July 17, 2011

"When it comes to social issues like abortion, public prayer, and Church-state topics, are you politically conservative, moderate, or liberal?"

That's the wording of the "social issues" question on the Rasmussen poll (which we were discussing here).

Using that form for the question — highlighting those 3 issues — 40% of "likely voters" identified themselves as conservative, 31% said liberal, and 26% said moderate. I'm wondering how the results might have varied if 3 other issues had been used to create the impression of what "social issues" means. Obviously, the question over-emphasizes religion. It's also confusing about religion. What is "public prayer"? If you're in a church congregation, you are in public. The President says "God bless America." Saying "prayer in public schools" would have more clearly framed the issue that divides people. But that's a "Church-state topic," so why list it separately?

What if the 3 issues were: abortion, prayer in public schools, and gay rights? Or: abortion, prayer in public schools, and affirmative action? Do you think the percentages would come out different?

Sometimes people — e.g., Mitch Daniels — say that Republicans would do better if they downplayed or ignored the social issues. But "social issues" is an abstract and variable concept. The question should be which social issues to highlight in order to shape the voters' impression of what the social issues are in order to cause them to identify as conservative, moderate, or liberal.

I'm more likely to say I'm conservative if I think of "social issues" as...
Abortion, public prayer, and church-state topics
Abortion, gay rights, and affirmative action
Abortion, gay rights, and church-state topics
Abortion, prayer in school, and affirmative action
pollcode.com free polls


Anonymous said...

I'm a liberal on the abortion question--I believe in standing up for the rights of fetuses who can't stand up for themselves.

rhhardin said...

I'm high-minded on everything.

Roux said...

I'm a conservative but do not think outlawing abortion will do the trick. It's more of a hearts and minds discussion and with today's technology pregnant women are able to see that the thing they are about to abort is a baby.

Paco Wové said...

I'm liberal on abortion, "moderate" (whatever that means) on church-state issues, and conservative on AA, so I guess I can't pick any of your poll options.

Shouting Thomas said...

I can never find a category that fits in these polls you post, Althouse.

Maybe you can categorize my views for me.

1. Abortion... a terrible thing, but how you going to stop it? Try to prevent it. Provide for it in the extreme. Men's rights in their children should be respected.

2. Gay Rights... solution to non-existent problem. Gays don't want rights. They want to twist our arms behind our backs and force old fashioned heteros to kiss their asses. Appeals to nostalgia for Civil Rights era. Pointless melodrama and manufactured martyrdom.

3. Affirmative Action... bullshit euphemism for quotas that primarily benefitted already prosperous suburban white women and gay kids of wealthy parents. Used to beat down redneck white men who are to blame for everything.

So, how do you grade me, Althouse?

Brian Brown said...

Abortion: conservative

"Gay rights": Being gay is immoral, abnormal, and unhealthy. The state should not be encouraging such behavior. It is comical to watch people glibly accept campaigns to stamp out obesity and smoking, yet being gay is considered "normal"

Public Prayer: Jesus and his loyal are coming back. And the fallout will be Armageddon.

The Crack Emcee said...

I'm conservative, no matter how you cut it, but I'd call myself a "new conservative."

Not real big on the Jumbo de la Mumbo, if you know what I mean,...

Fr Martin Fox said...

What a dopey way to phrase the question. These people are supposed to be so smart?

Conserve Liberty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Conserve Liberty said...

I couldn't respond to the questions because I am a classical liberal.

Each issue asked other than affirmative action involves society's choice though government to regulate by denial an individual's exercise of personal decisions or actions.

Affirmative action involves society's choice through government to regulate by requirement an entity's exercise of individual actions, choices or decisions.

While I believe society may establish through common discussion its opinion of the social merit of my choices (regulation by social ostracism), I don't accept that society may regulate my choices by exercise of state power.

At the same time I believe the state does have an obligation to use its powers for the common benefit, protection and security of the people. Those three words have been perverted over time such that in protecting one group, the state denies another's exercise of individual liberty.

