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Correcting the 'Stubborn and Pernicious' Myth

2:41 PM, Feb 21, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Frank Cannon, in the Los Angeles Times, on conservatism:

Of all the mischaracterizations of social conservatives, none is more stubborn and pernicious than the notion (promulgated by liberals and eagerly snatched up by credulous media voices) that groups and politicians that espouse a "values" philosophy seek to impose a draconian moral code on a dissenting populace. This notion not only demonstrates a lack of understanding of conservatism and its self-imposed limits, but it also betrays a refusal to face the fact that nanny-state preoccupations are the province of the American left.

Conservatives have labored for decades to counter this mischaracterization of social conservatism, but elements of the Republican Party persist in buying into it, going so far now as to promote the idea of a "truce" (operationally a complete capitulation by conservatives) between the contending sides on issues such as abortion and the definition of marriage….

The last of these freedoms — championing the right to life and traditional marriage — is front and center in the national discourse because elite and unrepresentative institutions have attacked it. Those who call for a truce on these topics are denying the value of mass movements that have arisen to preserve life and marriage, ideas that conservatives — but never conservatives alone — have long embraced.

The only truce that makes sense between the night watchman and the thief is for the latter to find an honest occupation. Politics too can be an honest occupation, but it must begin with accepting that a moral code is always at stake in political decisions — it is only a matter of determining which code belongs to the thief.

Whole thing here.

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