Why do conservatives hate freedom? The question may be startling. After all, don’t conservatives claim they are protecting liberty in America against liberal statism, which they compare to communism or fascism? But the conservative idea of “freedom” is a very peculiar one, which excludes virtually every kind of liberty that ordinary Americans take for granted.
The conservative campaign against gay rights is equally impossible to justify, in terms of America’s Founding philosophy of natural rights. Unable to come up with any Lockean liberal reason why citizens of a democratic republic should be discriminated against, on the basis of their sexual orientations, conservatives are forced to cite the Bible or thousands of years of tradition. The whole point of the American Founding, however, was to establish a regime that was not based, like the premodern monarchies of Europe, on revealed religion or ancient custom. In the words of General George Washington in his circular to the states, shortly after victory in the American war of independence:The foundation of our Empire was not laid in the gloomy age of Ignorance and Superstition, but at an Epocha when the rights of mankind were better understood and more clearly defined, than at any former period, the researches of the human mind, after social happiness, have been carried to a great extent, the Treasures of knowledge, acquired by the labours of Philosophers, Sages and Legislatures, through a long succession of years, are laid open for our use, and their collected wisdom may be happily applied in the Establishment of our forms of Government…” A theocratic or tribalist Right that argues for public policies by invoking divine revelation to some ancient prophet or immemorial custom dating back to “the gloomy age of Ignorance and Superstition,” is profoundly, radically un-American.
Un-American? Absolutely. Getting to be all too common as well. Desperate measures by desperate throwbacks.
They will ultimately lose if we keep our eyes on the ball.