9.11.04

THE TECHNOCRATIC VISION, REDUX. Fie on them all, says Reason's Jesse Walker:
But whatever actually caused their defeat, a lot of Democrats are blaming the Christian right. Some of them have shifted into condescension mode, trying to figure out how to repackage liberal ideas in language that will appeal to values voters. Others have gone into a full-blown panic about those evangelicals in the fever swamps and their crusade to take away our freedoms. This was boosted by the success of initiatives in eleven different states to ban gay marriage.

For the record, I wasn't happy to see those measures pass -- especially since some of them could restrict private, contractual domestic partnerships as well. But those panicky Democrats should calm down -- and then take a look in the mirror. I hate the Red America/Blue America cliché, this idea that the country can be painted in just two colors. But if I had to speak in terms of that map, I'd say the most successful culture warriors come from the blue states. The authoritarian conservative wants to maintain the old taboos. The authoritarian liberal wants to introduce some new ones, and he's had a lot more success. The religious right may despise homosexuality and pornography, but the gay movement is thriving, despite last week's losses, and porn is more freely available than ever before.

The liberal puritans, by contrast, are riding high in the media and in the courts. For many Americans, the Democrats are the party that hates their guns, cigarettes, and fatty foods (which is worse: to rename a french fry or to take it away?); that wants to impose low speed limits on near-abandoned highways; that wants to tell local schools what they can or can't teach. There is no party of tolerance in Washington -- just a party that wages its crusades in the name of Christ and a party that wages its crusades in the name of Four Out Of Five Experts Agree. Sometimes they manage to work together.

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