“You can’t be a fiscal conservative and not be a social conservative,” says Senator Jim DeMint:
I’ve had this debate with some of my social conservative friends. Their reasoning is that a strong moral underpinning is necessary for a free society. While that’s true, does that mean you cannot be moral and atheist (usually a question they don’t like to answer to my face given that I’m an atheist)? Does it mean that you can’t be for spending cuts and for gay marriage? Do you have to support having “In God We Trust” on the national currency in order to also believe that tax cuts are good for economic prosperity?
It seems to me that the limited government movement’s position on religion should be that we’re all free to practice it (or refrain from it) as we please. Morality, on the other hand, is a subjective thing (my morals are not necessarily yours, and vice versa) and in so far as we’ll never be able to agree upon one set of moral definitions for everyone as much as possible the matter should be left up to individuals to define for themselves.
After all, as Calvin Coolidge said, “All liberty is individual.”
DeMint’s comments have some serious political repercussions. Right now Republicans are riding high on support from a tea party movement made up largely libertarian-minded independent voters. They’re also benefiting from social liberals who are fed up with Obama and the Democrats’ handling of fiscal matters (among other things). Case in point, Republicans got 31% of the gay vote on election day which may be the GOP’s largest slice of that demographic to date.
Is now really the time DeMint wants to pick this fight?
As I posted earlier today, America is a deeply religious country. So religious that, unlike other countries, as our society has developed we haven’t trended toward secularism as a society. But we’ve got some serious problems with our government, and it seems to me that it behooves us all to set aside squabbling over certain sticky social issues for the time being and focus on solving the fiscal matters.