Living the Long Defeat

Living the Long Defeat

At the Republican convention last week, internet entrepreneur Peter Thiel echoed a lot of fiscally conservative Republicans today when he told social conservatives to stop letting things like bathroom gender policies (and presumably gay marriage and abortion and other social conservative causes) distract us from what's really important.

I don’t pretend to agree with every plank in our party’s platform. But fake culture wars only distract us from our economic decline.

Rod Dreher counters Thiel's claim that culture wars are fake or unimportant or that the important issues are about economics.

You hear this kind of thing a lot from social liberals who genuinely believe that nothing serious is at stake in the culture war. If conservatives would just roll over and accept that the liberal view is naturally, obviously correct, we could get back to our “real” problems. [...] What people like Thiel — really intelligent people, let us stipulate! — don’t understand is that not everybody values the things they do. Real, important things are being struggled over.

And also:

Culturally speaking, to be born in many places in the US is to suffer an irreversible lifelong defeat. If you come from a culturally conservative region, or family, you understand that the people who make the decisions in this culture are on the other side. At best they regard you as irrelevant. At worst, they hate you, and want to grind your nose in the dirt. Whatever the case, the things you value, that are important to your identity, and your sense of how the world is supposed to work, are either fading away or being taken from you — and you can’t do anything about it.

Living in Massachusetts as a cultural conservative, an orthodox Catholic who hews to the Church's moral teachings, is related, but different. This is a culturally liberal region, and everyone around me regards me as irrelevant and a relic and a Neanderthal on my most fundamental and non-negotiable beliefs.

In North Carolina, for example, there's enough cultural conservatives to pass laws and try to hold back the tide. In Massachusetts, you hunker down and hope the tide misses you.

1 comment
  • I have friends who are going to vote third party candidates in the upcoming election. The reasoning is that living in Massachusetts your vote for anyone other than HRC is irrelevant. No matter how we vote, she will get the electoral college votes. Sadly, as I am also “a cultural conservative, an orthodox Catholic who hews to the Church’s moral teachings” like you, I agree with both of you on this topic. I sometimes feel like just throwing my hands up and not voting.