Thursday, September 23, 2010

Barry Goldwater and Mike Huckabee

Matthew Rozsa


"The conservative movement... has as one of its basic tenets the belief that government should stay out of people's private lives... and stays out of the impossible task of legislating morality."
- Barry Goldwater

"What we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards."
- Mike Huckabee

Matthew Rozsa
Quick context: Barry Goldwater's quote comes from an editorial he penned on why homosexuals should be allowed to openly serve in the military. Mike Huckabee's line is from a speech he delivered as to why the Constitution should have amendments outlawing abortion and gay marriage.

Jessica Roberts
stabbity stab stab

Sean Davis
This kind of thought process is quite terrifying, I sincerely hope we never live in a theocratic state...

Matthew Rozsa
From an MSNBC article last month:

"This week, Huckabee topped the pack of potential candidates in a 2012 caucus poll commissioned by website. Huckabee garnered 22 percent to Mitt Romney's 19 percent. Newt Gingrich received 14 percent, Sarah Palin 11 percent, Texas Rep. Ron Paul 5 percent, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and South Dakota Sen. John Thune 1 percent each."

Remember that the Iowa caucus is the first major presidential primary in the nation. It was the Iowa caucus in 2008 that eliminated Rudy Giuliani from serious contention and established McCain, Romney, and Huckabee as the GOP frontrunners, as well as gave legitimacy to Barack Obama's then-underdog campaign against Hillary Clinton; it was the Iowa caucus in 2004 that destroyed Howard Dean and made John Kerry the heir apparent to the Democratic presidential nomination; heck, the Iowa caucus even helped launch Jimmy Carter to the presidential stage in 1976 and George H. W. Bush in 1980 (although the latter lost his party's nomination to Ronald Reagan, his choice to be on Reagan's ticket was in no small part due to his success in the Republican primaries, beginning with Iowa).

In short, Huckabee is not just some random kook. There is a substantial possibility he will be the Republican presidential candidate in 2012.

Matthew Rozsa
The only question that matters is WWJD?

By that I mean, of course, what would Jefferson do?

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."
- Thomas Jefferson (January 1, 1802)

Kevin Brettell
I completely agree with you that the "conservative" way of thinking has been hijacked almost beyond recognition. That said, the one thing you mentioned Huckabee being in favor of that I'm ambivalent about is abortion. I am truly (and heart-wrenchingly) torn on this issue.

Sean Davis
I do not wish to start a large debate about abortion (mostly because I won't have the time to respond in a timely fashion), let me just say that whereas I do NOT think people SHOULD use abortion as means of birth control; I also wholeheartedly believe that the government has no right regulate morality and even less of a right to tell us what we can and cannot do with our bodies (which is also why I'm in favor of legalization/decriminalization of MOST illegal drugs).

Kevin Brettell
I disagree to some extent, Sean. I firmly believe that a fetus is a living human, and therefore, and abortion is the ending of another person's life. The ONLY times I'm ok with it are in the cases of rape/incest and danger to the mother. We regulate, and with good reason, who may take a life and why. I don't see this as any different.

Matthew Rozsa
For a rebuttal on the issue of abortion, see one of my earlier blog posts:

There is also an excellent essay by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan on this subject:

Kevin Brettell
One of the points made in your second link rebutting my point regarding rape/incest is, in my opinion, inherently flawed. It states that if you truly believe in a right to life, why is the life of a fetus produced by rape/incest less important than that of a fetus produced normally? I would argue that it isn't; it is simply inhuman of us to expect a woman to carry a child produced in a such a manner. We make exceptions to laws all the time. I'm ok with this one.

Another argument, that life doesn't begin at conception but is instead a chain leading all the way back to the primordial soup is just plain laughable. It's a straw man argument and they know it.

Matt, while I appreciate that you, at a minimum, understand where pro-lifers come from, I disagree that it is a requirement for people who are anti-abortion to do the same. With the exceptions of the cases that I outlined (danger, rape, incest), I firmly believe that there is no justification for abortion. None. I can't compromise on this issue because I simply can't. I can't respect the opposition's view on this because the evidence that I see (and yes, my gut) suggests that they are wrong on such a fundamental level that it is my duty to argue against them.

We legislate certain moral issues all the time. And as I believe I discussed with you, I'm generally libertarian in my leanings. My feelings toward government are, essentially, "if you aren't hurting anyone else, I don't care." In this case, I strongly feel that we have a duty to legislate against what I see as harming others.

Matthew Rozsa
The problem with your position is that it essentially states, "Women who do not believe abortion constitutes murder should still lose sovereignty over their own bodies on this issue because I, Kevin Brettell, have come to a different conclusion on that subject."

For the record, I don't fully agree with the position outlined by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan; I only included it because I think it provides an interesting and forensically rigorous scientific perspective on an issue in which such points-of-view are normally woefully lacking.

As far as I'm concerned, the lack of any consensus on the "life status" of the unborn renders it unthinkable for the opinions of one group - however impassioned - to be imposed on another. If there ever was a definite scientific consensus that abortion constituted murder, I would absolutely be in favor of outlawing it. That said, in lieu of such a finding, the notion that one group has the right to force another what to do with their own bodies on the basis of their personal opinion is frankly horrifying to me - as it should be to you.

Similarly, your unwillingness to acknowledge that people who support abortion rights aren't "anti-life" betrays an ideological intolerance on your part that isn't particularly flattering. Using the same logical rubric you've established, I could just as easily refer to opponents of abortion rights as "anti-woman," since if one were to completely ignore how the other side feels on this issue, I could assert that your point-of-view is unthinkingly callous to how your position effects a woman's right to control her own body.

Of course I don't do that. Why? Because I'm not a sanctimonious prick.

Matthew Rozsa
PS: I am a prick. Just not a sanctimonious one.

Kevin Brettell
I apologize, I didn't clearly state that I don't believe that people who support abortion rights are anti-life. I know plenty of people who support abortion rights who also think it's morally reprehensible. I just happen to not support abortion rights (except in the circumstances I outlined).

Matthew Rozsa
You see, I don't think that abortion is morally reprehensible. That too is an oversimplification which lends itself to unjust condemnation of the women who are forced to make these very difficult decisions.

Matthew Rozsa
PS: The point that I was ultimately trying to make, though, is that the essence of conservatism is the belief articulated by Barry Goldwater, which in full reads:

"The conservative movement, to which I subscribe, has as one of its basic tenets the belief that government should stay out of people's private lives. Government governs best when it governs least - and stays out of the impossible task of legislating morality."

While I may disagree with Goldwater's conservative beliefs on matters such as economic policy, I certainly agree that it is consistent with the Jeffersonian precepts upon which our nation was founded (as elaborated upon in the Jefferson quote mentioned a few posts earlier). What's more, that brand of conservatism is in blatant contradiction with the right-wing ideology espoused by Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, and their brethren, which was best summarized by the full version of the Huckabee quote:

"[Some of my opponents] do not want to change the Constitution, but I believe it's a lot easier to change the constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God, and that's what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards."

Kevin Brettell
And that's something we can agree on. The current "conservative" movement is just plain scary.

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