Razing Arizona: Conservatives Succeed at Failing Again

SellwynThumbby Selwyn Duke   2/27/14
Perhaps Arizona governor Jan Brewer was sincere when saying that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 1062) she vetoed yesterday could “create more problems than it purports to solve.” After all, observers such as Napp Nazworth at The Christian Post contend that SB 1062 might actually — contrary to all the hysteria — have made it harder for most business owners to refuse service to homosexuals. This analysis may have merit and can be read here, but it’s irrelevant to a larger point:

The GOP’s handling of this matter was a good illustration of conservatism’s fatal flaw.

Whatever the legal realities, about something we can be sure: many conservatives believed in SB 1062. And as with the three GOP lawmakers who voted for the bill but turned against it after the heat was turned up,  many of those conservatives caved under great pressure from greedy businesses, limp-wristed neo-con artists (John McCain) and that great leftist public-relations team (the media).

I’ve long lamented that conservatives are conservative; that is to say, they play defense and just try to protect the status quo, which was, though conservatives generally appear oblivious to the fact, created by yesterday’s liberals.

So they never actually try to rescind those efforts at thought control called hate-crime laws, but just hope to limit the scope of new proposals for them. They never really endeavor to eliminate government programs and bureaucracies; they just aim to slow down their metastasizing. They hardly ever try to reduce spending and shrink government, but just seek to limit the rate at which both balloon. And with the Arizona effort, they weren’t really willing to do what was necessary to reclaim freedom of association. They just proposed a half measure and then folded like cheap cameras.

As for the Three Mouseketeers who ran for cover — senators Bob Worsley, Adam Driggs and Steve Pierce — they wrote in a letter to Brewer that while they wanted “to create a shield for all citizens’ religious liberties, the bill has been mischaracterized by its opponents as a sword for religious intolerance.”

Wow, is that all it takes?

We might as well just bow down and lick the left’s jackboots right now.

How did these three chronologically adult politicians think the left would characterize their effort? Who are these guys, Beaver and Wally Cleaver and Dennis (the Menace) Mitchell? Of course the left is going to call you names! That’s what they do. And now you’ve just confirmed for them, once again, that this is all they have to do to bring you to your knees. Welcome to How to Lose a Culture War 101.

How should conservatives handle such name calling?

Hurl names right back.

Call the leftists what they are: tyrants, socialists and haters of liberty. Explain that they want to destroy freedom of association. Seek to control the language of the debate and to frame the narrative — and use their own Alinsky tactics against them. And we do have one great advantage: we’re right and righteous.

As for strategy, realize that framing this as a matter of freedom of religion makes it seem a special-interest cause, as not everyone considers himself “religious.” What we really need is a Freedom of Association Restoration Act.

For this freedom is increasingly trampled. A photographer in New Mexico being sued and two Oregon bakers forced to close their business — both for refusing to be party to lesbian so-called “weddings” — are just two examples of the phenomenon.

But think about the supposition justifying this kind of government coercion: no one would deny me the right to include in or exclude from my home whomever I please. Why should I lose this right simply because I decide to erect extra tables and sell food?

It’s still my private property, paid for with my own money and created by the sweat of my own brow. It’s tyranny to give me a choice between relinquishing my rights — and starving.

Likewise, no one would force you to bake cakes for or take pictures of people with whom you didn’t want to consort. Why should this change just because you decide to bake cakes or take pictures for money? The principle is simple: your home, your oven, your camera — your choice.

The hypocrisy here is thick, too. We wouldn’t force a Muslim butcher to deal in pork or a Jewish baker to place Nazi symbols on a cake; in fact, there’s a story about a supermarket that refused to place the name of a neo-Nazi’s son — Adolf Hitler Campbell — on a birthday cake. And even more recently we heard about a bar in California denying service to legislators seeking to protect marriage. Of course, the left will claim there’s no comparison, as pork eaters, Nazis and pro-marriage individuals aren’t protected groups. So let’s get this straight:

They trumpet discrimination as an argument for disallowing discrimination.

And what invidious discrimination theirs is. They somehow think that supporting the granting of just some groups “protected status” — and thus leaving other groups, apparently, “unprotected” — gives them moral high ground in trying to discriminate against yet other groups by forcing them, but not others (e.g., those opposing and denying service to traditionalist legislators), to violate their deeply held convictions. Only a twisted mind could consider this justice. Of course, though, with liberals telling us via a high-school textbook (Magruder’s American Government & Civics) that justice “is difficult to define for justice is a concept, an idea, an invention of the human mind [and that] [l]ike other concepts such as truth, liberty, and fairness justice means what people want it to mean,” this is no surprise.