We could debate the limits of state power all day long and never come to an agreement, but I am certain the state has gone too far.

See Wikipedia on Jeffersonian Democracy

Franklin said...

What rights don't gay people have?

woof said...

1) Abortion - Nove of my business. A fertilized egg is not a person.

2) Gay rights - When I had a Security Clearance I had to keep my mouth shoot. Times have changed thank goodness.

3) Public Prayer is fine as long as it's not Government Sponsored.

DADvocate said...

Pretty much what Shouting Thomas said. Defining liberal/conservative on these issues is difficult as modern day liberals are totalitarians and fascists. The prayer/religion issues aren't about rights, as so often framed, but about government control of speech.

Bruce Hayden said...

I too have problems throwing affirmative action into the mix. Sure, at one time, you could argue that it was to level the playing field. But, now, they are just quotas to benefit certain groups of people at the expense of others, purely on the basis of their skin color and the like. I would just differ with the previous poster to suggest that the primary benefit from AA goes to well heeled minorities, such as, for example, President Obama's children.

I think a classic liberal argument can be made for abortion, gay rights, etc., but I just don't see it with AA. And, being more libertarian than anything else, I at least take the arguments seriously for the former, but cannot for the later.

edutcher said...

Rasmussen uses those three as examples, but does not restrict the idea to just those.

I'm Conservative on those and the ones you name, although I have to agree with Franklin: it's what you consider homosexual rights.

If you mean the same Constitutional rights as everyone else (speech, peaceable assembly, etc.), then I suppose I'd be as liberal there as with anyone else. If you mean special treatment like the right to have unfettered (or fettered) sex in public places or not being required to name your partners when you're discovered to have AIDS, then I'm Conservative.

G Joubert said...
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G Joubert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Crack Emcee said...

I, too, am with ST except to differ over AA:

I see it as for blacks, exclusively, and only to help those still stuck by slavery in some way.

Women, gays, newly arrived (or even older existing) anybody with dark skin?

Forget it.

Simon said...

The question is loaded because I don't think anyone seriously opposes "gay rights"; no one believes that gays should be deprived of their first amendment rights or their fourth amendment rights or what have you. Gays have the same rights qua citizens as everyone else. The issues that are forced into public debate--by the gay lobby, by the way; conservative action on the issue is always reactive--are about affording special treatment. "Gay rights" is simply a euphemism (not wholly dissimilar to forcing abortion into the misleading euphemism "choice") and it doesn't serve the debate to hide behind it.

SteveR said...

I really can't simplify my opinions on these topics nor do any politicians, of any orientation, do a good job dealing with them. I tend to vote on fiscal and national security issues.

Trapper Townshend said...

I was going to say that it might be more helpful to name something specific, such as gay marriage, rather than "gay rights," but maybe seeing what people identify as "gay rights" is itself an interesting and useful exercise.

Unknown said...

woof said...

"1) Abortion - Nove of my business. A fertilized egg is not a person."

Webster's Unabridged:

person n.
1. a human being, whether man, woman, or child: The table seats four persons.
2. a human being as distinguished from an animal or a thing.

Try again. Or maybe you just meant an unborn person.

Shouting Thomas said...

I see it as for blacks, exclusively, and only to help those still stuck by slavery in some way.

Yeah, that might be a good idea, but that's not how it has ever functioned.

Ann Althouse said...

I'll make another poll if people can suggest good sets of 3.

I agree that it would have been better to say "gay marriage" than "gay rights."

n.n said...

What criteria should we use to define a "person"?

When is a human endowed with individual dignity, which establishes that they are not to be subject to slavery, rape, murder, and other forms of involuntary exploitation?

Is this simply a question of the most primitive natural order, where the strong are left to coerce (and sacrifice) the lives of the weak?

Does sacrificing humans when they are most vulnerable devalue human life?

Choosing abortion, as choosing other deviant behaviors, can only be countered in the long-term through the process of normalization.

