By 1983, the ERA was defeated. In the process, Mrs. Schlafly says, a powerful new alliance had been formed between churchgoing Americans and those conservatives chiefly concerned about economic and foreign-policy issues.
Over the years, the religious right has “been educated” on such issues by conservative leaders, she says. “At the same time, the pro-family conservative movement has educated economic conservatives about the social issues.”
Mrs. Schlafly’s credentials as a member of the conservative movement’s Old Guard are unimpeachable. Her first book, “A Choice, Not an Echo,” sold an astonishing 3 million copies nationally and helped turn the 1964 Republican presidential nomination away from New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller — leader of the liberal “Eastern establishment” wing of the party — and give it to Mr. Goldwater, hero of the GOP’s conservative rank and file.
The Arizona senator stood for free markets, limited government and a military strong enough to defeat Soviet communism. Although he lost in a landslide to President Lyndon Johnson, Mr. Goldwater’s 1964 candidacy has since been viewed as the turning point in the rise of Republican conservatism.
The social and religious conservatives among whom Mrs. Schlafly remains a powerful leader are not, she says, part of the same movement as economic conservatives.
“It’s really a different movement. It was a coalition of those two movements — the economic-national defense conservatives who were still around after Goldwater and then the social conservatives who woke up in the ‘70s — that elected Ronald Reagan.”
And, she says, the family values movement’s message to the economic conservatives has gotten through loud and clear: “You better stick with us or you’re not going to win any elections.”
For all her social conservatism, Mrs. Schlafly remains very much the Goldwater-Reagan conservative when it comes to limited government and the role of the United States in the world.
Her operational definition of conservatism is “lower taxes, limited government, fiscal integrity — and American military superiority, because everybody is safer that way.”
But she says it doesn’t follow that the mightiest nation in the world has an obligation to spread democracy by force of arms.
“No, I do not believe it is the mission of our country to tell other countries how to run their affairs,” she says. “Our public officials have an obligation to obey the Constitution. They don’t have an obligation to reform the world.”
Is that an integral part of the definition of conservatism?
“I think so,” Mrs. Schlafly says. “It would certainly be an integral part of what Bob Taft believed. And what Goldwater believed. And I think what Reagan believed.”
By John Solomon
How the government's punishing of the exposure of official wrongdoing can linger for years
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
A collection of reader guest articles, thoughts and opinions by Communities writers and breaking news and information.
Great discoveries in the world of restaurants and chefs fulfill the quest for delicious food and cooking.
Paul Rondeau dissects the propaganda, media tricks, and other shenanigans targeting our families, faith, and freedom…and even life itself
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall
NRA kicks off annual convention