Skip to comments.The culture war is over, and conservatives lost (Face it, Americans no longer agree with us)
Posted on 01/03/2013 12:09:45 PM PST by SeekAndFind
In case you've forgotten, many conservatives had sought to explain away Mitt Romney's loss by reasoning that we had finally reached a tipping point where Americans were voting for candidates who supported the welfare state, based solely on their own pecuniary interests. And I argued that voters do want to be given something by Republican politicians: Hope, optimism, and vision.
But while I dismissed that premise, there may be an even larger fundamental problem that should alarm conservatives even more: Too many Americans simply no longer agree with them on the merits.
We should have seen it coming. Back in 1999 — on the cusp of George W. Bush's presidency, and as Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress — conservative leader Paul Weyrich issued a controversial open letter declaring that conservatives "probably have lost the culture war."
As Weyrich wrote:
In looking at the long history of conservative politics, from the defeat of Robert Taft in 1952, to the nomination of Barry Goldwater, to the takeover of the Republican Party in 1994, I think it is fair to say that conservatives have learned to succeed in politics. That is, we got our people elected.
But that did not result in the adoption of our agenda. The reason, I think, is that politics itself has failed. And politics has failed because of the collapse of the culture. The culture we are living in becomes an ever-wider sewer. In truth, I think we are caught up in a cultural collapse of historic proportions, a collapse so great that it simply overwhelms politics.
In recent months, it has been especially depressing to be a conservative. In the past, one could more easily endure the ranting of liberal commentators by taking solace that — outside of New York City and Washington, D.C. — most of the country was center-right. Thus, whenever an elite liberal commentator said something fringy, one could always console himself by saying (or at least thinking): "I hope you push that idea, because you'll keep losing elections in real America."
Today, conservatives have made a shocking discovery: They are the ones in danger of appearing out of touch with middle America.
Weyrich, it turns out, might have been a Cassandra. At the time, of course, his letter was criticized by many of his conservative friends, who had, after all, toiled in the trenches for years to elect Ronald Reagan. They were still optimistic that we were on the verge of some sort of permanent governing majority that would allow a new leader to finish what Reagan started. But today, it looks as though Weyrich was quite prescient.
To be sure, his idea wasn't entirely original. Years earlier, the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan observed, "The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society." Years later, Andrew Breitbart would popularize this notion, and introduce it to a new generation of conservatives. But Weyrich was making an observation at a time when it would have been easy to dismiss such reflection as premature — or even pessimistic. (Indeed, many of his contemporaries did exactly that.)
Predictably, conservatives tended to ignore this inconvenient truth about the culture, persuading themselves that winning elections — and ostensibly passing conservative laws (though they did that less frequently) — were what mattered. (Or maybe it was that they convinced themselves that because they could win elections — because the American public supported their politics — it implied a "silent majority" of Americans were still traditional, salt-of-the-earth types.)
In the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, Republicans did quite well electorally. Simultaneously, however, our society became coarser, more permissive, less traditional, and more socially liberal. And while politicians won elections, our young people turned to Hollywood for guidance. For every Republican elected, there were 10 films or songs (many of them quite good, actually) selling sex, drugs, and violence. Of course, this all comes down to that clichéd line about the breakdown of the family unit. It's clichéd because it's true.
Now: In the wake of the House GOP's capitulation on the Senate-passed fiscal cliff bill (which does nothing to rein in entitlement spending), some prominent conservatives are beginning to notice that today's electoral and public policy defeats are a natural byproduct of having lost the culture war.
For example, over at Red State, conservative commentator and blogger Erick Erickson argues, "Republicans should turn their attention toward — family." Erickson quotes Rick Santorum, who, during a 2012 Republican primary debate said:
The bottom line is we have a problem in this country, and the family is fracturing.
Over 40 percent of children born in America are born out of wedlock. How can a country survive if children are being raised in homes where it's so much harder to succeed economically? It's five times the rate of poverty in single-parent households than it is in two-parent homes. We can have limited government, lower tax — we hear this all the time, cut spending, limit the government, everything will be fine. No, everything's not going to be fine.
