I find it particularly strange that political variation, as Charles C. W. Cooke writes in The Conservatarian Manifesto, is a ‘problem to be solved’ for the left. For some reason the very notion that a person could be comfortably gay and hold their own set of political values and social beliefs appears threatening to many in the LGBT world. I have written about this many times before. But the issue seems to be escalating. As Twitchy cataloged, Zack Ford, LGBT editor for ThinkProgress, ranted in an entire thread about the very concept gay conservatives should even exist and our apparent threat to all gay people.
Zack Ford, if you remember, also led the charge against Chadwick Moore for publishing a remarkably even-handed profile of Milo Yiannopoulos back in September 2016, accusing him of, as you might have guessed, harming LGBT people. It was this ridiculous overreaction and LGBT-wide media backlash against Moore that forced him to reconsider his own political views. He has since recognized his values align more to the right than the left as a result.
Chadwick Moore wrote a moving piece of his experience titled, I’m a Gay New Yorker - and I’m Coming Out as Conservative in which he details his personal experience and his new-found perspective on the world. A Twitter search of the word ‘Welcome’ to Chadwick’s twitter handle shows you the reaction he received from the right. The right is made up of a remarkably diverse intellectual population with a wide range of political beliefs and goals typically aligned along the same basic concepts. Yet Moore received universal support and welcome across the board.
Because he did something brave, actually brave, and he stood up for what he realized is the truth. He risked his career, his social life, his actual life (he reports receiving many death threats in his article) and public attacks from his community. All for simply stating that he sees the world in a different way than they do. It occurs to me that a large part of this problem stems from a huge mis-characterization of what people on the right actually believe and while this is no way an authoritative review, I am hoping it will at least provide some context. I certainly do not speak for everyone, but as you will see it is perfectly acceptable for us to disagree with one another.
The right is aligned along the basic concept of liberty. We assume liberty rather than request it from our government or our leaders. Our constitution is specifically designed to outline what the federal government cannot do to the people rather than a list of what the people are permitted to do. The left takes the opposing view, believing the government must tightly regulate rights, freedoms, protections and human behaviors in order to provide an equal and fair experience for all citizens.
From the basic concept of liberty we begin to branch off into various philosophies of what this entails. As a foundation we all agree that a limited local government is required for the individual to enjoy his or her own assumed liberty. Libertarians range from being hostile to any government intrusion whatsoever to understanding that reasonable government involvement is often necessary for polite society to function but it should be severely limited. Conservatives agree, but are often willing to provide slightly more power to a government as long as it is limited, well managed and they have the individual ability to influence it.
The left tends to universally believe that all of the above allows abuses, inequality and unfairness and therefore cannot be allowed. A centralized government highly invested in the regulation of its citizenry is required for all to experience equality.
The United States is a Constitutional Republic. We are a grouping of independent states that agreed to a few fundamental absolute rights, gun ownership, freedom of speech and religion for example, with a Federal government charged with national protection and ensuring those rights are protected. The Federal government is also charged with the basic managing of interstate relations. The Republican party was built on the foundation of protecting the republic as a whole and ensuring all people enjoyed the liberty they were entitled to. The Republican party formed as an abolitionist party with the goal of representing the states while the Democratic party formed to provide a voice to the people themselves.
A Republican is simply a person who supports the general political idea of state independence, limited federal influence over the states and certainly over the people, an absolute dedication to the Constitution and strong national protection from outside forces. A Republican is also primarily interested in not only preserving liberty for all citizens, but ensuring liberty is easily accessed.
A Republican can be conservative, libertarian or anywhere else on the spectrum of the right as long as they hold a core belief in liberty and independence. The Republican party has not always lived up to this hope, but the Democratic party has, over time, clearly defined itself as the opposition to these values. We do not have an effective third option.
At its most basic form, I am a conservative because I support liberty, religious freedom, freedom of speech, gun ownership and state independence. I am comfortable with state government regulation and lawmaking as long as it is reasonable and I can act to influence it. I am comfortable with taxation as long as it is, again, reasonable and I have influence over what my money is being used for. I hold libertarian views as well as classical liberal views. But my core concern politically is that a limited government respect my absolute rights and resist the urge to take more of my money than it absolutely needs to.
Another core concept of the right is the idea that process matters more than outcome. The left is primarily concerned with the outcome and will take whatever steps are necessary to influence it. I, for example, supported same sex marriage but I did not support the Supreme Court telling all states how they must define and manage marriage. I was less concerned on achieving same sex marriage as I was on properly utilizing the mechanisms in place to legally influence marriage law. The reason I am concerned with process over outcome is that once you override a process to get what you want, it becomes very easy for an opposing party to do the same.
A common accusation I hear is that I am somehow opposed to gay rights and, as Zack Ford likes to say, harming LGBT people by holding the political views I do. The left has a bad habit of assuming ownership of minority groups and often members of those minority groups do not appreciate being told what they do or do not need. As an American citizen my rights are extremely clear and any rational person would understand that I do not lack any rights at all due to my identification as a gay man. What the left means when they say ‘rights’ often indicates a preference of outcome rather than an actual right.
