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Conservative movement must continue to uphold fiscal, social conservative, national-defense values during these trying times. Quiet majority of the American people are beginning to understand the damage "elites" in media and politics have brought

Social, Fiscal Values Are Equally Important

Col. Bill Connor image

By —— Bio and Archives December 31, 2015

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“This Constitution was made for a moral and religious people, it is wholly unsuited for the governance of any other”
– John Adams, primary author of the U.S. Constitution and second pres. of the United States

Though the first votes of the 2016 Republican primary are only weeks away, the conservative movement continues to struggling with identity. After losing the presidency in 2008 and 2012, and enduring years of social and fiscal liberalism tearing at the fabric of American society, most Republicans realize the stakes are higher now than at any other time in modern history. The questions before us is, how do Republicans win the general election while maintaining non-negotiable conservative values? And should the focus be solely on fiscal matters to marginalize divisive social issues?

First, conservatives should have learned from the campaigns of 2008 and 2012 not to compromise on core conservative values by nominating a moderate. The 2010 congressional elections, compared with the 2008 and 2012 Presidential elections, prove the point. In 2009, grassroots conservatives saw establishment Republicans in Congress practice fiscally liberal, Keynesian economics with the TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) bailout after the 2008 economic collapse. That came after Republicans had practiced big-government spending prior to the collapse.

The 2008 Republican nominee, John McCain, was a fiscal liberal, and even pushed the TARP bailout before losing the general election. He was to the left of many Republicans on social issues, though a clear national-defense conservative.

With the excesses of fiscal and social liberalism early in the Obama administration, the TEA Party gathered steam and brought a number of fiscally and socially conservative candidates to office with the 2010 congressional elections. They were able to help stem the tide before the nation went off a liberal cliff. Unfortunately, the Republican Party played a repeat of the 2008 presidential campaign in nominating moderate Mitt Romney in 2012. With the same result.

Due to the radically liberal fiscal policies in the early years of the Obama administration, 2010 saw the rise of the libertarians within the conservative movement. This group is as fiscally conservative as any, but arguably liberal on social issues and isolationist on national defense. In fact, many in this group see the social issues as a distraction from the fiscal and some even see social conservatism in opposition to “liberty.”

The gay marriage question showed the stark contrast. A number of other conservatives began to beat the drums of marginalizing social issues like marriage and abortion in the seeming attempt to win on the fiscal front. Things have only become more liberal in all areas: fiscal, social, and national defense.

As a traditional “Reagan” fiscal, social and national-defense conservative, I believe it is time to speak out in defending the priority of all three prongs of the traditional conservative movement. As the conflict with ISIS appears to have solidified support among Republicans for national defense, my primary concern is the priority given to so-called “social issues.” That’s not to purport we don’t need to fight for national defense, as I have been outspoken about the need for a strong military and the fight against radical Islamist groups like ISIS (The issue of national defense will be saved for another article prior to the primary). Though the social issues may appear to be marginal to the direction and health of the nation, in comparison to the fiscal, nothing is further from the truth. Fighting for issues like life and marriage (while also fighting for small government) is not only a moral duty, but critical to the fiscal health and even national security of the nation.

Statistics help prove the importance of “social issues” and the clear connection to fiscal health. The primary thrust of social conservatism is in keeping the two parent, man-woman home intact and children being raised by parents in a lifelong committed bond. Social conservatism voices the importance of promoting sex within the bonds of marriage, of honoring marriage as a unique, time-honored institution, of raising children in the two-parent household, and of preventing the destruction of children in the womb.

Statistics bear out the importance of social conservatism and the cost to our nation of the breakdown of the family. Children raised by single parents, compared to children raised by two-parent families (from 2004 Bureau of Justice report) are 20-times more likely to go to prison, five-times more likely to commit suicide, 20-times more likely to have behavioral problems, 14-times more likely to become rapists, 32-times more likely to run away, 10-times more likely to abuse chemical substances, nine-times more likely to drop out of school, 33-times more likely to be seriously abused, 73-times more likely to be fatally abused, and only a tenth as likely to get A’s in school. Single parenthood should not be encouraged if we are to turn the nation around.

The economic impact of the breakdown of the family is obvious, particularly when the substantial majority of our national budget goes toward the social safety net attempting to stem the damage as much as possible (in the early 1960s, the majority of our budget went to national defense).

Additionally, a problem plaguing both Western Europe and the U.S. is the negative birthrate. Some studies put the European birthrate as low as 1.3 percent and the U.S. birthrate as low as 1.7 percent. A birthrate of 2.1 percent is a needed just to sustain a population, so negative birthrates bring a number of demographic issues we can witness in places like Greece, France, Scandinavia, and the Netherlands, which are experiencing a quickly aging population (tied to an unworkable state retirement, and uncontrolled and un-assimilated immigration).   

In America, economic “solutions” to rising social issues have made matters worse. Johnson’s “War on Poverty” and “Great Society” of the mid-1960s, instituting welfare and other similar entitlements, appears to have furthered family breakdown.

Taking the Bible and Prayer from school, No-fault divorce, Roe v. Wade, and other such “experiments” all came during the same period of social revolution. The consequences did not take long: Out-of-wedlock birth rates went from under 25 percent in 1962 to over 75 percent within a few decades in the hardest hit demographics. The same demographics most dependent upon social welfare paid by the taxpayer. As Ronald Reagan succinctly put it: “Government is not the solution to the problem, government is the problem.” However, it’s critical to note that this is a problem of both fiscal and social being tied together. 

We are now faced with social and fiscal liberalism being pushed on the nation at an astonishing rate and, as during the period of the “Great Society”, they are being pushed together to equally devastating consequences. Marriage is being redefined into oblivion, religious expression (and the traditional honoring of God in America) is being driven in the ground, gender roles and identity is being flipped upside down by legal fiat. At the same time, for the first time we see Democratic candidates openly advocating “democratic socialism” and “wage equality” and other such euphemisms for a movement to socialism.

The conservative movement must continue to uphold fiscal, social conservative and national-defense values during these trying times. The quiet majority of the American people are beginning to understand the damage “elites” in media and politics have brought, to the detriment of the nation, by pushing liberal social and fiscal values. We must fight the problem on both fronts or we will lose all. Let’s keep our focus where it belongs, traditional conservatism. As our Lord warned us at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, to build our lives on rock and not sand. We need to ensure the U.S. is on the foundation of rock and not the sand of social liberalism.

Col. Bill Connor -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Bill Connor,  received his Bachelor’s of Arts from The Citadel in 1990. After serving over ten years as an Infantry Officer in the U.S. Army he received his Juris Doctorate from University of South Carolina in 2005.

He is currently an attorney with Hamilton and Associates in Columbia, South Carolina.

In May 2008, he returned from a yearlong combat deployment in Southern Afghanistan. During that time, he served as Joint Operations Officer for the Southern Region of Afghanistan developing and implementing the US advisory effort for Afghan National Security Forces. This effort occurred during the 2007 Taliban spring/summer offensive.

Due to success in that position, he was promoted to take command of the US advisory effort in the volatile province of Helmand. Shortly after arrival in Helmand, he was promoted in rank from Major to Lt. Colonel. In addition to command of US advisory teams, he was the senior American working with the United Kingdom senior staff. Upon return from Afghanistan, he published the book “Articles from War,”a memoir of his experiences and thoughts in Afghanistan.