My old boss Henry Blodget has a post up at Business Insider lamenting the fact that he cannot cast his vote for a fiscally conservative Republican without also supporting what he calls “Republican Religious Aggressives.”
This is a complaint I hear a lot from people who are more or less in the same socio-economic caste as Blodget: Northeastern urban professionals. Nuppies, if you will.
I usually try to assure my Nuppie friends that they are worried about a hobgoblin—a mythical beast that doesn’t really threaten them in any way.
Let me explain. To begin with, it just doesn’t make sense to use the word “aggressive” to describe resistance to innovations such as constitutional rights to abortion on demand and gay marriage. (Read more: Akin Defies Calls by Top Republicans to Quit Race)
The parents wary about the wisdom of having teachers or school nurses distributing birth control are not the ones pushing their views on others; they are pushing back against a novel approach to the role of educators in the health of adolescents. (Read more: Investors in Health Care Seem to Bet on Incumbent)
Call these positions old-fashioned, backward, reactionary, immoral or "Mossbacks" (which Merriam-Webster defines as "an extremely old-fashioned or reactionary person") —but please don’t say that folks saying that they’d prefer to live under the rules that prevailed for most of the history of our Republic are somehow the aggressors.
The same goes for things like teaching evolution in schools. Look, I believe in descent with modification and all that jazz. It does a bang-up job of describing how living things came to be the way the are. But I also think that the education of the young is a thing best settled on the local level—even if the local school board is dominated by people immune to the evidence for evolution.
It’s not the people trying to control their local school curriculum who are aggressors. It’s the people who are saying the views of these people should be considered beyond the pale who commit the acts of aggression, such as asking federal courts to order that schools teach evolution or remove warnings about the alleged non-facticity of evolution.
I cannot say I’m surprised to see Nuppies calling Mossbacks "aggressors." This has been the habitual stance of Nuppies and their historical equivalents for generations. Their 19th-century equivalents saw, for instance, Native American resistance to the westward spread of European-descended people as a form of aggression.
No doubt many Nuppies will be little comforted by this. Even if they accept the label of aggressor for themselves, they would be uncomfortable voting for fiscal conservatism that is packaged with social conservatism. (Read more: Could Ryan's Small Biz Ties Help GOP?)
So let me put you at ease, my Nuppie friends. The Republicans you are being asked to elect will almost certainly do nothing to forward the socially conservative agenda you fear. Since Roe v. Wade was passed, we’ve had five-terms of anti-Roe Republican presidents. That’s 20 years of men appointing Justices to a Supreme Court that has refused to overturn Roe. That same court, by the way, banned anti-sodomy laws and paved the way for gay marriage across the United States.
I’m always surprised that social conservatives can be convinced every four years or so that voting Republican will aid their cause. We have three generations of experience that says this is simply not the case. But time and time again, there are the social conservatives pulling the lever—or pressing the touch screen—voting on the basis of hope over experience.
Instead of cursing the alliance of fiscal conservatives with social conservatives, the Nuppies should be hoping the folks Blodget calls “Religious Aggressives” never wake up to the fact that they’ve been taken for suckers. Because that, my Nuppie friends, will be the end of electoral success for your precious fiscal conservatism.