Why Liberals Win The Culture Wars


Why Liberals Win (Even When They Lose Elections): How America’s Raucous, Nasty, and Mean “Culture Wars” Make for a More Inclusive Nation: Prothero, Stephen: 9780061571312: Amazon.com: Books

‘Prothero skillfully demonstrates how the same groups drive confrontations year after year, frequently losing, and how the outcomes ultimately make us stronger.’ “It’s a good piece of reading for everyone who will be voting in the future election.” – Kirkus Reviews (starred review) It is a vibrant, highly reading, and thought-provoking examination of how cultural wars begin and progress, as well as the methods by which they are waged and resolved.

“This book has a great deal of information that can benefit both parties.” – Douglas Laycock of the University of Virginia School of Law.

it is both instructive and engaging.” Publishers Weekly has published an article on this topic (starred review) “A contemporary social history that demonstrates that the current tensions are actually a part of a much longer tale,” writes the author.

– According to the Library Journal “It is less a political victory cry as it is a strong dose of perspective that this significant book provides.

Also, according to him, conservatives are the ones who usually start cultural wars and they are the ones who are always defeated.” -The Boston Globe, a newspaper in Massachusetts American cultural wars are widely perceived as a roughly 50-50 conflict during the previous fifty years, according to the media.

  1. Prayer is permitted in public schools.
  2. However, for Prothero, things don’t exactly work that way.
  3. – Sojourners are a group of people who are seeking a better life.
  4. According to Prothero, conservative thought is characterized by a constant – and losing – premise that is cultural in nature.

Prothero’s historical arguments are astute, indicating that “culture conflicts are seldom as abrupt as they look, but are frequently anchored in the quarrels of the previous generation. Russel Moore, a representative of The Gospel Coalition

From the Back Cover

The headlines proclaim that the United States is caught in the middle of an unprecedented, intractable, and violent political conflict, putting the right against the left, the Tea Party against the progressives, and religion against secularism and secularism against religion. As these fights continue, many people are concerned about our ability to withstand the cultural disintegration and political division that has resulted. And it is at this point that the book Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars (Even When They Lose Elections)provides encouraging news.

  • In this interview, Prothero demonstrates that “culture conflicts” are not a recent phenomenon.
  • Prothero concludes that all of our nation’s culture wars have followed a similar pattern, beginning with Jefferson’s contested election in 1800 and continuing through debate over Catholics, Mormons, and prohibition; from abortion to the current debate over gay marriage.
  • Conservatives frequently win elections by playing on people’s fears and frustrations, but they are virtually always defeated in the cultural wars, which is unexpected.
  • Because they chose causes that are already lost.
  • This explains why conservative candidates win elections while losing the culture wars.
  • “This book brilliantly demonstrates how the same groups are responsible for disputes year after year—and how the outcomes ultimately make us stronger.

“This book has a great deal of information that can benefit both parties.” —Douglas Laycock, professor at the University of Virginia Law School Religious Literacy is being lauded, as is Book Review in the New York Times Editor’s Selection: “It’s thought-provoking and current.” — Book World of the Washington Post “Remarkable.

— From the Washington Monthly “It’s an enticing argument.” — DATE AND TIME God Is Not One has received the following praise: “It is very topical, insightful, and balanced.” — According to the Los Angeles Times “This is a must-read for 2010.” — According to The Daily Beast

Why conservatives start culture wars and liberals win them

On October 28, 1932, an anti-prohibition procession and rally took place in Newark, New Jersey. (AP) For a brief period of time, it was trendy to proclaim that America’s cultural wars had come to an end. In 2013, Roy Teixeira of the Center for American Progress wrote that “Culture Wars issues not only had a very low profile in the campaign, but, where conservatives did attempt to raise them, these issues did them little good.” “There will be diminishing incentives for politicians to take up these causes for the very simple reason that they are losers,” he added.