Incidentally, this is what the advocates for abortion, homosexual behavior, and the sexual revolution in general, are pursuing. They are not interested in tolerance. They are interested in normalizing behaviors which do not positively contribute to the fitness of our species. Unfortunately, since their agendas are so diverse, and yet so contradictory, they manage to obfuscate their true nature and motives.

I guess enlightenment was intended to be selective and the viability of our species is not the goal.

Paul said...

My view is you cannot be a certain religion and then vote a different way. I'm Catholic and we do NOT feel there is such a thing as a 'gay marriage'. Period.

If you want this to be about taxes and IRS then the government can make a 'shacking up' certificate and I don't care if they are gay, strait, group... they can do what they want.

But marriage is a religious institution first. It is between a man and a woman. It is the foundation of all society. It is how youth are reared (but sadly you can see what divorce and the lack of a family unit has done to so many children who have become lost.)

All other forms of 'unions' are just whatever.

Simon said...

Also, it's worth noting that although it's debatable whether and to what extent civil law should reflect and reinforce the Church's social teaching (for instance, allowing industrial labor unions and banning abortion) there's an important distinction to be drawn between various kinds of state policy. The state may allow/forbid a given behavior, it may encourage/discourage that behavior, and it may itself engage in that behavior. Of these three, the last is, obviously, by far the most obnoxious. And that requires us to face a blind spot in the concerns of many social conservatives: Capital punishment. When the state fails to ban abortion, it simply allows individuals to make a moral choice, which may be bad; when it redefines civil marriage to allow people of the same sex to "marry," it encourages individuals to choose immoral behavior by attaching secular incentives to it, which may be worse; but when the state executes a person absent actual necessity, the state itself acts immorally. (Bl. John Paul II's encyclical Evangelium Vitae has a helpful excursus on this point, and so I needn't belabor it here.) I would think such a situation would place the death penalty closer to the top of the heap of concerns for social conservatives, not because the action itself is uniquely immoral in itself but because the direct action of the state itself sharpens the concern.

Paul said...

And say Ann... ever hear of the 'Roe Effect'?

If not ask Glenn Reynolds.

Simon said...

Ann, how about industrial labor unions, gay marriage, and the death penalty? Catholic social teaching takes stances on all three, yet two of them cut athwart our expectations of the political positions associated with "social conservatism."

n.n said...

re: distinguishing between homosexual marriage and homosexual rights

The only issue with this particular deviant behavior (and it is deviant, since it does not positively contribute to the fitness of our species) is to distinguish between tolerance and normalization. Since, unlike other deviant behaviors, including: murder, rape, enslavement (i.e., involuntary exploitation coupled with loss of liberty), paedophilia, etc.; when it is practiced by consenting adults, it is not known to cause harm to individuals or society. For that reason, it can be tolerated, but there is no legitimate reason to normalize it.

So, the rights of individuals should be preserved, and the rights of the couplet can be protected. To simplify and consolidate the protection of rights for couples and couplets alike, the state should offer the legal construct of civil unions to them. The institution of marriage should be preserved to honor the only naturally productive relationship.

sorepaw said...

I'm surprised to see how badly Rasmussen worded the question.

If you want to ask about abortion, gay marriage, and prayer in public schools, I think that's a reasonable basket of "social conservative" issues for 2011. If you wanted to be picky, you could add keeping "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.

I don't see "affirmative action" (aka quotas, aka privileged treatment for members of designated Oppressed classes) as a social conservative issue.

As for me, I think abortion should be legal, through the 6th month.

I'm for gay marriage. The sooner it gets done, in all 50 states, the quicker we can all move on to things that matter.

Prayer in private schools is fine, if that's what they like. Public or officially run prayer should not be allowed in government-run schools. Again, there's a much more important issue: governments should not be running pre-K through 12 schools.

The Pledge of Allegiance was written by a socialist and promotes flag worship. Putting "under God" in it doesn't improve it.