Some will balk at my argument, saying that my position on freedom of association would allow businesses to discriminate even on the basis of race or sex. The answer to this is illustrated with a simple analogy: does freedom of speech mean anything if only extended to popular speech? It then isn’t freedom of speech at all, but merely the establishment of different prohibitions than may exist in Iran, North Korea or Cuba. Likewise, the true test of whether we really believe in freedom of association is if we’ll extend it to even those who would exercise it in a way we abhor.

As for businesses that must operate in today’s tyrannical, rights-squelching environment, I have a solution. If, for instance, people forced me through law to provide bakery services for them, the trauma just might affect my ability to identify and measure ingredients and follow a recipe. And I would then show them that you can have your cake, but you can’t eat it, too.
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15 Responses to Razing Arizona: Conservatives Succeed at Failing Again

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    The key to this would be getting rid of all those anti-discrimination laws except when there is a compelling need for them (as there arguably was with blacks 50 years ago). The problem is that there are special-interest identity-politics groups who will fight all-out to maintain (or even add to) these restrictions on freedom of association, and the synoptic media will always support them without thinking (no surprise, liberals never like to think if they can simply accept the Party Line instead), and at least some otherwise normal members of the identity groups will believe the false claims (if only because few pay serious attention to the issues).

  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Here are two great quotes from this article:

    I’ve long lamented that conservatives are conservative; that is to say, they play defense and just try to protect the status quo, which was, though conservatives generally appear oblivious to the fact, created by yesterday’s liberals.

    And…

    As for the Three Mouseketeers who ran for cover — senators Bob Worsley, Adam Driggs and Steve Pierce — they wrote in a letter to Brewer that while they wanted “to create a shield for all citizens’ religious liberties, the bill has been mischaracterized by its opponents as a sword for religious intolerance.”

    Wow, is that all it takes?

    We might as well just bow down and lick the left’s jackboots right now.

    How did these three chronologically adult politicians think the left would characterize their effort? Who are these guys, Beaver and Wally Cleaver and Dennis (the Menace) Mitchell? Of course the left is going to call you names! That’s what they do. And now you’ve just confirmed for them, once again, that this is all they have to do to bring you to your knees. Welcome to How to Lose a Culture War 101.

    And Selwyn is exactly right (and one of the very few to have the guts to say so) regarding the solution:

    How should conservatives handle such name calling?

    Hurl names right back.

    Call the leftists what they are: tyrants, socialists and haters of liberty. Explain that they want to destroy freedom of association. Seek to control the language of the debate and to frame the narrative — and use their own Alinsky tactics against them. And we do have one great advantage: we’re right and righteous.

    Rush is constantly lamenting the fact that the GOP have become such wimps. When they are handed issues in which the public at large agrees with them (such as that Obamacare is a disaster), they don’t take advantage of it.

    Both sides are often blandly derided for engaging in “partisan politics” as if having political disagreements in a nation of 300 million people was abnormal — as if some kind of homogenized “unity” is man’s preferred destiny. No, disagreements are the nature of people being people, not mindless clones.

    Therefore, I don’t begrudge the Left having disagreements, as dishonest as they usually are. But cannot the Republican Party find their testicles and engage in this battle of ideas and present the opposing side to Orwellian mind-numbed socialism?

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      This is a link to an article which I just read. I agree with everything Horowitz writes and have been saying such things to people for some time. His remarks about the intents of Ted Cruz’s fight against funding Obamacare are the same I have told many friends. We need to listen to this man who knows the Left backwards and forwards.

      http://www.nationalreview.com/article/372007/why-republicans-need-tea-party-david-horowitz/page/0/1

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Here’s some great stuff from Horowitz:

        If explaining why their policies won’t work were politically effective, they’d be out of business. Socialism doesn’t work, central planning doesn’t work. These ideas ruined whole continents. Why haven’t Democrats learned from that? It is because they are missionaries, and their politics is a religion that provides them with a meaning for their lives. They are the prophets of a social redemption, a future in which the meaning of being human has been redefined and social justice prevails.

        Because their politics is inspirational, every failure along the way is regarded as a glitch. The cause is noble, and they cannot allow it to be derailed by a failure of any of its parts. After a century of corpses and ruined continents, “socialist” should be just another name for delusional. So should “progressive.” And yet these are the fantasies that drive the Democratic party today.

        And one reason why Horowitz is not an ass-wipe:

        Not only do I believe that Cruz’s stand on the Senate floor did not injure the chances of a Republican victory in 2014, I believe it enhanced them. Because it lit a fire in the Republican base and showed the rank and file that there are Republicans ready to fight. This is what our voters most want to see. Both McCain and Romney lost because they failed to create the passion among Republican voters that gets them to the polls.

        That was indeed a truly great article…although he gives Boehner and Company too much credit, apologizing for their cowardice as merely a “business attitude.” But that’s my only quibble.

