Skip to comments.How to Wage a Culture War: Play the 'Liberty' Card (Leftist writer admits she is opposed to Liberty)
Posted on 02/16/2012 3:18:16 PM PST by Qbert
The term "culture war" has been in the news lately, describing a shift in political focus from unemployment and taxes to birth control and gay marriage. Some say it's because the economy is improving (although we have a long way to go). Others, like me, say it's because it's a perennially important discussion that will never go away. But something peculiar is happening this election season: Instead of putting their moral cards out on the table, conservatives are couching their cultural crusades in the libertarian language of "big government" oppression.
Take the latest fight over whether birth control will be fully covered by the Affordable Care Act. Most Republicans (aside from Rick Santorum, of course) won't say outright that birth control is wrong. Instead, they say they object to the government mandate. This tactic has been used before, in the cases of Plan B and the HPV vaccine, but the degree of public political theater has reached a fever pitch this time, with two Senate bills using the guise of "religious freedom"which would apply not only to religious institutions, but to individual bossesto deny women birth control and any other medication to which they object.
The shift in strategy is both understandable and disingenuous. Birth control is a thoroughly uncontroversial issue, even among religious womenvirtually all sexually active Catholic women have used birth control at some point, and 65 percent of registered voters support the new mandate. Conservatives know they can't win over the general public by wholly denouncing a medical practice the lion's share of their constituents employ, so they've employed a clever spin to get in on the widespread opposition to big government.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio strategically named his bill the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which would override the Obama administration's requirements that health insurance cover birth control. This isn't a moral crusade, Rubio assured us, but a "common sense bill" assuring "the government can't force religious organizations" to bend to their whims. Just yesterday, Missouri Senator Roy Blunt introduced a bill that went even further: It would allow CEOs to refuse to cover any service they find morally objectionable, whether birth control, HIV medicine, or any other medication or procedure. Even the Catholic church is having trouble admitting they're fully against contraception; Bishop William Lori told the Huffington Post that "[r]eligious freedom is a fundamental freedom," and that "no one would ever dispute the ready availability of so-called reproductive services in our society for anyone who wants it."
An all-male House panel (with all-male witnesses) faithfully echoed this rhetoric at a hearing Thursday afternoon. "This is not about women," one witness said. "This is not about contraception. This is about religious freedom, this is about religious liberties." Committee Chairman Darrell Issa agrees.
Meanwhile, New Jersey governor Chris Christie has vowed to veto the same-sex marriage bill recently passed in the New Jersey legislature. Christie won't come out and say he's against gay marriagehe just thinks "the people" should decide directly whether they want it. Like Rubio and Blunt, he's reframing what was previously a staple of the culture war into a question of citizens' liberty, of normal people exercising their rights to weigh in.
Christie has seen the gay marriage opinion polls; he knows that 53 percent of the country, and 54 percent of his state, supports same-sex weddings, so like the anti-birth control pols, he's cloaking the real issue. In each case, the GOP is using the much more popular language of "government control" to smack down progressive social policy while still nodding to the far-right wing. Ultraconservative voters see a politician fighting a righteous moral crusade, while moderates see a politician standing up for the rights of businesses and individuals.
Next to these rationalizations, Rick Santorum comes off as the most honest one of the pack. After all, he's plainly stated that he thinks both homosexuality and birth control are sins. But if he wants to ride out his sudden surge in the polls, it may behoove him to take a cue from his peers. Most mainstream conservatives have managed to sidestep blatant moral judgments while still wielding power over the lives of women and gays with the more palatable "freedom" message. Let's hope people see this liberty-posturing for what it is: just another old-fashioned culture war.
"...Like Rubio and Blunt, he's reframing what was previously a staple of the culture war into a question of citizens' liberty, of normal people exercising their rights to weigh in."
Gee, we certainly wouldn't want to have normal people exercising their rights, now...
Us? We want to hold on to what the Founding Fathers gave us? Oh Ho! Culture War!! There we go, starting trouble again! Shame on us!!!
They want America to become North Korea.
They aren’t even hiding it anymore.
I once debated a snot-nosed Marxist down to the point where he admitted he didn’t believe in liberty. His idea of utopia was a prison camp - as long as he was a warden. They don’t like to openly admit this but occasionally they slip up and tell us how they really feel.
"...Us? We want to hold on to what the Founding Fathers gave us? Oh Ho! Culture War!! There we go, starting trouble again! Shame on us!!!"
Yep. Especially since the only reason we are even talking about any of this is because... Obama and Sebelius on their own came up with this mandate and forced it on everybody.
It political warfare. They and it and you pay for it.
It is in-your-face and its working for them.
NPR, PBS, Planned Parenthood, ACORN, ACLU, Open Society Institute etc etc many other leftist groups
How many of these things have been undone by Republicans when they are in control?
The left play for keeps, the GOP does not
Not a matter of religious liberty, but even if it is, then a womans reproductive freedomoverrides all that? Yes, sir, just shut up about important things and we will allow you to worship on Sunday!
So, Nona's against me? OK. Now we know. I guess that means no sex from her for me? I say that's a net plus.
"I once debated a snot-nosed Marxist down to the point where he admitted he didnt believe in liberty. His idea of utopia was a prison camp - as long as he was a warden. They dont like to openly admit this but occasionally they slip up and tell us how they really feel."
Exactly. I always like to ask people like that, when they argue for imposing their totalitarian rules on people, "What are you going to do to me if I don't comply?" That's when the real mask comes off and they get all twitchy and full of rage... (I know it's kind of childish... but it works).
OK fine, at least I don't have to pay for any of these things.
Oh wait I DO! And when normal people have the AUDACITY to oppose being forced to PAY for "cultural choices" we disagree with, we can actually be fined or do jail time for exercizing our 1st amendment rights.
What’s really hard about all this is people like 2 of my three sons who could care less about what is going on. One told me he has no time to think, worry or do anything about it plus it isn’t affecting him or his family directly. I quoted parts of the......they came for the Catholic, I was a Protestant so I didn’t speak up... He has no idea it is affecting him. He makes lots of money and doesn’t notice how much money is coming out of his check. If he had to send a check I bet he would. His wife is a a big Irish liberal Catholic, so he’s in a hard spot. I have hope for the other son because his wife is a RN & brother-in-law is a neurosurgeon. He’s always telling him how obamacare is going to harm families, our economy and pushing healthcare workers into corners they don’t want to be in. Sometimes it’s easy to feel defeated. I need to pray more and harder.
In A Patriot’s History of the U.S. there was a quote from pre-civil war days I’ll have to go find again. An early ‘communalist’ said something to the effect that slaves were better off than the whites working in factories because the slaves didn’t have to make any decisions for themselves. Lefties really believe that people are not able to take care of themselves, so it’s up to them to direct our lives for us.
I’d like to personally direct THEIR lives for awhile!
There's some evidence that he didn't really believe a lot of what he wrote, writing to a friend about one of his other books, "It sells the better because it is odd, eccentric, extravagant, and disorderly."
There's a good essay on Fitzhugh here.
That’s who it was. Thanks for the link! :-)
I like it! A young lady in a bar once told me she wasn't liberal, she was progressive. When I asked her what she wanted to progress toward and what if I didn't want to go there? she changed the subject.