Monday, August 23, 2010

The Culture Wars Have Got to End

Look, I'm pretty socially liberal, and therefore, I have no problem with the right to choose, gay people, voluntary euthanasia, etc.  I'm all about freedom and maximizing individual liberty.  However, a lot of control freaks out there wanna deny that liberty simply because they think those things are "immoral."  That is just laughable, to say the least.

The simple fact of the matter is this: you can't legislate morality!  Yes, I know, a lot of idiot conservatives like to say "But our laws against rape and murder and theft are based on our morals."  Yes, to some extent they are, but they are ALSO in place to protect our rights as individuals, to protect us from aggression.  If they didn't, there'd be no reason for these laws to exist!  There's no reason for putting in place a law that criminalizes something that only a portion of the country or people think is wrong!  It's just not rational, and it's probably unconstitutional.

Having said that, I am so goddamn sick of these culture wars.  We've been bitching and complaining about this for 4 decades now!  Are we any closer to a resolution? Not really.  So how about both sides just declare some kind of truce? Or how about the authoritarian side that wants to shove its beliefs down everyone's throat and make someone's freedom illegal because it's 'immoral' just STFU? Deal with it! Times change, and society changes.  If you can't accept that, then fuck off.  You have no right to try to control people just because you think some individual's actions, which are not harming anyone, will "lead to societal degradation" or whatever you wanna call it.

A big part of it is the fact that we've allowed federalism to die in this country.  Slowly but surely, states are being allowed less and less leeway over what they can and can't do within their own borders.  The feds have taken so much discretion away from them!  To some extent, that is a good thing because the 14th Amendment protects our right NOT to have the states infringe on our rights.  However, federalizing all these issues ensures that it ALWAYS is dealt with at a federal level, rather than various jurisdictions with differing views deciding for themselves how best to deal with them.  States' rights does have some role to play in this, believe it or not.

Besides, as Morris Fiorina and others have already exposed, Americans aren't really all that polarized.  It's just the political climate that makes it so.  Blue states' and red states' residents essentially have the same views on a host of issues.  It's just that blue states are a bit more liberal, and red ones are a bit more conservative.  Americans are not all that different on social issues overall.  Most Americans favor spending on a strong national defense, healthcare, education, and many other programs.  They're not big on welfare, though.  And compared to 50 years ago, race and gay-straight relations are a hell of a lot better, current problems notwithstanding.  As the American National Election Survey also shows, Americans aren't really that divided. "Kerry Country" and "Bush Country" aren't all that different.  Yes, there are big liberal towns and small conservative towns, but the vast majority of the country is moderate, more or less.  The 2-party system and intense election cycles has just made it seem like we're increasingly divided.

So what is the culture war really about?  Are we all just being brainwashed by the media and political leaders to believe that it's all really such a big deal?  So what if some gays get married or old folks who are dying want the plug pulled.

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