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What a Truce in the Culture War Means

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Posted on June 15 2010 10:00 pm
David Swindle is the Managing Editor of NewsReal Blog and the Associate Editor of FrontPage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter here
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We’ve been having a fun, spirited debate here at NRB about abortion, whether it’s murder, if it should be illegal, and how those who engage in deserve to be punished.

Meanwhile, my former governor Mitch Daniels — I lived in Indiana until a month and a half ago — is in hot water with some on the Right for wanting to call a “truce” in the culture wars. Daniels argues that the country cannot be put back on track with a coalition of 50.1 percent. The Conservative tent must grow larger if we’re to avoid becoming Greece.

While Daniels still has to elaborate on what he means by “truce” I think I know pretty clearly, because it’s something I already proposed in my last post in this dialogue.The truce works in this fashion. The so-called “cultural” issues are called such because they ultimately derive from one’s culture, not one’s politics. Calvin and I can argue all day about abortion and homosexuality but what it will ultimately boil down to is he has his views on those subjects because he’s a traditionalist Christian and I have mine because I’m a countercultural mystical agnostic. We can both make all kinds of arguments separating our views from the cultures we embrace but why bother? Let’s just be honest about it.

A truce means that I’m willing to support anti-abortion, anti-gay candidates who are right on economics and foreign policy. (And I am — unequivocally, enthusiastically.) And Calvin needs to be willing to support pro-choice, pro-gay candidates who are free market advocates eager to defeat Islamofascism. A truce means it’s on those two unifying issues that conservative campaigns center themselves.

A truce in the culture war does not mean a “surrender” to anyone. It doesn’t mean Calvin has to stop pushing for the criminalization of abortion or that Focus on the Family needs to close up shop. It simply means we acknowledge political realities: an America with legalized abortion is better than a bankrupt America under the yoke of Sharia law. This should be pretty obvious — it’s nothing for which one must stay up all night weighing complex philosophical formulas.

Are you more interested in conserving the America of today or of radically engineering a new country in the image of your culture and religion? One agenda is conservative, the other is radical.

No waffling on this. (None of this, “well I’ll have to think about it hard” that Calvin gave me in his last post. You either consider the war with Islamic Nazis priority #1 or you do not. And saying that multiple issues are equally as important is the same as saying that the defense of this country from genocidal barbarians is not the most important political project of the day.)

You can certainly embrace both aspects, but one must be more important than the other because when it comes to the practicality of politics — voting — then it’s a zero sum game.

Doesn't this look delicious?

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