The left is often focused on what could happen rather than what is happening and they attempt, in good nature, to set up legal protections against it. As a limited government conservative I do not wish for the government to have any more power or authority than is absolutely required. It is possible I could be fired from my job for being gay, however unlikely, but it is not in the government’s interest either way. Therefore I do not support any effort at the national level to prevent discrimination as I both understand it is unnecessary and easily abused with vague emotional definitions. The left dismisses this entire philosophy as ‘harmful to LGBT’ or ‘Self-hating.’ The truth is I am a remarkably free individual with absolute equal rights and I do not require specialized protections based solely on how I self-identify.
Many gay people on the right may disagree to varying levels and others will absolutely stand alongside me. It is not a primary concern because we all live in different independent states and are aware that we have the influence to make legal changes if they become necessary within said state. Because we do not face any actual threats, limitation, or lack of any right any other citizen enjoys we are not particularly motivated to impose specialized gay-specific legal standards onto our fellow citizens. It simply doesn’t matter to us if a cake shop wants to cater our wedding or not. In fact, we have a strong interest in making sure our fellow citizens are also able to easily enjoy their liberty and rights.
We can disagree because we do not believe our entire movement will succeed or fail based on any one decision, leader or outcome. I did not support Trump, but I didn’t lose my mind over his win either. If Hillary had won I would have been displeased, but I wouldn’t have cried about it. I like some of what Trump has done and I cringe at other things. There are many very strong gay Trump supporters and those who strongly oppose him. I prefer Republican candidates because they tend to promise me the least amount of personal involvement in my life and they give me hope that every two weeks I might get to take home more of the money I earn. Often to the left the next President is a life or death situation which honestly baffles me.
Gays on the right also tend to be comfortably integrated into the rest of society rather than congregated in tight-identity specific urban environments. I interact with other gay people as often as I do Muslims, Asians, Atheists, Christians or any other group. I simply do not experience negativity related to my sexuality, nor do I witness it. There is no reason for me to be concerned that my sexual identity has any consequence on my standing as a citizen. As a result we do not obsess over the thoughts, feelings, possible prejudices or religious views of those around us. We live equally among everyone.
If you ask me about ‘gay rights’ I really have no idea what you are describing. Typically the list sounds more like a generalized liberal ideal state of preferred outcomes than anything. Unfortunately they require direct government intervention so I have no interest in them, regardless of the promise their outcome may provide. But here is a short list of what most gays on the right would consider important topics:
- National Security
- The Economy
- Limited Taxes
- Access to Constitutional rights such as gun ownership and freedom of religious expression
- Local government with local schooling and choice in schooling
- The protection of innocent life including the unborn and those unable to speak for themselves
- The limitation or removal of unelected national agencies like the IRS or EPA that tend to abuse power and hold too much influence over our daily lives
- Limited regulation on business to allow free markets to more easily function
- A reasonable immigration policy that is enforced
The list continues, but the general idea is we simply want the government to get out of the way and leave us alone. These issues impact everyone and being gay has absolutely nothing to do with it. This is why it is baffling to anyone on the right when someone is confused or offended that a minority would support this side of the political spectrum. Why on Earth would skin color, religion, gender, sexuality or any other category impact your worldview on things like taxes and access to gun ownership?
The uncomfortable truth that many on the left like Zack Ford do not appreciate is whenever they declare a minority should be loyal to a political party or ideology they are essentially stating that said minority is incapable of the same decision-making and reasoning skills as the majority. To say there is something wrong with me because I hold a certain view and I am gay implies being gay is a limiting factor on intelligence and independent thinking. It is remarkably insulting to assert that any characteristic should limit your worldview or require unthinking loyalty to another.
We are all individuals and we all care about different things. The right is made up of people who hold diverse backgrounds, lifestyles, religious beliefs and social standing yet stand together on a core line of values that insures everyone can enjoy liberty in their own way. The left seems determined to be a series of predesignated lines one is assigned to and must follow with their particular group under the careful watching eye of a government authority micromanaging every possible outcome.
The problem with absolute rejection of our existence, refusing to accept us or fear-mongering attempts to demonize us before we can even speak (or using violence to shut down our attempts to do so) is it significantly limits not only the intellectual diversity of a community, but it diminishes the people who belong to it. Who wants to belong to a group that believes you are incapable of making your own decisions and certainly if doing so results in public humiliation and shaming.
On a final note there is another very important concept those on the left need to understand: We do not need your acceptance or approval. We do not require your permission or your blessing. You do not own us. We function just fine as independent equal citizens and we have great relationships with those around us. We are not a collective, but members of a large population of like-minded individuals. I am not conservative in spite of being gay. I am simply conservative. I will always fight to ensure truth, honesty and accuracy are represented, but truth be told I don’t need liberal gays to agree with me or accept me.
I am already accepted by the people with whom I respect, value and share common ideas and goals with. I am a conservative with many friends on the right ranging the entire spectrum. They are my people. They are my tribe. And I really don’t appreciate the constant attacks on them. They are good, kind, accepting, open and loving people and I genuinely hope one day those on the left will move past their bigotry and hatred to finally see and appreciate that.
In the meantime, welcome Chadwick Moore; you are in good company and you don’t need the left to accept you my friend. You have all the acceptance you need here.
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