental candidates to speak the moral imperatives that they are too cowardly to proclaim. And these cowardly people always get the government they deserve. If you are voting for a savior of some sort, then you are destined to be permanently disappointed. You have problems way beyond simply making poor political judgments. We’re simply voting for an imperfect guy or gal to run some office of the government, leave us all alone (hopefully), and try not to financially ruin us. The democrats can vote for their messiah, we already have one and He’s not running for office.
We have a chance of making a real move (however small) in the right direction in this upcoming general election, but we must not be myopic in thinking only this or that type of conservatism matters most. We must take any form of limited government we can get, which is the essence of constitutional conservatism, without making self-destructive distinctions between the fiscal and the social. Limiting the power and scope of government is good for all of us. This is very difficult for the self-promoting saboteur, the super pure or the political pacifist to accept. Keep in mind that those who sabotage the larger campaign also destroy the possibilities of all the other good candidates working to make positive change; as they may find themselves elected, and yet hopelessly trapped behind enemy lines. Politics is really not the best place for these personality types to play. Unfortunately, they are considered capable enough to vote and oftentimes they’re on our side, but try not to upset them.