A triumph of conservative thought

I have commented in the past on the value of conservatism as an intellectual tradition, stance and framework. Indeed, one of the greatest tragedies of contemporary politics is the wholesale failure on the part of the GOP to represent actual conservatism. (Another recent tragedy of contemporary politics? Rod Blagojevich.) There are valid arguments going unvoiced because Republicans have abdicated their role as a genuinely conservative party.

On that note, I am delighted to see a genuinely conservative argument for something that matters tremendously to me -- marriage equality. Ted Olson, a bona fide conservative, is arguing in favor of marriage equality in federal court, and has written an excellent defense of his position for Newsweek (via Andrew):
Many of my fellow conservatives have an almost knee-jerk hostility toward gay marriage. This does not make sense, because same-sex unions promote the values conservatives prize. Marriage is one of the basic building blocks of our neighborhoods and our nation. At its best, it is a stable bond between two individuals who work to create a loving household and a social and economic partnership. We encourage couples to marry because the commitments they make to one another provide benefits not only to themselves but also to their families and communities. Marriage requires thinking beyond one's own needs. It transforms two individuals into a union based on shared aspirations, and in doing so establishes a formal investment in the well-being of society. The fact that individuals who happen to be gay want to share in this vital social institution is evidence that conservative ideals enjoy widespread acceptance. Conservatives should celebrate this, rather than lament it.

The entire piece is worth reading in its entirety. He both makes an affirmative case and debunks the usual arguments trotted out against equality. Another favorite passage of mine:
Another argument, vaguer and even less persuasive, is that gay marriage somehow does harm to heterosexual marriage. I have yet to meet anyone who can explain to me what this means. In what way would allowing same-sex partners to marry diminish the marriages of heterosexual couples? Tellingly, when the judge in our case asked our opponent to identify the ways in which same-sex marriage would harm heterosexual marriage, to his credit he answered honestly: he could not think of any.

Of course he couldn't, because there are none. (What still confounds me is how many people turned out the overturn marriage equality in Maine, despite the fact that doing so did nothing to improve their lives, but merely made mine worse.) The man whose job it is to make the case against marriage equality could think of no harms to heterosexual marriage. The argument is bankrupt.

Please, take the time to read the whole piece. It's masterful, and I can think of nothing I would have wanted added or subtracted. (Why, even carpet-bagging political opportunists seem to have been convinced!) Why, if the GOP demonstrated this kind of intellectual integrity, I mean even consider voting for them again!


  1. Again! You mean you did before? Well there's hope for you yet.

  2. I have voted for Republicans in the past. I have... a hard time considering doing so again.

  3. It would be hard to disagree with any part of your post, especially the part about the failure of the GOP.

  4. A GOP with Christie Todd Whitman, or Tom Kean, that is fine. Demography will bring these types back as the Republicans shrink further and further into their Southern White base they will eventually bottom out. The Republicans are also not as stupid as they seem, they did nominate John McCain (who was the only one who had a shot) and it wasn't their fault his campaign came apart at the seams.