There are bigger problems at stake in America. And someone has got to go out there — I will — and talk about the things.
Democracy, of course, requires individuals who are moral and responsible. Strong families are the cure for much of what ails us. You pick the problem, and stronger families would probably render the solution moot. Consider a recent debate: We can put warning labels on violent games and movies, but that won't replace mom and dad being involved in their children's lives and being aware of what they are watching.
Conservatives have largely lost the culture, and it can't be won back by passing some landmark piece of legislation. Instead, it's going to be a long, hard slog. The good news is that, though conservatives typically hate the term "reactionary," most conservative victory is first predicated on liberal overreach.
It may be that if things get bad enough, America will finally start looking inward.
ANYONE THAT SURRENDERS TO THE LEFT IS AS MUCH MY ENEMY AS THOSE OF THE LEFT... SO HELP ME GOD!
I am not a surrender monkey and will continue my conservative values!
Exactly. The defeatists can shut the hell up or get the hell out.
Time to start over and hope we can get a REAL smaller government Party up and running while there is still anything left worth salvaging.
It means the biggest fallacy that self-described Conservative politicians has been proven false.
Too many insiders think that elections will fix everything, and that a win in the arena is enough. It never is.
What did the past several decades accomplish in the long term? Very little.
The Left has been dominating culture, and is SHAPING the arena to its own design which favors them.
Anybody genuinely serious about winning is going to do so by culture, or else will continue to see what’s been going on.
Unfortunately, this is a never-ending long term project that won’t see immediate results. Breitbart made a good starting effort.
Not surprised by this. It’s why I said not long ago here that the country has problems that are far too serious to be solved by winning temporary political elections.
Dammit, ladies and gentlemen, grab your balls and stand up and FIGHT! It WILL be over for the USA if you lay down on your backs and give it up to obozo the socialist/communist/marxist/jihadist lover. His followers are many, but WE have our strong numbers as well. It seems overwhelming, to be sure, BUT think of every war battle that seemed overwhelming just before there was a WIN for the USA! We must never give up....the left never gives up....they keep at it until they achieve their goals, for as long as it takes...and we must learn from THEM. Resist, obstruct, delay obozo and his plans anyway you can. Work with like minded people to achieve these same goals, say a prayer along the way and don't stop working until you obtain a victory, one at a time. And it WILL take time...it seems overwhelming and that is why you must keep going and FIGHT! Remember, if our soldiers of wars past had thought as some of us do about overwhelming odds, we would not have won WWII....a daunting, four year war that we kept fighting til we WON. Now keep that statistic/visual in your head and FIGHT! Check out oathkeepers.com, your local tea party patriot group, any Glenn Beck group, Americans for Prosperity...and any other group you may be interested and join and get to work!
GOD bless both of you... that makes three of us!
We can start with the 80+ congressmen who refused to take a bite of the crap sandwich served by Reid and Boehner.
The Communists took control of public education and the media...conditioning and brainwashing of our children 24/7/365. Worked like a charm.
And I bet I can quickly find a thread on FR extolling the virtues of 24 or CSI or some other disgusting TV show.
Include me..that makes four
A spiritual awakening, a move of God’s Holy Spirit, is what we need.
God is moving in other lands, and perhaps someday they’ll send Christian missionaries to America.
I have read about Muslims turning to Christ, as well as Buddhists in China.
Followers of Jesus must not lose hope. They also should not disengage from the culture or politics. They should do what hasn’t been done—prayer and devotion to the Scripture...not just in our closets, but in our acts of kindness and loving our neighbors....
Thank you... I needed that badly. Sometimes I forget that we have the two most powerful allies in all of creation. GOD and his Son JESUS!
God bless you!
Despair is a tool of the enemy. That’s a fact.
Here’s this week’s healine front page from Time:
Shocking Time Magazine Cover: After 40 Years, Abortion Activists Losing