We didn’t start the fire

Although he doesn’t mention today’s ruling in Proposition 8, Jonah Goldberg’s well-timed column helpfully reminds us who’s behind the culture wars:

If you’re not with us, you’re against us. President Bush popularized this expression after 9/11 to describe his foreign policy doctrine: Countries couldn’t support or indulge terrorists and be our friends at the same time. But his detractors quickly turned it into a fairly paranoid vision of domestic political life, as if Bush had been talking about domestic opponents and dissenters.

The irony is that few worldviews better describe the general liberal orientation to public policy and the culture war. The left often complains about the culture war as if it’s a war they don’t want to fight. They insist they just want to follow “sound science” or “what works” when it comes to public policy, but those crazy knuckle-dragging right-wingers constantly want to talk about gays and abortion and other hot-button issues.

It’s all a farce. Liberals are the aggressors in the culture war (and not always for the worse, as the civil rights movement demonstrates). What they object to isn’t so much the government imposing its values on people — heck, they love that. They see nothing wrong with imposing their views about diet, exercise, sex, race and the environment on Americans. What outrages them is resistance, or even non-compliance with their agenda. “Why are you making such a scene?” progressives complain. “Just do what we want and there will be no fuss.”

Considering today’s decision, it’s amazing that it was just 12 years ago when Vermont was the first state to grant civil unions. I seem to recall the argument back then was that civil unions were a reasonable accommodation and that same-sex marriage wasn’t necessary. That didn’t last long of course, but in that short time you are now a “bigot” to not allow a handful of judges to redefine the institution of marriage. While the mere suggestion of a constitutional amendment is dismissed as reckless tampering, new “rights” are miraculously discovered in a document centuries old.