Some mysterious side-effect of our genetic condition requires that we socialize with like-minded beings in order to maintain a meaningful sense of self. I’ve never felt the evolutionary satisfaction of knowing my place in the pack as much as I did the day that the late Andrew Breitbart spoke at CPAC 2012.
Unfortunately, a lot has changed since then. In 2012 the conservative movement in America was a force akin to a great nation that stood up to a stronger foe and pushed it to its limits. In 2014, we’ve begun to look more like a mediocre colony that merely squats on rented land and fights among itself as though these scraps from the trough will be the last. Just yesterday I woke up to a story from Rare that declared the future of conservatism to be libertarian. The author lavishes praise on the bludgeoning of the GOP’s social platform, a set of values that could be the last hope for traditional American morality.
To me it reads like the type of secret pact that Joy Behar and Nancy Pelosi would have made with their pinky fingers during a slumber party just before exchanging BFF bracelets.
Indeed, the libertarian wing of our movement is convinced that the future of conservatism will arrive on winds that hold aloft a big white flag and haughtily declares economic profit the end-game of all public policy, having no further need to protect society’s values or moral standards. It chills me to even imagine what types of degenerates will find their way to the Supreme Court.
When I think about this unspoken ultimatum proposed by the libertarian crowd at CPAC, I’m reminded of W. W. Jacobs’s short story “The Monkey’s Paw”. Through a series of macabre misadventures, this chilling fable arrives at its maxim: Careful what you wish for.
The libertarians among us are offering three wishes on their monkey’s paw: A Senate majority in 2014, the White House in 2016, and a profitable future economy. Whether or not they can actually deliver remains to be seen, but much like in the story, the methods through which these desires are granted will prove to be much more costly than having earned them the hard way with our dignity intact.
The results of their presence have already been made abundantly manifest. The compassionate conservatism that had drawn me to the Republican Party during the 2000 election has been replaced by an angry, vengeful, and altogether toxic campaign of incoherent vitriol; a fire fueled by the acidic musings of self-important macho playboys whose Twitter accounts are the political equivalent of their monster trucks and assault rifles. The sound bites in which they speak couldn’t survive the critical thinking skills of a raw turnip.
So perhaps I’ve overstayed my welcome at the Tea Party and should head out while the night is young to find a different soirée.
Breitbart said in his aforementioned speech that conservatives aren’t taking it anymore. At the time he was right, but I’m not sure he’d have liked to see the day when we brought the severed head of our social agenda to the Senate on a golden plate, an offering on the altar of cool that the liberal youth might be pleased and find favor with us. This type of defeatist attitude was universally panned across the conservative blogosphere in the aftermath of the 2012 election in regards to immigration reform, but we’re willing to abide its prevalence throughout the totality of our moral platform?
It also makes me wonder how these people can continue to impose the RINO label on the likes of Marco Rubio, John McCain, and Mitch McConnell with any measure of verisimilitude. Surely the unconditional surrender of our entire social platform (let alone the majority of our foreign policy) to the whims of a burgeoning cultural neo-liberalism would score higher on the RIN-O-Meter than the same compromises on immigration proposed by the last Republican president or even concessions made during debt ceiling talks.
When Republicans go to the polls this November, they will have the chance to make their wishes on this monkey’s paw. I hope we don’t forget that all magic does indeed come at a price. What tax break, halted foreign aid package, or cut spending program equals the value of your country’s moral compass?
There’s a reason the conscience of America was not cast in gold: It was never meant to be bartered and is most definitely not for sale.
Follow Rich Greene on Twitter at @VivaRichGreene.