Welcome Instapundit Readers! I want to thank Glenn for this unexpected (but not unwelcome) link; it has led to one of the best comment threads we’ve had in some time. So, thank you Instapundit Readers for contributing to a spirited, thoughtful and civil conversation!
Every once in a while, I read a comment from a civil critic which helps me put my own worldview into perspective. Responding to Average Gay Joe’s post linking a Podcast Interview of Lt. Daniel Choi, reader CR did just that:
I have to honestly confess my surprise at how supportive the GP bloggers have been of Choi. I’m particularly surprised given that, as a moderate who is somewhat to the left of GP-residents, I actually don’t have a lot of sympathy for him.
His surprise made me realize that while I consider myself conservative, on some issues, I’m to the “left” of my party and even to the “left” of some of our critics. I put the word, left, in quotation marks because sometimes the traditional “direction” of our partisan politics just plain don’t work. When I have written about Lt. Choi, it just didn’t occur to me that someone might perceive me to be departing from principles I had put forward on this blog. (To be sure, I was aware that I am at odds with many in my party on the issue).
I’ve always supported a strong military, opposing restrictions, generally coming from well-meaning liberals, which decrease its effectiveness. And that’s how I see the ban on gays serving openly. It serves no purpose, save to placate those holding on to long discredited prejudices against gay people. And it deprives the military of qualified personnel.
Perhaps I’m more sympathetic to Lt. Choi’s outspokenness on this issue because, as a gay conservative, I see the benefits in being open about one’s sexuality. Coming out in right-of-center confabs has allowed me to see how my conservative confrères react to a gay man in their midst and to show that not all gay people subscribe to the politically correct orthodoxy of the far left.
In a similar manner, I welcome Lt. Choi’s openness. He provides yet another example of how ably a gay man can serve in our armed forces.
I guess the main purpose of this post is to show just how incomplete sometimes are our political labels. For example, as Mayor of one of the “bluest” cities in America, Rudy Giuliani had a far more conservative record than any of his rivals on several issues, notably on crime and fiscal matters. Yet, because he was to the left of the party’s mainstream on abortion, gun control and gay issues, he was deemed a moderate.
While supporting repeal of DADT marks me “liberal” on that issue, I don’t see the ban itself as a conservative policy. It just doesn’t advance the ideals of the modern American conservative movement, the basic tenets of which are limited government, a strong national defense and judicial restraint.