There is No Fiscal Conservatism Without Social Conservatism

Barb Wire

The movement among Blue State Republicans is to abandon social issues, or cultural concerns. They are too divisive, and make it more difficult for conservatives to appeal to the “young generation,” since most people are more progressive.

Right? Then again, since when has expanding abortion or welcoming the destruction of marriage and family ever counted as progressive?

So, should we give up on “social conservatism”?

Maybe it just needs rebranding, or better yet, why not make the case with facts, logic, and evidence?

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Social conservatism not only matters, but is essential to our culture, to our society. Without it, there would be no fiscal discipline, no fiscal conservatism for men and women to fight for.

Carlos Flores, Senior Social Policy Editor for The Millennial Review, provides an exacting and excellent article on the essential necessities of social conservatism.

Let us begin with his definition of social conservatism:

So what is social conservatism? Social conservatism, I submit, consists of (1) the recognition of the family as the most important unit of the polity and (2) the project of securing the social conditions that make strong families possible.

I would add the protection of life, which speaks to abortion, assisted suicide, and if some pundits insist, the death penalty.

Check out this profound statement on the importance of family:
The social conservative understands, often instinctively, that the primacy of the family unit makes the existence of the state possible. Adults who are ready to engage in political activity do not just spontaneously come to be, after all; men must have their intellectual, moral, and social capacities and characters formed before they are ready to participate in a political endeavor.

Before there was government, there was family.

Before there was family, there was marriage, the union of one man and one woman.

Not two men, and not two women.

Every essential aspect for our culture, for our civilization depends on the transmission of values, of shared goals and aspirations. The government cannot provide this institutional passage of knowledge. Only the family can do this, and it takes a family to raise children and ensure the survivals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The state cannot exist without the family.

Flores asserts this truth perfectly:

To the social conservative, it is clear that abortion, same-sex marriage, and transgenderism all constitute threats to the family, and hence to society.

Flores follows this statement with incredible commentary :

[T]he transactions that make up an economic system presuppose the existence of virtuous persons who are disposed to engage in them well. Marriage is not irrelevant to this project—on the contrary, it is the means by which human beings are raised into virtuous persons who have the rational, social, and ethical virtues that allow them to engage in such transactions.

Virtue cannot be imposed by government fiat, however. The capacity to trust, to ensure mutual transaction, plus the necessity to hold and expound sweet customs–all of this does not come about through force or government excess. These values result from culture, from shared values. These values are transmitted through education, not indoctrination.

[W]hat is desired in an economic system is that the persons who engage in the transactions will be already disposed to engage in them well even in the absence of deterrents imposed by law against improperly engaging in transactions, just as it is desirable—and conducive to the common good—for citizens to be disposed to engage lawfully and morally even in the absence of deterrents attached to actions that are immoral (like murder). Penalties and benefits, then, should be best understood as complementary policies that provide additional reasons to engage in transactions well, not as stand-alone systems that can by themselves replace the rearing of children in accordance with virtue.

A free market cannot be free if men and women do not feel free to engage in transactions in the marketplace. No one is going to open up a business or engage in mutual transactions if there is no certain of peace and prosperity. Many businesses, small and large, leave cities and even countries because the rule of law is absent, and the costs of conducting business through massive defense and security measures is just too costly.

What is the point of going into business if the owner has to spend most of his time protecting his business through frequent imposition of force? The values, the mores of trust, integrity, appreciation of value, conflict management do not come about out of nothing. These are essential practices to trade and freedom which cannot be imposed or infused by state power.

It takes a family.

Also … Flores lists the exorbitant costs associated with the loss of human capital because of fatherlessness, at approximately $99 billion a year. For fiscal-only conservatives, one has to ask how prudent it is to ignore the concerns about life and family, when such a price tag looms as a consequence. The Patrick Moynihan study revealed that the break down the family, specifically the black family, was leading to the skyrocketing poverty and incarceration rates among those populations.

Who ends up paying for these costs? We the People, the taxpayers, including the social conservatives who had warned our fellow fiscal conservative colleagues. Not very conservative in a fiscal sense, now, is it? Life matters, natural marriage matters, and family matters. Conservatives cannot claim to be fiscally conservative if they reject social conservatism.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Arthur Schaper
Arthur Schaper is a blogger, writer, and commentator on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance. Follow his blogs at The State of the Union and As He Is, So Are We Ministries.

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