What Do Social Conservatives Want? | Cato @ Liberty

Social conservatives talk about real problems but offer irrelevant solutions. They act like the man who searched for his keys under the streetlight because the light was better there.

Social conservatives tend to talk about issues like abortion and gay rights, stem-cell research and the role of religion “in the public square”: “Those who would have us ignore the battle being fought over life, marriage and religious liberty have forgotten the lessons of history,” said Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) at the Values Voter Summit.

But what is the case for social conservatism that they’ve been making at the summit and in recent interviews?

  • Mike Huckabee: “We need to understand there is a direct correlation between the stability of families and the stability of our economy…. The real reason we have poverty is we have a breakdown of the basic family structure.”
  • Jim DeMint: ”It’s impossible to be a fiscal conservative unless you’re a social conservative because of the high cost of a dysfunctional society.”
  • Rick Santorum: “We can have no economic freedom unless we have good, virtuous moral people inspired by their faith.”

Those are reasonable concerns, but they have little or no relationship to abortion or gay marriage. Abortion may be a moral crime, but it isn’t the cause of high government spending or intergenerational poverty. And gay people making the emotional and financial commitments of marriage is not the cause of family breakdown or welfare spending

via What Do Social Conservatives Want? | Cato @ Liberty.

David Boaz: Republicans, Gay Marriage and the Sound of Social Change

Fortunately, Republicans are mostly ignoring Santorum and his allies these days. They see the long-term damage that the anti-gay crusade is doing them. Back in 2004 they thought that social issues, especially gay marriage bans, would help them win the presidential election. It wasn’t really true even then: it turns out that George W. Bush’s share of the vote rose just slightly less in the marriage-ban states than in the other states: up 2.6 percent in the states with marriage bans on the ballot, up 2.9 percent in the other states.

This year, even though President Obama and the Democratic platform have endorsed marriage equality, Mitt Romney and the Republicans are staying away from the issue. With good reason. The Washington Post reported earlier this month

via David Boaz: Republicans, Gay Marriage and the Sound of Social Change.

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