Ben Shapiro
2013 was a year of revelations, a year of possible turning points. For nearly two decades, since Ronald Reagan left office, America moved steadily in the direction of the left, both culturally and politically. When the Soviet Union fell, optimistic scholars believed the world had shifted inexorably in the direction of free markets and liberal democracy. Instead, the West gradually embraced bigger government and weaker social bonds, creating a fragmented society in which the only thing we all belong to, as President Barack Obama puts it, is the state.

All battles for the soul begin with culture. And while the battle against Obama's unprecedented growth of government started with the tea party victories of 2010, the cultural battle against the left didn't truly take until 2013. The seeds were planted for this cultural battle in earnest in 2012, when Obama and his Democratic Party allies put race, sexual orientation and abortion at the core of his reelection campaign. Americans were told by the media that Obama's competence mattered less than the fact that half the country was mean, nasty, racist and homophobic. Todd Akin's absurd comments on conception via rape were the issue, Americans were told, not the imminent takeover of the health care system; Obama's sudden support for same-sex marriage was the issue, not his devastating regulatory state; George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin were the issue, not the destruction of entire swaths of the United States via leftist governance.

And it worked. Conservative Americans, bludgeoned into silence on cultural battles, decided to focus entirely on Obama's economic buffoonery. Unsurprisingly, it didn't work; culture, as my friend Andrew Breitbart was fond of stating, is upstream of politics.

2013 marked a turning point. From Chick-fil-A to "Duck Dynasty," conservative religious Americans found their footing: Whether you are for or against same-sex marriage, it is plainly un-American to override someone's religious beliefs in the name of your politics. Conservative Americans seemed to realize, for the first time in a long time, that the battle over same-sex marriage came wrapped in a larger battle over religious freedom. And they fought back, and won.


Ben Shapiro

Ben Shapiro is an attorney, a writer and a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center. He is editor-at-large of Breitbart and author of the best-selling book "Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV."
 
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