A Libertarian Case for Social Conservatism


By: David Bozeman
So little space for such a deep, wide premise.  Nonetheless, given   America’s descent into European-style socialism, even a cursory consideration   of the disease (as opposed to the symptoms, which garner all the attention)   hastening our downfall could shed some much-needed light.
President Obama is banking his re-election, in part, on the support of a   disparate assortment of groups, among them, gay Americans, Americans under 30   and single women, none of which are bound to so-called traditional   values.  Nothing here is meant to disparage anyone individually or to   blame the aforementioned Americans for our societal problems.  Still, at   the very least, it bears pondering, what is the impact on the world at large   of our deepest values and most intimate behavior?  Obamacare, the   entitlement mentality and a quasi-socialist economy did not mysteriously   infect the freest nation on earth from without, they were bred within.    Furthermore, examining social conservatism does not mean enduring a Pat   Robertson sermon on Hollywood smut and loose women.  An equally   compelling strain of social conservatism was championed in the 1970s by   economist and author George Gilder.  Sadly, in recent years, he has   turned to such less passionate (though no less vital) topics as   micro-economics, the tech revolution and foreign policy. 
His earlier writings, including such volumes as Naked Nomads and   Sexual Suicide (later released as Men And Marriage) speak to   the social consequences of the Playboy Philosophy lived out beyond L.A.,   in Scranton PA and Raeford NC.  In a nutshell, concepts such as freedom   and capitalism are nurtured and transmitted within traditional families.    A primary responsibility of fathers is to teach boys, by tone and example,   commitment, independence and maturity.
Unlimited sexual license, by contrast, breeds delayed adolescence and a   soft, porous society, easy prey to the seductions of nanny-state bureaucrats   and sugar-daddy federal providers.  The shackles of conventional morality   have not been shaken, they have merely been traded for the bondage of a   decadent, free-wheeling, you-have-no-right-to-judge world.  As G.K.   Chesterton said of God, once you throw out conventional morality, it’s not   that you believe in nothing, you believe in anything.
Meanwhile, some conservatives and libertarians toss around such words and   phrases as ‘capitalism,’ ’free-enterprise’ and ‘individual liberty’ as if   these concepts are untethered  to any traditional or familial   foundations.  Consider the stark, childless utopias of Ayn Rand   novels.  John Galt, Howard Roark (and their real-life counterparts)   likely learned responsibility and independence from their fathers, of which   the very idea today, in a do-as-you-please, love-is-all-you-need America, is   quaint, outmoded and, to some, downright oppressive.  But, in the view of   Gilder, monogamy doesn’t just transmit love to a wife and family, it transmits   civilization to the next generation.
It is not that Americans are not hardworking and ambitious.  We are,   in fact, unrivaled.  But when a society signals its acceptance, by way of   entertainment and convention, of perpetual adolescence (check out TV Land’s   Retired at 35 and the talking teddy bear flick Ted) and   unlimited ‘alternative’ lifestyles. it will ultimately find a lethargic people   susceptible to charismatic community organizers and cradle-to-grave   sustenance.  Indeed, if one were to blame our national entitlement   mentality on anyone, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Ted Kennedy could easily   top the list, but so could Larry Flynt,  Cosmopolitan magazine   and MTV (to cite but a few examples).
Granted, it is a stretch to tie televised porn and Teen Mom   (MTV’s hit reality show) repeats to big government, big debt, etc., but the   overriding point is that our personal behavior resonates, like the proverbial   ripple, far beyond ourselves.  Post-modern thought has taught us that, at   least in terms of lifestyle and sexual proclivities, we must adopt the   laissez-faire approach explicitly denied to smokers, oil company execs and   bake-sale organizers.  Even traditional social conservatives take cover   behind the notion that they have a right to criticize behavior only as long as   it adversely affects society.  Nonsense.  One does not need to   advocate a theocratic dictatorship to offer wisdom and guidance, particularly   to our young and most vulnerable.  And while we are free to indulge our   instincts for momentary titillation and hedonism, a free society endures by   reaffirming the nobler aspects of human nature.  Committing to love and   fidelity conveys the concepts of risk, responsibility and adulthood to   future generations, but the values we cherish are not attained instinctively,   they demand to be named, valued and celebrated.

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