Among the most talked-about subjects in the presidential race are gun control, religious liberty, Black Lives Matter, and financing for Planned Parenthood, to name a few.

According to Reihan Salam of National Review, the debate over immigration has been appropriately described as a “war for the future of American national identity in the face of rapid and accelerating demographic change.” A historian, I am not confident that our cultural conflicts will come to a close in the near future.

  • As a society, we have lurched from one cultural war to another.
  • As a result, they look for another source of grievance — another “them” to hold responsible for what is happening to “us.” It is in this way that the cultural wars are continually resurrected from the ashes.
  • They tend to begin on the right, with conservatives who are concerned about the possibility of a cultural shift.
  • That is also likely to be how the newest round of our cultural warfare will come to a close.
  • The 1960s are usually the starting point for culture-war history.

“It was only in the 1960s that many people, notably conservatives, began to grasp the danger that their once great nation was facing.” However, the origins of America’s cultural wars can be traced back far further than what conservatives refer to as the “terrible 1960s.” However, although early Americans were united in their hatred of the British and their admiration for George Washington, they turned on one another as soon as Washington retired from public service in a series of disagreements about the propriety of the French Revolution and the meanings and ends of their new nation.

  • Many of the arguments against moral relativism that were launched in the 1960s were rehashed assaults on multiculturalism that were launched in the Roaring Twenties.
  • A vote for Catholic Democrat Al Smith, for example, was described as “a vote for the Antichrist.” Claims that President Obama is a covert Muslim are also not new in the political sphere.
  • These feelings of concern manifest themselves first as a complaint about one policy and then as a more general lament about how far the country has fallen from its original splendor and how urgently we need to recover whatever is vanishing.
  • In the nineteenth century, anti-Catholicism and anti-Mormonism were right-wing responses to Catholic immigration and Mormon migration, as well as to the moral, theological, social, and economic dangers that those groups offered to Protestant hegemony.
  • Conservatives are using the present culture wars to express their concerns about the erosion of the traditional family and the homogenization of society, which they see as a threat.
  • Conservatives frequently point the finger at liberals for the losses they are suffering as well as for endangering the health and welfare of the country.
  • Conservative worry, on the other hand, has nothing to do with liberal action in most cases.

Alternatively, a Supreme Court decision.

To be sure, culture wars are confrontations between conservatives and liberals over divergent cultural, moral, and religious beliefs.

Conservatives would have to construct liberals if they didn’t already exist, which is something they frequently do.

However, this history may be traced back to Protestants who viewed themselves as victims of Deism in 1800, Catholicism in the 1830s and 1840s, and Mormonism before and during the American Civil War, among other things.

Jefferson, a “infidel,” and John F.

The prohibition on alcohol has been lifted.

Gays and lesbians now have the right to marry.

Liberals, on the other hand, have gained control of the agenda in practically every arena in which the current cultural wars have been fought.

However, the most significant reason for their victory is that their opponents get obsessed with lost causes.

You might be interested:  What Did The Rise Of The Car Culture Lead To

They were most vehement in their opposition to same-sex marriage when attitudes toward homosexuals were shifting toward acceptance.

What can we learn from the cultural wars of the past about the conflicts of today?

Individual conflicts may go forever in the cultural wars cycle, but the cycle itself is not.

Conflicts give way to a unified front.

Same-sex marriage is reduced to the status of “just marriage.” Muslim culture is widely acknowledged as a component of our shared Abrahamic legacy.

Trump still has a chance to win the president.

It is true that culture warriors frequently win by losing because their message of redemption to the fallen and the lost generates passion on the campaign trail as well as votes on Election Day.

Twitter:@sprothero Continue reading this article from Outlook: E.J.


Carlos Lozada (Casey Lozada): Would you be willing to swap your political convictions for those that are diametrically opposed to yours?

