Every once in a while, I see something that’s music to my ears, and a post Glenn linked — “SoCons” and “Ficons”: It Is Time To Come Together — was one of those times. 

What I do want to discuss is the why behind some of the distrust that exists out there between the two groups [“SoCons” and “Ficons”] and how we can come together to achieve our goal of restoring this great nation.

Trust is an earned commodity. We as social conservatives must be honest with ourselves and admit where we have lost our way. In the past, many of us supported candidates who met our criteria on social issues, but who massively grew government and spent money like drunken sailors. There were groups within the social conservative circle who tried to warn us, but unfortunately they were in the minority and we did not listen.

Sadly, I used to be in the former category rather than the latter until the Tea Party came along. They opened my eyes to the truth that fiscal conservatism and limited government are every bit as important as the social issues. I am confident that I am not the only social conservative who has awakened to these truths. I  hope and believe the days are long gone of social conservatives supporting candidates who are not fiscally conservative, socially conservative, and champions of limited government.

Trust is not only an earned commodity, it also cuts both ways. Fiscal conservatives need to understand where social conservatives are coming from. Every day the Left and their media find some way to disparage Christians or those who hold to a traditional moral code. When social conservatives begin to hear what appears to be even remotely similar rhetoric from those who claim to be within their own camp, a general feeling of “Et tu Brute?” arises. It leaves social conservatives feeling disillusioned and angry. After all, no one enjoys being told to be silent on issues that they deem important.

As regular readers know, I don’t especially like the debate over social issues, and while I don’t like to revisit an old argument, I found the author’s frankness so refreshing that I’m tempted. Especially by what he said at the beginning:

A part of me cringes to write this diary. It is a hot-button issue in which many have strong opinions. But I think we need to have civil dialogue so that we can work together to restore this great nation. 

I agree on the need for civil dialogue, especially among those who agree with the following bottom line: 

Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government, and Free Markets.

If both sides in this debate can agree on the above, then both sides are FiCons, are they not? So is the argument really one between SoCons and FiCons? Isn’t it more properly an argument among fellow FiCons?

Specifically, shouldn’t the argument be framed this way?

FiCons who are also SoCons


FiCons who are NOT SoCons

And just as I couldn’t agree more with this:

Every day the Left and their media find some way to disparage Christians or those who hold to a traditional moral code.

I think the following is also true:

Every day the Left and their media find some way to disparage libertarians or those who hold to a traditional financial responsibility code. 

Some libertarians would additionally find the following to be true:

Every day the Right and their media find some way to disparage libertarians (especially atheists or gays) or those who hold to a nontraditional moral code.

So it’s all too easy to yell (as I’m sure I have) that libertarians are “getting it from both sides,” but that’s misleading, because it creates the impression that libertarians are “in the middle” which is anything but the case. But it does contribute to a certain aloofness on the part of libertarians, and also, because libertarians are more accustomed to not getting their way in politics, it contributes to a callused “SCREW EM ALL” know-it-all attitude which can take the form of outright rudeness. It can be tempting to wrongly conclude that if you know you’re never going to get your way, why bother with being polite?

That is unwise thinking in coalition politics.

What is important to remember right now is that we are all FiCons. We don’t need to “come together” so much as to acknowledge that we are together. Part of that understanding requires recognizing the nature of what it is that constitutes a coalition.

In one of the wiser posts I have seen on the subject, Robert Stacy McCain makes it clear that being in a coalition does not mean agreeing with others in the coalition. The issue came up in the context of CPAC inviting GOProud (a gay conservative group), which caused several anti-gay conservative groups to boycott CPAC. Calling the boycott idea “nuts,” McCain said this:

…There are many organizations that participate in CPAC who have agendas I don’t agree with. So what? My attendance does not constitute an endorsement of the agendas of those organizations (and heaven knows, they don’t all endorse me). Coalition politics sometimes requires that people get along with people they disagree with. 

Since when does getting along with people require agreeing with them on everything? A coalition is not a “KUMBAYA” singfest. People who think homosexuality is wrong and sinful are not being excluded from CPAC, and the last time I looked, nor were people who think drugs are evil and ought to remain illegal. If the latter can nonetheless walk share the same convention hall space with a group like CATO, I don’t see why an anti-gay group can’t do the same thing with GOProud. It’s not as if anyone is being forced to take a position he disagrees with.

Defining civility is not an easy thing. But in the case of FiCons, I think it might start with being able to recognize that fellow FiCons are fellow FiCons — regardless of their positions on non-FiCon issues. FiCons might not all get along, but we ought to be able to tolerate the existence of fellow FiCons in the same room.

As to whether we can all “come together,” I’d like to think so, but it might depend on interpretation

(Can “He just do what he please” and “You can feel his disease” get along?)

UPDATE: Via Glenn Reynolds, more from Allahpundit on the CPAC boycott (which is not a “social con boycott”). On MSNBC, GOProud’s chief managed to get in the following narrative-damaging remark, “I have an easier time being openly gay with conservatives than I do being a conservative with other gay people.”

I think almost any gay conservative can vouch for the truth of that one. That’s because — according to the preposterous logic of many gay activists — being conservative while gay constitutes being a “traitor” to gayness.

But very few if any conservatives believe that being gay while conservative constitutes treason to conservatism.

I have long failed to understand any possible logical connection between homosexuality and socialism. I think that because this connection is not a logical one, it must be made by simple intimidation.

Come to think of it, that may offer a possible explanation to a vexing question Glenn once asked:

Is it just me, or does it seem that the people who are the most demanding of tolerance tend to be those least likely to display it themselves?

Left wing identity politics means zero tolerance for those who dissent from socialism. Hence they have to become “traitors.”

UPDATE: Many thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the “musical” link, and a warm welcome to all.

Comments appreciated, agree or disagree.

Some commenters think that freedom in the marketplace (as Milton Friedman would say, “freedom to choose”) is inconsistent with social freedom. While I disagree with that POV, I welcome constructive thoughts from the other side.