Conservatives and Election 2012
In an era in which less than half of young people reach eighteen in a two-parent home, in which moral subjectivism and radical autonomy are taught as normative, and in which conservatives fail to explain why their "no" to some things is actually a "yes" to others (marriage between one man and one woman and the many benefits this brings for spouses and children; protecting the lives of women and their unborn children; the significance of religious liberty, etc.), it should not shock us that many younger Americans are drawn to someone who wants not only to permit but actively to fund many of the things traditionalists find unacceptable.
"Perhaps the most offensive (Americans)," writes historian Victor Davis Hansen, "are the very serious and usually affluent left-wing utopians, who foam and grimace from a distance in their elite white enclaves as they explain how we all must be force to do this and that, here and now, to save some rare amphibian, a certain inert gas, someone's anonymous arteries or lungs, or an inner-city child's dreams—or else."
It is not the impulse to help a needy child or protect a truly endangered species that Hansen is indicting. It is the fascism of the Left whose intrinsic intolerance of dissent and insistence on full submission to its project of cultural recreation against which he protests.
Conservatives understand that from Babel to Lenin, our efforts to transform human nature have failed. We believe in spiritual redemption and moral change, most surely, but not through the grasping, controlling hand of a self-professedly benevolent state that usurps the salvific role of God.
The cautiousness of conservatism is animated by its skeptical view of human nature, but the promise of conservatism is buoyed by its faith in a personal, self-revealing Deity Whose expression in nature and written Scripture offers hope to what Carl Henry called "a famished and fainting race."
Conservatives, whose principles are unchanging, must consider how to convey them in a winsome and compelling manner to persons young and old, of every race and economic station. How we do so must be the subject of another discussion, but for the sake of our country, let's get to it.
Rob Schwarzwalder serves as Senior Vice President for the Family Research Council. He oversees the Communications, Policy and Church Ministries teams and manages the Policy department directly. He graduated from Biola University and has an M.A. in Theology from Western Seminary (Portland, Oregon). He has also done graduate study in history at George Washington University and the University of Washington.