Can’t I Dissent on Anything?
The following was originally published and is the sole property of NewMajority.com
Like thousands of other undergraduates, I flocked to Washington, D.C. this summer to intern and build up my political resume. As summer is coming to a close and I will shortly be trading long days at the office for long nights at the library, an interesting event occurred during my final week at my internship at Brent Bozell?s Media Research Center.
I was chatting with one of my fellow interns when I noticed she had a stack of Pro-Life stickers, T-shirts, and pamphlets piled up on her desk. She apparently was given the material at one of Grover Norquist?s ?Wednesday Meetings,? by someone who asked her if she would be interested in starting up a Pro-Life group on her college campus. Like a good young conservative activist eager to fight the liberal establishment, without hesitation she precipitously agreed.
My intern friend proceeded to ask me if I would like to have a sticker for my car. When I replied with a solemn ?no,? she proceeded to Socratically question my position on abortion. When I told her that I do not consider myself ?pro-life? or an evangelize for the movement, my friend was quite taken aback and looked almost insulted. My young colleague ardently disagreed with me, to no surprise as she is Catholic and a strong social conservative. But what?s notable was her initial response to my view of the issue, ?Maybe you are working in the wrong place.?
Now of course the MRC is a conservative organization, and leans to the right on abortion. I chose to intern there because I am a conservative on foreign policy, immigration, economics, and basically every social issue, I don?t even consider myself ?pro-choice.?
This kind of seclusion regarding social issues seems to be an overwhelming theme of the conservative movement and Republican party politics lately. More than once, I have been labeled a ?squishy moderate? by my College Republican counterparts because of my view on abortion.
Apparently, gone are the days of Frank S. Meyer?s and William F. Buckley?s ?fusionism.? While maybe supply-side economics won?t fix the financial problems of today, and SDI won?t help win the Cold War, a return to Reagan?s ?big tent? philosophy would be a positive for conservatism. How can we rebuild a party when we practice seclusion rather than inclusion? Does one need to check every box on the conservative ideological checklist in order to be a Republican or a conservative?