This must-read post from Publius on why liberals fear social conservatives is very succinctly argued:
Social conservatives aren’t merely a group with which liberals disagree – they’re a group perceived to threaten our lives in tangible ways. Outside of the Christian Right, gay rights isn’t some abstract morality play. It’s a direct assault upon some of our closest friends and family. That’s what’s so radicalizing about Prop 8 – it wasn’t merely a political debate. These out-of-state groups decided to reach into the lives of complete strangers and rip an already-established right to wed out of their arms. What social conservatives viewed as promoting God’s will, others viewed as a direct and cruel assault on thousands of loving families.
This perceived sense of attack is especially strong on sexual privacy issues. It’s not so much the substantive disagreement that is driving liberals’ loathing. It’s the perception that the Christian Right would intrude on – and dictate – the most intimate decisions of people’s lives. For many women (and men), the idea of forced pregnancy and contraception bans aren’t abstract arguments – they’re pretty terrifying.
Same deal with Terri Schiavo. Again, what was so oogedy about l’affaire Schiavo is not the abstract philosophical debate about “life.” It was that a group of frenzied social conservatives decided to intrude on the Schiavos’ privacy, publicizing and overruling a private and wrenching family decision. Even worse, they actually convinced Congress – in the midst of two wars – to intervene.
Other issues – such as stem cells and creationism – aren’t quite as scary, but they’re still perceived as intrusions on our lives. The restrictions on stem cell research have surely set several cures back many years – costing God knows how many lives. And as a fairly new parent, the idea of social conservatives seizing a state or county school board is suddenly a lot scarier.
Anyway, the larger point is that there actually are substantive explanations for people’s hostility to social conservatives. It’s not that people are snobs or bigots. It’s that they see the social conservative agenda as a direct threat to some of their most cherished and intimate rights.
But as someone who has spent most of his time writing in the past couple of weeks, I find the structure a bit strange. It ends:
But until liberals stop thinking that social conservatives are trying to intrude on the most private aspects of their lives, they’re going to remain extremely hostile.
Which sounds like it’s building up to an argument as to why we should stop thinking that social conservatives are trying to intrude on the most private aspects of our lives, but instead leaves the reader hanging.
Gee, I wonder why.