"The appeal of conservatism is the mutuality it asserts between individual and political freedom, its beautiful idea of a free man in a free society. And it offers minorities the one thing they can never get from liberalism: human rather than racial dignity. I always secretly loved Malcolm X more than Martin Luther King Jr. because Malcolm wanted a fuller human dignity for blacks -- one independent of white moral wrestling. In a liberalism that wants to redeem the nation of its past, minorities can only be ciphers in white struggles of conscience," - Shelby Steele.

Steele's op-ed reminds me why he was such an inspiration for my own attempt to address legitimate minority demands with a principled and disciplined conservatism.

My attempt was "Virtually Normal," where I did all I could to demonstrate the delusion that left-liberalism could truly resolve homosexual marginalization, rather than perpetuate it in milder, more cloying and sentimental forms (the toxic notion of hate crime laws, for example, and the suffocating ideology of permanent victimhood institutionalized in parasitic organizations like the Human Rights Campaign).

But in the next few years, I realized that the Republican party had no interest in reaching out to gay people on the basis of human dignity, individual freedom and economic liberty. My own minority was only admitted into the coalition if it agreed to dehumanize itself. And so an opportunity was lost - and a lesson was learned. It will be a long, long, long time before gays ever trust the GOP or conservatism again. Many of us tried to build a bridge. George W. Bush burned it down for cynical political short-term gain. And not long after, the word "faggot" could be used as a rallying cry at CPAC. That was conservatism's answer to our good faith attempt for using conservative principles for a minority's advancement. Clarifying, in so many ways.

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