The Two Culture Wars

David French at National Review writes:

…the United States is in the grips of two simultaneous culture wars: a war over our national vision and a war over our national values. The war over our national vision is the classic culture war that most Americans understand — Will America be pro-life or pro-choice? Will it embrace the free market or move closer to socialism? Will it uphold or suppress gun rights? Will it defend religious liberty and free speech? The battle over values asks how you fight for these outcomes — Will you lie? Will you embrace or discard norms and defend or attack institutions depending mainly on the political needs of the moment? Will you apply double standards of law and manners that benefit friends and punish enemies?

America is built to survive indefinite conflict over differing visions. Our founders knew that Americans would persistently and constantly disagree. So they both protected the means of expressing that disagreement (through the First Amendment) and included multiple mechanisms for implementing legal and structural change. Discarding core civic values, by contrast, is a real threat to the nation. Even robust republics are strained by constant application of “principles” like “free speech for me, but not for thee” or “by any means necessary.”

Read the rest here.