For years now, the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP) has publicly denounced the efforts being made to shatter the conservative movement by separating the three legs of the stool in Ronald Reagan’s metaphor for social, fiscal, and defense conservatives.
To counter a spreading “tunnel vision,” we called for a more profound understanding of this three-legged stool concept, a strategic grasp of the truth that each conservative leg is supported by the other two, and how the strength of the movement comes from their continued unity.1
We called for the adoption of a policy of neutrality and silence on the part of those who do not fully subscribe to one or two legs of conservatism. These conservatives would refrain from publicly advocating positions they may hold privately, but that directly oppose core conservative principles. This “go along to get along” policy of studied union multiplies our combined assets, while diminishing liabilities.2
Nothing however has proven so divisive and corrosive to the movement as the deliberate efforts of LGBT and atheist activists to be accepted as bona fide conservatives and the naiveté of those who view them as such. We repeatedly protested—together with other upstanding conservative organizations—calling on conservative leaders to stand firm.3
Consequently, we were appalled by the February 18 news (just twelve days prior to CPAC 2016’s opening day) that The American Conservative Union had accepted the Log Cabin Republicans as exhibitors and sponsors of the 43rd annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). No issue, save perhaps legally procured abortion, has divided America more than same-sex “marriage.” Yet, the Log Cabin Republicans subscribe to an LGBT activism that imposes, among other things, same-sex “marriage” on the nation, transgender activism, as well as the forced acceptance of avowed homosexuals into the ranks of our honorable military servicemen.
In addition, we register our protest at ACU’s acceptance of Atheist Voters as an exhibitor in this year’s CPAC.
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Liberals Are Abandoning the Principle of Non-Contradiction
The Culture War has submerged America in untold aberrations:
- We see a Supreme Court that imposes same-sex “marriage” on all 50 states while cynically acknowledging the centrality of marriage to society, the nation, and throughout history.4
- We see a president that presides over the demise of America’s political, economic, and military leadership around the world while promising that “America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe.” We see him invoke God’s blessings on the nation while simultaneously shutting down all practical expression of faith in God in the American workplace and public life and severely penalizing those who do not comply.5
- We see numerous Catholic campuses that honor notoriously pro-abortion politicians, foster internships at Planned Parenthood, promote the homosexual agenda, and surrender to the transgender ideology, all the while claiming to be truly Catholic and faithful to God’s law, the vision of their founders, and the perennial moral teachings of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.
- And it pains us to say it, but we see a pope who rails against the West’s free market economy, private property, and free enterprise; who speaks up loudly and often for “economic justice,” and the “right” of people to migrate to the U.S., while having nothing but praise for a dictator like Raul Castro who helped his brother Fidel enslave the Cuban people.
These are all expressions of what Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) called “the dictatorship of relativism,”6 the abandonment of the principle of non-contradiction, which stipulates that, “a thing cannot be and not be at the same time.”
Will Conservatives Also Abandon the Principle of Non-Contradiction?
To consider LGBT activists as “conservatives” is no less illogical. It is an oxymoron, sheer moral relativism, because a true conservative cannot be both liberal and conservative at the same time. One excludes the other.
For decades now, conservatives have rightly denounced the judicial activism of so many of our court decisions. Like the late Justice Antonin Scalia, we have opposed a “living Constitution” theory that changes the supreme law of the land according to the whims of liberal magistrates. But are we conservatives any better than these liberal judges when we throw away principle and embrace a “living” and evolving conservatism? When we embrace a false and morphing conservatism, we turn the movement into nothing but the caboose on the liberal train headed to the station of complete moral anarchy.
What Does It Mean to Be a Conservative?
Amidst this universal apostasy from logic, morality, and sound principles, the American TFP calls on conservatives to revisit what defines a conservative and what distinguishes a conservative from a liberal. In this way, we will be better prepared to thwart attempts to subvert and destroy the movement, especially from within.
