Economic Conservatives. Social Conservatives. Is it Time for a Divorce?

Dear Sarah,

I read your piece
in the Wall Street Journal
and was nodding in agreement and cheering you
on. That is, until about half way through. You wrote some marvelous phrases
about the GOP’s tragic inability to sell a conservative economic message to
those very voters who sided with the Democratic Party despite the fact they
hold, “a government shackle waiting to be slapped onto the wrists of every
young voter they ensnare.” I agree wholeheartedly with the visual picture you
create that, “The GOP is like a supermodel who’s has been doing photo shoots
under fluorescent bulbs without any makeup.” We do have the right ideas and we
have failed abysmally in marketing them.

But, then you start discussing moral issues. You say that
the Left has taken the moral high ground by being pro-choice and pro-gay. You
rail bitterly as you refer to the “religious right and the gay-bashing,
Bible-thumping fringe that gives the party such a bad rap with every young
voter.” Here is where you and I need to have a dialogue if the Republican Party
has any chance of continuing.

In my mind, the GOP has the same exact problem on social
issues as it does on economic ones. It has the right ideas it articulates
atrociously and the Left controls the message being given to your age group.
Just as your peers are indoctrinated with failed ideas that redistribution of
wealth brings happiness and prosperity to all, they are also are indoctrinated
with a negative view of traditional religious values. In high schools and
colleges and on popular TV shows and movies wealthy Americans are portrayed as
greedy misers (despite the fact that conservative Americans give charity, volunteer
and even donate blood way more generously than the ‘kind, compassionate, loving
liberals’). Similarly, religious Christians are portrayed as hypocritical,
racist zealots despite that fact that the nation’s conservative churches are far
more racially integrated than most college campuses and filled with warm and
loving individuals who in no way resemble the caricature fed to the public.

I am Jewish, and like my Christian friends, I believe in a
Creator. Like our Founders I believe that He created us with certain inalienable
rights, and I also believe that He created us with certain needs. One of those
needs is to live a productive and fulfilling life. I am an economic
conservative because even if the government could supply everyone with a
luxurious lifestyle as an outright gift (which it cannot, even if it uses the
word entitlement rather than gift), people’s souls would corrode. The human
spirit drives us to actively participate in our own success, not be the
recipient of largesse.

Similarly, the human soul craves certain things like love,
affection and security. The ‘advances’ of the Left have not delivered as
promised. Studies show that women are less happy now than they were fifty years
ago and mental health professionals meet a horrifying number of young women who
are depressed and punishing themselves through eating disorders and cutting among
other pathologies.  The depiction of
religious conservatives as misogynistic, sexual Neanderthals is no more
accurate than the claim that Republicans want to send grandma over a cliff.  My generation has failed yours in letting you
believe that you are originating the idea of a brave new world of sexuality
without knowing that it has been tried – and failed – before. We have bolstered
your self-esteem so high that you lack the humility to acknowledge the wisdom
of the past and to learn from those with more life experience than you.

If extremists in one political party (including President
Obama) believe that a full-term baby who has started exiting its mother’s body
and in no way threatens her life or health, can be “aborted,” while extremists
in the other party believe that a rape victim should carry the baby to term and
let it be adopted into a loving home, then I know with which view I need to
side. If you were given that stark choice, perhaps you would agree with me.  Nevertheless, most Americans fall into neither
extreme. The discussion that needs to take place is obstructed by the Left’s
demagoguery and the ‘Mitt Romney type’ Republican’s spinelessness on the issue.
Women your age deserve to hear truth rather than scare tactics. Abortion and homosexual
behavior are sensitive issues, but women must be encouraged to have the
maturity to listen and discuss them rather than accept the Left’s propaganda
and vilify anyone with a traditional viewpoint.

You are absolutely correct that the GOP cannot survive
without expressing their ideas better, but I believe that it cannot survive by
betraying either classical economic or traditional social principles. We hold
the moral high ground in both social and economic issues, even if we do not
know how to express our message. On a practical level, if the GOP split or even
won the youth vote, but lost social conservatives, it will still be a losing
party. Are you able to imagine that you might not be hearing the whole truth
when it comes to the ‘religious right’ or traditional values? If so, we can
have a valuable conversation, and the GOP might have a shot at survival.



