Morality Cannot Come From The State
The term “big-tent politics” is a cliche for a reason. Politics by its very nature involves compromise. People of various political inclinations that at first glance might not seem to mesh with one another often end up working together out of sheer necessity and a not insignificant mutual loathing of the other side.
One much often cited example is the pairing of social conservatives and libertarians in right-of-centre politics. At first glance these two philosophies would seem to have obvious tensions between them; the former believe in a traditional and objective moral code while the latter ascribes to the view of to each their own and being free to do as one pleases.This apparent tension though only exists if one falls into the trap of viewing the State as the sole arbiter of society. That is certainly the view of progrssives, who believe that from cradle to grave every aspect of the individual’s life must be regulated and guided by the heavy hand of the central government and all of its apparatuses. Those of us on the right, however, have long recognized that other institutions such as the family, the Church, and wider community have just as significant (if not even greater) role to play.
Both libertarians and social conservatives can stand united in their opposition to the increasing tendency of the progressive left to use the full powers of the State to push their own morality (if it can be called that) onto broader society while systematically undermining those aforementioned independent institutions of faith and family that stand in their way; whether it is the mandating of gender neutral pronouns as we have seen here in Canada or assault upon the right to personal conscience we have seen inflicted on Christian bakers and wedding chapel owners in the name of marriage “equality”. It has become increasingly clear that there is no compromise that will be sufficient and no concession that will sate the progressives’ desire to radically redesign society in their own image, and both lovers of liberty and reverers of tradition should be both aghast and opposed to this.
But beyond this mutual opposition to the State sponsored assault of progressivism, social conservatives should realize that their at times singular obsession with seizing the reins of power for themselves is a shortsighted one. For as long as we remain a democracy, those in power will come and go as inevitably as the seasons change from summer into autumn. What is built by democracy can be just as easily undone by it.
It also overlooks how it was that the left achieved all they have. Progressives won the culture wars not by dominating the ballot box but by taking control of the culture itself. From the schools, to the civil service, to the media, to the entertainment industry progressives have come from to dominate every great influencer of modern society. From the Fifth Estate to the Academy Awards the progressives’ version of morality is preached for all to hear.
The task of reversing all of this will be infinitely more complex than merely electing a few people to public office. Indeed, the best thing that can be achieved on that front would be to establish the precedent that government should stay out of the morals business altogether. Building a moral society, to state a somewhat obvious fact, involves building a moral society…and society is much more than government.
It begins with tending your own garden, leading a moral life of your own and raising your children to do the same. Then it requires people of good moral character to begin showing up, not just on Election Day but on every other one. As the pastor of my church often says, living your faith means doing more than just showing up on Sunday but instead taking it with you in everything you do and not being afraid to show it.
Everything is political, as the Marxists are fond of saying, but politics is not everything. The left has taken this lesson to heart in the past seventy years that they have come to utterly dominate Western society. If we, those who stand by morality and tradition, have any hope of pushing the pendulum back in the opposite direction it is a lesson we too must learn.