There’s a big difference between virtue signaling on things you don’t really stand for and having a plan. People who do the former, (and you can’t go wrong by citing Senator Lindsey Graham on virtually any issue) overreact and then backtrack because they’re trying to appeal to voters on issues they don’t have a gut feeling for.
Having a plan, and the Left tends to have plans, means picking your battles, defeating the enemy and then claiming the spoils.
The Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision was an important legal victory, it wasn’t a political victory. It didn’t happen because the public changed sides, but because conservatives had made their own long march through the judiciary.
The enemy had been defeated legally, but not politically or culturally.
The smart thing to do at this point would have been for states to test the waters by banning late-term abortion and other politically unpopular forms of abortion, and then let the Left vent its fury, and have the national public debate on those terms.
Instead, Republicans have gone for six-week abortion bans and abortion pill bans that are, whatever the case on the moral and legal merits may be, politically unpopular. They’ve given the Left the battle on the terms it wanted to fight it. And the long-term implications may very well lead to a comprehensive defeat for the pro-life cause and a victory for abortion.
The tactical overreach came from politicians who were virtue signaling and also from passionate pro-life activists whose sense of conviction overruled any kind of strategy. And I can sympathize. We’ve all spent decades watching conservatives retreat from one battle after another, counseling “strategic patience”.
But that wasn’t the scenario here. The pro-life side had won a legal victory, but it needed to win the public debate. The best way to do that was not to advance to the least popular position possible.
I know we’re now in a political culture where some think that the best way to fight the Left is to imitate it, adopt the farthest possible position to open the Overton Window, and assume that the public will go along. That works a whole lot better when you control the media, corporations, public discourse and the entertainment industry.
It also works a whole lot better on issues that people don’t care as much about.
Passing late-term abortion bans and forcing the media and the Left to defend that would have been the smart strategy. Debating abortion pills is not. Democrats would have almost inevitably tried to move the battle to that terrain anyway, but Republicans didn’t have to make it so absurdly easy for them.
Pro-life activists are right to be suspicious of a cowardly and unprincipled political class, but going too big has given that class every excuse it needed to retreat and hold up shiny new objects. We’ve seen this play out before on numerous other issues.
Dobbs was not a sea change in American life. It was a legal sea change. At the moment we’re a country that is rapidly losing its religion, patriotism and even sense of family. Turning the tide is a cultural battle and the abortion debate has to be seen in that light. A strategic battle on abortion could have provided cultural victories, instead a lack of strategy has allowed the Left to claim those cultural victories while conservatives retreat to the bastion of the law. If the last few generations have shown us anything, it’s that the law is not a defense against a culture war.
Algorithmic Analyst says
Yeah, the leftist women are fanatical on this issue. I don’t dare say a word to them about it or be condemned for life.
“the Left to have plans”
Better say, the Left tends to have coherent political values.
As opposed to, say, this article here, which delineates what other people got wrong, but (very deliberately) never expresses a clear view on abortion.
Ugly Sid says
Coherent political values.
Daniel Greenfield says
Yes. Coherent political values like “we are feminists who deny the existence of women” and “we are class warriors led by the 1 percent”.
Young people in the university are thoroughly brainwashed into thinking that marriage is an oppressive institution and that the very worst mistake men and women can make is to have children together. Kids who go to college with decent critical thinking skills are rendered incapable of rational thought and mindlessly repeat slogans and obvious lies and only turn up the volume or cease communication when presented with evidence, logic and fact. I never would have believed this level of programming possible if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.
its very emotional programming too. Its anxious, Its fear based and hate based. Whoever planned this is masterful and evil.
Deprogramming could work but who could do it and it is needed en mass.
THX 1138 says
“At the moment we’re a country that is rapidly losing its religion…”
Which religion? Judaism or Christianity? Judaism rejects the whole of the New Testament, Judaism and Christianity, when taken seriously in their totality are incompatible and opposed. Then there is Islam, that religion is growing in power as we speak.
The monotheistic religions, when practiced seriously in their totality, necessarily lead to the tyranny of theocracy. Religion is on the Left of the political spectrum because theocracy is a form of collectivist tyranny.