Simon said...

n.n., I question your premise that behavior is to be categorized as deviant vel non based on evolutionary precepts, but more than that, I think you're jumping between two of the categories that I identified above. I agree with you that generally when behavior is between consenting adults with no third party repercussions, and in a liberal society, the state should generally be agnostic as to that conduct. (I also agree with a critical point to which you allude, viz. that society can tolerate many behaviors as deviances without seeking their normalization; it does not follow that if we allow tattoos as a matter of law that they should be accepted in polite society.) But you jump, I think, from saying that law should tolerate a behavior to saying that law should encourage that behavior by attaching benefits to it, and regardless of which way one comes out on that question, one should recognize that it's an entirely distinct question. ConLaw and Lawrence-Goodrich aside, it does not follow that if the law is tolerant of homosexuality then it must also allow civil unions, a fortiori (with one eye on Paul's comment) "marriage."

Renee said...

Conservative on abortion

Moderate for gays

Liberal on Affirmative Action

Most people think I'm far right being pro-life/marriage, but I fall into liberal areas in regarding the funding on social issues.

Renee said...

I don't see marriage as religious, even gay atheists have a mom and dad and benefit from a stable home life.

Jim Howard said...

As a right wing wacko, I could live with Roe v Wade, but it infuriates me that I'm expected to pay for baby murder.

I don't think the government should establish an official religion, but (unlike Obama) I don't have a problem with religious prayers being said at funerals at VA cemeteries.

As far as I can tell, just about every problem with the public schools could be solved by getting the government out of the operation of schools, and just making the parents the customers by giving them vouchers.

This system works for food stamps.

C R Krieger said...

I'm confused.  I wanted to just vote "Present".  I am against abortion but think there is a social compromise somewhere at the margin between the first and second trimesters.  I am against students praying in the classroom, but have nothing against an invocation at graduation from high school or some student saying they made it to graduation with the help of God.  As for Affirmative Action, that seems a political issue, although there is the moral hazard part of it—when does affirmative action become a drag on individual initiative?

I didn't vote in this poll.

And, I find this Comment system not as good when I am on my iPad. I couldn't see all of the "Preview" and it didn't let me scroll down.

Regards  &mash;  Cliff

David R. Graham said...

The assumption -- collecting people by artificial categories, and for mere political ends -- is fallacious and in this case also redundant. It arouses, deliberately, fierce feelings. Were I to play within the rules of the game, therefore, I would have to say that whatever "issue" were chosen to poll sentiments regarding, mine would show "conservative, liberal and moderate" in equal measure all the time regarding anything and everything. In other words, since "information is a difference that makes a difference" (Gregory Bateson), the game is devoid of useful meaning -- other than arousing fierce feelings, the arousal of which is meant to provide material to manipulate, usually considered a base motivation.

Phil 314 said...

Hmmm, my original comment didn't show up. Oh well...

I said "How is affirmative action" a "social" issue.

Those on the left use "social" issues as a club. And they are blinded by their own biases. For example some on the left saw McCain as a social conservative because he wasn't pro-choice. On most other social conservative litmus tests he "failed". Furthermore, libs assume that if you're a Christian you're a political social conservative.

In the past 2-4 years I find that its the liberals who are actively fighting the culture wars.

rhhardin said...

A fetus is human (not wolf) but not a human.

A large social construction goes into being a human.

Joe said...

I call myself libertarian, but am a classical liberal as Conserve Liberty described so well.

Simon said...

Phil 3:14 said...
"In the past 2-4 years I find that its the liberals who are actively fighting the culture wars."

It's always been that way; the left's propaganda aside, the culture wars are their attempts to remake the culture. Conservative opposition to their fight is cynically branded as if we were the ones initiating the fight.

Synova said...

I think those three were chosen because they are supposed to be religious... abortion as much as prayer.

Gay rights might be religious, but I don't think that most people who are concerned about the destruction of marriage and family in our culture think they're opposing anyone's Rights when they oppose gay marriage. Using the phrase gay rights would likely get a different result than the phrase defending marriage or strengthening traditional families.

