e_moon60 (e_moon60) wrote,

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The Right Questions: Part Four

There's a new slogan running around GOPland: "Social conservatism IS fiscal conservatism."   In other words, if you're a tidy-whitie upright person who does everything by the rules of the religious right-wing (self-defined as social conservatives)--if you hate feminists, gays, lesbians, transsexuals, and "immorality" (mostly defined as a sexual practice that squicks you or your religious leader, but also including abortion and "substance abuse") then you're a social conservative and by golly, along with that bundle of shining goodness, you are by definition also a fiscal conservative, which means you'll be fine no matter what austerity measures come along.   The link between the two is intended to firmly cement the relationship between the religious right and the profit-before-anything political right, a relationship that trembled a bit for a year or two when the religious right actually read some parts of Scripture they'd been ignoring (that bit about feeding the hungry and housing the homeless) and began to question whether profit really was as holy as the political right insisted.    Some even began to question right-wing environmental policies on the grounds that if God created it, just maybe humans shouldn't trash it.

But let's take a look at the thinking behind "social conservatism" as expressed in the various GOP outlets.   Take for instance the outcry over gay marriage, and the insistence that "real" marriage (a man and a woman kind) needs to be "defended" from gay marriage.   Just exactly how is gay marriage supposed to threaten non-gay marriage?   I speak as a woman who's been married over forty years to the same man.   Anyone married as long as me  knows what really strengthens or threatens a marriage---it's the character and behavior of the people in the marriage.  Period.   That luscious young thing working in my husband's office doesn't threaten my marriage, not if my husband and I are faithful partners and honorable people.    That handsome guy I meet at a convention doesn't threaten my marriage, not if my husband and I are faithful partners and honorable people.   It's up to us--not anyone else--to abide by the terms of that marriage.   We--and we alone--are responsible for our behavior.   

So if two men, or two women, get married, that does not affect my marriage at all.  Zero.  Zip.   If I don't want to think about what they do in bed--or elsewhere--then I need to discipline myself not to think about it.  It's not my business.  (It's not my business what other man/woman couples do in bed.  Only if sex involves an unwilling partner is it society's--and thus my--business.)

What's lacking in the claims that gay marriage "attacks" traditional marriage is a mechanism....because the mechanism does not exist.   How, exactly, does the existence of male or female couples "ruin" or "soil" or otherwise damage traditional marriage?    Does the existence of gay marriage force partners in a traditional marriage to break their vows?  No.    Does the existence of gay marriage make good traditional marriages turn bad?  No, again.  The only people who can ruin a marriage are the people in the marriage.  Other people can contribute to the stress of a marriage (interfering relatives,  the demanding boss that fires you or hits on your spouse, etc.) but even then the people in the marriage are the ones who determine what happens in the marriage.   Not outsiders.  

Here's another social conservative bugaboo: immigration.   Technically, we're all immigrants.  Humans did not originate on this continent (in this hemisphere, in fact.)   All of us have ancestors somewhere else, some farther back than others.   And yet the GOP and social conservatives have their knickers in a knot about immigrants now (well, some immigrants) and  there's been a strain of "no more, and not from there" for a long time.   The same arguments against immigrants are used now that were used in the 1800s with the first Irish immigrants (one of them very likely the "sickly Irishman" a foremother of mine married.)   They're dirty, they speak a different language, they have too many children, they don't look like "us" (whatever "us" that happens to be in that generation.)  Some of the people who now rail against immigrants come from an immigrant population that was, in its turn, despised and rejected.   I met one on the train awhile back--Italian, born here of Italian immigrants, and convinced that "those" immigrants were everything I know Italians were called.    It would've been funny, but...it's not.   Some immigrants, of course, are trouble on the half-shell.  Some of those probably lurk in the background of lots of us--they were transported to the colonies as criminals, indentured for a term of years.  Some of them reformed; some of them didn't.  The criminals we have always with us.  And if we have a pot of gold (or apparent pot of gold) that's going to draw the interest of criminals.   (If the U.S. were not such a lucrative market for illicit drugs,  the drug trade would not target it.)  It makes no sense to claim (as even the GOP has done) that this country has had the benefit of many good immigrants (in former times) but all the new ones are likely to be nothing but an expense.  (It's particularly nonsensical when the GOPer in question has some working on his/her yard and house, or for his/her company.)  

What social conservatism wants to do is control people over whom it has no legitimate authority...and to do that, is willing to pass laws that contravene basic human rights, rights that were mentioned in the Declaration of Independence and put into the Constitution.    To make this even marginally palatable, social conservatives make up reasons that have no mechansm attached (such as "gay marriage endangers traditional marriage.")    For any of the claims of social conservatism, the right questrions include "How does that work, exactly?" with the addition of "So...you're saying that individuals you consider "good" are not responsible for their own behavior--that they can blame others?"     

Tags: politics, social conservatism
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