A NY Times Editorial by Ross Douthat, May 11, 2009
"Among their many aspirations for his presidency, Barack Obama’s admirers nurse a persistent hope that he might be able to end the culture wars. And by end, they generally mean win. The real hope is a final victory for cultural liberalism, and social conservatism’s permanent eclipse."
Mr. Ross Douthat
Right now--look me in the eyeball, and tell me if I am a proponent of "cultural liberalism" or "social conservatism," based on the following criteria:
1) I will never, ever enter a same sex marriage;
2) I will never, ever have an abortion;
3) I would never, ever prohibit a kid from praying to Baal--even if the kid is in a public school;
4) Right now, I can't imagine ever using illegal street drugs.
Give up? Well, here you go: I am a monster, hawk conservative in the culture wars. How so? Just because while I wouldn't buy weed off the street, pray to Baal, have an abortion, or marry my fellow man (sic), I do not want the STATE telling me that I can't do any of those things--just in case I change my mind.
Maybe I am kidding, just a little. But how on earth can the Mr. Douthats of the world--in good conscience--claim that believers in "cultural liberalism" are forcing their values on anyone? Has any proponent of same-sex marriage ever insisted that the power of the state should be used to keep people who want to marry someone of the opposite sex from getting married? Is Mr. Douthat truly afraid that if he moves to Maine, Vermont, Iowa, Massachusetts, or Connecticut, some burly policeman in ass-less chaps is going to make him marry a guy? Just who, Mr. Douthat, is advocating for Big Government's use of the police power to regulate personal behavior?
As a "liberal," what is the "prayer in public schools" that gets me crazy? The kid in the back of the class who whispers "Oh holy sweet baby jesus mary mother of god, I know I spent all night playing 'Grand Theft Auto--Iowa City' instead of studying, but PLEASE let at least enough answers be 'c' for me to pass........"? Absolutely not--not studying a lick and hoping for a miracle is protected under the free exercise clause of the first amendment. No, what gets me crazy is when the State in the form of the the school administration announces that *everyone* will pray to the Cowboy Buddha, regardless of personal feelings or belief. That is a violation of the first amendment's establishment clause.
Why do "conservatives" still advocate for prayer in public schools? Either the prayer is some idiot like me trying to explain why THERE IS NO GOD BUT TELEVISION--AND GILLIGAN IS HER MESSENGER!....or the most bland, mealy mouthed, innocuous, barely a tribute to some vague form of a supreme being, all in a futile effort not to offend Christians, Jews, Latter Day Saints, Sunni and Shiites, Buddhists, Animists, Flying Spaghetti Monsterites--you get the idea. But what about atheists and the Jehovah Witness folks? Too late; they're already off to federal court.
Jumping from Ike to today's hip hop happening groovy cats from Nowsville, unless you are Sarah Palin or have an IQ that's barely in the upper two digits (there may be some overlap there), the American public school system is not going to be a forum for advocating the divine nature of Jesus of Nazareth, explicitly or implicitly. That is just not going to happen--and not because of those commie atheistic homos over at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), but because the Jehovah Witness lawyers all have "Been There. Done That. Got the T-Shirt" bumper stickers on their cars. The J.W. attorneys--they don't even say "Bring it" any more, because they'll hand you your ass back before you even know it's missing.
But then...there is abortion. As Mr. Douthat says "The pro-life movement is arguably more comfortable with the language of rights and liberties than its opponents. Abortion foes are defending a right to life grounded in the Declaration of Independence, after all, whereas pro-choicers are defending more nebulous rights (privacy, autonomy, etc.) supposedly grounded in “penumbras” and “emanations” from the Constitution. And a moron says 'What?'"
Okay. I made up that last part. But since when is the "right to life" grounded in the Declaration of Independence? Back to school, Douthat. First, the Declaration of Independence is a great piece of work--really groovy--but it is NOT a governing document. Second, maybe you COULD argue that "all men (sic) are created equal" is extended to fetuses (fetusi?) if you're a complete ahistorical idiot, but even said idiot could not argue that back in the day, "all men" included women, slaves, and men who did not own property. So...'splain it to me, Ricky: how are pro-life people arguably more comfortable defending the right and liberty of a fetus--and yet that same right and liberty expressly did not include women or people of color? (if you're thinking "Because pro-life people are stupid?", that was my guess as well...but I don't think that's the answer Mr. Douthat is looking for).
In a word, I don't know anyone in the pro-choice movement who is in the least bit uncomfortable with the language of rights and liberties. Just ask them.
Let me be blunt (fine--"blunter"): abortion will always be legal in an industrial society with any semblance of a free press. How do I know this? Wait till about a dozen young, skinny white girls (with the emphasis on white, skinny, young, and white) bleed to death after a back ally abortion, and then see how long your abortion ban lasts. Anyone who talks about abortion as a political issue is either a religious partisan or a greasy opportunist (there may also be some overlap in those groups).
So for all you libertarians out there, you Ron Paul Revolution cadres--you may start to take heart when you hear the Olympia Snowes of the world start talking about "maximum individual liberty." But you know they're just lying to you; this is still the Republican Party of the people who complain bitterly about "big government"--and in the same breath demand more on the war on drugs, Department of Fatherla...OOPS! Homeland Security, and a bazillion different laws regulating personal behavior.
But to address Mr. Douthat's larger point--when the Democratic Party starts talking about single payer universal health care.....Now, you KNOW they're not lying about that. No, not now....Not to my face....Never!