“This is the Second part in a three part series on the Culture War. You can read the First part here.”
It would be easy to view the culture war as one gigantic struggle for the hearts and minds of the American public. Many of us see American culture as a singular entity. But that’s not the case.
When you look more closely, you can see that there are several facets of our society on which many different individuals have several differing viewpoints. The key to earning more influence is to identify the areas where conservative’s ideas can win out over the ideas of the left.
Conservatives and liberals disagree on a wide variety of issues. We have had numerous debates over abortion, gay marriage, welfare, free speech, and several other topics. However — as counterintuitive as it may sound — some battles are simply not worth fighting because the left has decisively won these disputes, for now. For this reason, we must choose our battles wisely — we should refuse to fight the battles that we cannot win. Instead, we should focus on the areas where most of the American society agrees with us. Jack Hunter of The American Conservative wrote:
Debates about whether social conservatives should surrender in the culture war miss something very important—that it’s not really an either/or proposition. There is no one “culture war.” There are multiple wars.
Hunter is right — the culture war is not just one overarching conflict. It is a series of debates on various cultural issues. If we pick the right battles, conservative ideas will become more relevant to American society. Fortunately for us, there are several areas where conservatives can win.
Illegal immigration has been a huge issue for decades. The left has put forth a concerted effort to push their open borders principle. Moreover, they have labeled people who wish to stem the flow of illegal immigrants into our country as xenophobes. Nevertheless, most Americans do not agree with the left’s arguments.
A Gallup poll released in March shows that 59% of American voters “worry a great deal or a fair amount” about illegal immigration. It is also interesting to note that 67% of Hispanics are worried about the issue as well. A Rasmussen poll showed that 50% of Americans believe that it is better to control who enters the United States. This issue helped President Trump win the presidency because many Americans support his stance on illegal immigration. Fortunately, the data shows that it is an argument that we can win.
The war on terror is another matter where the American public agrees with conservatives. Most people believe that radical Islamic extremism is a serious threat. The left likes to portray individuals who are concerned about terrorism as Islamophobes who hate Muslims, but that is not the case. Both conservatives and liberals have no problem with the vast majority of Muslims who do not embrace radical extremism. However, they also recognize that a significant number of Muslims do adhere to a more militant version of Islam.
A Pew Research Center survey revealed that 72% of Americans are at least “somewhat” worried about Islamic terrorism. Additionally, 60% of American voters support President Trump’s travel ban. Despite the efforts of the left, people believe that Islamic extremism is still a threat. Conservatives should continue to argue for policies that protect us.
Free speech is another issue on which conservatives should focus. The hard left is viciously attacking the first amendment rights of those with whom they disagree. Leftist groups have resorted to violence to prevent conservative views from being expressed. We have seen this happen at UC Berkeley, where they prevented Milo Yiannopoulos from giving a speech. Leftist activists have used physical force to disrupt pro-Trump rallies. Universities minimize right-wing views on campus — even going so far as to discriminate against conservative professors. However, the left’s disdain for free speech is backfiring.
The left has tried to eliminate what they call “hate speech.” Of course, they typically define most views that contradict theirs as hate speech. The Fund for American Studies recently released the results of a survey indicating that 92% of millennials support freedom of expression. On the other hand, it seems the left might be gaining some ground in their campaign against the first amendment. A Pew Research Poll showed that 40% of millennials believe in limiting speech that is offensive to minorities. We can win on this issue, but we will have to fight hard for our right to free speech.
Media bias remains a topic where conservatives can successfully influence society. The fact that the left dominates most of the news media outlets might seem intimidating to conservatives — but it shouldn’t. The American public has grown weary of the skewed reporting of many news organizations. Gallup recently found that 62% of Americans believe that the establishment media is biased. Moreover, The Hill reported that 65% of Americans believe the establishment media publishes fake news.
The president’s confrontational approach towards the Fourth Estate has undoubtedly shone a spotlight on the biased reporting of the establishment media. Americans have finally seen that these organizations are mainly interested in pushing their political agenda instead of reporting the news. Conservatives would be wise to continue drawing attention to the rampant bias of the establishment media.
Lastly, there is the second amendment. While the left tries to convince Americans that stricter gun control laws will keep us safe, gun ownership has risen to 40% over the past four years. The Hill reports that this represents an increase of five percentage points. Apparently, the American public is not convinced by the left’s arguments, and they still believe in their right to bear arms. Conservatives must continue to show the American public that stricter gun control laws do not prevent gun deaths — they only ensure that fewer law-abiding citizens will be able to obtain the means to defend themselves.
If we want to win more victories, we must make sure that we are fighting the right battles. We must take the words of Sun Tzu to heart: “If a battle can’t be won, don’t fight it.” If we approach these conflicts by exposing the flaws in the left’s arguments, we can convince more Americans to reject their ideas.
In the final part of this series tomorrow, we will discuss the importance of exposing the left’s deceptions and the flaws in their arguments.