Thursday, January 6, 2011

Health of Fusionism Update, CPAC Boycott Edition

Potential fusionist crack-up warning: some socially conservative groups are boycotting this year's annual Conservative Political Action Conference because of the CPAC board's decision to include GOProud, a gay conservative group.

I doubt it will surprise anyone that I'm perfectly fine with the decision to include GOProud. The boycott also strikes me as especially silly because GOProud's actual policy agenda appears quite modest. Most of the federal legislative priorities that have to do with domestic economic policy and hawkishness on foreign policy. Only two of the issues mentioned specifically have to do with gay rights -- DADT repeal and opposing a federal marriage amendment. In other words, approximately half of its federal legislative agenda having to do with gay rights amounts to a call not to change the status quo. The other half involves deferring to the military's policy judgments about what is appropriate for their services. Notably, the group says nothing about pushing for gay marriage or civil unions at the state level; about expanding either federal or state anti-discrimination laws to cover gays; or about expanding the reach of federal or state hate crimes laws. An interview with the group's founder also says that GOProud split off from the Log Cabin Republicans because the former group wasn't conservative enough. So despite the comments in the Washington Times article about CPAC's yielding to the forces of homosexual extremism, GOProud seems rather the reverse of extreme.

As far as the comments about libertarian arrogance toward social conservatives, I am perhaps not the best person to talk because I am actually quite arrogant toward many social conservatives. This is not them, though. It's me. I am basically insufferably arrogant toward people of most political persuasions -- left, right, and center. I am trying to change this, however, and to be more polite and civil toward everyone. Still, I note that there is plenty of social conservative arrogance toward libertarians in the world. I doubt I am the only libertarian in D.C. who has ever thought that, for various social and career reasons, it would just be so much easier if I could be a social conservative.

It is true, as one of the gentlemen interviewed in the Washington Times article says, that this is not a libertarian PAC. I realize that as a libertarian who is not a conservative, I have little right to tell them how they ought to run their movement. But let me paraphrase Ronald Reagan slightly and say that a government big enough to give values voters everything they want is also big enough to take it away. We libertarians can help values voters live according to their preferred norms, free from government coercion. We can help lower the stakes of politics, so that left-liberals are less inclined to use the state to impose their values on more traditionally minded voters. It's in their interest to try to keep us a little bit happy.

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