"Kindness effects more than severity" is the moral of the story of Aesop's Fable "The Wind and the Sun, exemplified in our own day in the coming together without compromise of social and fiscal conservatives (see below for more) in the fight to reignite the lights of the Shining City. Above, a retelling of the ancient tale in The Baby's Own Aesop (verse fables by W.J. Linton) 1887. Illustrations by Walter Crane.
Gary L. Bauer, President of American Values — "Your Voice to Help Protect Life, Marriage, Famly, Faith and Freedom" — is following us on Twitter, an unlikely bedfellow for this Darwinian Libertarian. [See our post of last summer, "The opiate of the dopamine-dependent blogger," for what we mean by that.] We've always shied away from what we took to be social conservatives' impulse to impose upon the rest of us their family values — whether or not we agreed with them, it wasn't government's job to force entry into our private moral universe — a kind of obverse of the left's impulse to impose their politically correct moral-equivalence "values" upon the rest of us. But we're seeing Mr. Bauer & Company with new eyes in the morning light of the Third Great Awakening that is the Tea Party movement, as Glenn Harlan Reynolds wrote last February in what we called "one of Instapundit's great distillations of what's 'happening here'":
America’s prior Great Awakenings, in the 18th and 19th Centuries, were religious in nature. Unimpressed with self-serving, ossified, and often corrupt religious institutions, Americans responded with a bottom-up reassertion of faith, and independence.
This time, it’s different. It’s not America’s churches and seminaries that are in trouble: It’s America’s politicians and parties. They’ve grown corrupt, venal, and out-of-touch with the values, and the people, that they’re supposed to represent. So the people, once again, are reasserting themselves.
Back to our strange new bedfellow, Gary L. Bauer, who opens our eyes further with an intriguing thought experiment in his latest Human Events column, "GOP Establishment, RIP?:
Imagine if an inside-the-Beltway consultant met with national Republican leaders and presented an innovative strategy to develop a new political movement that would add millions of voters to the Republican coalition. And what if that consultant assured those GOP leaders that their party would not have to alter its views in order to capture and retain those voters.
He's talking, of course, about the Tea Party itself:
The Tea Party movement has attracted millions of new voters (as well as millions of formerly disaffected Republican voters) to the GOP. And all that Tea Party members ask of the GOP is that it acts according to its own principles by supporting lower taxes, fiscal responsibility and less government. So why are many in the Republican establishment recoiling in horror at the most powerful new force politics has seen in at least a decade? Perhaps it is because these self-appointed leaders are beginning to realize that a fundamental change to the party’s power structure may cause their own political demise.
The Republican establishment’s response to Christine O’Donnell’s surprise win in the Delaware Senate GOP primary was symptomatic of the change. Instead of embracing O’Donnell, the initial reaction of some Republican figures was to impugn her character and write off her chances of victory. This is a page from the same playbook that's been used to marginalize social conservatives.
Not that social and fiscal cons will ever be soulmates. It's a matter of emphasis. O'Donnell herself captured the momentary Zeitgeist — to a standing ovation! — at the Value Voters Summit in Washington Saturday, where Gary L. Bauer was a featured speaker:
But Ms. O'Donnell … has already said social issues won't top her agenda if she wins in November, despite her prior work speaking against premarital sex and masturbation. Instead, the first thing she wants to do is repeal the new health-care law and fend off cap-and-trade climate legislation.
Ms. O'Donnell's appearance … put a spotlight on the challenge facing social conservatives, prominent in GOP politics earlier in the decade, as they try to hitch themselves to the fiscal insurgents of 2010. They may [or may not!] be ideological soulmates, but that doesn't mean they'd govern the same way.
"My sense of the average tea party-endorsed candidate this year is that what motivates them is their concern over spending and the national debt," said David Boaz, executive vice president of the libertarian Cato Institute. "If a gay-marriage ban came before Congress, they'd probably vote for it, but that's not what motivates them."