Not Tiring of the ‘Culture Wars’ — Moral, Liberty or Otherwise

MH900431223by Jeff Wright
Clash Daily Contributor

Much has been said about the status of our nation’s “culture war.” Progressives declare victory in the war each time they win a battle. Obama won re-election? The culture war is over! The DOMA decision? The culture war is over! Search “culture war is over” online and you’ll see what I mean.

Republicans who think social issues are passé are all too eager to join in. They want a victor declared in the culture wars so we can all stop talking about abortion and homosexuality and focus on the “real” issues. Social issues are too divisive, they say, which is another way of saying they don’t want their fundraising dollars messed with.

Speaking of abortion and homosexuality, the culture-war-is-over crowd is comprised of many Christians. The Church is losing the younger generations because we’re too-closely associated with the Religious Right, the thinking goes. Thousands upon thousands would be saved if only we’d stop talking about abortion and homosexuality!

Becoming more non-partisan for these Christians has meant turning in their “Proud Member of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy” cards in exchange for a more loving tone. Curiously, this loving and non-partisan approach has meant endorsing every major political and ideological position of the Left this decade from opposition to the Iraq invasion to amnesty. I guess the Obama Administration is just that good at answering the question, “What would Jesus do?”

The culture wars are obviously not over despite the obituaries that continue to be written. If anything, the culture wars have morphed in a way that has increased the scope of the fight. Law professor, Williams Jacobsen, recently commented on the “liberty culture war” on the heels of the NRA’s annual convention in May. Incoming NRA President James Porter remarked that the gun control issue was not a battle over gun rights but part of a culture war. Jacobsen responded,

The NRA seems to be broadening the issue of gun control into a broader culture war issue. But it doesn’t seem to be the old religious/moral culture war, it’s more a liberty culture war. It makes sense from a strategic point of view because it ties into the somewhat libertarian trend among conservatives and definitely Tea Party supporters focused on individual autonomy and self-reliance. It also puts the purpose of the 2nd Amendment, freedom from tyranny, in a broader social context of an overreaching government. It’s not just about guns, it’s about liberty.

Jacobsen wrote, “It’s not just about guns, it’s about liberty,” but we could exchange “guns” for many other challenges we face today. It’s not just about domestic spying, the IRS’s targeting of an enemies list, domestic drone policy, gay marriage, stealing phone records of journalists, Obamacare mandates … it’s about liberty. Sadly, the list could go on and on.

Will those who shied away from the culture wars begin to re-engage in the liberty culture war? Freedom from tyranny has become the issue of the day. The individual political skirmishes we witness on a weekly basis ought to be seen, as Jacobsen put it, “in a broader social context of an overreaching government.”

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