What defines a conservative is a unique vision of man that conservatives have always believed and which is well stated in the classic 1960 handbook The Conscience of a Conservative:
The laws of God, and of nature, have no dateline. The principles on which the Conservative political position is based have been established by a process that has nothing to do with the social, economic and political landscape that changes from decade to decade and from century to century. These principles are derived from the nature of man, and from the truths that God has revealed about His creation…. The Conservative approach is nothing more nor less than an attempt to apply the wisdom and experience and the revealed truths of the past to the problems of today.…7
Conservatism is not an economic theory, though it has economic implications…. [C]onservatism has a structured view of the human being and of human society, in which economics plays only a subsidiary role.
The root difference between the Conservatives and the Liberals of today is that Conservatives take account of the whole man, while the Liberals tend to look only at the material side of man’s nature. The Conservative believes that man is, in part, an economic, an animal creature; but that he is also a spiritual creature with spiritual needs and spiritual desires. What is more, these needs and desires reflect the superior side of man’s nature, and thus take precedence over his economic wants. Conservatism therefore looks upon the enhancement of man’s spiritual nature as the primary concern of political philosophy. Liberals, on the other hand,—in the name of a concern for “human beings”—regard the satisfaction of economic wants as the dominant mission of society.8
This idea of a conservative is not just the view of this particular book but a view that has always been held by conservatives and which should continue to be ours.
Conservatives: Be Consistent
We call upon The American Conservative Union and its Conservative Political Action Conference to embody the best of conservatism.
We call upon the ACU to rescind its welcoming of organizations like Log Cabin Republicans and Atheist Voters as sponsors and exhibitors. Doing so would show consistency with the word conservative in its name.
We are proud to have been CPAC sponsors for many years. However, if the Log Cabin Republicans or similar organizations continue being CPAC sponsors, we lament to say that the American TFP will not be a CPAC sponsor in 2017. We will choose to be consistent with true conservatism.
We call upon our fellow conservatives to contact ACU and voice their concerns on this issue.
Finally, the American TFP reiterates its previous calls to the conservative movement to fully embrace Ronald Reagan’s three-legged stool metaphor, strengthening each leg of the stool, thus reinvigorating the movement’s authenticity and multiplying its impact force on the nation and the world.
May God bless America.
February 24, 2016
The American TFP
- The American TFP, “Keep the Three-Legged Stool Standing and Strong: Why the future of the conservative movement and its ability to lead and win depends on all three legs of the Reagan stool: moral values, military might and fiscal sanity,” Feb. 25, 2015, https://tfp.org/tfp-home/statements/keep-the-three-legged-stool-standing-and-strong.html, accessed Feb. 24, 2016.
- The American TFP, “Will the Conservative Movement’s Three-Legged Stool Remain Standing? Why GoProud Does Not Belong at CPAC!” Feb. 26, 2014, https://tfp.org/tfp-home/fighting-for-our-culture/will-the-conservative-movement-s-three-legged-stool-remain-standing.html, accessed Feb. 24, 2016.
- The American TFP, “7 Reasons to Reject GoProud at CPAC,” Mar. 14, 2013, https://tfp.org/tfp-home/statements/7-reasons-to-reject-goproud-at-cpac.html, accessed Feb. 24, 2016; The American TFP, “TFP to CPAC: Don’t Betray Principles,” Feb. 11, 2011, https://tfp.org/tfp-home/statements/tfp-to-cpac-dont-betray-principles.html, accessed Feb. 24, 2016.
- Cf. Obergefell v. Hodges, June 26, 2015, at Opinion of the Court, 3, 7. http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf, accessed Feb. 24, 2016.
- “Inaugural Address by President Barack Obama” Jan. 21, 2013, https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/01/21/inaugural-address-president-barack-obama, accessed Feb. 24, 2016.
- “Cardinal Ratzinger’s Homily in Mass Before Conclave,” Apr. 19, 2005, https://zenit.org/articles/cardinal-ratzinger-s-homily-in-mass-before-conclave/, accessed Feb. 24, 2016.
- Barry Goldwater, The Conscience of a Conservative (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Gateway, 1990), xxv.
- Ibid., 4.