A “new fusionism” linking pro-life social conservatives and foreign policy neoconservatives is taking place based around the common concerns of traditional values and reasserting American moral purpose, writes Jody Bottum in First Things magazine (June/July).
When conservatives speak of “fusionism” they usually hearken back to the marriage between libertarians and traditional conservatives in the 1960s over their common opposition to communism and the growth of government. In contrast, a “new moralism” in relation to issues such as abortion as well as spreading democracy worldwide is driving this new conservative fusion.
While Bottum acknowledges that there are social conservatives opposed to the war in Iraq as well as neoconservatives who are firmly pro-choice, both camps have become allied on a number of issues largely driven by religion. The changes have come from both sides; Neoconservatives are more pro-life than they were even 10 years ago, perhaps due to their increased contact with Catholics and their fears over biotechnology. Meanwhile, the social conservatives, consisting mainly of evangelicals and conservative Catholics, have increasingly taken on foreign policy issues, from fighting international sex trafficking to engaging in human rights and humanitarian efforts in the Third World.
Although strategic common interests (for instance, support of Israel and, of course, the reelection of George W. Bush) should not be discounted, Bottum concludes that both neoconservatives and social conservatives are convinced that the “remoralization“ of American society also requires the remoralization of American foreign policy.
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