Big-time libertarian pundit Ben Domenech got downright tetchy with National Conservatism scholar Yoram Hazony on a podcast this week over an issue that Domenech believes is settled and never to be unsettled. Hazony said that Domenech’s rhetoric became downright “violent.”
At the prospect that many in the not-so-nascent national conservative movement believe gay marriage is still a salient issue, Domenech rather shouted at Hazony, “I want you to understand this. We will beat you. We are beating you. We are destroying you in terms of the polling, like there’s no basis for an anti-gay marriage conservative movement. It doesn’t exist. I mean, it’s less that 25%. You are losing this argument. You’ve lost the argument. I don’t know why you want to go back and fight it.”
Domenech was also shocked that the national conservatives would want to politically litigate that other supposedly settled issue, pornography. Such are the libertarians.
For those who don’t know, Ben Domenech is the co-founder of the influential Federalist website, though I am not sure he’s there any longer. He has a popular podcast. I think he has a radio show. And he has become a regular talking head on Fox News. You might say that Domenech is on the right wing of the sexual left.
His wife is Meghan McCain, the daughter of the late Senator John McCain. She held and then angrily left the conservative seat on the clucking hen-fest on ABC hosted by Whoopi Goldberg. They are pundit and policy royalty and host regular salons in their Virginia home where some of their guests and dear friends are—egads—homosexual. It is appalling to Domenech that some of his houseguests’ marriages are not approved of by Yoram Hazony and other national conservatives. Indeed, they are not.
Justice Clarence Thomas rattled a lot of cages when he wrote in his Dobbs concurrence that gay marriage may quite possibly be up for legal discussion. Did Thomas really put gay marriage back on the agenda? The sexual left certainly thinks so. The right wing of the sexual left thinks so. They all went nuts. But for some of us, phony gay marriage was never off the agenda. Decisions of the Supreme Court may be “settled law” but, as we found out in the Dobbs decision, “settled law” can, through persistence and creativity, become rather unsettled.
Nine hundred mostly young national conservatives met this week in Miami for their third national conference. There have been conferences in Brussels, Budapest, and Rome. To demonstrate the political salience of this movement, consider that several presidential hopefuls spoke this year, including Josh Hawley, Marco Rubio, Rick Scott, and Ron DeSantis (who received sustained ovations as he bashed big tech, woke capital, and the trans movement).
Riley Moore, the State Treasurer of West Virginia, got a standing ovation for announcing that his state no longer allows BlackRock Capital access to its investment money. BlackRock Capital, the largest investment fund in the world, has gone full-on woke and imposes wokeness on companies they invest in. Whatever happened to the knee-jerk knee-bending and hat-tipping to big money and big corporations that used to come from the center right. All gone. The State Treasurer talked about being a pipefitter in his life before politics, and this got a huge round of applause. These are not only national conservatives; they are also populists with no taste for big corporations.
Besides regular bashing of the woke Left, many spoke passionately in favor of marriage and family and explicitly against not just the trans movement but the overall homosexual marriage ascendancy.
On his podcast, Domenech was puzzled and incensed at the response that homosexual pundit Dave Rubin got when he announced he and his “husband” were having two children. The response from national conservatives was immediate and negative. Rubin had been a speaker at last year’s conference. He spoke on a panel with Yoram Hazony, founder of the National Conservatism movement, and gay pundit Douglas Murray who, from the stage, oddly scolded anyone who cared what he did with his genitals.
Welcoming Dave Rubin across the political divide from Left to Right was something of a love fest, but that was tempered when Rubin announced his fatherhood. It seems that many in the movement look askance at homosexuals buying human eggs and using not one but two women as brood mares. Libertarian Domenech was appalled that we were appalled.
Domenech does disapprove of the trans movement. He thinks this ought to be common ground between the different stripes of conservatism and between gay conservatives and not-gay conservatives. Most of us believe this is a phony distinction.
At the conference this week, Joe Rigney, president of Bethlehem College, said repeatedly that any efforts to separate the T from the LGB must be rejected because both are inextricably linked in their essential rejection of human sexuality properly understood. Not only did he feel free to say this repeatedly, but the audience also felt free to cheer him every single time he said it. Mr. Domenech should consider that most of the audience were youngsters.
Can LGB leave its marriage with the T? Look at freak show Demetre Daskalakis, Joe Biden’s new HIV prevention czar, and tell me what you think. Then take a look at the similarly freakish Sam Brinton, Biden’s deputy assistant secretary of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition in the Office of Nuclear Energy. Brinton tells the completely unbelievable story of experiencing so-called conversion therapy where he was hooked up to a car battery or some such nonsense. It is not just the T’s who are nutty.
Gay marriage is very much on the table. One speaker this week said you cannot be a conservative unless you are a social conservative. True. The new Heritage Foundation head, the impressive Kevin Roberts, said Heritage will take down the names of any Republican Senators who vote to codify gay marriage.
We know the battle for human sexuality properly understood will be long and sometimes lonely. The pro-life movement knew that, too, and we kept on going. There were Ben Domenech types who told us there was no way Roe would ever be overturned and we should just stop trying.
Turning back the sexual revolution is a herculean task. Not only is it on the table, but true conservatives are absolutely up to the job.
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