On this latter point, I agree. Much of what went on at CPAC didn’t line up with traditional conservatism. But is mocking the pro-life argument fair game for True Conservatives simply because we’re in the age of Trump? That was my question when the dispute first arose, it is my question now, and it still hasn’t been answered.
In a response to the controversy published on Sunday evening, The Bulwark’s executive editor Jonathan Last addressed my criticism and a similar critique from Resurgent editor Erick Erickson, noting that while he takes our points to heart, he disagrees, because as he puts it, “The pro-life cause has gained a great deal of ground over the last 20 years, in part by not treating pro-choicers as pariahs, but by trying to persuade them, incrementally moving both the law and public opinion.”
This is obviously true, and a commendable goal, but it misses the point. If your aim is to persuade pro-choicers, why would you recruit one of them to mock people sincerely advancing the pro-life cause? And if your mission is to advance conservatism, why would you endorse and defend derision of a fundamental conservative principle?