Huckabee: no truce in the culture wars

Mike Huckabee thinks that what the country needs is more social division and anger over sexual morality. He has a right to his opinion.

But as it is written, “Whoso maketh trouble in his own house shall inherit the wind, and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

10 thoughts on “Huckabee: no truce in the culture wars”

  1. He's found a reliable wedge issue to rile up his base and get them to the polls. I must admit that I'm having a harder time finding positive reasons to vote for another Obama term. Yes, he's probably better than the Republican alternative by some degree, but it sure would be nice to have someone to actually support.

  2. The Republican party has two factions, the fiscal conservatives, and the social conservatives. (A first approximation, of course, it's more complicated than that; For instance, there's the faction of 'office holders', who are typically neither.) The former are perpetually suggesting that the latter work to elect the former without getting anything in return.

    Now, the desire to get something for nothing is perfectly natural. So is the desire to tell somebody asking for it to go to Hell. In any event, and entirely apart from what you think the merits of the factions might be, that's not how a coalition works, and Huckabee is perfectly correct to refuse to play along.

  3. What's the rationale, as opposed to the soundbite, for Huckabee calling for "strong conservatives who are fighting for life, traditional marriage, lower taxes, lower spending, secure borders and a strong national defense"? Where has Obama or any Democrat (leaving aside the kites flown by his Republican Secretary of Defense) questioned the Pentagon's bloated budget, still equally shared between the Army, the USAF and the Navy? The first of which has wars of choice to fight, though they don't call for armoured divisions, while the latter two are at peace but stay many times as strong as all their potential adversaries combined.

  4. Brett: where are these alleged Republican fiscal conservatives, outside Cato?

    To quote Matt Yglesias: "When conservative politicians in Germany say smaller deficits is the right solution to today’s economic problems, I think they’re mistaken. But I also think that when they say “smaller deficits” they have in mind policies that reduce the deficit. The American right’s idea is that you get into office and then you enact large, permanent tax cuts. No matter what."

  5. Hmm. It's also written "God hath delivered thine enemy into thine hand this day: now therefore let me smite him" and "stay you not, but pursue after your enemies, and smite the hindmost of them; suffer them not to enter into their cities: for the LORD your God has delivered them into your hand.", and countless variants thereof.

    I really don't think "as it is written" is a very helpful guide to behavior. We're supposed to be the rational coherent side, not the side that's ALSO cherry picking phrases from the past to feed our madmen in authority.

  6. Maynard, once you think you're "the rational, coherent side", you've pretty much guaranteed that you're not. Not that the other side is, either…

  7. Does Huckabee see Daniels as a possible rival in 2012?

    Daniels does have a cool temperament, but I’m not sure he’s calling for a reduction in aggregate effective rage. Rightwing anger is fungible enough that a cooler approach on, say, abortion may just free up more distemper for other things.

    There are analogies to this dispute on the left, in a way that bears on a tacit theme here: the conflict between the outlook of constituencies that see the issues they most care about in absolute terms &, on the other hand, the way leaders typically have to balance among competing values. There's a lot of this in liberal disillusionment w/ Obama. For the constituents, the leader’s actions may look casuistic or indifferent to right & wrong (& it’s true there are bad leaders), but there’s also a real difference in moral outlook. Huckabee’s moralism relieves him of the burden of scrutinizing too carefully the consequences of pursuing culture war now. People in positions of responsibility may find this kind of outlook an inadequate guide to action, given the kinds of problems they’re set. On this view, it may not simply be politically inopportune to pursue the culture war, but bad. Outlooks that don’t grapple carefully enough w/ the consequences of what they require tend to confuse one particular kind of moralism for morality as such. In a perverse way, they can encourage amoralism in statecraft.

  8. Brett Bellmore says:

    "James: Not in office, that’s for sure."

    IOW, the 'fiscal conservative' faction of the GOP doesn't exist, for any practical concerns of actual governing.

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