        And given his “missionary zeal” paradigm (which is a good one, and with which I fully agree), can atheists and libertarians ever get on board with that? I doubt it.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      There’s a reason I came up with the abbreviation YBR — for Yellow-Bellied Republicans. Back when Margaret Thatcher was still around, I suggested her for House Speaker because she had more balls than the existing leadership (e.g., Newtered Gingrich and Wimp Lott, as I called the congressional leaders in 1998).

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Here’s Rich Lowry’s take on it: Brewer’s Foolish Veto. Here’s the relevant bit:

    A religious freedom statute doesn’t give anyone carte blanche to do whatever he wants in the name of religion. It simply allows him to make his case in court that a law or a lawsuit substantially burdens his religion and that there is no compelling governmental interest to justify the burden.

    For critics of the Arizona bill, the substance was almost an afterthought. They recoiled at the very idea that someone might have moral objections to homosexuality or gay marriage.

    The cases that have come up relevant to the Arizona debate involve small-business people declining to provide their services to gay couples at their marriage ceremonies. A New Mexico photographer won’t take pictures. A Washington state florist won’t arrange flowers. An Oregon bakery won’t bake a wedding cake.

    It’s easy to see how offensive these decisions were to the gay couples involved. An entirely understandable response would be for the couple to say, “I’m sorry you’re so narrow-minded and I hope you evolve one day. In the meantime, I’ll take my business elsewhere.”

    The market has a ready solution for these couples: There are other bakers, photographers and florists. The wedding business is not exactly bristling with hostility to gay people. If one baker won’t make a cake for gay weddings, the baker across town can hang a shingle welcoming all couples for all types of weddings.

    This is how a pluralistic society would handle such disputes. Instead, in the cases mentioned above, the gay couples reported the businesses to the authorities for punishment.

    The question isn’t whether businesses run by people opposed to gay marriage on religious grounds should provide their services for gay weddings; it is whether they should be compelled to by government. The critics of the much-maligned Arizona bill pride themselves on their live-and-let-live open-mindedness, but they are highly moralistic in their support of gay marriage, judgmental of those who oppose it and tolerant of only one point of view on the issue — their own.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Militant homosexuals and their supporters like to call those who disagree with them homophobes. So I have decided to call them the opposite: homomaniacs. Insult them back, although inevitably their control of the synoptic media (and the fear of so many others) gives them the advantage. But at least those who strike back will have the courage to continue the fight.

  4. NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

    Admirable framing of the issue by Selwyn – it is indeed necessary to fight to reclaim rights of association (and conscience). RFRA’s like the AZ law don’t go far enough, but I still think they may serve as stopgap measures; for example, several lawsuits against Obamacare may still prevail because of the Federal RFRA.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Yes, it’s necessary to fight back — and the first step is to articulate the anti-left message in each case. This wasn’t done here, and the homosexual militants quickly got their message out to the synoptic media homomaniacs, who (as usual) repeated it reflexively. And once the Big Lie was established, the result was inevitable.

  5. steve lancaster says:

    Other than the opportunity to create a political issue, something the progressives are known for, why would anyone want pictures taken by a photographer who does not want to do the job, or a cake baked by someone who finds the theme offensive?

    Left alone the free market will accommodate will always find a solution. If there is a way to make a living as a “gay wedding photographer, or baker” it will happen if, I repeat IF, the government stays out of it.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Liberalism encourages a victim mentality devoted to grievance-seeking. That’s more important than actually getting the job done.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        That is exactly why I say Christianity, properly practiced, is probably the only cure for what ails us at the moment (some would say for all time). The opposite of a grievance-based orientation is a thankfulness-based one. Rather than running from hardship and instinctively blaming it on someone else, Christians understand that hardship is a part of life, and a damn good learning tool as well. Christianity defuses these things and brings meaning to them.

        The Left props up, enlarges, and amplifies the inherent pains of life — so much so, that even the small things become unbearable. They are the eternal story of The Princess and the Pea. They create whiny, ungrateful, paranoid little narcissists of people. One faith makes thin-skinned moochers of us. The other productive and positive members of society.

        Surely just minding your own damn business, working hard, and expecting nothing from others but the freedom to do so is also a good guide. One profits from one’s efforts and learns from one’s failures that way. It’s call life, as opposed to utopia.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          An excellent analogy, and I’ll have to tell Elizabeth about your point about thankfulness (she does refer to the Good News, after all). But another childhood tale that might be worth remembering is The Dog in the Manger — and for the eco-Millerites, the Boy Who Cried Wolf. The Ant and the Grasshopper shouldn’t be forgotten, either. (My high-school French included the poem by La Fontaine, though I have no idea if it was precisely the original wording.)

  6. Timothy Lane says:

    Another interesting article on this subject is by Matt Barber, which has become available (it wasn’t there earlier today) on townhall.com, which deals with the Arizona law and comparable outrages (such as a homosexual baker being forced to bake a “God hates fags” for a Westboro Baptist Church function — discrimination on the basis of religion is illegal).

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