Affirmative action isn't a religious "social" issue. It's a matter of institutionalizing racism in order to counteract a perceived institutionalized racism. The question isn't one of faith, or even of prejudice. The question is... does one believe that makes it better or does one believe that makes it worse?

ken in tx said...

I consider myself libertarian. I have voted for Ron Paul and Bob Barr, and that Indian Chief guy, for president. I am sort of conservative socially, but I don't really care about gays, drug use, or abortion. All these people, in my opinion are ruining their lives, but it's not my problem or business. If a woman wants to have an abortion, it means she does not love or respect the man who helped her make that baby. I trust her judgment. People like that should not reproduce—so good. I am definitely conservative fiscally. I am not sure if the gold standard is the answer. There were plenty of economic problems when the gold standard was in use. However, it might be better than what we have now.

Carol said...

"A large social construction goes into being a human."

Eh, quite the philosophy there. And so easy to pass down through the generations.

Think I'll stick with Evangelium Vitae.

Big Mike said...

The question was what are the social issues, and the answer is abortion, gay marriage, public displays of Christian faith, and affirmative action.

Abortion is pretty obvious. I personally think that it should be safe and legal, and I am appalled that so many alleged "feminists" think that assuring safety is tantamount to shutting it down. So we get Kermit Gosnell and nobody knows how many other like him -- nor do any Democrats want to know.

I think that there are very few people who would deny gay couples the civil and legal rights that heterosexuals receive as married couples, but when even an atheist such as I sees that the point of gay marriage is to stick a finger in the eyes of devout Christians, then it has to be pretty obvious.

Which brings us to the public displays of Christian faith. It doesn't offend the atheist in me to hear a Christian minister give in invocation, and I'm not offended by creches at Christmas. I don't think prayers do any good, but I don't see that they do much harm, either. And I've noticed that proselytizing atheists (i.e., the ones that take people to court over putting creches on their own front lawns) take December 25th off work -- you'd think they would make a point of coming in. On the whole Christians seem to be pretty tolerant about court orders to tear down creches and bans on prayer, but if a backlash comes then I conclude that it will be well-earned.

And affirmative action. Wasn't it supposed to be a short-term expedient when it was passed in the 1960's? Now 50 years have passed, and the short-term expedient has morphed into a belief that it is not only right to give African-Americans extra boosts up the ladder, but that it is downright "racist" to expect that they will actually work at their jobs once they get there. Time for affirmative action to go.

Simon said...

Synova said...
"Gay rights might be religious, but I don't think that most people who are concerned about the destruction of marriage and family in our culture think they're opposing anyone's Rights when they oppose gay marriage."

Indeed; whoever came up with the orwellian branding stragegy "marriage equality" earned their pay on that one.

Big Mike said...
"I personally think that [abortion] should be safe and legal...."

An impossible position since a safe abortion is a contradiction in terms: It is fatal in almost every case. (Not every one, as, happily, Gianna Jessen lived to tell us.)

somefeller said...

I think that there are very few people who would deny gay couples the civil and legal rights that heterosexuals receive as married couples

Nice sentiment, but not how things work in real life. There are lots of people who oppose gay civil unions, and the flurry of state constitutional amendments that were passed in the mid 2000s (like Texas's, for example) forbid civil unions as well as gay marriage. That's not an accident.

Carol_Herman said...

e) Absolutely none of the above!

Jimmy Breslin, a NYC writer, and a Catholic, once pointed out that except for a few priests ... who babbled on from the pulpit about 'pro-life' ... it fell on deaf ears. And, empty pews.

Not that this "issue" isn't a money maker ... because there are a few schmucks who always get fleeced for donations.

Werehawk said...

In my case on social issues I'm very much a mixed bag...

I'd say fairly liberal on abortion with quite a few caveats.

Gay rights and marriage...Fairly open on the issue although with a few quibbles on the marriage issue as I do regard marriage as between a man and a woman IMO civil unions with the same rights as marriage would be the pat to take.

