If Conservatives Stopped Doing One Thing, More People Would Join The Movement

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Gage Klipper Commentary & Analysis Writer
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The great conservative thinker G.K. Chesterton is perhaps best known for his parable of the fence. A progressive sees a fence in his path and immediately thinks to tear it down; a conservative sees the same fence and vows to find out why it was put up in the first place.

The fence is a metaphor for tradition — the norms, customs, and values, we adhere to without always knowing why. Yet today, so many of our “fences” have already been torn down by a movement that says tradition has no legacy but oppression. The radical slogan of the 1960s — “It is forbidden to forbid” — is perhaps the only dominant custom thriving in Western society today. Given this reality, is it the best strategy for conservatives — those would who seek to resurrect what has been lost — to insist on reconstructing every last fence that the public has largely forgotten ever blocked our path? Perhaps it is more prudent to pick and choose where we build. (RELATED: The Left’s War On Masculinity Is Destroying Western Civilization)

This long-stewing conundrum broke out in the open over the weekend when traditionalist firebrand Matt Walsh reacted to a 29-year-old woman’s video rant on Twitter. The woman, podcast host Julia Mazur with a substantial TikTok following, extolled the virtues of getting drunk at night, sleeping all morning, and having no kids, husband, or responsibilities outside of cooking herself an experimental brunch and watching re-runs of reality TV. Walsh responded to the video, slamming Mazur for being “too stupid to realize how depressing this [her life] is,” in a tweet that quickly gathered over 30 million views and sparked platform-wide debate.

Reactions varied: some agreed with Walsh that her life was “shallow and meaningless” while others praised her for being “happy on her own.” However, many others found a middle ground where both Walsh and Mazur should each be free to embrace their own particular “view of a good life” without forcing it on the other.

Walsh and Mazur represent opposing views of Chesterton’s fence. Mazur takes a stand against the tradition of the woman’s role in family formation, proudly wearing her single life on her sleeve. Walsh rejects her view, instead arguing that a fence should be rebuilt to normalize the ideal family structure.

Only several decades ago, an unmarried, childless woman would indeed be an outlier at age 29. To argue in favor of such an outcome would produce skepticism, if not hostility. Today, however, it is very much the ideal, if not the norm. By polling data, more young women today rank living on their own (44 percent), building a career (34 percent), and achieving financial stability (27 percent) as their priority over getting married (20 percent) and having children (a shocking 8 percent). Feminism has metastasized from radical academic discourse to a basic social reality.

If conservatives want to reach these young women — the demographic most likely to swing progressive — then they have to make some room for some alternative lifestyle choices. Conservatives rightly want to organize society around the norm — marriage and family brings stability, order, and typically prosperity. But not all marriages are happy marriages; not all parents are good parents — some people will indeed be better off and happier single. Conservatives can be flexible on accepting less than our ideal into the movement while still rejecting the idea that Mazur’s idea of the good life is something that can or should be embraced by most people.

The left makes no such acceptance— it perpetually seeks to make the exception the rule. For example, because some women prefer staying single, society should neither normalize nor incentivize marriage — that way, no one feels bad about themselves. Even if it leads to a worse objective outcome, Mazur’s type of rootless existence is still liberation from oppressive traditions. It reinforces the fence torn down long ago; it is a moral good unto itself. Anyone who opposes it would inherently usher in tyranny.

With progressives’ extremism, conservatives have the opportunity to become the big tent moderates on lifestyle choice issues — accept that people move at their own pace, and not everyone will be married with children by their mid-twenties. All conservatives have to do is demonize single, childless women less than progressives demonize traditional lifestyles. That is not a high bar to clear, and could go a long way with women who do not fall firmly on either side of the fence. (RELATED: ROOKE: Blaming Feminism Is A Cope For Men Who Traded Masculinity For The Mirage Of Free Love)

This is less an issue for Republican politicians but for influencers like Walsh who presumably wish to build and broaden the conservative movement. Conservatives cannot fight back at the institutional level when progressive control all the levers of power. A sweeping grassroots movement is required to change the political calculus. Perhaps many women enjoy being single and sleeping late — it does not mean they don’t also prefer safe streets, a secure border, and a strong national economy.