Memo to Sanders and Clinton: Even insurgents require a strategy that involves insiders. There are five fallacies about Donald Trump that have been propagated by Donald Trump. Keep up with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars (Even When They Lose Elections)

According to Stephen Prothero’s Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars (Even When They Lose Elections), which was first published in January 2016, one gets the impression that: An attempt at timely historical comfort in the midst of what looked like it was shaping up to be an extraordinarily Manichaean election confrontation, The Battles That Define America from Jefferson’s Heresies to Gay Marriage was published in 2010.

If the forces of light and darkness (pick your side) in that election appeared to be particularly clearly defined, the title of this book implied that this had always been the case.

How America’s raucous, nasty, and mean “Culture Wars” are helping to make the country more inclusive brings the issue into sharper focus and more explicitly demonstrates the benefits that may come from heated public debate It doesn’t matter whether or not readers are willing to be consoled; the overall shape of Prothero’s argument is compelling, and his history of previous cultural wars will be beneficial to both general readers and specialists.

  • His argument that “conservatives,” whose defining characteristic for three centuries has been a sentimental attachment to vanished ways of life, real or imagined, has been continually defeated by more important forces of diversity and inclusion is supported by a substantial body of data.
  • (though it also introduced religion as a potent wedge issue in American politics).
  • After abandoning the practice of polygamy, Mormons went from being exotic misfits to being typical Americans in a short period of time.
  • Contemporary culture warriors from the 1960s to the present have failed to effect any serious rollback of liberalizing tendencies in school integration, secularization of the public realm, or sexual liberation, among other things.
  • And, perhaps most importantly, they nearly always work out in liberals’ favor in the end.
  • At the conclusion of each battle, a new, more inclusive consensus is established; ironically, the atavistic spasms of cultural conflict propel the country toward a more articulated expression of pluralistic belonging.
  • Newcomers enter, are eyed with distrust, and are gradually absorbed, therefore expanding the spectrum of acceptable ways of being “American,” as a result of their presence.
  • Disciples, Pentecostals, and many other groups have made their way in from the margins to become part of the mainstream.
  • Some disputes, particularly those fueled by racial prejudice, appear to follow Prothero’s predictable pattern of tolerance leading to equality less clearly than others.
  • However, it is evident that there are many people in this room who are unconcerned with the idea that Latinos should be relegated to a permanent underclass, with limited educational prospects, unequal participation in government, and a disproportionately high incidence of incarceration.
  • During Prothero’s culture wars, reactionary conservatism has crumbled like a soggy cardboard box, its moralizing nostalgia succumbing to the more serious facts of population shift and the resulting religious and cultural adaptations.

For the first time, one can imagine cultural divisions that are simply intractable, arising from our fundamental economic and political circumstances, and that are impervious to resolution by the steady and continuous operation of the American democratic-capitalistic machine today, more than ever before.

Is there a commitment to democratic “basic principles”?

What are the hard facts of globalization and neoliberal economics, exactly?

Nevertheless, the nature of those forces, their mode of operation, and the length of time they will continue to function are becoming the existential problems of liberal democracy.

The author, in an engaging, vibrant, and evocative book that is both accessible and provocative, takes readers right to the edge of those questions, equipping them with incisive skills for analyzing (if not surviving) the culture battles that are still to come.

Op-Ed: Why liberals win culture wars and conservatives win elections

Despite their differences, Republican malcontents — and presidential front-runners — Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio are all cultural warriors, ready to attack “them” in the sake of “us.” According to Cruz, who refers to his campaign as a “awakening” in the “body of Christ,” same-sex marriage is “an unceasing attack” on biblical matrimony and should be outlawed. Rubio is opposed to abortion, and he would not state publicly whether he would make an exception in circumstances of rape or incest.

