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The culture war is over, and conservatives lost (Face it, Americans no longer agree with us)
The Week ^ | 01/03/2013 | Matt K. Lewis

Posted on 01/03/2013 12:09:45 PM PST by SeekAndFind

Late last year, I criticized the notion that Barack Obama won re-election by buying off voters with "gifts." 

In case you've forgotten, many conservatives had sought to explain away Mitt Romney's loss by reasoning that we had finally reached a tipping point where Americans were voting for candidates who supported the welfare state, based solely on their own pecuniary interests. And I argued that voters do want to be given something by Republican politicians: Hope, optimism, and vision.

But while I dismissed that premise, there may be an even larger fundamental problem that should alarm conservatives even more: Too many Americans simply no longer agree with them on the merits.

We should have seen it coming. Back in 1999 — on the cusp of George W. Bush's presidency, and as Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress — conservative leader Paul Weyrich issued a controversial open letter declaring that conservatives "probably have lost the culture war." 

As Weyrich wrote:

In looking at the long history of conservative politics, from the defeat of Robert Taft in 1952, to the nomination of Barry Goldwater, to the takeover of the Republican Party in 1994, I think it is fair to say that conservatives have learned to succeed in politics. That is, we got our people elected. 

But that did not result in the adoption of our agenda. The reason, I think, is that politics itself has failed. And politics has failed because of the collapse of the culture. The culture we are living in becomes an ever-wider sewer. In truth, I think we are caught up in a cultural collapse of historic proportions, a collapse so great that it simply overwhelms politics.

In recent months, it has been especially depressing to be a conservative. In the past, one could more easily endure the ranting of liberal commentators by taking solace that — outside of New York City and Washington, D.C. — most of the country was center-right. Thus, whenever an elite liberal commentator said something fringy, one could always console himself by saying (or at least thinking): "I hope you push that idea, because you'll keep losing elections in real America."

Today, conservatives have made a shocking discovery: They are the ones in danger of appearing out of touch with middle America.

Weyrich, it turns out, might have been a Cassandra. At the time, of course, his letter was criticized by many of his conservative friends, who had, after all, toiled in the trenches for years to elect Ronald Reagan. They were still optimistic that we were on the verge of some sort of permanent governing majority that would allow a new leader to finish what Reagan started. But today, it looks as though Weyrich was quite prescient.

To be sure, his idea wasn't entirely original. Years earlier, the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan observed, "The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society." Years later, Andrew Breitbart would popularize this notion, and introduce it to a new generation of conservatives. But Weyrich was making an observation at a time when it would have been easy to dismiss such reflection as premature — or even pessimistic. (Indeed, many of his contemporaries did exactly that.) 

Predictably, conservatives tended to ignore this inconvenient truth about the culture, persuading themselves that winning elections — and ostensibly passing conservative laws (though they did that less frequently) — were what mattered. (Or maybe it was that they convinced themselves that because they could win elections — because the American public supported their politics — it implied a "silent majority" of Americans were still traditional, salt-of-the-earth types.) 

In the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, Republicans did quite well electorally. Simultaneously, however, our society became coarser, more permissive, less traditional, and more socially liberal. And while politicians won elections, our young people turned to Hollywood for guidance. For every Republican elected, there were 10 films or songs (many of them quite good, actually) selling sex, drugs, and violence. Of course, this all comes down to that clichéd line about the breakdown of the family unit. It's clichéd because it's true.   

Now: In the wake of the House GOP's capitulation on the Senate-passed fiscal cliff bill (which does nothing to rein in entitlement spending), some prominent conservatives are beginning to notice that today's electoral and public policy defeats are a natural byproduct of having lost the culture war.

For example, over at Red State, conservative commentator and blogger Erick Erickson argues, "Republicans should turn their attention toward — family." Erickson quotes Rick Santorum, who, during a 2012 Republican primary debate said:

The bottom line is we have a problem in this country, and the family is fracturing.

Over 40 percent of children born in America are born out of wedlock. How can a country survive if children are being raised in homes where it's so much harder to succeed economically? It's five times the rate of poverty in single-parent households than it is in two-parent homes. We can have limited government, lower tax — we hear this all the time, cut spending, limit the government, everything will be fine. No, everything's not going to be fine. 

There are bigger problems at stake in America. And someone has got to go out there — I will — and talk about the things. 

Democracy, of course, requires individuals who are moral and responsible. Strong families are the cure for much of what ails us. You pick the problem, and stronger families would probably render the solution moot. Consider a recent debate: We can put warning labels on violent games and movies, but that won't replace mom and dad being involved in their children's lives and being aware of what they are watching.

