Liberals Don’t “Lose” Culture Wars


Molly Ball’s article in the Atlantic, titled “Liberals Are Losing the Culture Wars” has been making the rounds on both sides of the Internet’s political aisle:

Democrats have become increasingly assertive in taking liberal social positions in recent years, believing that they enjoy majority support and even seeking to turn abortion and gay rights into electoral wedges against Republicans. But Tuesday’s results—and the broader trend of recent elections that have been generally disastrous for Democrats not named Barack Obama—call that view into question. Indeed, they suggest that the left has misread the electorate’s enthusiasm for social change, inviting a backlash from mainstream voters invested in the status quo.

The premise strikes me as strange.  Liberals don’t lose culture wars.  I don’t mean that the world they want to create is inevitable or that it is correct or moral, but if one side of a civil war is mainly interested in destroying the landscape in blind faith that something better will emerge while the other side is determined to conserve it, then the destroyers never truly “lose.”  That’s even more the case when part of the landscape that the conservatives want to protect is the freedom to work for change.

At best, the conservatives can hold off the assault long enough to do some rebuilding, but it’s always more of a pause than a victory.  The liberals (or progressives) simply wait until any advantage presents itself, whether that means a president willing to ignore the constitution, a Supreme Court willing to rewrite it, a global crisis that allows the international elite to take over governments, or the coalescence of special interests able to subvert a local or state electoral process.

What can happen, though, is that a large majority comes to its senses, leading the liberals to go into retrenchment mode.  They’ll go back to claiming to share the values, like freedom of speech and a respect for the rule of law, that leave the society vulnerable to subversion, waiting for their next opportunity.

Look, liberalism, progressivism, or whatever you want to call it can’t work.  It’s built on a denial of reality and evokes the inhuman urge toward totalitarianism that resides in humanity.  That’s why liberals/progressives/whatevers lie about their intentions as they work society into a cell in which contrary ideas can be forbidden and conflicting electoral outcomes are essentially impossible.  (Note how quickly we’ve moved on from the presentation of same-sex marriage as some minor adjustment to an institution to allow for pluralism in our society, once the Supreme Court rewrote the Constitution in its favor, to the demand that nobody has a right to maintain their traditional view in any real sense and to the promotion of transgenderism.  Now, couple that rapid offense with an activist IRS, political house raids in Wisconsin, and a senator calling for prosecution of political opponents.)

What we’re seeing now, as we approach the possibility that the liberals’ lawless president might not be replaced by somebody like-minded is that liberals/progressives are becoming more strident.  They think they’ve just about got the cell closed, and they’re becoming less disciplined in their deception.  To some extent, the shift results from the more radical among them taking advantage of recent momentum to escape from their quiet spaces and take the lead.

I’m hopeful, though, that conservatives are finally learning how to respond.  Apologies and concessions are absolutely justified when one has erred, but for decades, the conservatives have allowed themselves to behave as if they’re the ones hiding ulterior motives and attempting to destroy.  We’ve thought it was the collegial, Christian thing to do, and it is… with people who share fundamental values, when conflict is more a matter of misunderstanding, and when apologies return us to conversation, rather than ending it.

There is no misunderstanding, now.  Liberals and progressives want to remake society, and they don’t want to leave their fellow citizens space to live their own lives and make up their own minds.  It’s a secular zealotry, and it will never admit defeat.