The Left’s Culture War

The Left’s Culture War July 23, 2021

Conservatives and, especially,  their Christian fellow-travelers have been waging a culture war, obsessed with imposing their narrow morality when it comes to abortion, homosexuality, and other issues.  And the general public is sick of it.

That is the conventional wisdom, and many Christians are themselves want to draw back from the culture wars, thinking that culture-war activism has become an obstacle to Christian witness.

But some observers are saying that it isn’t Christians or conservatives who are the culture warriors today.  Now the left is taking on that role.  They are the ones who are obsessed with imposing their narrow morality when it comes to abortion, homosexuality, and other issues.  And the general public is sick of it.

Kevin Drum has impeccable leftwing beliefs and credentials, including a stint writing for the far left magazine Mother Jones.  But he has written a piece entitled If you hate the culture wars, blame liberals.

He cites research that shows over the last few years Democrats have moved much further to the left on social issues than Republicans have moved on the right.  Not only that, he points out that white Democrats are much further to the left than blacks and hispanics.  He cites researcher David Shor, “who identifies as socialist but is rigorously honest about what the numbers tell us,” who notes that in the last election, African American support for Democrats declined by 2%, and Hispanic support dropped by 8-9%.  Shor concludes (Drum’s bolds),

We’ve ended up in a situation where white liberals are more left wing than Black and Hispanic Democrats on pretty much every issue: taxes, health care, policing, and even on racial issues or various measures of “racial resentment.” So as white liberals increasingly define the party’s image and messaging, that’s going to turn off nonwhite conservative Democrats and push them against us.

Drum concludes,

Despite endless hopeful invocations of “but polls show that people like our positions,” the truth is that the Democratic Party has been pulled far enough left that even lots of non-crazy people find us just plain scary—something that Fox News takes vigorous advantage of. From an electoral point of view, the story here is consistent: Democrats have stoked the culture wars by getting more extreme on social issues and Republicans have used this to successfully cleave away a segment of both the non-college white vote and, more recently, the non-college nonwhite vote.

Certainly, the Left has become much more extreme and more aggressive in pushing their cultural agenda.
On abortion, they have gone from legalizing with Roe v. Wade, to Clinton’s “make abortion safe, legal, and rare,” to today’s “shout your abortion,” to Health and Human Services secretary Xavier  Becerra’s plan in California to force pro-life clinics to advertise for abortionists, to President Biden’s initiative to force all taxpayers to pay for them.
On LGBTQ issues, they have gone from legalizing, to toleration, to same-sex marriage, to mandating acceptance, to insisting that LGBTQ rights trump religious rights.
As for “imposing their morality,” the Left has gone all in with shaming, shunning, censorship, and virtue-signaling, exerting a censorious presence on social media, corporate boardrooms, the workplace, and not just college but elementary school classrooms.
And the general public, though cowed from saying much publicly, is sick of the left’s culture wars.  Furthermore, the general public doesn’t like being cowed!
Drum and Shor, being leftists themselves, express worry that ordinary Americans–of all races–will react against all of this and put them out of power.  Peggy Noonan, more on the conservative side, says, “The cultural provocations that are currently tearing us apart do, certainly and obviously, come from progressives. And the left seems to have no prudent fear of backlash.”  She cites corporate types she knows who outwardly conform to the woke ideology, but in the privacy of their own minds are dissenting.  “They have grown indignant at and impatient with the everyday harassments of woke ideology. Deep down, many of them would like to see the left knocked back on their feet. I think the left is overplaying its hand.”
We shall see.  Leftists always assume that the masses are with them, which is why they are saying so much today about democracy and voting.  But the masses in America, at least, have a way of thinking for themselves, and they resent being controlled, disrespected, and harassed.  We’ll see what happens in upcoming elections.
Illustration from NDLA, Creative Commons 4.0

Browse Our Archives