Editors Note: This is the first in a three-part series on the culture war in America.
You have heard it said many times: the left is winning the culture war. It is something you hear from both liberals and conservatives. It is not an unreasonable supposition – the left controls our universities, owns most of our news media outlets, and has dominated the entertainment industry. Not only have they held on to these institutions with a viselike grip – they have wielded them as the weapons with which they advance their ideology.
So, is it true? Is the left winning the culture war? Not quite. The election of President Donald Trump and the fact that Republicans now control Congress and most of the governorships is an indicator that conservatism has begun to turn the tide. The reality is that liberals are losing their upper hand. However, their current troubles are more a consequence of their blunders than the efforts of conservatives.
The left is in decline because of the methods they have employed to facilitate their agenda. The American public has repudiated these tactics and grown weary of their propensity for violence, false accusations of bigotry, and the widespread manipulation by the establishment media. They should have seen this coming.
In recent years, the left has frequently used violence to advocate for their causes. From the Black Lives Matter riots to the destruction they wrought at the inauguration, the left has repeatedly relied more on destroying property and physically attacking people with whom they disagree. It does not look like they are slowing down. The recent violence at Trump rallies is a prime example of their willingness to force their views on others. Although so-called progressives seem to believe that these atrocities make them stronger, their behavior has only served to repulse potential voters. Americans loathe supporting a movement that uses fascist tactics while calling their opponents fascists.
In addition to the violence, the leftists have endeavored to push their political views on the American public by attacking free speech. From the beginning of the year, they have launched a concerted effort to prevent conservatives from using their first amendment rights. Rather than earning influence by engaging in political debate, they wish to remove dissenting arguments altogether. They have violently shut down speeches on college campuses by conservative speakers. Groups like Antifa have used black bloc techniques to harm Trump supporters at rallies. Their glaring disregard for one of the most important rights guaranteed to Americans by the Constitution has served only to alienate more voters.
Not only have liberals attacked free speech, but they have also used their first amendment rights to label conservatives as bigots. It’s one of their favorite tactics – one they have been using for decades. Instead of treating conservatives as fellow Americans with whom they disagree, they viciously attack them as homophobic, racist, Islamophobic, or sexist. One can hardly blame them since this strategy has served them well for discrediting their political opponents. Although it worked in the past, this approach has been overused and is now a bit of a double-edged sword.
The left refused to reserve these accusations for people who deserved it. Instead, they chose to vilify the majority of conservatives as intolerant. Even after the election, they still claim that racism motivated Trump voters. The Washington Post recently cited a deceptive poll stating that racial prejudice drove voters to support President Trump. Liberals have cried bigotry so often and so emphatically that they made a mockery of the word. People stopped listening to their drivel because they know that America is not a nation of bigots. In a piece for the National Review, Ben Shapiro sums it up nicely:
And herein lies the biggest problem facing the American Left: America is the most tolerant country in world history. There are no more serious civil-rights struggles for the Left to push. In fact, the Left now pushes against civil rights in its ignorant search for the new struggle: Religious bakers must be destroyed if they won’t bake a cake for a same-sex wedding; young girls must be forced to go to the same bathroom as middle-aged men, hosts on HGTV must be policed for belief in Scripture regarding sexual sin.
Of course, there is also the establishment media. For decades they have flagrantly manipulated American society through their biased reporting. Rather than reporting the news in a way that is informative, they have become nothing more than a propaganda outlet for the Democrat Party. They report the news in a way that promotes their worldview while claiming impartiality. One only has to look at the difference between the coverage of the Obama administration and the Trump administration. A recent study revealed their skewed reporting. Conservatives have always known that the press is biased towards liberals, but now the rest of the country has caught on to the game. Americans no longer trust the fourth estate.
Each of the left’s missteps over the past few years have demonstrated one important truth: they have acted as the aggressor while still claiming to be the victim. They defame their opponents as intolerant while marginalizing any views that oppose their own. These people smear their opponents as fascists while they engage in the same brutal tactics as the brown shirts in Nazi Germany – and it has finally caught up with them.
The Democrats still seem vexed by their loss. They assumed they had such a firm hold on the culture that they could not possibly fail. However, the nation has shown them how wrong they were. For the most part, it does not seem that they have learned their lesson; they are still using many of the same practices that cost them the election. However, there are signs that they may finally be learning from some of their mistakes.
As previously stated, the left is in this position because of their failures – not because of conservatives. This must change if we are going to take advantage of our newfound momentum. Right now, we have a chance to effect substantive change. It is not enough to simply let their movement implode. As conservatives, libertarians, and conservatarians, it is incumbent on us to ensure that we continue to push forward and gain more ground. They will not remain defeated forever – they are already fighting hard to return to power. The more powerful we are, the easier it will be to ensure that they do not regain the influence they have squandered.