Conservatives have largely lost the culture, and it can't be won back by passing some landmark piece of legislation. Instead, it's going to be a long, hard slog. The good news is that, though conservatives typically hate the term "reactionary," most conservative victory is first predicated on liberal overreach.  

It may be that if things get bad enough, America will finally start looking inward. 



Matt K. Lewis writes for The Daily Caller and co-hosts The DMZ on Bloggingheads.tv.



TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: americans4prosperity; conservatism; culture; culturewars; homosexualagenda; kochbrothers
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To: Brad's Gramma

BG, no one seems to care. They just want to blame the Republicans for not being ‘centered’ and ‘on key’.

Let me say this - the man in office is there illegally, and those who know it are ignoring it (or avoiding any discussion about it.)

Joe Arpaio PROVED without a doubt that the birth certificate is a fraud. (And I am not a ‘birther’.)

The voting machines were rigged. That has been proven.

Then, we have pictures of illiterate, illegals, being bussed to the polls, for free pizza, when they vote.

It has also been posted on FB, people bragging about voting in multiple counties.

Felons, illegals, dead people, and mentally incapacitated voted.

And, the Tea Party and GOP says NOTHING????? DOES nothing?????

I am shocked that this has been allowed to happen, in our country. Something is going on that we haven’t seen yet..... count on it.


201 posted on 01/04/2013 8:27:31 PM PST by yorkie
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To: Brad's Gramma

BG, no one seems to care. They just want to blame the Republicans for not being ‘centered’ and ‘on key’.

Let me say this - the man in office is there illegally, and those who know it are ignoring it (or avoiding any discussion about it.)

Joe Arpaio PROVED without a doubt that the birth certificate is a fraud. (And I am not a ‘birther’.)

The voting machines were rigged. That has been proven.

Then, we have pictures of illiterate, illegals, being bussed to the polls, for free pizza, when they vote.

It has also been posted on FB, people bragging about voting in multiple counties.

Felons, illegals, dead people, and mentally incapacitated voted.

And, the Tea Party and GOP says NOTHING????? DOES nothing?????

I am shocked that this has been allowed to happen, in our country. Something is going on that we haven’t seen yet..... count on it.


202 posted on 01/04/2013 8:27:51 PM PST by yorkie
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To: who knows what evil?

” - - - The Communists took control of public education and the media...conditioning and brainwashing of our children 24/7/365. Worked like a charm.”

Yup, and then they started Nationalizing whatever they wanted to, with blessings from RINO Romney, and all of the GOP-e who endorsed him.


203 posted on 01/04/2013 8:33:06 PM PST by Graewoulf ((Traitor John Roberts' Commune Obama"care" violates Anti-Trust Laws, AND the U.S. Constitution.))
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To: Jim Robinson; onyx
A little old blue-haired lady once summed up the preacher's sermon on Peter being called to Christ across the water by simply saying "sinking was not his job."

It's not ours either.

No surrender. No retreat.

204 posted on 01/04/2013 8:42:11 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Graewoulf

Well.....Just exactly what was Romney’s education?

Was it overwhelmingly in godless secular humanist schools? If so, why would anyone be surprised?


205 posted on 01/04/2013 8:44:26 PM PST by wintertime
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To: yorkie

Thank you, Yorkie. I had never seen that video. I believe I read (don’t quote me) that the voting terminals were supplied by a country other than the USA, and that union people were responsible for their maintenance. I should have saved the info, but was confident that we’d win. So much for confidence.


206 posted on 01/04/2013 9:01:04 PM PST by Silentgypsy (If you love your freedom, thank a vet.)
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To: wintertime

” - - - If so, why would anyone be surprised?”

Only the GOP-elite were surprised. Well, RINO Romney’s Haaaaaaaaaaaahvud campaign advisors also were surprised.

The Iron Triangle of RINOs, Democrats and CLAM, (Communist Liberal Agenda Media), do their best to ignore us here in wagon-pulling, flyover country. Thus, they have chosen to isolate themselves from those of us who actually pull the wagon - - - .

BTW, looks like a steep decline ahead. We just might, could step aside and allow old Wagon Number 47 find its own level of supply and demand. Beats paying endless tax increases - - - .


207 posted on 01/04/2013 9:03:23 PM PST by Graewoulf ((Traitor John Roberts' Commune Obama"care" violates Anti-Trust Laws, AND the U.S. Constitution.))
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To: Graewoulf

“Stepping aside” sounds like a plan. Starve the beast.


