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WSJ on personal responsibility as a GOP culture war issue

  |   By Polling+ Staff

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Personal responsibility?

What’s that?

Over there in The Wall Street Journal, columnist Dan Henninger has posed the question this way: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-democrats-have-demoted-personal-responsibility-decriminalization-shoplifting-border-economy-ac746a71?mod=opinion_featst_pos1

The Democrats Have Demoted Personal Responsibility

Republican presidential candidates should not stop talking about the culture.

Henninger posits the problem this way:

“There is a school of thought in Republican circles that the culture wars, or “wokeness,” is a losing proposition for the party’s presidential candidates. They should stick instead to Joe Biden’s most poll-evident liabilities—the economy and personal competence.

The argument against elevating the culture wars comes down to two issues—abortion and gender ideology. The party’s voter problems with settling on broadly acceptable abortion limitations are evident. Gender ideology, such as the DeSantis-Disney dispute, is considered too hot button, though the rise of the so-called parents-rights movement over gender-preference notification—in Virginia, New Jersey, North Carolina and California—looks like a problem for Democrats. 

I think it would be a mistake for Republican candidates to stop talking about the culture. Suddenly, the Democratic Party appears vulnerable on what is, or used to be, one of the fundamentals of American life—personal responsibility.”

Henninger has hit the nail on the head.

Illustrating his point perfectly is California’s Governor Gavin Newsom. Newsom has just signed into law legislation that the California Family Council describes as follows: https://www.californiafamily.org/2022/09/gov-newsom-signs-bill-to-strip-children-from-parents-to-medically-transgender-them/

The law is “empowering state courts to remove out-of-state children from their parent’s custody if those children come to California because they can’t get sterilizing transgender drugs and mutilating surgeries in their home states or because their parents object to these experimental treatments for gender dysphoria.”

Which is to say, the personal responsibility of a parent for a child is replaced by the state government of California.

It is safe to say that this increasing problem of losing personal responsibility, whether to the government or any other non-parental authority, is not going to go away. And Henninger is right to flag the issue.