Saturday, December 08, 2012

A responsible citizenry: The rise of the welfare state and the decline of Christianity go hand in hand

Outstanding article by Paul Rahe (via Instapundit). You must read every word — but here's an excerpt:
One of the reasons that Romney was unable, despite my hopes, to do in 2012 what Reagan did in 1980 is that, in the intervening 32 years a great many of the American citizens who voted for Ronald Reagan had died and been replaced by Americans educated and morally formed in a very different fashion.

… The proper setting for the practice of Christian charity is a free-market society. The rise of the welfare state and the decline of Christianity go hand in hand. To see this, one need only go to church in Europe.

  … All of this began in the 1960s, and it has grown and grown and grown. We now live in a society educated by televisions series like Sex and the City and its successors, and it is in no way surprising that single mothers are almost as common as married mothers -- and they now feel entitled to our respect and support. The most astonishing aspect of the November, 2012 election was that the Democratic Party took as one of its slogans: "Sluts vote!" And, by golly, they did.

… We now, in fact, presume that [the single mother] is entitled to our help -- and we now have a political party in power built on that premise. We are to pay for her groceries through WIC (Women, Infants, Children), for her medical care through Medicaid, for the contraceptives that she does not have the discipline to use properly and for the morning-after pill should she slip up and need an abortion. Her right to be promiscuous trumps our right to the fruits of our own labor.

What I would say to libertarians is this: Liberty requires a responsible citizenry, and the sexual revolution (very much like the drug culture, which was and is its Doppelgänger) promotes irresponsibility of every kind. It promotes dependence, and it fosters an ethos in which those who exercise the virtues fostered by the market are punished for doing so and in which those who live for present pleasure are rewarded.

There are many reasons why Mitt Romney lost in 2012. Some, as I suggested in an earlier post, were his fault. Some of them were not. One of the latter is that the demographic deck was stacked against him in a fashion that it was not stacked against Ronald Reagan in 2008. If we do not find a way to reverse the sexual revolution, we are doomed. The future of liberty is contingent on the success of the social conservatives. The libertinism that some libertarians ostentatiously embrace provides the growth in the administrative entitlements state with its impetus. If to be a libertarian is to favor political liberty, then libertarians must embrace social conservatism. If to be a libertarian is to embrace sex, drugs, and rock and roll, then libertarians are the proponents -- whether witting or not -- of the soft despotism that threatens to engulf us.