The Corner

Re: The Social Issues

Beyond offering Ramesh an “amen,” there’s something to be said about the different attitudes Americans take toward the so-called social issues: abortion, gay marriage, marijuana legalization, etc. As Ramesh points out, attitudes have changed significantly on gay marriage and marijuana, but not on abortion. What conservatives often fail to emphasize, I think, is that abortion is simply in a different category of issues than is gay marriage or marijuana legalization. Not that those latter issues are not important — they certainly are — but they are not life-and-death issues. The marijuana debate is about how much we think it is worth intervening in other people’s lives to police the use of a relatively mild intoxicant; the abortion debate is about what it means to be a human being. To that extent, the entire idea of “the social issues” is probably more harmful than helpful. Abortion and gay marriage are not even roughly comparable. 

It should not be too difficult for somebody who has my views on marijuana to be part of the same party or political movement as somebody who has Mike Huckabee’s. But it would be very difficult for somebody with my views on abortion to get behind somebody who has Susan Collins’s daft views on abortion. We might be able to accommodate the occasional Maine lady, but we don’t want to see her advancing beyond that, either. It’s a line in the sand in a way that marijuana isn’t.

Gay marriage is a little different in that it is a line in the sand for some people, though I am baffled as to why. But I cannot see how the Republican party has anything to lose by being forthrightly and assertively pro-life: The poll numbers don’t look too bad for that position, and it seems to me very unlikely that voters for whom abortion is the most important issue are going to vote for a conservative party in any numbers under any plausible circumstances, regardless of whether it softened or abandoned its position on the question of abortion. 

The most important reason to stick to the pro-life position is of course that it is the right position. 

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Kat Timpf Chased Out of Brooklyn Bar

Fox News personality and National Review contributor Kat Timpf was forced to leave a bar in Brooklyn over the weekend after a woman she had never met became enraged upon learning she worked in conservative media. Timpf, who has twice previously been harassed while socializing in New York City, first described ... Read More
Film & TV

The Dan Crenshaw Moment

Given the spirit of our times, things could have gone so differently. On November 3, when Saturday Night Live comic Pete Davidson mocked Texas Republican Dan Crenshaw’s eye patch, saying he looked like a “hit man in a porno movie” — then adding, “I know he lost his eye in war or whatever” — it was a ... Read More
U.S.

The Present American Revolution

The revolution of 1776 sought to turn a colony of Great Britain into a new independent republic based on constitutionally protected freedom. It succeeded with the creation of the United States. The failed revolution of 1861, by a slave-owning South declaring its independence from the Union, sought to bifurcate ... Read More
Elections

Fire Brenda Snipes

Brenda Snipes, the supervisor of elections in Florida’s Broward County, does not deserve to be within a thousand miles of any election office anywhere in these United States. She should be fired at the earliest possible opportunity. Snipes has held her position since 2003, in which year her predecessor, ... Read More
Elections

Florida’s Shame, and Ours

Conspiracy theories are bad for civic life. So are conspiracies. I wonder if there is one mentally normal adult walking these fruited plains -- even the most craven, abject, brain-dead partisan Democrat -- who believes that what has been going on in Broward County, Fla., is anything other than a brazen ... Read More
World

How Immigration Changes Britain

Almost nothing is discussed as badly in America or Europe as the subject of immigration. And one reason is that it remains almost impossible to have any sensible or rational public discussion of its consequences. Or rather it is eminently possible to have a discussion about the upsides (“diversity,” talent, ... Read More