  1. You may believe such hatred is a recent phenomena, first shown in Pat Buchanan’s 1992 Republican National Convention speech, in which he declared “a cultural battle” for “the spirit of America.” But such antipathy has been around for a long time.
  2. Conservatives are often the ones that initiate conflicts, while liberals are nearly always the ones who prevail.
  3. From the very foundation of the republic, Americans have been accusing one another as blasphemers and traitors, fake patriots and civic threats.
  4. However far this year’s campaign devolves into culture-war fury, the election of 1800, which matched Federalist John Adams against Democratic-Republican Thomas Jefferson, is likely to hold the record for most savage elections in the United States for the foreseeable future.

Alexander Hamilton, a proxy for Adams, spoke of rescuing America from the “fangs of Jefferson,” whereas Jefferson’s supporters spoke of rescuing the country from the “talons of Monarchists.” “Hidden hermaphroditical nature” Adams was assaulted, and Jefferson’s reputation was tarnished by suspicions of sexual immorality against his wife.

  • Hamilton referred to him as an atheist.
  • Federalist ministers believed that Jefferson’s heresies disqualified him from being president, and they claimed that a vote for this “clear adversary of the faith of Christ” would lead God to send down his vengeance on the United States.
  • In his inauguration address, he made a well-known attempt to bring his not-so-indivisible nation together.
  • In the nineteenth century, the targets were Catholics and Mormons, and the reasons used against them were similar to one another.
  • Each had its share of sexual deviants, who were pushed to the most heinous acts of immorality by the strictures of celibacy (in the case of Catholics) or polygamy (in the case of Mormons).
  • During the 1920s and 1930s, the debate over Prohibition and its repeal was never isolated to the “drys” and “wets” of the time period.
  • To put it another way, Prohibition pitted a mostly monocultural right, fearful of contemporary life’s blossoming, buzzing disarray, against a multicultural left, devoted to religious, dancing, clothing, and drinking freedoms against a largely monocultural right.

Conservatives are often the ones that initiate conflicts, while liberals are nearly always the ones who prevail.

However, conservatives in the United States have been both for and against all of these things at various periods.

Driven by this narrative of loss and restoration, culture warriors fight to restore the patriarchal family, Christian America, or the homogenous community that served as their upbringing.

Conservatives often lose these confrontations because the causes that they choose are doomed from the start, as conservatives have demonstrated.

They decided to pursue same-sex marriage at a time when many homosexuals and lesbians had already come out of the closet and were being accepted by their straight family, coworkers, and neighborhood.

Rather than being considered losers in the struggle against slavery, the Confederate dead were martyrs fighting for a just cause, according to this gospel.

Each setback serves as further proof that America is indeed on its way to hell and is in dire need of a protector.

There is no way that Mexicans will contribute to the construction of a border wall with the letters T-R-U-M-P inscribed on it.

Nonetheless, achieving victory on these issues is not precisely the goal of our contemporary culture warfare.

Investigating America’s myriad cultural battles may be sad and time-consuming.

Horace Kallen, a cultural pluralist who lived in the early twentieth century, argued in 1915 that it should be a “symphony of civilisation.” However, much too frequently, the symphony is harsh and out of tune.

Usually, confrontation results in some form of agreement.

It is no longer necessary to have “New York values” in order to accept Catholics or Mormons into the American family.

It is not entirely naive to believe that the current upheaval over our national identity would soon die away, leaving Muslims and Latinos as American as they possibly can be.

‘Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars (Even When They Lose Elections),’ says Stephen Prothero, a religion professor at Boston University and author of “Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars.” Follow the Opinion section on Twitter at @latimesopinion and on Facebook at latimesopinion.

Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars (Even When They Lose Elections) by Stephen Prothero

Throughout history, liberals have been successful in making the United States more inclusive, according to Stephen Prothero’s latest book. Vernon Doucette captured this image. All of you lefties are being kept in the dark. Stephen Prothero has a little secret to share with you: you’re on the winning team. No, I’m not kidding. With the Tea Party in control of the United States House of Representatives and Donald Trump and Ted Cruz leading the Republican presidential primary campaign, Prothero’s message may appear absurd.