14 thoughts on “Economic Conservatives. Social Conservatives. Is it Time for a Divorce?”

  1. Dear Susan:
    I’m catching up after several whirlwind weeks and happy to see that you’ve waded back in to the political waters – and encountered some rather pesky creatures in so doing! It’s all great crack as my Irish friends are wont to say.
    I’m reminded in reading your musing and the good comments of James and others of the words of the brilliant economist Milton Friedman from his introduction to the Fiftieth Anniversary Edition of F.A. Hayek’s The Road To Serfdom:
    “… The argument for collectivism is simple if false; it is an immediate emotional argument. The argument for individualism is subtle and sophisticated; it is an indirect rational argument. And the emotional faculties are more highly developed in most men than the rational, paradoxically or especially even in those who regard themselves as intellectuals.” – pg. xii
    Those who subscribe to the emotional argument tend to betray their position by responding emotionally. We would all do well to heed the wisdom of the ancients in recognizing the following principles as articulated by your husband in his book Thou Shall Prosper (and yes, that is an unabashed not-so-subtle advertisement – interested parties please see Rabbi Lapin’s bookstore for more details):
    “Few of the stupid things you do are more stupid than allowing yourself to grow angry. When you’re angry, you’re out of control…Please note that I do not say, “Never display anger.” Instead, I say, “Never be angry” … What causes anger? Arrogance. When I erupt in an obscene fury…what I am really saying is, “How dare they!…Don’t they know how important I am?” – Thou Shall Prosper, 2nd Edition pp. 122 ff
    How true the Holy Scripture is when it teaches us that:
    “Happy [not angry] is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.” Proverbs 3: 13,14
    The CDs, books, and DVDs that you and your husband produce a chalk full of God’s wisdom, and I will testify that their worth GREATLY outweighs their purchase price (in fact, it is absurd in my view to even make the comparison).
    May God contiue to bless your minds and hands as you continue to produce the abundant fruit of godly labor.
    Warmly in Him

  2. Hi Susan,
    The fact that social issues are even being discussed as federal issues shows us that the Progressives are winning. I realize that the US Constitution has gone ignored, but we do have a working model if we would just use it. The Tenth Amendment says that the federal government has no right to exercise powers not specifically delegated to it. These social issues are not delegated to the federal government. Anyone who wants to drag social issues into a federal discussion should promptly receive an education on the Tenth Amendment.

  3. it is pitiful that you are so ignorant of how a business operates. I believe that the laphams would probably give anyone, who sincerely and honestly asked and had a need, a copy of a cd that one needed. They are very generous with their time and money and this is after all their business and supports them. If you have a need for something I suggest you try to earn enough money to purchase it or have the humility to graciously ask for it? God bless you as you mature into the man or woman God gave you the ability to become.

  4. I’m not quite sure of the connection you are making between my Musing and the selling of a CD as it isn’t for sale on this site, but I thank you for writing because I think you are illustrating my point entirely. My husband and I are in business and do create, publish, market and sell books and CDs that we believe bring value to those who choose to buy and use them. We do not force anyone at gunpoint or threat of violence to buy products (that would be theft)and we also don’t ask the government to take money from some people and give it to us. We take the risk of creating something and we only profit if others think it is of value. We allow people the free choice to purchase or not purchase items in which we have invested time and money. We then give a minimum of 10% of what we earn to charity. We also give of our time to others as well as our resources, as our daughter did recently after Hurricane Sandy when she opened her home to four families who were without power.
    Do you know what makes me upset? Politicians who give $33 a year to charity while talking about how important it is to be kind and loving to others. Their idea of charity is taking, by threat of fine or imprisonment, from some citizens and giving to other people. Then they pat themselves on their backs for being charitable and manipulate those to whom they are giving to think it is a gift from them.
    I would suggest that you take an anger management course if you would like your life to be more successful. I can’t sell you one as I don’t create those, but I am sure there are many good courses out there. Once you have learned to control your anger, we do produce and proudly sell an excellent CD, Perils of Profanity (, which I think will be a great help to you in earning a better income.
    Best wishes,

  5. so you talk about how GIVING conservatives are… and then try and sell your $18 CD to someone who took time to comment?! If you are trying to make the country a better place, your CD would be FREE. You are the epitome of the GOP – out for a buck and don’t give a f*#$ about how you make it. your disgusting.

