Sadly, the enablers of these uppity functionaries aren’t just the usual liberal nanny-staters. You have putative Republicans conceding that “Well, I guess sugar is really bad…”, as if it matters whether high fructose corn syrup is the devil’s brew or an elixir from the Fountain of Youth. They should never reach the question of whether sugar is good, bad or indifferent; the mere posing of the question is antithetical to everything a real conservative believes. It’s none of their damn business.
Moreover, the appalling argument that “Well, we all have to pay for obesity” itself accepts the flawed premise that “we all” have any business paying for anyone’s health care. I’ve researched the Constitution pretty thoroughly and have been unable to find anything about me shelling out my dough to subsidize some couch-dwelling slacker’s doctor visits.Maybe the enumerated power to do so is dwelling behind some penumbra or emanation, but it seems like making that argument accepts the idea that government ought to be in the health care business in the first place. And if the fact that the Constitution says nothing about doing so isn’t enough to show why it shouldn’t be, the idea that because the government does so gives it the right to micromanage our lives is itself ample reason to reject that hateful notion.
The specter of pseudo-cons like Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham fussing about Senator Rand Paul making a stink about the fact that the President’s progressive Mini-Me Eric Holder refused to give a straight answer about whether The One could ice folks in the U.S.A. on a whim demonstrates the problem. Too many sort of-cons sort of like the idea of unlimited governmental power.
And you know who else besides real conservatives has some real questions about governmental overreach? Well, a lot of them are folks we conservatives have been simply unable to reach. In fact, we hardly even tried, mostly because we are just as suspicious of them as they are of us.
There is a whole group of potential allies out there – the Millennials who grew up familiar with technology but chafing at their helicopter parents and the politically correct hypocrisy of the education establishment. Many of them think of themselves as “liberal,” but they have little use for bums who want to lay about sponging off producers. Their liberalism is more about affectation and cultural posturing than about political positions – they reject the idea of the anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-sex conservative boogeyman they’ve been taught in the media, not conservatism itself.
These young folks have bought into the notion that conservatives are somehow obsessed with other people’s sex lives, which is false – conservatives are obsessed with their own sex lives, as the CPAC meat market demonstrates. But the wacky notion that some conservative is going to climb in their bedroom window to interrupt their trysting by making them pray has convinced this huge demographic to support an ideology that leaves them burdened with student debt and living in their parents’ homes – and thus unlikely to ever have sex to begin with.
The key to defeating this residual cultural affinity is twofold. First, conservatives need to avoid feeding old stereotypes with boneheaded maneuvers like making idiotic pronouncements about rape and writing jerktastic articles about how being a gay conservative is the result of a Marxist conspiracy. Remember, these young people grew up being taught to be tolerant. They’ll be tolerant of anyone – including hardcore Christians – who are themselves tolerant. We don’t have to accept anything we consider immoral – we just have to not be jerks about it.
Second, conservatives need to emphasize the pro-freedom agenda that both demographics share. Millenials have no desire to be dictated to about their snack options or hellfired by some drone either. Nor do they want to get arrested for jailbreaking their iPhone or sued for a $100,000 for downloading the latest terrible Mumford & Sons song. And for the few who have found jobs in the Obama economy, the tax bite on their pay stubs is just as unwelcome.
Call it the Coalition of the Unwilling to Be Bossed Around.
A pro-liberty coalition is a huge threat to the progressive project, as it steals from the progressive base while building on the conservative one. But we need to understand that we may be called on to give in order to get. The young demographic has huge doubts about the drug war and is largely pro-gay rights and gay marriage. Of course, they need to accept the fact that they don’t get to be little dictators either – the Boy Scouts get to choose their membership and doctors who understand the Hippocratic oath as excluding killing their unborn patients get to exercise their conscience.
We need to understand that the freedom sometimes means people make choices we don’t like and, where appropriate, compromise. I’m certainly ready to accept a few stoners bogarting doobs and some gay dudes exchanging vows if it means a smaller government so constrained and neutered that it wouldn’t dare try to tell me how to live out my faith or how many bullets I can keep in my M4, much less how many ounces of Mountain Dew I can pour into my Styrofoam cup.
It’s time to put aside a few policy disagreements to build a new alliance of citizens who believe that government has gotten too big for its britches and needs to be reined in. We may not agree on all the specifics, but we can build a majority of Americans who can stand together for liberty and, as one, offer the proper response to these tin pot dictators of liberalism: “Bite me.”