One reason I belive modern American conservatism, if true to its basic tenets, is better for gay people, is that it trusts the private sector to address social concerns and social change. It doesn’t ask that the government mandate that individuals adopt certain precepts to guide their lives or follow certain codes of conduct. It trusts us to do that on our own and to turn to institutions of our own choosing, whether religious or secular, to help us make important personal decisions.
We don’t believe the state should place particular burdens on us, or grant us special favors. It shouldn’t restrict our freedom nor that of those who don’t want to associate with us. After all, if they’re free not to associate with us, that means we’re free not to associate with them.
When the state gets out of the way, private institutions can more readily adapt to meet social changes, as have the growing number of businesses which have adopted non-discrimation policies and which offer benefits to same-sex domestic partners of their employees.
Liberals, however, believe that social change comes from the state. And while those advocating state action on our behalf may do so out of the most noble of motives, once the state starts acting on our behalf, when does it stop? How far must the state go to reach the oft-stated goal of gay rights’ activists–the achievement of “full equality” (whatever that means).
In the United Kingdom, we see the full folly of having the state promote our interests when local activists complained that the city council in Canterbury (about which many a tale has been told) didn’t want a “want a thriving LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community in the city.” Instead of dismissing the complaint as the efforts of local busybodies with nothing better to do than whine about little their government was doing for them, a government watchdog investigated and, lo and behold, after a two-month (two months!) investigation, found that Canterbury was sufficiently gay:
The Local Government Ombudsman – who asked for the city’s council to provide evidence of how it supported the gay community – said it was satisfied the pink pound was being catered for.
We conservatives believe it’s not the government’s business to determine such things, whether or not a locality is sufficiently gay. Why should a town council be supporting the gay community? Shouldn’t it then also support the Catholic community, the dissenting community, the Mormon community? Why not the Anabaptists? Can you imagine how a gay group would react if a representative of the Church of Latter Day Saints complained his city didn’t want a thriving Mormon community and demanded an investigation? He’d be laughed out of the council meeting–as well he should.
The government shouldn’t determine whether a town is sufficiently gay or sufficiently Mormon, sufficiently Jewish or sufficiently Wiccan. Instead, it should make sure that members of those groups are free to practice their beliefs or act on their inclinations as they see fit as long as they do so without preventing others from freely expressing themselves.
The council of Canterbury should have dismissed the citizen’s complaint with a quick wave of the hand. And we should see this silliness as a consequence of efforts to turn to government to remedy social inequalities, real or perceived. The consequence of seeing government as the instrument of social change. And the guarantor of “full equality.”
FROM THE COMMENTS: Sean A aks us to “if the two-month investigation had concluded that the town was (GASP!) gay-deficient“:
What then? Government spending on shovel-ready gay infrastructure projects? Affirmative action programs and set-asides for transplanted gay citizens? Costly educational programs designed by leftist Ivy League academics to implement. And of course, there would have to be criminal prosecutions and civil lawsuits because there is always someone to blame and someone to pay for allowing such egregious insensitivity to fester in the community.
Read the rest here. That’s pretty much what happens when governments decide these things.