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Andrew Brietbart and that Big CPAC Tent

In Civil Lefts, The Wrong Right Turn on 17/01/2011 at 18:09

It is hip to be conservative and still have socially liberal niches these days. Is it even hip to say hip nowadays? Well, Captain Beefheart was one of my best friends, and I’m pretty sure I was there when he invented hip, so I’ll use it here anyway.

Conservatives nowadays are supposed to quote Reagan, but make sure the Left knows that we’ve read Nietzsche. We can oppose gay marriage and take our lumps but let no one believe for one second that we’re homophobic.

Perhaps that is why conservative media entrepreneur and professed former liberal Andrew Breitbart is throwing a bash for GOProud at CPAC this year.

After pointing out the importance of the Judeo-Christian tradition as the backbone of our society on Larry O’Conner’s radio program last week, Breitbart said, “the treatment [social conservatives] are giving gay conservatives at CPAC deeply offends me.”

We like Breitbart. He has been kind enough to link to us several times on his Big Government site in the last year and it has helped to send our readership skyrocketing. But he is wrong.

The last time we said Breitbart was wrong we ended up eating crow, but not this time.

Without question gays have been mistreated in society for all of time immemorial. Regardless of the conservative position on same-sex unions—not to mention same-sex conduct—gay bashing and the exclusion of gays as viable members of society was and is wrong.

But that is a far cry from saying that gays should be accepted as legitimate members of the conservative right.

These days we like to break down our conservatives: fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, neo-conservatives, gay conservatives, etc., all misnomers designed to split what should be cohesive idea. We throw theses labels around as though they somehow qualify certain members of the right to take time-outs whenever the game gets too rough.

All of this comes about, of course, as a result of the “big tent” label that the RNC likes to tout around election time, or whenever liberals attempt to point out the Right’s “narrow” views on social issues such as abortion, gun control, and, yes, same-sex marriage, among a litany of others the Left likes to drum as the new norm.

Republicans have for years flocked to the defensive whenever someone in the liberal intelligentsia hands down an edict—in this case that homosexuality is perfectly acceptable, and we are simply out of step with the times not to accept it—and invariably some Republican in Washington like John Boehner or his little ankle-bitter Eric Cantor, hover in the corner shaking like the Taco Bell Chihuahua, rather than contradict it.

But conservatism is not a big tent. One is either a conservative or one is something else. Conservatism is an entire pantheon of ideas that includes social mores, not merely a label that can be pinned on anyone who wants less government and lower taxes. Conservatism, unlike liberalism, does not allow for the adjustment of social mores, just because the social winds blow left.

I’m a big Tammy Bruce fan but she is not a conservative. She may be a libertarian with conservative fiscal and some social views, but that doesn’t get her a pass as a card-carrying conservative. To quote Rod Steiger in No Way to Treat a Lady, “Doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.”

Although conservatism is not narrow-minded, it is a narrow, non-expandable grouping of views based on what works in a free society. The idea of the big tent is a progressive view, not a conservative one. The big tent view has been honed out of decades of failed Republican policies that justified presidential candidates like Robert Dole and John McCain.

But conservatism doesn’t work as anything other than conservatism, as the disastrous election results have proven, time after time. True conservatism doesn’t care about what gays do in the privacy of their bedrooms, but we take great exception to the idea that we must accept their lifestyle as mainstream.

As conservatives, we do not accept gays into the so-called big tent, not because we’re homophobic—another utilitarian buzzword for being anti-liberal—or because we wish gays less than full representation as individuals in our society. We do not accept homosexuals as modern conservatives because homosexuality is not conservative.

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  1. […] In Bowling for Dollars, Disappearing Ink, The Wrong Right Turn on 11/02/2011 at 19:55 I have been candid about my position on gays in the conservative movement; invite them to GOP events, give them a […]

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