Thursday, February 08, 2007
Homosexuality and conservative decline-- symptom or cause?
The accelerating pace of social acceptance, whether you like it or not, is an empirical fact. I wonder how many Republicans realize that the Rove strategy of appealing to fundamentalist faith as the critical political ideology of the right could eventually destroy the conservative movement. It might have secured a few short-term victories, but at the expense of medium-term coherence as a coalition and long-term collapse. And I have a suspicion that the collapse could come sooner than some might imagine.I think he's probably overestimating the long-term impact of the GOP's actions, though.
After all, William F. Buckley defended segregation. President Nixon used the Southern Strategy to convert white racism into Republican votes. But by the 2000 election, the GOP ran as many black people as they could find up on stage at their convention. As Jesse Helms said to Chuck D, "the times changed, and I have changed with the times." By 2020, we'll probably see a GOP event featuring the Scissor Sisters. Well, maybe Clay Aiken.
The UK's Labour Party has also changed with the times. It once stood for public ownership of the means of production, but now it stands for... something else. Or, at least, it doesn't stand for that.
The coming destruction and collapse of the conservative movement, if it is to come, will be based only in part on the Republican treatment of gays. It will be based, more largely, on conservative hubris, and its consequent indifference to facts and competence.
Cheney's vetting of intelligence in the runup to the Iraq War, Bush's position on intelligent design, Michael Brown's qualifications for FEMA, the administration's political appointees to DA positions, the Rove-Norquist-Abramoff dream and goal of GOP dominance forever-- all were grounded in conservative political correctness, on how it made people feel, and not on morality or reality. And the GOP rank and file didn't resist until the day after the 06 elections.
The disdain for gays is a mere microcosm of this pacification of prefered interest groups without regard for morality or policy.
I'm inclined to say that this high level of tolerance for immorality in pursuit of power was a consequence of the partisanship and Clinton-hatred of the 1990s, and the previous feeling of conservatives that they were the thruth-telling underdogs, but I'm open to other theories.
My natural home as a small-government, socially tolerant, fiscally conservative voter may well be with the GOP, but it's a party that no longer exists. In fact, I wish that Snowe and Collins would jump ship and stop enabling torture, indifferently pursued war, massive debt, etc.
UPDATE: It didn't occur to me how silly this headline was till after I'd posted. Oh well. Maybe I'll get some hits from Bill Donahue or somebody out of it.