An End to the Culture Wars? Two Views

This is not a political blog (and don’t look for that to change any time soon), but two interesting posts on President Obama’s approach to the so-called culture wars popped up today that are too interesting to pass up. First, a post by Peter Beinart on Obama and the negating of culture issues:

[Obama] seems to think there are large numbers of conservative white Protestants and Catholics who will look beyond culture when they enter the voting booth as long as he and other Democrats don’t ram cultural liberalism down their throats. In this effort, Obama has two big advantages. The first is the economic crisis, a trauma of such historic magnitude that it makes issues like guns and gays seem trivial. The second is a generational shift taking place among evangelical Christians, in which younger leaders like Warren are broadening their agendas to include issues like poverty and the environment, thus signaling at least a partial willingness to look beyond the culture war.

Next, Ross Douthat’s rejoinder:

[W]hat makes Obama promising to liberals isn’t his potential to “end” culture-war battles – it’s his potential ability to win them, by dressing up the policies that Planned Parenthood or the Human Rights Campaign or the ACLU or whomever would like to see in the kind of religiose language and fuzzy talk about consensus that swing voters like to hear. So waiting a day to reverse the ban on overseas funding for groups that provide abortions, for instance, isn’t a compromise in the culture wars, or an act of moderation – it’s a way of making a victory for the left seem like an act of moderation to people who aren’t that invested in the issue.

I’m inclined to side with Douthat on this one: ignoring cultural issues doesn’t make them go away, and public policy is never culturally nuetral. Whatever his intentions, the end result of Obama’s policies land us squarely into cultural liberalism.