As far as Affirmative action is concerned. call me a classic conservative. Quite frankly affirmative action is detrimental as it implies that minorities are less able and competent than those who do not benefit from it.

On church state topics I'm very much a moderate and one whose view of the issue is that a more relaxed approach than the current take no prisoners attitude of some self appointed ardent secularists is counterproductive at best and idiotic at worst. However let me note that as far as scientific issues are concerned I'm very much of the point of view that scientific evidence outweighs faith by a good margin...(My opinion on "creation science" starts in a sewer and goes down from there...)

AlanKH said...

Why is abortion labeled a social issue? When I see the word "social issue" I think of the topic of government's regulatory role in the popular culture. What should public schools teach about sexuality? What literature should they promote? What loyalty oaths should they require students to recite? What cultural expressions on the part of students or teachers should schools allow or prohibit? What forms of entertainment should businesses (including broadcasters) be prohibited to sell to children - or to adults? Should cities impose noise ordinances against car stereo systems? Should the City of Hamtramck limit the volume setting of the PA system used by the local mosque to play the call to prayer?

If one defines "culture" as anything that can affect human behavior, then everything is cultural and the phrase "cultural issue" is self-redundant. Here I identify culture with the human networks that share (religious and secular) ideas and entertainment.

In this context, abortion is not a "social issue" any more than SEC regulation or the Volsteadization of incandescent light bulbs. Abortion is not about the transmission of culture - it revolves around the question of when life begins.

n.n said...


The premise for classifying homosexual behavior as deviant does not rely on evolutionary principles, but on the far more fundamental, and undeniable, principle of procreation.

As for suggesting that civil unions are an incentive to promote homosexual relationships, that is not my position. First, I consider the individuals involved. Second, I consider the couplet. In order to preserve the rights of the former, it is necessary to preserve the rights of the latter. However, since by design the couplet is infertile, they are incapable of natural procreation. So, there remain open questions as to rights that extend beyond the couplet, including: artificial insemination and adoption of children. In both cases, there would be an implicit normalization of the deviant behavior, which would suggest that it not be permitted.

My intention with my reasoned position is to establish the optimal compromise between the natural (e.g., procreation, sexual activity) and enlightened (i.e., individual dignity) orders.

Whatever anyone may think about this issue, there is only one means by which it can be resolved without resorting to coercion, and this is through the process of normalization.

The advocates for defining individuals by their behavior (or other incidental features, including skin color) have chosen to engage in coercion to effect normalization. This is at least one reason to oppose their actions, and to wonder why they are so obsessed with normalizing a behavior which does not positively contribute to the fitness (e.g., viability) of our species.

As for evolution (as it pertains to human origin), it is an article of faith. While there are useful concepts derived from this philosophy, including fitness of a species, evolutionary processes, etc., it will not ever be proven through limited, circumstantial evidence. This is not the domain of science, but of philosophy and religions or cults.

From your comment, I would consider that you do not support even civil unions. At this point, I think you know my position. How would you argue yours?

n.n said...


By what criteria would you define human life?

The overwhelming majority of people assume that we possess a freewill and a unique dignity. Since both concepts are articles of faith, it remains our burden to define human life, as most people implicitly do of the first two.

I would choose to reasonably define human life from conception. This is when the process of development begins, and with the maintenance of a proper incubating environment, it will complete and a humanoid figure with all the properties and characteristics of a fully developed human will emerge.

Other people choose to define human life by the moment when it first feels pain. Unfortunately, this is a false premise, and is also an article of faith. We have no means to detect when a "feeling" occurs, other than through feedback from the individual or indirectly through involuntary reflexive actions. Neither of which definitively establishes that a "feeling" has been realized.

Anyway, there has been a bastardization of scientific principles, and a progressive conflation of science and philosophy (e.g., articles of faith). We can assume there are reasonable positions to take, but their defense should be as objective as humanly possible.

