Not By Bread Alone


Culture War


Jonah Goldberg at National Review Online has a great piece explaining why every political issue is a cultural issue:



Anyway, here’s the point I intended to get to much earlier. I’m coming to the position that every issue is a cultural issue. According to the Thomas Frank view, there are two kinds of issues: real issues and cultural (or social) issues. And, if he had his way, all elections would hinge on “real issues.” He writes in What’s the Matter with Kansas: “People getting their fundamental interests wrong is what American political life is all about. This species of derangement is the bedrock of our civic order; it is the foundation on which all else rests.”

This is of course, warmed-over Marxist twaddle. Frank thinks his view of economic interests is the only defensible view and everything else is boob bait for bubbas (Pat Moynihan’s orthodox liberal ad hominem for Clinton’s push for welfare reform) or what the Marxists call “false consciousness.” Much like Lena Dunham’s sex scenes, the list of things that are wrong with this is very long. People vote on the kind of community or country they want to live in, period. That means that taxes are a legitimate issue, but it also means that guns and abortion and free speech are just as legitimate. Liberals implicitly understand this, even if they lie about it routinely in their rhetoric. They are the first to invoke the language of values and right-and-wrong on the issues they care about, whether it is gay marriage or immigration or civil rights. And they are entirely right to do so. Where they are wrong is when they employ the language of “real issues” to dismiss any value-laden arguments that help conservatives win elections.

Go here to read the rest.  Man does not live by bread alone and neither do societies.  In our political struggles we attempt to shape what our societies will be. Concentrating on economic issues only is foolish, even for those merely concerned with economic prosperity, as a society going to hell on the cultural front is inevitably going to be one which will have a larger government and social turmoil that will be negative for economic growth.  Attempting to bifurcate political issues between economics and culture is intellectually fatuous and a practical dead end.

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  1. Attempting to bifurcate political issues bet

    But it makes it a lot easier to try to form elegant theories for why your otherwise unworkable philosophy is good.

    They just want to get to decide what is “cultural”– ie, optional– and what isn’t; setting the terms.

  2. Religion and politics can’t be separated from each other. Not in individuals nor in society. Religion and politics together are basic components of culture

  3. “a society going to hell on the cultural front is inevitably going to be one which will have a larger government and social turmoil that will be negative for economic growth.”

    That, as I have explained before, is probably the most likely way in which a society or nation suffers chastisement for its sins — not natural disasters or even necessarily direct attack. Combined with the bad leadership that rises to the fore in a complacent or corrupt society, it makes life more and more onerous for the average person and, sometimes, downright dangerous for the more vulnerable (due to rising crime, poverty, etc.)

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