So Matt Walsh‘s blog is “top post” on wordpress at the moment, and I must confess to being a little confused. As far as I can tell, his advice is basically: “Ladies, don’t be in the situation you’re in”, which is unhelpful at best. He spends a lot of time being upset that someone might have to pay for a product or a service for a third party- let’s all agree to never tell him what taxes or insurance are (i don’t think he could handle the strain).
In all honesty, his post really did make me ponder: what will a “conservative”s issues be in the 2020 elections? I’d bet solid money that a “liberal” will still identify with some sort of “equality” focussed agenda. Most people I know that identify as liberal/progressive/lefty talk about most social/political issues from a fairly simple value set; “equality” is the key idea, or perhaps it’s phrased as “equal opportunity”. Schools, Gay Marriage, Immigration, Obamacare- they’re all different facets of the same “equal access to opportunity” kind of idea. But what is someone like Matt Walsh’s underlying idea?
I hear a lot about liberty and tyranny, but I honestly can’t make the connection to policy and argument. “Don’t tread on me” is a common rallying cry, but is it the core value of a conservative? Consider the Hobby Lobby court case: it isn’t at all obvious that one side or the other is on the side of “Liberty”. Both sides are arguing that certain people should be allowed to make certain choices, even though these choices will limit other people’s behavior. Looking just at the structure of the Hobby Lobby corporation, we can see that (statistically)there should be several hundred employees of HL who want access the IUDs as part of their health plan, and there is a family that feels very very strongly that for these women to get access IUDs would be morally wrong. On the one side, we have hundreds of women being told that they aren’t allowed to buy certain health plans, on the other side we have about a dozen people being told that they can’t control their employees sex lives. I’d bet that the religious family fees more strongly per member, but that’s not the same as saying that their choices are more important than their employees. The conservative value of “liberty” doesn’t really help us make a decision in this case, because we still have to wrestle with the questions of whose liberty do we prioritize, and how?
So where is Matt Walsh coming from? Where is the conservative’s point of view in this? Is there a “conservative” set of values that is both applicable now and in the future, or is the conservative perspective just anti-progressive? Because the progressives can say they are coming from an “equality” sort of position, does this mean that the only value open to conservatives is some sort of anti-equality? I can imagine a party and a pundit/media class that continues to fight against the progressives for a long time, and it’s not hard to imagine one that is fairly successful. What I can’t wrap my head around is the values that a normal person would need to have in order to follow this hypothetical party.