You might be interested:  The Process Through Which New Members Learn The Culture Of An Organization Is Called

The best-selling author of works such as The Secret Garden and Religious Literacy: What Every American Should Know—and Doesn’t Know—about Religion As part of his new book, God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World—and Why Their Differences Matter, Prothero presented the premise of his new book in a January 29 Washington Postcolumn.

Jefferson, not Obama, was the first president to be accused of being a closet Muslim by his opponents, according to Prothero’s book.

BU Today:What do the “conservative” and “liberal” sides in the culture wars stand for?

Prothero: This is a difficult question to answer because these two phrases not only signify various things to different individuals, but they also take on changing meanings over time. Prior to the Equal Rights Amendment, Romneycare, and Common Core education standards, it was considered conservative to support them. All of those ideas are now considered heresy by conservatives. Conservatives, in my opinion, are not concerned with state’s rights, limited government, or free markets, since conservatives have been on both sides of those issues.

It is thus conservative in my opinion to bemoan the loss of Protestant consensus, or one’s childhood home, or one’s extended family, or even the good old 1950s.

On the other hand, liberalism is distinguished by its willingness to embrace new forms of culture and its commitment to engage ever-increasing numbers of people and organizations in the public life of the nation.

Centripetal conservatism characterizes cultural conservatism.

It establishes a common cultural core and then meticulously enforces the borders of that center. In this regard, President Donald Trump’s infamous “wall” to keep Mexican immigrants out of the United States is an excellent metaphor for cultural conservatism in general.

Can you briefly enumerate the liberal victories you cover in the book?

A History of Five Culture Wars tells the story of five cultural wars: anti-Jeffersonism during the election of 1800, anti-Catholicism in the early nineteenth century, anti-Mormonism before and after the Civil War, Prohibition in the 1920s & 1930s, and the contemporary culture wars, which range from abortion to gay marriage and beyond. Liberals were victorious in each of these instances. The election of 1800 was the first time we agreed that you did not have to be a Christian to be president. We came to the conclusion that Catholics and Mormons could be both our friends and our countrymen.

Conservatives have been defeated on nearly every front in the current cultural warfare, according to conservatives.

Wade, they were defeated on the issue of abortion.

They were unsuccessful in their attempt to defund the National Endowment for the Arts.

It could be said that conservatives won some of these: Catholics accepted only after they acceded to church-state separation, Mormons after they repudiated polygamy.

The cycle of the cultural wars that I depict in the book begins with a conservative assault, which is then countered by a liberal attack. The next stage is to engage in negotiations and reach a compromise. Most people associate culture wars with debates over non-negotiables such as absolute morality or biblical truth, and this is correct. However, when it comes to bringing these cultural disputes to a close, there is usually some form of horse trade involved. As conservative successes, I guess you might interpret the Catholic Church’s readiness to accept church-state separation or the Mormon Church’s desire to abandon polygamy as signs of progress.

The $64,000 question: why do liberals win so often?

The fact that the Bill of Rights is on their side contributes to this. In addition, demographics have a role in this. The hatred of Catholics makes little sense when they account for a quarter of the population, as they currently do. However, the primary reason liberals often prevail is that conservatives continue to fight for principles that are no longer viable. They do so, I suppose, because lost causes are so effective at conjuring up sentiments of fear and worry about a world on the verge of collapsing around them.

Isn’t it ironic that you attribute liberal victories in part to having the “force of American traditions on their side,” since conservatives claim to be upholding tradition?

Tradition, on the other hand, is a changeable concept. To be honest, both sides have a strong sense of tradition on their side. Both can cite specific religious, political, or constitutional traditions in support of their own points of view. However, as time goes on, we have come to see our traditions in a more inclusive light.

The culture wars are mostly about who is and is not a genuine American, and as time goes on, the range of people who fall into that category of “us” gets larger and broader (though not without much pain and even bloodshed).

Why do liberals not know they’re winning the culture wars?

