Conservatism, as Barry Goldwater defined it, consists of: free markets, individual liberty, small government, and individual responsibility.
Notice that Barry Goldwater didn't include any gender, religious, or ethnic qualifications in this list. He certainly didn't state that conservatism was uniquely the province of white people, or that individual liberty was limited to men--or to Christians, for that matter. (In fact, Barry Goldwater described the Religious Right as "a bunch of kooks".)
Or to put it another way:
- Real conservatives aren't sexist.
- Real conservatives aren't racist.
- Real conservatives believe in the separation of church and state.
(Some of the most influential and prolific conservative thinkers have been women and minorities, by the way: Ayn Rand, Thomas Sowell, Walter E. Williams, and Jeane Kirkpatrick--just to name a few. And most of the Founding Fathers were lukewarm on the subject of religion.)
That is real conservatism. Phony conservatism is something else. "Phony conservatism" is the attempt to mix legitimate conservative principles with gender, religious, or ethnic biases.
This is not conservatism at all--but a cynical appeal to barnyard tribalism and group identity politics, the same thing that the Left preaches, only for different political ends.
I am all for challenging the Left's irrational sacred cows. I have no problem with pointing out and refuting the excesses of political feminism, for example: such as gender-based quotas for corporate management (now a common practice in Europe). Like other conservative bloggers, I have taken John Scalzi to task for his trite, politically correct fluff piece on "straight white male privilege."
That having been said, we conservatives don't help our cause by embracing the crude collectivist tactics of the Left. When conservatives allow racism, sexism, or religious extremism to seep into our rhetoric, we betray our philosophy, ourselves, and most of all--the people "on the fence," who can be easily swayed by the statist deceptions of Barack Obama and the liberal monoculture.
Case in point: Today I read a piece on Vox Day's blog, entitled "Women ruin everything." (Vox Day bills himself as a conservative.)
Leaving the title aside, most of the blog post deals with the excesses of the radical gender politics that have arisen in collegiate sports since the passage of Title IX. In other words: the excesses of leftwing, political feminism. This portion of the post is generally reasonable, and generally conservative.
But then Vox ends his post with a non sequitur:
"Do you really think it was an accident that women were never permitted any voice in the governance of the Roman Republic or the great historical democracies such as Athens, Thebes, Imperial Britain, and Revolutionary America? Do you really believe it to be a mere coincidence that many modern democracies, including Germany, Italy, and the member states of the European Union, were not able to survive even 100 years of female suffrage?"
What about Jeane Kirkpatrick--and Margaret Thatcher? Would Vox seriously deny these women the vote? (A true conservative would not apportion any political privileges or penalties based on race or gender. Once again--that is the game of the Left and the Democratic Party.)
The implication in Vox's post is that members of one gender are inherently wiser than those of the other. And there is one gender which--by virtue of being that gender--"ruins everything," in his words.
This is exactly what the radical feminists say--only in reverse.
Conservatives cannot fight irrational gender politics by becoming sexists ourselves, just as we cannot fight the tribal politics of the race card by becoming racists. Conservatism is for men as well as women--and for people of all races and ethnicities. (Let us not forget that most of the welfare states in Europe are essentially the creations of white males, while there are some fairly astute Asian capitalists. And yes--some of them are women.)
The logical flaws in Vox's "Women ruin everything" post are obvious. What is not so obvious is how this sort of rhetoric plays into the hands of Obama and the Obamaites.
One phony conservative can do more damage to the conservative movement than all the prattling leftwing lemmings on The Daily Kos and John Scalzi's Whatever combined.
Note: Comments are welcome, but please read My very simple and egalitarian comments policy before posting. Thanks!