Conservatism's fiefdom problem

Four years ago, Jamie Glazov asked me if political correctness existed on the right, if conservatives considered certain topics off limits to discussion. I told him no, which, at the time, seemed mostly true. Both conservatives and liberals hold certain things sacred, and in many ways, this is both necessary and good. However, sacredness becomes a problem when it prevents you from debating important topics.

For liberals, issues involving race, gender, and sexuality are sacred. This prevents mainstream liberals from looking at a whole host of issues in a fair and openminded way. It makes debating racial preferences, abortion, or religious liberty, nearly impossible. When liberals can no longer distinguish between opponents of abortion and opponents of female suffrage, you get political correctness.

With this being said, conservatives have a similar “groupthink” problem. The conservative group think problem has less to do with sacredness than with coalition building. Conservative politicians draw a huge amount of support from single-issue voters, whether those voters are pro-gun, pro-life, anti-tax, etc. Because of this, these single-issue voters have tremendous power to shape the conservative legislative agenda.

The Ohio state legislature just passed a law banning abortion after a fetal heartbeat has been detected. A fetal heartbeat can typically be detected six to seven weeks into pregnancy, or halfway through the first trimester. The bill, attached to a larger piece of legislation, awaits the signature of John Kasich.

If passed, the Ohio Heartbeat bill would radically change abortion laws in that state. Whether you agree or disagree with this new law, conservatives need to have an open debate about it. For many pro-lifers, debating abortion would be like debating slavery. When it comes to abortion, I can respect that view. When it comes to issues like gun rights, taxes, or immigration, I can't.

In the coming months, Congress will consider whether to remove silencers from the regulation of the National Firearms Act. At present, you need to pay a fee and receive ATF permission to purchase a silencer. If silencers are removed from the NFA, you will be able to order them off the internet without a background check.

Silencers have a legitimate use, especially for indoor shooting. The pending legislation is called the Hearing Protection Act. While silencers have legitimate uses, they also have a potential for misuse. With the right ammunition, they can make the right firearm surprisingly quiet. Before taking silencers from the highest level of regulation to the lowest, shouldn't we pause for debate?

This author understands the realities of coalition politics. Politicians need to reward their most loyal supporters, including single issue voters. However, this does not extend to non-politicians. Rank and file conservatives need to weigh the evidence, consider both sides, and make up their own minds. Conservatives should never surrender their critical faculties to a Republican policy agenda shaped by political correctness.