City Journal Winter 2016

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Herbert London
Social Conservatism’s Staying Power « Back to Story

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What I take away from this article is not the righteousness of the cause of the Republican Religious Right (Social Conservatives)but that the Republicans can't alienate these voters because they will not vote or vote for radical right parties. I accept that. However, as a fiscal conservative/social liberal, my belief is that if the Republicans loose the upcoming election it will be as a result of these religious fanatics, such as Santorum, etc who have damaged the Republican brand. I was very young in 1964, but bring back the Goldwater Republicans.
Seems a bit silly without defining here what social conservatism really means. And having said that, is it a value for its own sake or just a means to gather votes?
Chris Cunningham April 29, 2012 at 9:52 AM
I agree.

There is no doubt that Republicans can win by focusing on conservative social issues while downplaying their fiscal conservatism.

The fact that Republican conservative fiscal policies are immensely harmful to the middle and lower classes seems to be lost on the socially conservative Religious Right
David W. Nicholas April 29, 2012 at 7:06 AM
Everyone has their own definition of Social Conservatism. I'd be willing to bet most people who define themselves as Social Conservatives, these days, wouldn't actually argue that women should be paid less for doing the same job, for instance. But one of the commenters here, looking for a straw man to beat up, has suggested this is what social conservatism means, or probably means...

On the other hand, I think much of this argument silly at this point. We're adding about a trillion dollars to our debt every year, last I heard it stands at 15.5 trillion. If we don't get that under control, social conservatism and liberalism and so forth will be *MEANINGLESS*. Until we solve the problem of our government growing ridiculously fast, and spending money it doesn't have for services we don't need, we should frankly ignore all other issues. Attempts to argue that the deficit or the debt are somehow caused by the country's current immorality ring very hollow, so hollow that no one can say them with a straight face, really. We need to stop spending money we don't have on things we don't need...if we don't, we're doomed no matter what we do about gay marriage.

Any questions?
Would also suggest "In Praise of Deadlock: How Partisan Struggle Makes Better Laws" by W. Lee Rawls. And don't forget the ever-cited Federalist Papers No. 10.
John D. Iannotti April 28, 2012 at 6:44 PM
Mr. London always proves an interesting observer. I would merely add that it is impossible to separate economic/fiscal issues from social issues. Consider the impact of the breakdown of the family on welfare spending, special education costs in the public schools, school lunches (as well, as breakfasts and now dinners), the criminal justice system, and, broadly, counseling. We all end up paying deeply for liberal follies.
I guess that would mean that all the women who write for City Journal should go back to scrubbing floors? No? That's what social conservatism means. Right? No women's rights? (Forget abortion -- I'm talking voting and equal pay.) Maybe no voting except for property owners? Only Christians in office? Maybe not even Catholics much less Mormons?

Your post mentions "social conservatism" ("SC") many many times but offers not one example of what SC is about. Maybe there is a reason?

The book may be excellent but the review offers me no reason to read it. I can't believe that City Journal is so filled with some extremely incisive commentary and then at the same time the most utter drivel. Then again, that's life. You get the sweet with the sour and so in that way CJ is quite human.
I support Newt for President. Romney will be a disaster. That said, the Social conservatives are a stone about our necks. We appreciate the support at election time but these would be statists need to lose their obsession with other peoples' private behavior.
The question isn't whether social conservatism sometimes can win. The question is why anyone who cares about personal freedom would want that, rather than oppose it.