  6. Dear Mrs. Lapin,
    With all of the new “freedoms” we’ve enjoyed since the sixties one would think life would be utopian in 2012. Instead dropout rates, divorces, abortions, the number of unwed(an archaic term)mothers,alcohol and drug use continue to rise. So why aren’t we happy? C’mon, all of the “freedoms” we demanded are ours for the taking. We just made everything legal, and anyone who says otherwise is narrow-minded, and a party pooper. In fact those of us who believe in a Creator and that we were endowed with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness without the interference of anyone are politically incorrect.
    Don’t worry, we are in good company. Keep it up Susan!!

  7. Today, wealthy Americans ARE most likely corrupt, greedy, only sometimes misers. Those at Solyndra kept their wealth. My tax dollars went to Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, etc. – they made stupid, risky decisions, and it blew up in their faces, but instead of losing their jobs, they paid themselves bonuses while throwing people who have lost their jobs due to their crashing the economy out of their homes. They aren’t greedy misers? They may donate blood, but not their own. Jezebel did get that field for Ahab.
    In order to fly, you need to have your naked image exposed to some strange man or woman, and if you refuse or are randomly selected, they will touch you in a way that should violate more than one of the 613 commandments. I hope the steamship carrying your husband doesn’t run into a nor-easter and he has a pleasant train ride home.
    The GOP’s problem is that they want to be a tyrannical dictatorship (while keeping the illusion), no different than the democrats. Levithan big government. Intrude into your workplace and bedroom, only differently. What happened to federalism (what Catholics call Subsidiarity)? If you truly want the federal government to micromanage families, there is only a difference in detail, not in kind.
    Perhaps there is some ancient wisdom to keep someone with absolute power over you from becoming corrupt, but you have not revealed it, nor does it seem to be in effect.

  8. I appreciate everyone weighing in on this issue. Clearly, the GOP and conservative Americans need to get their act together on this. Our audio CD, The Gathering Storm, ( makes your point, Jean, straight out of Scripture. If you haven’t listened to it, it is on sale right now and I think it is terribly important to listen with your teenagers and young adults. It is a terrific way to start a conversation.

  9. Hello Susan
    Thank you for your insights. May I add one more – that the social side of the equation is not divorced from the economic side? Consider this – there is significantly more need for “social services” – welfare, prisons, elder care and subsidies, etc. – when the fabric of the traditional family has been destroyed. What families used to do as a matter of routine and responsibility is now being thrown onto “society” – that is, those taxpayers who still have the means to render unto Caesar – and the people least able to defend against injustices are the most likely to become commoditized.

  10. I wish I could get this message through to my 20 year old daughter. My only comfort is that I know she will grow up and mature, and realize that she did not know everything after all. Thank you for another excellent post.

  11. Dear Mrs. Lapin, what an apt piece! You silhouette the morally bankrupt Socialist Party, who purchase votes and gain power by purloining men’s earnings for redistribution to those unwilling to work (a perennially failed philosophy) and by demonizing those who insist that sexual indiscretions can have dire personal and social consequences.
    Let me carry your excellent train of thought in another direction. A knowledgeable author a while ago described the communists as dedicated to communism as the highest good, which qualifies communism as a religion. Communists blindly pursue their vision of world domination, so dedicated in fact that they will cheat and steal or tell any lie (disinformation) to further the goal of communism. They will mount any ad hominem attack, besmirch any reputation to render an opponent impotent or even destroy him if necessary. They aim withering derision at their perceived opponents, yet seem to have no sense of humor about themselves. They despise the very thought of God. Keeping one’s eagle eye on the news today, it would seem that exponents of today’s New Left must have subsumed a great deal of communist ideology, from the top down. Christ says in our New Testament “by their fruits shall ye know them.” Not by their fine words and grandiose promises, but by their deeds will we recognize them for what they are: haters of God, bankrupt in morality, devoid of love.
    The author was J. Edgar Hoover writing in Masters of Deceit. I read it in ca. 1961. I grew up with the bitter legacy of communism, which killed millions of people, and the Cold War to fight communism. But most young people today skipped over these in school in favor of pop culture. They must think the Soviet Union is a credit union in Saigon and that Czechoslovakia is the name of an alien princess from Star Wars. “He who will not be ruled by God will be ruled by human despots.”

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