Because that point of view is consistent with their narrative. Part of what is going on here is that both sides want to represent themselves as being under siege—as victims of circumstance. For one thing, many of my liberal friends in Massachusetts have told me that they believe the country is being taken over by religious extremists—whether it’s by a president who prays before making decisions about wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, or by an unnamed Republican presidential candidate who finishes third in Iowa and then thanks “an almighty and all-powerful God” for his bronze medal.

It’s not that there aren’t a lot of religious people who wish to use their interpretations of the Bible to make public policy decisions.

Those individuals, on the other hand, nearly never win.

Wade remains the supreme court decision.

I’m guessing “culture wars” has a pejorative meaning for many Americans in our polarized politics, but are they a sign of healthy, permissible debate in a democracy?

The cultural wars, or at least the caustic portion of them that has us exiling one other from the family of America and branding each other as enemies of the nation and of the divine, would most likely be gone if I had a magic wand at my disposal. However, in any functioning democracy, there will be a dispute. Moreover, in a republic like ours, where so many people are strongly religious in a variety of ways, we must expect that our debates will get hot. In contrast to Limbaugh and Maher, I would rather that we look to Washington (who warned against “mischiefs of the spirit of party”) and Lincoln (who, even during the Civil War, referred to Southerners as “friends” rather than “enemy”) for inspiration rather than Rush Limbaugh and Bill Maher.

Explore Related Topics:

Published on October 6, 2016 at 11 a.m. MD time. When the argument over the so-called Ground Zero Mosque erupted a few years ago, religion expert Stephen Prothero stood by and pondered what all the commotion was about. Looking for parallels between today’s cultural conflicts and those that have occurred in the past, he began investigating analogous conflicts throughout America’s history, and he came to a controversial conclusion. Conservatives, according to Prothero, virtually always initiate the cultural wars, and liberals, on the other hand, almost always come out on top.

Thursday, October 6, Stephen Prothero will be at the Salt Lake Public Library to discuss and autograph copies of his new book, Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars, which will be released on October 6.

For more information, visit their website.

Some of his writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Slate and Salon magazines, among other places.

He is the author of a number of works. His most recent book is titled Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars and was released in September (Even When They Lose Elections).

Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars (Even When They Lose Elections) Free Summary by Stephen Prothero

“Culture wars” have existed almost as long as the United States of America. The contentious election of 1800, in which Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republicans were on the left and John Adams’s Federalists were on the right, was merely the beginning of the nation’s political history. Conservatives and liberals in the United States fought over religious discrimination and alcohol in the years that followed, long before the current culture battles over abortion, civil rights, feminism, and homosexuality.

Trivia enthusiasts may notice a couple of minor errors.

He expresses a strong historical point of view and does not allow current political correctness to dilute his accounts of historical wars and battles.

About the Author

Stephen Prothero, a professor at Boston University, is the author of the books God Is Not One and Religious Literacy. Unfortunately, due to the terms of our agreement with the publisher of this book, we are unable to offer the summary to you in your country. The fact that we have been granted further regional distribution rights is noteworthy, and we want to do so in the future. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience. Please feel free to download any additional titles you may be interested in.

Stephen Prothero on Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars

Dr. Stephen Prothero is also the author of God Is Not One and Religious Literacy, both of which are available on Amazon. The summary of this book is not available in your country due to a contractual obligation we have with the publisher of the book. Considering how uncommon this is, we expect to be granted other regional distribution rights in the future, as well. The issue has been noted, and we apologize for any confusion. Other titles are also available for download if desired.

You might be interested:  How To Build Company Culture

In the end, liberals win the culture wars

Social development comes as a result of liberal-minded reformers overcoming conservative opposition. Slavery was abolished, women were granted the right to vote, couples were granted the right to use birth control, and Social Security pensions were made available to retirees; blacks were able to overcome Jim Crow segregation; Sabbath “blue laws” were repealed; censorship of movies and books was lifted; gays were granted the right to marry; and numerous other humane advancements were made. “It’s the way the world works,” says the author.

