Conservatives have completely abondoned the concept of liberty. Forces like the religious right, big-government conservatives and the fears generated by 9/11 have led many conservatives to argue that the government needs to regulate our moral lives, and it’s getting hard to find any conservatives who will champion the concept of freedom. Many conservatives like David Brooks are welcoming this new concept of “moral guardrails.”
Many of us are getting sick of the government, the GOP and the religious right telling us how to live our lives. Fortunately, some conservatives are still willing to fight for the concept of liberty. Radley Barko obliterates Brooks’ argument that we need the government watching over us on moral issues. He points out how almost every indicator, from teen pregnecy, to divorce rates, crime and abortion rates are down and heading lower. These trends began in the early to mid 90’s (under Clinton, who Barko does not mention). Meanwhile, this has also happened while our society has become much more liberal about things like homosexuality and our pop culture has become more course. He ends with the following, which should be a punch in the gut to all conservatives who have tolerated th moral nanny state:
So what gives? Seems to me that technology, relaxed public attitudes, and consumer choice have given Americans more lifestyle freedom over the last 15 years than we’ve ever had before. Yet not only is our national moral fabric not unraveling, it appears to be as durable and fibrous as it’s ever been.
So why exactly do we need more moral guardrails from the government aimed at restricting behavior?
(Interestingly, the one trend that hasn’t significantly declined over the last 15 years — or at least hasn’t receded as quickly as the others — is drug use. And that’s the one vice the government has been most aggressive about policing.)
Frankly, I think these statistics speak for themselves. We handle our liberty just fine, thanks. The vast majority of Americans don’t need government-imposed “guardrails.” Family, friends, churches, and other support networks more than suffice.
Twenty years after Ronald Reagan declared government to be the problem, today’s conservatives want to use government to cure every social ill imaginable.
The questions is whether Democrats and liberals will fight for our freedoms. Democrats are so afraid to speak their mind because they don’t want to piss off the morals crowd, yet they keep losing elections because nobody believes them anymore.
Speak up. Stand up for liberty. It’s the right thing to do, and it might actually be good politics as well.