208 posted on 01/04/2013 9:10:10 PM PST by Silentgypsy (If you love your freedom, thank a vet.)
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To: Silentgypsy; hummingbird; RitaOK; All

” - - - Starve the beast.”

Yup. If we don’t it THE MARKET damn sure will!

BTW, did you notice that the CLAM writer of the posted article did not mention the fact that his beloved debt-based “culture” has to borrow 42 cents on every dollar it wastes to keep its Roman Circus “Free” goodies flowing?

He probably thinks the Potomac River is DeNile River!


209 posted on 01/04/2013 9:31:18 PM PST by Graewoulf ((Traitor John Roberts' Commune Obama"care" violates Anti-Trust Laws, AND the U.S. Constitution.))
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To: Silentgypsy; Brad's Gramma

Yes, the voting machines are made by a company called “DIEBOLD”.

Diebold voting machines can be hacked by remote control
http://www.salon.com/2011/09/27/votinghack/

Guess who owns “Diebold”?
George Soros

This Is Outrageous! George Soros Owns Company That Will Count America’s Votes In November
http://investmentwatchblog.com/this-is-outrageous-george-soros-owns-company-that-will-count-americas-votes-in-november/

And no one in the GOP has even BLINKED about this!


210 posted on 01/04/2013 9:33:38 PM PST by yorkie
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To: yorkie

Thanks, again!

BTW, how are you feeling nowadays? If this looks like a hijack attempt, please ignore question. Just know that lots of us are concerned. :)


211 posted on 01/04/2013 10:26:15 PM PST by Silentgypsy (If you love your freedom, thank a vet.)
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To: Brad's Gramma

BTTT


212 posted on 01/05/2013 1:18:03 AM PST by E.G.C.
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To: ksen

Make birth control as easily available as candy, and refuse government benefits unless the woman gets fixed would be the most effective way to deal with that problem, but the Romulans on this board don’t want to hear that.


213 posted on 01/05/2013 5:26:40 AM PST by Clemenza ("History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil governm)
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To: DBeers

White America is growing increasingly secular, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. That is where the votes are.


214 posted on 01/05/2013 5:33:05 AM PST by Clemenza ("History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil governm)
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To: LibLieSlayer

Southern whites are a dwindling minority in the US, with ZERO influence outside of the Army.


215 posted on 01/05/2013 5:35:36 AM PST by Clemenza ("History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil governm)
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To: Gen-X-Dad

Urban sprawl = the areas where the majority of the population is. We are an urbanized country, no matter what we tell ourselves to the contrary.


216 posted on 01/05/2013 5:39:13 AM PST by Clemenza ("History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil governm)
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To: Clemenza
You obviously are laboring under a gross misperception of the South. Do not judge us by the communist states of the North East or West. BTW... whites are still 75% of the population... but many up north and out west hate their skin color. Here is a surprise for you... black and white Conservatives in the South are united against tyranny. I have many good friends that are black... we shoot together, have other hobbies together and some of us worship together. Powerless... watch and see how powerless we are. It will be us in the South that will save this Republic if it can be saved... and we will start over if it dies.

LLS

217 posted on 01/05/2013 5:49:01 AM PST by LibLieSlayer (FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS!)
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To: LibsRJerks

God bless and keep you, dearest LibsRJerks.

Old Hollywood had it right. At least a lot of the screen writers and directors did. I so much enjoy those old movies which reflected the good American values of those days.

You’re right. We’ve lost so much.


218 posted on 01/05/2013 9:23:27 AM PST by onyx (FREE REPUBLIC IS HERE TO STAY! DONATE MONTHLY! IF YOU WANT ON SARAH PALIN''S PING LIST, LET ME KNOW)
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To: Alamo-Girl; Jim Robinson

God bless you and that sweet and very wise little old blue-haired lady.

Thanks very much for telling us! I’ll remember that.


219 posted on 01/05/2013 9:28:12 AM PST by onyx (FREE REPUBLIC IS HERE TO STAY! DONATE MONTHLY! IF YOU WANT ON SARAH PALIN''S PING LIST, LET ME KNOW)
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To: onyx

When we welcomed June Cleaver and “Leave it to Beaver” into our homes ... little did we realize it was the beginning of a remake of America. There are educational programs on TV., and some worthwhile television programs. TV got our attention. TV dinners became popular. because we wanted to eat our dinner in front of the TV. No longer did we eat at the dining table and discuss the events of the day.

