A Conservative Syllogism


Conservatives don't like taxes.

Some gays don't like taxes.

Therefore, conservatives hate all gays, even ones who don't like taxes.

This faux exercise in logic (exercise in faux logic?) is prompted by this AP story on ABC News' Web Site:

PHOENIX Sept. 18 ? A conservative anti-tax group on Thursday dropped an ex-legislator as president of its first state affiliate. The dismissed man said it was because he is gay, which the group denied.

The Washington-based Club for Growth had been criticized by some Arizona conservatives for its selection of former Rep. Steve May as head of the week-old Arizona affiliate.

While critics questioned May's credentials as a conservative on fiscal and school-choice issues, May told The Associated Press, "The real issue is the gay issue. It's unfortunate."

May said in a telephone interview that he received a voicemail from Club for Growth national President Stephen Moore saying the group "thinks we need to make a change in leadership to someone who is less objectionable and to someone who is not a lightning rod."

Moore declined to comment late Thursday.

Club for Growth spokesman Kevin McVicker said the group "categorically denies that they are separating from Mr. May because he is gay. Rather it has to do with policy issues."

He declined to elaborate.

McVicker had acknowledged earlier that May's role as state president was under review because of complaints prompted by a social conservative, Len Munsil, president of the Scottsdale-based Center for Arizona Policy.

On Monday, Munsil urged supporters in an e-newsletter to contact Moore with e-mails to protest May's role.

"Politely let him know conservatives will not support an organization led by a liberal gay activist who has declared war on social conservatives in Arizona," Munsil wrote.

The Washington-based Club for Growth is a supply-side advocacy group that until now has sought only to influence the outcome of congressional races with donations and by running ads criticizing incumbents it opposes.

The Arizona affiliate was to be the group's first foray into state-level politics.

I know the Club for Growth's head, Stephen Moore, very slightly but well enough to know that he's no bigot (Moore, formerly director fiscal policy studies at and currently a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, is a hard-core libertarian and socially tolerant; Cato is likewise a group where sexual orientation is not an issue).

This sort of report points to very real friction between conservatives and libertarians–and not the sort of friction that feels good. Despite some common ground–such as a desire for lower taxes–the underlying philosophies are very different. What's the point of keeping more of your own money from the government if you can't spend the extra dough on the lifestyle you want?

Btw, The Center for Arizona Policy isn't just anti-gay–sorry, pro-family. The group also casts a cold eye on gambling, abortion, and folks uncomfortable with Ten Commandments statues being displayed in court houses.