Maybe you mean we’re a country rapidly losing its morality? But what is a rational morality that leads to individualism, freedom, liberty, capitalism, and the personal, individual, pursuit of happiness on earth? Does one need to be a Christian or a Jew to be a good and moral person?
Can we not derive a rational and objective moral code of moral principles by observing and accepting the facts of reality? Do we want to be governed by religious law or objective law?
Is a fertilized egg or an embryo with no brain or nervous system, no organs, really an actual individual human being with rights? If so we better close down fertility clinics.
THX 1138 says
“I don’t agree with Greene that America is a Christian nation. I don’t believe America is a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, an atheist nation — or an anti-Christian nation, either. America was supposed to be a free country [of objective law not religious commandments]; that’s all. Yet I don’t think she disagrees. I think people like her are simply trying to say that Christianity matters to them. It’s on the verge of being outlawed in America, along with just about everything else leftists dislike or loathe [including Objectivism].” – Objectivist Michael J. Hurd
Ugly Sid says
Is it your understanding that Islam is a spiritual religion?
THX 1138 says
Please define what you mean by “spiritual”?
It is my understanding that the objective and essential definition of the concept of monotheistic religion is a type of philosophy, actually a precursor to philosophy, based on faith in a supernatural creator beyond the rational understanding of man’s mind who ultimately controls his destiny and the destiny of the universe and of all that exists. An all-powerful, omniscient, transcendent, entity that demands and requires man’s worship and obedience.
In metaphysics religion claims a supernatural dimension beyond the perception and rational understanding of man capable of violating the natural Laws of Identity and Causality (supernatural miracles). In epistemology it claims that faith and revelation are legitimate means of knowledge. And as a consequence of these two philosophical primaries in ethics religion demands altruistic self-sacrifice and obedience to this supernatural authority. As a consequence of the ethics of altruistic self-sacrifice monotheistic religion leads to the tyranny of theocracy.
It is not the specific content of a religion that makes a religion a religion, but a belief in the supernatural, a belief in faith as a means of knowledge, and that man must obey this supernatural authority beyond his reasoning mind to understand. That is why religion is always weaponized for the tyranny of non-objective law and theocracy.
Ugly Sid says
So the purging of two thirds of Christendom is okay with you?
THX 1138 says
You are disregarding what I’m actually saying and replying with leading questions. You have made up your mind about me and are simply looking to confirm your prejudice.
“a leading question is a question that suggests a particular answer and contains information the examiner is looking to have confirmed.”
Ugly Sid says
Describe the phenomenon of Islam please.
Is it a spiritual religion, or a geopolitical ambition responsible for the deaths [ accurately described as murders ] of hundreds of millions over fourteen centuries?
The Dobbs ruling cost us Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Kansas, and other crucial swing states this past midterm.
We need better messaging on the subject. And conservatives need to get involved with pop culture as well.
I’m of the belief that pop culture and politics should not be divorced from one another, and that conservatives vacating pop culture in the 60s led to a decline in the other. It’s not a coincidence that once the Right abandoned Hollywood in the 60s that it’s been a long March through the institutions for the left ever since.
Hence why I’ve been encouraging the Right to get involved with the only brand of pop culture that has not been subverted by the far left…yet – and that is Japanese pop culture. Basically stuff like anime, manga, Japanese cinema, and video games. Those mediums have become very popular in America, and it makes them very vulnerable to the left, hence why some localization studios like anime distributor Funimation/Crunchyroll and Nintendo of America have been infiltrated by the left, and I’m surprised that conservatives didn’t pick up on it. Because this is very important. We MUST get involved with Japanese pop culture if we want to stand a chance here at taking back our own pop culture and culture in general.
Good article. Also, just FYI:
>The tactical overreach came from politicians who were virtue signaling and also from passionate pro-life activists whose sense of conviction overruled any kind of strategy.
Sounds a lot like judicial reform in Israel.
Russ P. says
On fourth and one, it is usually wiser to punt than to go for it.