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.
I see the same thing, and the statistics overall indicate that what we see is the new normal for the United States in the age of Obama. What most of the people commenting on this thread fail to recognize is that a society without a strong family basis cannot continue very long into the future, perhaps not even for another generation. That is the writer’s point, and he is right.
Brave talk as seen above and references to Jesus ain’t gonna help us!
It also mentioned that Churchill had called for a similar prayer time for Britain during WWII.
This is one thing I can and will do.
The Republican Party ran a big-spending, big-government-loving liberal for President, who invented gay "marriage" on the governmental level and who advocated for abortion rights for over thirty years.
That this candidate predictably lost, since it's not possible to out-liberal a Marxist, and equally predictably carried next to no electoral coattails should not be seen as an indication that we've lost anything like the 'culture war'.
People just didn't trust Mitt Romney. I believe plenty of social conservatives knew that his convenient 'conversion' to social conservative principles was nothing of the sort. The candidate who eviscerated better, conservative candidates in the primary turned into a frightened puppy when it came time to attack someone to his left. We all saw it.
The culture war is fought as much in the soul as it is at the ballot box. It won't be lost as long as decent, right-thinking people are left to stand up for God, who takes a back seat to no mortal law. And Middle America, and the Bible Belt, knows this.
Here is my issue.
I earn a salary and the Government takes it.
I lose about half my income to the Feds and State.
How do I fight when my supposed Representatives and Senators vote for illegals, to take my guns, to steal my children’s future, to make my kids learn Communism, to hate my God, to promote Mohammed, to preach Global Warming is because I lit a fire on Christmas Day...
They are coming for my savings, my income, to up my expenses and to dictate how much salt, soda, shower water or miles I drive via black box. They read all my emails and posting (including this) and listen to my phone calls. They force me into a Government health plan whether I want it or not and they are going after every opportunity to earn money I have.
Defeated, never. Realistic, yes.
When your party is more interested in taking away what little benefits these single-parent families receive in order to preserve the wealth of the top 1% then of course you are going to lose the votes of those people . . . and there's a lot more of them then the 1%.
See my tag line. It’s been there since I joined, shortly after the 2008 election. I knew this would be a long, hard fight. Defeatism is never welcome, but an honest assessment of how to improve our game is a good thing. Many here on FR have contended that the dichotomy between social and fiscal issues is a false dichotomy, that culture and moral/spiritual principles are inseparable from fiscal issues, and that both of those domains are critical to freedom. This is a comprehensive war that is being waged against us, and we must respond in kind. To the extent the author is saying this, it is a correct and helpful assessment of battle conditions.
However, the temptation is to be overwhelmed, to look on the giants of Jericho and just give up. But their strength is finite, and the real universe as God created it and manages it will not support their delusions of grandeur. They will fail. It is only a matter of time, and of staying in the fight long enough to see it happen. To that end, we also agree with Churchill, that we will embrace no peace other than the peace that follows the victory of right and good over wrong and evil. No peace till victory.
“There ARE no traditionally married couples with over 1 or 2 kids.”
My daughter recently gave birth in Utica which is a small city in upstate NY. Several nurses came up to her and her husband and asked if they were actually married. It seems that a married couple is now quite a curiosity in the maternity ward.
There has been a kind of conceit among conservatives that the hip hop culture is a Black problem. That is clearly not the case.
Not when viewed in county-by-county maps of 2012 electoral results.
America got itself hooked on ‘mediocrity’.
People that flippantly say that we’ve lost the culture war are the ones who have contempt for it. They are the fake “conservatives.”
So you’re doing a hell of a lot better than I am.
The defeated ones are why we lost. People that intend to fight the enemy better first figure out who the enemy is. Most here believe that there are two parties and the Republicans are conservative, they are wrong.
Boehner again moved the country to the left and it could hardly be worse if he openly declared himself a Marxist Progressive, which he is in my opinion.
Boehner promised that no bill would come to the floor unless it went through committee debate and reading on the floor, did that happen?
This has already been discounted as false. Why do you post incorrect rumours????