social conservatism and small government

I’m obviously a social conservative but since I’m an agnostic I can’t base my social conservatism on religion. That would be hypocritical. I base my social conservatism on pure pragmatism.

What intrigues me is that mainstream conservatives seem to be blissfully unaware of the political consequences of social liberalism.

In the past half century or so we’ve seen a fascinating social experiment take place in the West – an attempt to create a society without sexual morality and without traditional sex roles. I think it’s pretty clear that the attempt has failed. Predictably it has led to social chaos, human misery and a collapse in birth rates. What we now have is a dying society – a society that cannot reproduce itself is pretty obviously a dying society. It’s become more and more a society of atomised individuals without purpose and without hope.

All this should be obvious but the exasperating thing is that mainstream conservatives just cannot see it. They continue to believe that a society is nothing more than economics. All we need to do is increase GDP and people will be happy. But GDP increases and people don’t get happier. All we need are more tax cuts and everything will be great. But taxes get cut and things don’t get better.

Human beings are social animals, not economic animals. People need more than money and consumer goods to make them happy. People need social connections and they need a purpose (other than greed). Feminism and sexual freedom destroy families. Without families people find that their lives are empty and meaningless.

But there’s another consequence that is usually overlooked. If the family is destroyed then the state must step in to take over its functions. This obviously results in a bigger stronger state. More big government.

Of course for most mainstream conservatives this is a feature, not a bug. Mainstream conservatives want what big business wants, and big business wants big government. So really they’re evil rather than stupid.

But what about the conservatives who claim that they are small government conservatives? They have shown no interest in promoting social conservatism so they have in effect contributed to the growth of big government. The logical conclusion would be that they’re stupid rather than evil. Or possibly they’re merely cowardly.

The libertarians are even more deluded. To the extent that libertarianism might be a workable proposition (which is I think extremely dubious) it could only ever work in a very socially conservative society with fairly rigid adherence to traditional sex roles.

The bottom line is that you can’t have small government without social conservatism. So-called conservatives who think they can be “fiscally conservative but socially liberal” are living in a dream world. So-called conservatives who think they can be in favour of small government without also being in favour of social conservatism are living in the same world of delusions.

One comment on “social conservatism and small government

  1. Unknown says:

    Actually, I think you would be fine with traditional religion.Its more about practices, rituals, heuristics, a way of dealing with the unknown.God is never defined and neither is heaven. Its a stand in for the central mystery of life, for the the inscrutable pattern and order of things that we must confirm to but never fully understand, and find meaning in.We humans must get by in an unknowable world and we have to develop non rational coping techniques.\”Belief \” religion, with a concrete, defined God, and a defined heaven, is something very recent and largely a response to the scientific revolution.That kind if thing has always been hard for intelligent people to accept. It seems clear that our culture suffers from excessive rationality and excessive use of the pure intelligence – the answer of course isn't to become irrational, but a better balance.And that simply means \”relaxing \” the conscious and rational mind – certainly not eliminating it. But our current excessive use of it is an artificial imposition.In effect, we just have to pull back on what we've been doing for the past five centuries. Which means we don't have to \”do\” anything – just stop interfering as much with natural processes.At bottom we are perfectly healthy, strong, and vital, and that is waiting to burst forth. We have only to break the thin crust of excessive rationality and willpower that is suppressing our natural vitality.We don't have to invent a religion – we simply have to pull back a bit – not too much – on conscious control, and allow a religion to spontaneously develop.

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