The tide seemed to be unstoppable.

He stated that the general public is more humane than the conservatives who now control the government’s rhetoric.

“Republicans have raised the most fundamental moral dilemma that every society can face: whether or not we’re all in this together,” Reich wrote.

He claims that conservatives frequently perceive society around them as moving away from their cherished privileges and prejudices — for example, they feel “anxiety about the demise of the patriarchal family, Anglo-American dominance, or ‘Christian America.'” He also claims that conservatives are more likely to be religious than liberals.

“”Conservatives have fired the initial shots in our cultural wars practically in every instance since the formation of the republic,” he says.

The victory of the liberals becomes part of the new status quo, and slowly slips from our collective consciousness.

As a result, their triumphs no longer have the appearance of being ‘liberal.’ They are just a part of what it means to be a citizen of the United States.” Prothero examines five religious, racial, and moral confrontations taking place in the United States.

The conflict centered on whether or not America was a democracy “a Christian-majority country “The elections of 1796 and 1800 “were transformed into a cosmic conflict between God and the devil, and America’s first cultural war had begun,” according to the New York Times “Prothero is an author.

  • In the end, Jefferson was victorious, and America grew more accepting of persons who were outside the mainstream.
  • In 1844, religious tensions between Catholics and Protestants erupted in a cannon war on the streets of Philadelphia, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people.
  • Gradually, anti-Catholic sentiment began to wane.
  • Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, was assassinated by a mob in Illinois in 1844.

In addition, “Mormon leaders would be sued, imprisoned, assaulted, stripped nude, tarred and feathered, and slain,” according to Prothero’s writing. However, this trend, like hatred towards Catholics, finally died away.

Spend your days with Hayes

Sign up for our Stephinitely newsletter, which is completely free. The weekly columnist Stephanie Hayes will share her views, opinions, and amusing stories with you on Monday mornings. The fourth most often mentioned cultural war occurred in the 1920s, when evangelists and fundamentalists were successful in prohibiting alcoholic beverages. Alarms were raised about flappers, jazz, race mixing, smoking, Sunday golf, and even evolution, as seen by the “Scopes Monkey Trial,” which brought the issue to light.

  • Last but not least, the contemporary cultural war emerged as a reaction to the turbulent 1960s, during which young Americans unleashed the sexual revolution and war-denouncing counterculture.
  • Conservatives “felt that American culture was moving away from them,” according to Prothero.
  • ‘Segregation academies’ for white students only were established so that conservative households could avoid attending mixed-race schools.
  • Liberals, on the other hand, gained ground gradually and step by step.
  • Young people in the United States support the legalization of marijuana as well as same-sex marriage.

Do Liberals Always Win?

For over a decade, I’ve advised the church to prepare for a future in which same-sex marriage is both a legal and cultural reality in the United States of America. For the majority of that period, folks on my side were unwavering in their criticism of me. An opponent of the biblical concept of marriage would frequently advise me not to say such things in public while I was arguing my case for the definition. In most cases, my discussion partner agreed with me when I pointed out cultural and legal tendencies and where they were driving the topic.

If the truth is revealed, it might lead to a sense of “inevitability,” which would be detrimental to “our side.” In most cases, I’d shrug and say that I was interested in preparing the church in order to ensure that we didn’t wind up with another Roe v.

If this resulted in a “aura of inevitability,” that’s OK with me.

If we are serious about preserving gospel testimony in the face of cultural shifts, we must consider—and prepare people for—the potential that we will lose our witness altogether.

In his latest book, Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars (Even When They Lose Elections): The Battles That Define America from Jefferson’s Heresies to Gay Marriage, Boston University religion historian Stephen Prothero takes on the topic of why liberals win the culture wars even when they lose elections.

