When Victory Doesn't Feel Like It

Speaking with a friend just a few minutes ago, he said to me:

"I'm glad we won. But it doesn't feel like we won."

He was reacting to the explosion of commentary and outrage on Twitter yesterday following the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood. Indeed, I have been on Twitter for some time now, and I must say that the level of absurdity, ignorance, and hysteria on display yesterday was maybe the worst I've ever seen. That includes the reelection of Barack Obama, and any other number of world-shaking events.

Legions of those taking to their social media accounts clearly had no earthly idea what they were talking about, but did not let that deter them from spittle-flecked rage about religious zealots "denying" women contraception and "cramming their religion down people's throats."

As I say, it was a breathtaking display of ignorance all around.

Why doesn't the victory feel like a "victory"? Because politics and legalities are not the real issues in our society. Oh, they're important. Laws, statutes, court decisions, these are crucial for a lawful social order. But the deep disagreements about them are actually symptomatic of a deeper, underlying unrest in our civilization. 

It doesn't feel like a victory because the ruling does nothing to change the underlying cultural clash. Yes, Hobby Lobby is free to conduct their business according to their conscience, but that does nothing to win over the spittle-flecked masses who want religious bigots tarred, feathered, and run out of public society. Indeed, it does nothing to even temper the outrage; it stokes it to even hotter temperatures.

You can win legislative battles here and there. You can win court cases here and there. But if you fail to engage and win the culture all your "victories" will be Pyrrhic, sowing the seeds of resentment that will ultimately lead to your demise.

This is why, in my estimation, Libertarianism is the stuff of a Lewis Carroll fantasy. The idea that we can sidestep, ignore, or abandon the "culture wars" or "social issues" and end up with anything like a free society is like thinking that you can solve a termite infestation by rearranging your furniture.

As long as sitcoms and Comedy Central remain the number one shaper of cultural values for the millennial generation, victory--however welcome and temporarily gratifying--will never feel like victory. It has no long-term sustainability.

So, hey, why not go over to Dead Reckoning and make a donation?

Brian Mattson