I posted nine days after the election that "America is a left-wing nation," concluding after examining the compiled election results that,
Americans are predominantly, if not overwhelmingly, "liberal and statist."Now Mark Lewis writes at The Week that "The culture war is over, and conservatives lost."
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.Now at best the bulk of our people are "liberal-tarian." But an enormous number are liberal and statist - and they really do not even know why. The Left is triumphant today because they knew that policy victories were symbolic only, just as way to mark the journey to the sheepling of the American people.
What they set out to do, decades ago, was not simply to change what the law forbade, but to change the way Americans conceived of their personal and national relationship with Government. And if there is anything that Nov. 6 showed, it is that the majority of Americans now believe that the federal government has the right to order the way they live their personal lives and especially to order the economic exchanges of the country.
Conservatives, on the other hand, seemed always to think that the real fights were over policy, not worldview, and that "family values" were of central importance to the American people. They were not and are not. We deluded ourselves that "America is at heart a center-right nation" despite the mountain of evidence before us that it was becoming less so every year until it was not that remotely (I was as blind as anyone).
And most fatally, we identified membership in the Republican party with conservatism. If there is anything that should have awakened conservatives to that mistake, it was the nomination and election of George W. Bush under the Republican banner, hailed as a conservative, which he was not even remotely. (I did call that one before three years into his term.)
So I say this: Conservatism as conservatives have idealized it is dead, awaiting only its entombment. "Traditional" American conservatism is dead because it was born from both a Enlightenment and theistic understanding of reality. Both of them are vanished form the broad public mind. Any attempt to revive conservatism based on or tied to Christianity in America will fail, for American Christians have never before been as heavily acculturated as they are today, and the acculturation has gone only one way, to wit:
Can America again be the land of the free? Yes, but not quickly and not easily. More about that later, perhaps.