Brown votes for Son of Stimulus

(Note: In connection with Scott Brown, Lydia McGrew raises the question, is it possible for a person to be socially liberal and fiscally conservative? I reply.)

Given his non-opposition to homosexual “marriage,” his support for abortion (other than partial birth abortion), his display of his half-naked daughters at his side at his victory speech, and his complete lack of any regret over his sleazy Cosmo centerfold picture of a generation ago, we knew that Scott Brown was no social conservative. But based on his strong statements on the subject, we had grounds for believing that he was an economic conservative, a principled opponent of increases in spending, taxes, and size of government.

Whoops. Brown voted with the Democrats for cloture in the jobs bill, a.k.a. Porkulus 2, and some of his supporters are ready to eat him alive. See the coverage at Michelle Malkin’s site.

- end of initial entry -

Gintas writes:

You wrote:

Whoops. Brown voted with the Democrats for cloture in the jobs bill, a.k.a. Porkulus 2, and some of his supporters are ready to eat him alive.

Did a RINO really stop Obamacare? What kind of Kafka world is this?

Lydia McGrew writes:

Re your post on Brown and cloture on the stimulus bill: I’ve found it hard over the years actually to find an example of the “socially liberal but fiscally conservative” Republican. Sometimes I refer to this creature as a mythical beast. If anything, being in favor of small government is more radical in the present political climate than being, say, against legal abortion. So if a politician is not willing to stick his neck out even on the social issues where he has a strong and recent history in his own party to back him up, why would he be fiscally conservative, when most Republicans haven’t been fiscally conservative for a long time?

Perhaps I’m just uninformed, though. Am I just forgetting some recent example of a Republican candidate even close to as socially liberal as Scott Brown who nonetheless strongly opposed big government in concrete ways?

I think that conservatives should stop talking and wrangling among themselves about the mythical beast. Instead, conservatives should be a lot more suspicious of the fiscally conservative credentials of socially liberal Republicans.

LA replies:

This is a very good question. Offhand, I cannot think of any politician who is socially liberal and genuinely fiscally conservative, but perhaps the bestiary of American politics contains such creatures.

On further thought, it does seem to be impossible. Being socially liberal means, for starters, that one supports or accepts the following things (while not all self-described social liberals will support or accept all of the below, I think it’s fair to say that most social liberals will support or accept most of them):

  • the comprehensive anti-discrimination attitudes and laws that characterize modern liberal society;
  • large scale Third-World immigration;
  • lax enforcement of immigration laws;
  • legalization of illegal aliens;
  • racial preferences for minorities in college admissions, hiring, and promotion;
  • the ideology of radical personal liberation and expressive freedom;
  • sexual liberation, resulting in widespread illegitimacy;
  • the public approval and normalization of non-marital sexual reliationships;
  • homosexual rights and homosexual “marriage”
  • the removal of traditional moral authority from society, meaning the diminishment of male authority, a process accompanied by the systematic denigration and marginalization of the white man in popular culture and other cultural symbolizations;
  • feminism—meaning that women make their careers at least as important as being wives and mothers, meaning the expectation that women should be as influential in public life as men.

All of these attitudes and measures lead in various ways to increased dependency on government and increased government intrusion in society; along with increased government spending and taxation. Whether we’re speaking of the state playing the role of husband to unmarried mothers, or of the state prosecuting an every wider range of prohibited discriminatory acts, or of the state managing an every wider array of the conflicts born of radical personal freedom and the expansion of “rights,” all these phenomenoa involve the expanded power and expense of government.

Thus the mantra, “I’m socially liberal, but fiscally conservative,” would appear to be a flat-out contradiction. People should be not allowed to get away with it. The only sure way to reverse the steady expansion of government is through a return to traditional morality and local self-government.

Jake Jacobsen writes:

A little while ago I expressed the opinion that feeling excitement over the election of Scott Brown was a little foolish and most likely counter-productive, here.

You called me a nihilist.

So, would I be mistaken in taking this article as vindication? If so, how do you prefer your crow? I was a chef after all and I have a copy of the Larousse Gastronomique poking around here somewhere, I’m sure it has a variety of crow recipes!

LA replies:

I don’t believe this is correct. :-) I said that we should welcome Brown’s miraculous election for the good it had brought, namely stopping Obamacare and perhaps other items on the Obama agenda as well, while we should also recognize that in many ways he was not a conservative. I disagreed with your view that we should see the election of Brown negatively.

LA continues:

Also, your idea that their enthusiasm for Brown would lead Republicans and conservative to adopt him as their standard bearer notwithstanding his liberalism, has been disproven by the extremely negative reaction to him over his cloture vote for Son of Stimulus. Check out the thread at Michelle Malkin’s site which I link above. Scott’s not getting away with nothing.

Clark Coleman writes:

It would be more accurate to say that there are those who are socially libertarian and fiscally conservative. Barry Goldwater was a good example. These types most definitely stick their necks out to oppose big government.

The difference is that libertarians certainly do not favor quotas, affirmative action, non-discrimination, etc. So a big part of your list of issues does not fit them. Probably the majority of them are very bad on immigration, as they are on defending heterosexual marriage. Abortion splits libertarians, but certainly it is not a 50-50 split, as the majority are pro-abortion.

Note that I am not defending libertarianism.

I think New England Republicans tend to be mostly libertarians or liberals. But there are big differences between the two, even though I disagree with both. Scott Brown is probably a libertarian Republican. That’s about as much as I can expect from a Massachusetts Republican. Many who claim to be fiscally conservative but socially liberal are just liberals, as some readers noted.

As for whether he is truly fiscally conservative, we will have to wait and see. He has only cast three votes so far.

LA replies:

“The difference is that libertarians certainly do not favor quotas, affirmative action, non-discrimination, etc. So a big part of your list of issues does not fit them.”

Libertarians are against quotas and AA, but most certainly not against anti-discrimination laws. In fact, libertarians are even more anti-discrimination—anti the idea that there are natural and cultural differences between groups that make certain kinds of discrimination normal, natural, and necessary—than liberals are. And Randians even more so than the libertarians. The more right-liberal a person is, that is, the more he is focused on the rights of the individual as the supreme reality, the more rigorously he denies the existence of group differences that matter to society. So your libertarians will, for example, support open borders, bringing into America tens of millions of low IQ, unassimilable Third-Worlders who by their very presence vastly increase the demand for the state assistance and racial preferences policies that the libertarians oppose. The libertarians cannot acknowledge that this is happening, because to see it happening, would require them to see that their right-liberal ideology is false, that group differences do matter.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 23, 2010 02:33 PM | Send

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