Feature:Opinion

Conservatives: Get ready to lose the culture war

Photo of Mark Judge
Mark Judge
Author, A Tremor of Bliss

Perhaps the greatest single piece of sociological, cultural and political legerdemain in the last 40 years has been liberals convincing the country that they have not moved left since John Kennedy’s death. Despite George McGovern, Roe v. Wade, the welfare state, gay marriage and now the Obama attack on religion, liberals have managed to present themselves as the voices of reason in a country gone crazily right wing. And the more liberals move left, the more hysterical their rhetoric about the right grows. At this point, anyone who claims that a balanced budget is good economics or that there are physiological differences between men and women is stamped a Nazi.

And it has worked. Liberals have dragged the country to the left. People may complain about higher taxes and Fox may crush MSNBC in the ratings, but Americans increasingly favor government spending, political correctness, politics as personal therapy with no obligation to the confinements of reason, the president as national Santa Claus, gay marriage and sex without consequence. Liberals keep getting elected to Congress — and the White House. If Rick Santorum is the GOP nominee in the 2012 election, he will lose, and badly. Obama is at 50 percent in the polls. America is becoming not just a liberal country, but a left-wing one.

Conservatives need to accept that. At this point, the healthiest thing for conservatives to do is to simply admit that we are going to lose the culture war, and perhaps the country — and that this is okay. In the great span of history, countries, empires and republics rise and fall. It’s not written that America must survive. Our ultimate allegiance is to God. But like the Spartans in the movie “300,” we can make a brave last stand that may redound positively to future generations after America, financially and culturally broken, has hit bottom.

A good example of how the liberals, who keep moving left, paint anyone who doesn’t move left as a dangerous reactionary can be found in a recent op-ed by Jack Shafer, a media critic for Reuters (Shafer is also responsible for the famous monkeyfishing episode). In “Wasting Away in Dementiaville,” Shafer recommends that the Republican nominees for president retire to “Dementiaville,” a “mock 1950s village” that the Swiss are building. Dementiaville is “a carefully staged illusion” set up to resemble the 1950s so that old people will feel comfortable. Shafer explains:

When campaigning, Republican presidential candidates tend to build their own little Dementiavilles, cherry-picking what they consider the best of the 1950s as they call for the return of cheap energy, U.S. industrial and military hegemony, a more business-friendly economy, and respect for authority. … This idealization of the 1950s persists because few who invoke the decade bother to remember it correctly. Yes, it was a wonderful decade for some, but it doesn’t take a McGovernite to point out that Jim Crow, segregation, Little Rock, and the mistreatment of women and homosexuals should strike those years from the utopia registry.

I’ve been watching the campaign pretty closely, and I don’t recall any of the candidates even mentioning the 1950s. “Few who evoke the decade bother to remember it correctly”? Who evoked the decade recently, or even in the last few years? Can Shafer name them? In fact, the people who most often evoke the 1950s are liberals like Shafer himself (the last person I recall doing it aside from Shafer was Paul Krugman). The left is always conjuring the 1950s as an example of the horror show that conservatives are intent on dragging the country back to. It’s a way of puffing themselves up with borrowed virtue by posing as defenders of civil rights. “Yes, it was a wonderful decade for some,” Shafer writes, “but it doesn’t take a McGovernite to point out that Jim Crow, segregation, Little Rock, and the mistreatment of women and homosexuals should strike those years from the utopia registry.”

Who still considers the 1950s utopian? Can Shafer quote them? What person alive today doesn’t qualify the civility of the time with an admission of the horrible racism, especially with academia talking about racism nonstop and Hollywood making movies about it every 10 minutes?