Worthy Read

Prothero’s work establishes the validity of four hypotheses:

  1. What we now refer to as “culture wars” have a long history in America, dating back to divisions between the parties of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson during the American Revolution. In every instance in American history, conservatives have sparked culture wars out of a desire to protect what they perceive to be a diminishing piece of the past and a desire to punish those who, in their opinion, are diminishing it politically and culturally. Throughout history, conservatives have eventually lost every single cultural war they’ve fought, from Mormonism to Roman Catholicism to Prohibition to the Moral Majority
  2. Conservatives have also lost every single election they’ve won. The explanation for these setbacks is straightforward: The culture and history of the United States tend to be more inclusive.

Because of a number of factors, Why Liberals Win the Culture Warsis an excellent book for evangelical Christians to read. Prothero is a diligent scholar who is well-versed in the history of the United States and who understands how to write in a provocative manner. His bookAmerican Jesus, published some years ago, demonstrates this ability by highlighting the various ways Christ has been regarded (and exploited) throughout our nation’s history. It is generally interesting to listen to Prothero’s historical arguments, which indicate that culture wars are rarely as abrupt as they look (even to some of the fighters), but are frequently founded in disagreements that occurred in the previous generation.

Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars (Even When They Lose Elections): The Battles That Define America from Jefferson’s Heresies to Gay Marriage

336 pages, published by HarperOne. 336 pages, published by HarperOne.

Winners and Losers?

Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars, on the other hand, falters because it defines “winning” exclusively in liberal terms. Conservatism is, by definition, anti-utopian, and as a result, it should never be characterized in terms of “ultimate wins,” as some have suggested. With a healthy cynicism against advancement just for the sake of progress, conservatism’s mission is to conserve the best of the past while still looking forward to the future. Consider Edmund Burke’s views on the French Revolution or the National Review’s inauguration commitment to “stand at the crossroads of history, crying, ‘Stop!'” Consequently, cultural conservatism will never be able to compare its “benefits” to those of progressive, because so much of these gains will be based on slowing the rate at which negative things occur.

  • Although the existence of a pro-life movement 40 years after the abortion rights movement deemed the matter “solved,” it is a significant success.
  • Of course, this is true in some respects—in both positive and negative ones.
  • No.
  • That is a matter of discussion.
  • Following a brief period of “liberal” victory on the death penalty in the 1970s, support for capital punishment flared back into popularity on both sides of the Red/Blue partisan split.

Bill Clinton, on the other hand, abandoned the campaign road four years later to carry out the execution of a mentally challenged man. Today, death penalty appears to be on shakier ground in terms of public support, but a crime wave or a terrorist incident might alter the tide once more.

Test Cases

He falls into the trap of interpreting American history anachronistically, typically grouping conflicts into “conservatives” and “liberals” in ways that are far from undisputed, despite his historical long view. Is anti-Catholicism a culturally “conservative” movement in American history? Numerous anti-Catholics, from the nativists of the Know Nothing Party to the Klan and other extremists, belonged to the right-wing political establishment. However, many of the anti-Catholic arguments were what any honest broker would refer to as “progressive” in nature—ranging from advocates of the public school system (and the concept of its near-monopoly on education) to rigid separationists on issues of church and state.

Were the discussions about polygamy in the nineteenth century a question of conservatism or liberalism?

If you consider polygamy to be an issue of sexual freedom or female oppression, whether you consider multiple marriage to be a part of the free practice of religious freedom more essential than subscribing to broadly Protestant ideals of the civil order will depend on your perspective on polygamy.


This technique may be seen in action during a performance of The Book of Mormon on Broadway.

The repeal of Prohibition was not the consequence of a willingness to accept “new forms” or to include everyone, but rather because alcohol had a long and illustrious history in America that could not be socially engineered out of existence as had been hoped.

If “liberalism” is synonymous with any type of historical growth, and if the “winning side” is thus always “liberal,” then, yes, of course, liberals are always on the winning side.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *