Friday, August 15, 2008

Social Issue Musings

Are the "social issues," so important to Republican victories, considered quaint in NY?

Does the 'liberal' city make it easier to talk about low taxes and personal responsibility when advocating Republicanism, than, say, the defending traditional marriage or the rights of the yet-unborn?

Do NYC Republicans on the whole consider social issues relevant territory for government intervention, or are they more libertarian, subscribing to the view that government should not discourage or sanction the personal choices of any citizen, be they related to the practice of medicine, lifestyle, or vice?

I think anyone who has seriously considered their party choice and opinions before subscribing to them has wrestled with the basic question of how much government should be concerned with social issues. Indeed, it was no less than Ronald Reagan who said "If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism." Yes, plain freedom. Most libertarians would argue that when considering legitimate governmental affairs, these issues are superfluous.

As a supporter of the importance of maintaining these traditional social values, despite their unpopularity throughout most of the circles I find myself in and my near complete avoidance of quoting anything biblical when discussing politics, I remain convinced that they do exist for the health of our society - especially in the long run.

Marriage, for example: Belief that marriage is sacred bond that exists both for the mutual support of husband and wife and the creation and rearing of healthy, well adjusted, children that can grow up to be productive citizens is a legitimate state interest. It goes without saying that having a mother and a father is not the only pre-requisite for a leading a happy and fulfilling life, but in 99% of cases, all other factors equal, it helps. Should we not encourage the ideal through legislative incentives?

Anticipating some potential responses-
I am not unsympathetic to the argument that two consenting adults, regardless of sex, should be allowed to enter into a contractual agreement called marriage. I don't believe people choose their sexual orientation, and I can imagine the anguish of knowing that your society has barred your from expressing the highest form of commitment to your beloved. Perhaps there is a legal workaround - civil unions come to mind, but I am not familiar with what distinguishes them from a marriage, except their name. And as for the tax benefits, it would he helpful to remember that the rate is lower to encourage marriage for the primary benefit of encouraging families to blossom. Marriage holds a special status in society, compared, say, to regular friendship, I would guess, because of its creative nature.

At any rate, I am of the mind that we skirt social issues at our own peril. They build the bedrock for a moral and decent society; and that is surely a pre-requisite for a prosperous and meaningful one in which to live a full life.

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