Incidentally, science is also an article of faith, but the most objective one that we are aware of. It is a faith constrained by a limited frame of reference, which is why its proper role is in contributing to the elevation of the human condition.

Jim Bullock said...

Well ... for each of the issues named, I want to ask: "Meaning what?" Here's an example.

- "Abortion" meaning unlimited abortion on-demand, mandated as a "right" by the federal government - just another form of contraception - to be paid for by states and localities, if need be over local opposition?

- "Abortion" only under certain very limited rules, decided by someone other than the pregnant woman, considering the fetus, then the culture's preference, and only then, maybe the effect on the woman, her opinion or preference meaning nothing?

- "Abortion" as something else?

The question doesn't even say "abortion rights" which is vaguely more specific. "Liberal" is even worse.

The choices are slogan-terms, dragging in elaborate, incompatible, and extreme definitions depending on who's talking or listening. So, this isn't a fact or understanding-based poll, but really a masked test of allegiance to particular political "package deals."

Since I brought it up, I think abortion should be safe, accessible and rare as at least one famous self-identified liberal said.

As policy, I think we'd have a tenth the abortion "problem" in this country if the myrmidons on either screeching side, most of whom, BTW aren't pregnant women, put half as much energy into what they say they're for, as they do into fighting people who believe otherwise.

It isn't an "abortion" problem. Common abortion is a bad solution to an unwanted pregnancy problem. Fix that.

themightypuck said...

I'm liberal on all except possibly abortion. I suppose I'm moderate on abortion since I'm an atheist with somewhat Catholic notions of the sanctity of life. I don't have a problem with the death penalty or trading contraception for welfare. I have no problem norplanting people as a condition for public assistance although I have no idea if it makes any sense. Barring a limited number of moral absolutes like the sanctity of all human life I have few problems with consequentialist cost benefit calculi.

themightypuck said...

Oh and as far as gay rights goes, I get pissed off at people who vote against gay marriage and people who clutch their pearls because Tracy Morgan makes a joke or Joe Rogan says fag, faggot, or faggotry. The world may not need fag or faggot but it definitely needs faggotry.

iowan2 said...

I am a conservative. If you mean constitutionalist. Prayer in school? Schoolboard issue to be settled by those that stand for election, in short, power rests with the people. Abortion. Before Roe, it was a state issue. since the constitution doesnt address abortion, power belongs to the state. Gay rights? or Gay marriage?
There is a difference.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

I think that people who are 'conservative about social issues' are at the 3rd bullet point. I don't guess I'm there. I am annoyed by people who object to going to a building that has some Christian symbolism. Why don't they offer a local temple as an occasional alternative. The goyem are never going to get tickets otherwise. I'd just as soon judicial marriage be limited to gay people and let heterosexuals have civil union and let marriage in a Church suffice for that.

Revenant said...

The legal status of abortion isn't going to change, and church-state issues are trivial.

We need a fourth category after conservative, moderate, and liberal, for people who don't give a flip about issues like abortion and public prayer.

Simon said...

Carol_Herman said...
"Jimmy Breslin, a NYC writer, and a Catholic"

Jimmy Breslin in't a Catholic. He may have been raised as one, his family may have been, he may feel some cultural attachment, but he's made it explicitly clear that he isn't himself a Catholic. It's not hard to spot: When people start talking about "practicing" vel non, that's the alarm bell.

Geoff Matthews said...

If you believe that 'gays' should have equal protection under the law in regards to housing, employment, law enforcement and health care, but oppose redefining marriage to encompass SSM, does that mean you are against gay rights?

And does that equate you with the folks who play smear the queer?

Carol_Herman said...

To clarify:

Lots of people are "raised" as something. And, then when you see them as adults they've gone with


It's sort'of like an accordion. When you pull it, you can hear a noise. And, when you push it back in, ditto. And, for good measure it also has a keyboard.

Jimmy Breslin has commented on something he has seen! (Fewer people in the pews.)

