For decades, conservatism was essentially a commitment to traditional values and ideas, combined with hesitation toward rapid change. Basically, stodgy old men kept society from evolving too quickly.
The benefit of this philosophy has always been lost on me. After all, what’s so noble about futilely resisting innovation while upholding harmful traditions? However, it was at least a coherent and principled approach.
Modern conservatism, though, consists of Republicans claiming “an exemption from any generally applicable rule they do not wish to follow, while imposing their own religious and ideological views on those who do not share them.”
So mask mandates to curb a contagious, lethal disease are an infringement on personal freedom. But a woman’s uterus is government property because God said so.
Yes, even though Roe v. Wade has been settled law for over a half-century, and a majority of Americans are pro-choice, and there is not a single state where support for a federal ban on abortion has more than 30 percent support, five ultra-conservatives on the Supreme Court have said, “Nope, I don’t like it.”
This is not a terribly popular opinion, but when has the opposition of most Americans ever mattered to conservatives? They do what they want, so stifle your pleas for compassion, civil rights, stare decisis, or logic. Those concepts are for suckers.
The Supreme Court’s blatant embrace of theocracy is so forceful that even some conservatives are confused at this radical turn of events. They are both gloating and getting defensive simultaneously.
And what of those fabled moderate conservatives, who split their time between insisting that they’re the real Republicans and dismissing the concerns of liberals as exaggeration?
Well, they now realize that they were “sold a bill of goods by the man who likes beer” and those other Trump appointees who claimed they “would protect Roe at all costs.”
Ha, that was a good one.
In truth, right-wing justices are “demonstrating their radicalism by overturning a 50-year precedent and are prepared to undermine a wide range of constitutional rights on the grounds—however inaccurate—that those rights are not deeply rooted in the justices’ own version of this nation’s history and tradition.”
You see, “the rights of many marginalized groups are tied to the legal precedents established in the fight for abortion rights,” and the court’s extremist opinion “provides a path to nullifying those rights one by one.”
In the future, if conservatives do not believe that a given law is “deeply rooted in this nation’s history and tradition,” they will simply kill it. This means that “there is no freedom from state coercion that conservatives cannot strip away if conservatives find that freedom personally distasteful.”
Yes, that includes contraception, gay marriage, or even interracial marriage. It’s unlikely, of course, that Black and white people will be prohibited from getting married—even if some conservatives seem just fine with the idea. But if the Trump era has taught us anything, it is that there is no such thing as hyperbole.
The fact is that the “rights that Americans now take for granted could easily be excluded by this capricious reasoning.” In the Republican worldview, their mythological “limited government” will ban, forbid, or make illegal myriad activities that, not so long ago, were the private business of individuals.
This is modern conservatism. And it is insatiable.
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