Last night, as results of the House health care vote came through, I was treated to a tweet from a fellow Utah blogger, a conservative, in response. Before opining, I want to apologize for singling Holly out this way (don't take it personally, Holly) to make my argument, and recommend that you all stop by her blog, where there is always a discussion to be had. That said, her tweet, upon news that the House had passed a health care reform bill:
And so dies liberty - to thunderous applause.... I was there to witness more shredding of our Constitution. #utpolThis was a common theme on the #tcot and #iamthemob Twitter threads, and overall one of the most laughable aspects of the "rebirth" of Constitutionally aware and "principle" guided conservatives in the age of Obama. The blatant hypocrisies and over-the-top rhetoric. And too often those of us pointing out their hypocrisy fall too easily to convenient (even if true) arguments such as "where were you when Bush was in office?" So let me point to a few more current examples where liberty was really trampled on, which most conservatives have been silent on.
- The Stupak Amendment. This is one of the most common areas of "liberty" hypocrisy from social conservatives. Not only did they support this amendment blocking federal funds for low-income women seeking an abortion, but they would take it a step further, and support a full on reversal of Roe v. Wade. How is making abortion illegal not sacrificing liberty? Even if you stick to the "protect the unborn" argument, you are still taking liberty from one person (the pregnant woman) in order to bestow it on another (the fetus). Spin it any way you wish, it's what social conservatives would like to see. And it's not an across the board defense of liberty.
- Gay marriage. There is absolutely no way to spin this one. Social conservatives wish to deny "liberty" to a certain group of people, while ensuring others get to enjoy that same "liberty." All in Jesus' name of course. Regardless of where you fall on the issue, or how a conservative chooses to justify their willingness to deny liberty to another, there is no way to define it otherwise.
- FISA revisions, recently extended. Conservative were silent when Bush signed this into law (with the help of a spineless Democratic House, admittedly), and they were silent when Barack Obama supported the "warrantless wiretapping," "blanket warrant," and "dragnet domestic surveillance" provisions added into FISA policy during his campaign, and recently when the House debated and approved extensions of the Patriot Act. How is remaining silent on such unconstitutional policy a "defense of liberty," even if you are justifying it in the name of "fighting terror"? Well, it isn't. It's simply remaining silent as liberty is taken away. Both Bush and Obama have supported such policy, and from bloggers like Holly? Not a peep. Many even still defend the suspension of habeas corpus, setting a precedent for additional loss of "liberty" down the road.
It makes it impossible to take them seriously. If you're going to defend "liberty" above all other principles, then more power to you. I think the world is a bit more complex than such idealistic world-views can account for, but I'm always a supporter of one who stands on principle. But if you're going to simply pick and choose what "liberty" you're going to defend and decry the loss of, well, then you're little more than a partisan hack, complaining when things aren't going you're way, and remaining silent when they are. And all the while, you are perverting what is a noble notion (the defense of the Constitution) with your half-assed observation of when "liberty" has and has not been forsaken.
To declare the death of liberty when something you philosophically oppose (health care with a public option) passes the House, and yet remain silent when the House approves the NSA's ability to record your phone calls, email, and shopping habits without even obtaining a post-facto warrant from an oversight court makes you a hypocrite. I'm not arguing the "right or wrongness" of differing points of view, I'm simply saying that if you are Pro-Life, Anti-Gay Marriage, or supported The Patriot Act, you cannot say that you would never, ever, ever support measures that would dilute "liberty" for the individual. Obviously, you would, but only the one's you agree with in philosophy.
It's impossible to take you seriously. Plain and simple.