Enough of this. It is my thinking and I’ll leave it at that.

Be blessed and Pray for America.


220 posted on 01/05/2013 12:52:15 PM PST by geologist (" If you love me, keep my commandments" John 14:15)
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To: LibsRJerks

I love old movies for the same reason. Liberals complain about those awful old censorship codes, but I think they actually resulted in better movies. Back then movie-makers could not rely on violence, language, and nudity, but had to keep viewers’ interest using only plot, dialogue, humor, suspense, acting, etc. I hardly even go to the movies anymore because of the subtle and not-so-subtle preaching about how evil conservatives, whites, Christians, men, gun-owners, Southerners, etc. are.

I wonder if someday old movies and TV shows will be banned because they will show what our country used to be like, and that it wasn’t the evil, bigoted, hateful place everyone will be taught it was.


221 posted on 01/05/2013 1:54:27 PM PST by Nea Wood (When life gets too hard to stand, kneel.)
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To: yorkie
With early voting(fraud)the election was over long before Nov. 6th.

The dems have a word for REAL free and fair elections...they call that being "disenfranchised".

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing".

222 posted on 01/05/2013 3:38:10 PM PST by RckyRaCoCo ( Shall Not Be Infringed)
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To: onyx

Thank you so much for your encouragements, dear onyx!


223 posted on 01/05/2013 7:21:27 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Darksheare

Thanks Darksheare. Best idea have heard.


224 posted on 01/06/2013 2:27:17 AM PST by no-to-illegals (Please God, Protect and Bless Our Men and Women in Uniform with Victory. Amen.)
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To: SeekAndFind
""And when the free stuff ran out there were not any conservatives left to
make the economy good again for another round""
225 posted on 01/06/2013 3:55:52 AM PST by MaxMax (Gun free zones was the invitation to gun bans)
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To: ZULU
Yes, the majority of Americans have conservative values and most don't even know it.
Nobody is telling young Americans and reminding all Americans what conservatives
truly stand for. Dems have their machine and we have none.
226 posted on 01/06/2013 4:10:29 AM PST by MaxMax (Gun free zones was the invitation to gun bans)
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To: MaxMax

The way to do that is to have CONSERVATIVE groups sponsor educational classes in the social studies and history to Re-Educate kids who are put through the anti-western, anti-Judaeo-Christian, anti-American educational system.

They could be offered on weekends. Even the children of conservatives are exposed to this left-wing junk history in the public school systems and we are losing them.


227 posted on 01/06/2013 12:13:47 PM PST by ZULU (See video: http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-first-siege-of-vienna.html)
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To: Brooklyn Attitude; All
50 posted on Thu Jan 03 2013 15:01:18 GMT-0600 (Central Standard Time) by Brooklyn Attitude: “My daughter recently gave birth in Utica which is a small city in upstate NY. Several nurses came up to her and her husband and asked if they were actually married. It seems that a married couple is now quite a curiosity in the maternity ward.”

That is scary, and rings true from what I've seen as well.

Bottom line — we cannot be defeatists. I've written more on that here:

http://freerepublic.com/focus/news/2975624/posts?page=14#14

A few of my points from that thread:

I am getting sick and tired of listening to defeatism and negativism among conservatives. Just exactly why is it that we are on the defensive? ... Defeatism is a device of the Devil, designed to disarm us."

We read this from the lips of Jesus Christ in Matthew 16:18-19: “...and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

The gates of hell are not offensive weapons, but defensive. We're supposed to be taking the fight to the enemy, not huddling in caves afraid the enemy will find us.

That role of hiding in caves is for the **OTHER SIDE** — read Revelation 6:15-17:

“And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”

______

Some more points relevant here to the culture war:

But we also need to be realists. Ronald Reagan fought liberal efforts to take over the entertainment industry because he knew how much damage Hollywood can do. Well, we lost that battle, and we're reaping the consequences in our broader secular culture.

We need faith, family, and government — all three — to work properly in order to have a functioning nation. A collapse in the first or second area will lead to an eventual collapse in the third.

228 posted on 01/10/2013 12:58:15 PM PST by darrellmaurina
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To: darrellmaurina

I think much of the defeatism we see comes from the fact that if a complete incompetant with a horrific record can be re-elected over a highly qualified candidate, what chance do we have? To me it was a shocking indication that we have reached a tipping point where the inmates now run the asylum.


229 posted on 01/10/2013 1:44:32 PM PST by Brooklyn Attitude (Obama being re-elected is the political equivalent of OJ being found not guilty.)
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