Friday, June 27, 2008

Religious Right = A Leave Us Alone Coalition?

I haven't paid much attention to Grover Norquist although I can respect some of his views on limited government and the idea of a "Leave Us Alone" Coalition. However, in a recent article in the Financial Times, Norquist writes:

Social conservatives – the so-called religious right – are a parents’ rights movement that wishes to be left alone with their faith and families. They organised in the late 1970s when the government threatened Christian radio stations and Christian schools with new regulations.

This is what Norquist in his most in his most recent book Leave Us Alone: Getting the Government's Hands off Our Money, Our Guns, Our Lives. It is also why I could not continue reading his book, especially after the brief and appallingly bad discussion on gay rights. While there are perhaps some (or very few) social conservatives, like my father in-law, who genuinely believes in live and let live (i.e. believes in marriage as being between a man and a woman but would never support a ban on same-sex marriages), it approaches absurdity to suggest that social conservatism as a political force has primarily been a "leave us alone" bunch when:

1. They have advocated amending our Constitution to limit marriage to a man and a woman (hence, using government to define marriage is for the rest of us - that's hardly leaving me alone).

2. Demanded that the federal judiciary intervene in a case that was solely within the jurisdiction of the State of Florida, and when that failed, a vicious and mostly misguided assault on the judiciary ensued. Of course, it didn't seem to occur to many of them that the federal government really does have no jurisdiction over these matters leaving (us alone?) the matter to the states. I should note that the whole Justice Sunday mess did not help matters.

3. Similar to Point 2 above, believe that it is perfectly legitimate for a majority to use government to violate the rights of others at will, even when such prohibited actions or arrangements in no way shape or form violates the rights of anyone. This is hardly a characteristic of a group that belongs in a "Leave Us Alone" coalition.

I could go on, but I think I've made the point.

One has to have their head in the sand to think that the group of people he associates with the "Leave Us Alone" coalition really belong. I think it's somewhat of an affront to libertarians or limited government types who have witnessed the likes of Tom DeLay, Rick Santorum, and others running roughshod over those principles to see them being described in this way.

Norquist can put as much lipstick on that pig as he likes but it will still be a pig no matter how hard he tries to hide that fact.