Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Before Politics, It's the Culture War

President Obama won the 2012 presidential election by accumulating some of the most one-sided electoral constituencies in modern political history...

Rather than offer a broad sweeping vision for the country, Democrats played identity politics. Republicans were the culprits, and women, young adults, black, Latinos, etc… were the victims. And voters believed it. Why? For the same reason this litany — gender, race, ethnicity, class — sound so familiar.

Voters believed it, not because it was something new or groundbreaking, but because this has been the template of many of our character-building institutions — our public schools, our colleges, and public universities — for the past 50 years. Go to any major university in America and this is the mindset that is taught, preached, and ingested. It also gets an assist from television drama, from the movies, and from much of the mainstream media.

For decades liberals have succeeded in defining the national discourse, the terms of discussion, and, therefore, the election, in these terms. They have successfully set the parameters and focus of the national and political dialogue as predominantly about gender, race, ethnicity, and class. This is the paradigm, the template through which many Americans, probably a majority, more or less view the world, our country, and the election. It is a divisive strategy and Democrats have targeted and exploited those divides.

How else can we explain that more young people now favor socialism to capitalism?...

So while we Republicans opine about election strategies and changing demographics, and appropriately so as that is our immediate order of business, in the long run we must address the problem at its source: the culture.

Politics are downstream from the culture. Plato summarized the two most important questions in a society: Who teaches the young and what do we teach them?

For the past 50 years liberals have had majority control of the character-forming institutions. If the national dialogue stays on their terms — gender, race, ethnicity, class — Republicans will continue to lose.

(From "Republicans Must Win the Culture War to Regain Presidency" by Bill Bennett.)