Stop discussing social issues? Not so fast
Long before the general election took place in 2012, there was a great divide among various factions within the conservative and libertarian movements regarding several social issues— namely abortion and illegal immigration. While many in both camps are pro-life, complaints flourished that social issues should not be part of political discourse- unless it is to return power to the state level to decide, or stay out of individual choice altogether. Accusations abounded that the election was lost because the candidate(s) did not focus solely on the economy. However, the party that did win did its best to not focus on the economy, but to focus heavily on social hot button issues – namely reproductive rights and immigration. If Democrats won on social issues and not economic issues, why would the losing party think it can oust the statists in future elections by eliminating social issues from the debate? Results proved otherwise.
Most importantly, how can both pro-life conservatives and fiscal-only conservatives/libertarians bridge their inner divide and provide a reasoned argument that satisfies both groups in principle and win elections? I believe it can be done using negative economic implications of both abortion and immigration policies that deny population expansion, particularly in a world where global birth rates and other economic demographics are beginning to make headlines.
Where did both sides go wrong?
Several conservative pro-life candidates completely jumped the shark with comments that the leftist media predictably exploited with asperity. In the end, both candidates lost their races and weakened conservative influence in Congress. Relying strictly on the moral issue of protecting the unborn has not proven to be a winning case. Neither pro-life supporters or fiscal conservatives were served well by the lack of fiscally cogent arguments in favor of protecting the unborn— yet detrimental economic data due to abortion exists. Pro-life supporters can and should avail themselves to every possible data point in the effort to end abortion, and push pro-life politicians to do the same.
Another source of concern, and thorn in the side for the GOP, was exit poll data revealing a high proportion of Hispanic voters favoring the Democrat ticket. Currently there is heated debate regarding immigration, and this time most pro-life proponents are failing to discuss or be made aware of the negative economic impact of not growing our population via higher immigration, and instead focus mainly on deportation and/or closing and protecting the border.* Protecting the border is an extremely important argument to secure our sovereignty, and we have a government unwilling to enforce current immigration law. These are points that cannot be argued. However, is this truly an immigration problem or an entitlement problem? Would conservatives be better served by highlighting the point that immigration can either be a boon or a bust based on our current runaway entitlement programs?
The Church, in Her wisdom, has been consistent in teaching both respect for human life at conception and respect for the human person as an immigrant. As it turns out, both teachings are not only morally principled, but economically sound.
Arguably, for many citizens the issue of protecting human life is one of a deeply-held moral conviction. There is no need to expound on the fiscal impact of abortion to convince us otherwise. But what of those who believe in limited government where religious-based morals have no place in governance, i.e., both social liberals who are fiscal conservatives only, as well as those on the left of the spectrum who believe it’s purely a woman’s right to chose? Can we, as both fiscal and social conservatives, re-frame the dialogue and add another dimension to our argument for protecting the unborn? I believe we can. And what of those on the left who have misled with arguments favoring abortion that rely on unfounded over-population and climatic scares, or poor evidence that abortion has lessened crime rates? Can we change their minds? It’s up to us. I believe it’s imperative. I believe it’s time we expose the fiscal lies that have promoted abortion and anti-immigration arguments. My intentions are to do so in subsequent posts on this blog.
- One sixth of our population has been destroyed since Roe v. Wade.
- TFR (total fertility rate) for stable population in the U.S. — 2.1
- Current TFR in the U.S. — 1.9