I was saw this at temple. And, even then I thought there were an awful lot of grey heads. Very few youthful ones. And, EVERYONE in a new outfit!

But, of course, I come from a generation that was the last to see headgear. The last to see: "A new bonnet. Walking down Fifth Avenue." And, I knew they were heading into (or out of) St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Where has all the headgear gone? Where are all the white gloves?

Meanwhile, Jimmy Breslin describes current matters. I guess to some people that would refer those who fell. Are all fallen?

But he is a journalist! He knows how to look at a scene and describe it.

And, what Jimmy Breslin said was that the priests go on an on about abortion. The same way they give advice to married folk. (This would be a waste of time.) But we're supposed to be polite.

Breslin said it wasn't a message that was getting absorbed. It wasn't carried out the doors and back into the street. Let alone into people's lives.

If you don't believe me, then just look at how small so many families these days, are!

When I was growing up, Detroit had to come up with Station Wagon. Or, you'd be leaving kids at home ... they wouldn't all fit into a standard sized car when the family was packed inside. To go to a picnic. Or to attend church.

Of course, Walmart opened on Sundays ... and there ya go. Attending church wasn't as popular as shopping.

Simon said...

n.n., my objection is essentially that once we start basing the classification of deviance on human functionalism rather than truth, we run the risk of casting out the good with the bad and keeping some bad with the good.

Re supporting civil unions or not, I will confess that I have no settled position on the issue. I'm conflicted. On the one hand, I think that the state does well to use public policy to promote positive goods by attaching carrots to good behavior and sticks to bad behavior--so, for example, affording permanent resident status to those who come here in religious orders, maintaining amiable diplomatic relations with the Holy See, or, as relevant here, attaching civil benefits to marriage. At the same time, however, it is one thing to attach a carrot or two to a given behavior in fat times; quite another to attach a meal ticket in time of famine to a behavior that a significant percentage of the population simply cannot engage in. That strikes me as being more morally problematic.

What's more, it strikes me that this problem is amplified by the expansion of civil government far beyond its legitimate sphere. I worry about government encouraging misbehavior, but the smaller the government, the fewer the opportunities for such distortions, and one of the reasons that the justice of civil unions seems persuasive is precisely because government has so many perks to hand out. We need not ask government to simply attach fewer carrots to marriage; if civil government was scaled back, it would have fewer and smaller carrots to attach to marriage, thus maintaining its moral support for the positive good of marriage while lessening the practical effect of that support that otherwise presents a moral difficulty.

Carol, I certainly agree that Breslin is entitled to run his mouth, and is entitled to whatever cachet (or opprobrium) we attach to the profession of journalism. But he gains no authority to speak about Catholic issues, still less to speak for Catholics, simply because he was raised before he lapsed. What Breslin means when he faults priests for being pro-life is that as a pro-choice liberal, he's offended that the Church insists on faithfully proclaiming the gospel in every age instead of bending it to the preferences of 20th century American progressivism.

Simon said...

Not the most elegantly-written comment I ever offered, but hopefully the point comes across.

AlanKH said...

By what criteria would you define human life?

Based on an observation about plants, I suspect that life begins in viviparous life forms such as ourselves at implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterine wall. I do not believe that an acorn is a separate life form - but it is definitely alive when it begins its metamorphosis after it is planted.

This is irrelevant to my original question, why abortion is labeled a "social issue." I think I really do know the answer, and there might be more than one. Some people think the antiabortion position is purely religious in nature with no basis in scientific evidence - as if the claim that life begins at birth weren't purely philosophical. I wonder what abortion opponent Nat Hentoff woudl say...

Perhaps some of it stems from a different prejudice: that if religious conservatives (the most visible and most organized segment of abortion abolitionists) oppose something strongly, the primary motivation is that that something has some "unholy" or "unnatural" taint, not out of a belief that that something actually hurts someone. Some libs hold the same prejudice toward social conservatives regarding homosexuality, so I imagine there's an abortion-related counterpart.