Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dreher: Obama Won't End the Culture Wars

When he's not on his favorite hobby horse of trashing Catholic clergy (such as, most recently, the late Fr. Neuhaus), Dreher manages every once in a while to write something that half-way redeems him in my eyes:
... a common delusion among liberals: that the culture war is a fraudulent enterprise ginned up by cynical Republican operatives to manipulate the credulous. Similarly, liberals also tend to take a partial truth - that economic anxiety sometimes manifests as cultural antagonism - and assume it explains cultural conservatives. Remember candidate Obama, explaining "bitter" rural voters by saying that "they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations"?

The idea here is that once their economic needs are met, these conservative voters' cultural concerns will evaporate. What such unimaginative liberals - especially those in the media, where their astigmatic vision utterly dominates - fail to grasp is that their way of seeing the world is not normative outside their circles.

Shocking though it may seem, there really are people who believe that unborn children deserve constitutional protection. There really are people who believe that marriage is rightly limited to one man and one woman. There really are people who believe that there is nothing affirmative in discriminating against someone because of the color of their skin.

And there really are people who believe these things are important enough to fight for.

The thing is, cultural liberals believe these issues are important, too. If they weren't equally committed to the culture war, they'd give ground on gay rights, race and gender quotas and abortion policy.

A Democratic Party that gave cultural conservatives a meaningful place at the table would be the natural majority party, as Democrats were for decades - until the cultural left seized control at the 1972 convention and used the party as a vehicle to politicize cultural change.

Liberals won't give ground, though, because they understand that what's at stake in these cultural conflicts is not mere preference, but principle.

(emphasis added)

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At 2/17/2009 1:30 PM, Blogger matthew archbold said...

Sorry. I liked Dreher but haven't gotten over his writing about Fr. Neuhaus negatively immediately after his death.

At 2/18/2009 2:58 PM, Blogger Rich Leonardi said...

I don't find that Mr. Dreher writes anything unique or interesting unavailable elsewhere.


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