Matt Lewis has a very interesting take on the “culture wars,” The culture war was never a fair fight (emphasis):
Let’s take a step back for a moment first. Many prominent conservatives, like anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, argue that conservatives just want to be left alone. In fact, Norquist has dubbed conservatism the “leave us alone” coalition.
Cultural conservatives see this as naïve. The state, they reason, will never leave us alone. We either win or we lose the culture war, but you can’t opt out. In this regard, they are like Winston Churchill, who said of his predecessor: “Mr. Chamberlain can’t seem to understand that we live in a very wicked world … English people want to be left alone, and I daresay a great many other people want to be left alone too. But the world is like a tired old horse plodding down a long road. Every time it strays off and tries to graze peacefully in some nice green pasture, along comes a new master to flog it a bit further along.'”
Since the state will never really leave us alone, social conservatives reason that the state should encourage ordered liberty. That means that the state should incentivize behavior that has served Western Civilization well over the years. In other words, as Dylan said, “you’re gonna have to serve somebody,” so social conservatives reason that a virtuous society should encourage behavior deemed virtuous by traditional Judeo-Christian culture, and discourage behavior at odds with that.
This, of course, is unpopular in the modern world — not just amongst liberals, but also with libertarian-leaning conservatives, and the general public. In today’s America, there is huge value placed on people being able to do what they want and be who they want to be. Trying to deny them those “rights” has become something of a taboo in many circles.
The leave us alone political philosophy is one to which I am extremely sympathetic. But I doubt it’s possible regardless.
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