Monday, March 15, 2010

An End To The Culture War?

Michael Barone thinks the Republicans may be giving up on the culture war. Finally.

The Republicans for the last two decades have been a party whose litmus tests have been cultural issues, especially abortion. The tea partiers have helped to change their focus to issues of government overreach and spending. That may be a helpful pivot, given the emergence of a Millennial generation uncomfortable with crusading cultural conservatism.
I am glad the Republicans are being forced by the turn of events to give up on Cultural Socialism. I have thought for some time that Cultural Socialism was a losing strategy because it did not lead to smaller less intrusive government and fewer black markets. The Tea Party people are forcing the issue because their only (or at least by far their main) issue is taxes and spending. Americans are a cantankerous independent lot who do not take well to government herding. If cultural issues can't make headway on their own, no government force is going to improve their position. In fact such force will be resisted and the culture warriors will in fact be working against themselves. Alcohol Prohibition being a case in point.

It is more than evident that those who pride themselves on a knowledge of history would rather avoid inconvenient history. A documented case in point is the slighting of Thomas Jefferson in Texas' American History books because he was the author of the words:
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State. -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT., Jan. 1, 1802
Obviously a wall like that would be a problem for those who want to use government to ram their religious views down our throats. Fortunately Texas is only one part of America. And the denial of history in the Internet age is going to be difficult. Because, you know, we can fact check your ass. And not just the Internet. We have books too:

Quotations of Thomas Jefferson

If you want to do something about taxes and spending and are not too concerned about Culture Wars may I suggest Tea:

Tea Party Difference

Click on the above image and learn how to spread it around.

H/T Eric at Classical Values

Cross Posted at Classical Values


RavingDave said...

I have discovered that it is a waste of time trying to discuss certain subjects with certain people. There is a cognitive disconnect when ever conflicting evidence is presented, and the whole thing turns into a meandering tangential mess.

People hold firm with great conviction to their world view on certain subjects, and seem to lose their ability to reason when presented with information that doesn't fit their narrative.

But just for kicks, I will point out, (as I have pointed out to sooo many others prior to you) that when the US. Constitution was being written, Thomas Jefferson had not a damn thing to do with it. We was in Paris, performing the duties of the American Ambassador to France. Yet, it is HIS words that keep getting repeated endlessly by the proponents of secular society.

Fortunately for the survival of the species, certain destructive memes are self correcting (positive feedback eventually goes back to quiescence for awhile)and eventually this too shall pass.

M. Simon said...

Ah. Yes. Quite inconvenient that our First Amendment mirrors something Jefferson championed in Virginia when he was there.

I suppose his being in Paris (communication delay of about 12 weeks round trip) meant he could have had no influence on the project or that those he previously influenced were unavailable.

Your logic resembles something seen recently in Climate Science. You are better than that. And you will note that the quote I published came with a date so it is obvious that it was Jefferson's view after the fact but in consonance with his work in Virginia.

And I'm not a secular. I'm a believer (although not in any organized religion). But my attitude is that people should be religious and government should be secular.

Sop despite our long association (in internet years) you have not been paying attention.

RavingDave said...

Why do you continue to use the pejorative "Cultural Socialism"? It is not accurate.

Apart from that, I'm not a believer anymore, but I still see the benefit that this culture had on our history.

M. Simon said...

Why Cultural Socialism? Because it is like Economic Socialism but applied to different ends. i.e. Government Force used to enforce Cultural norms. Our First Amendment is about preventing such enforcement.

I was on the receiving end of that kind of stuff in grade school(made to sing Jesus songs which I hated). And I still have some antipathy to that.

And then we have the drug war. And before that alcohol prohibition which was a big evangelical project. And of course the on going abortion wars.

Cultural norms (as opposed to universal norms like laws against murder, theft, robbery, etc. referred to as malum per se in law) should be left to the culture.

I tell my Christian libertarian friends that if you can't talk women out of having abortions no government can stop it. You get black markets. A sure sign of dysfunctional government. I have convinced a few.

The Texas school book deal is a case in point. Jefferson written out of history because some don't like his attitude about the proper role of government re: religion. I happen to side with Jefferson on the issue. A wall of separation is a good idea.

Government is about force. Its use should be severely circumscribed.

Just look at the decline of religion where belief is forced - the UK, Europe. Islam will come to a similar end.

If force can't be used to enforce culture then folks have to work harder to make their culture attractive. Force makes people lazy.