Fred Hutchison
November 11, 2004
Harbingers of a new era
By Fred Hutchison

Four times in the last forty years there was a sense of being on the threshold of a new era. Four memorable years, 1968, 1989, 2001, and 2004 stand out as threshold years. 1968 was a year of social upheaval which presaged the sexual revolution of the seventies. 1989 was the year of the fall of the Berlin Wall. 2001 had the fall of the twin towers in New York. 2004 had a watershed election.

The Culture War Threshold Year

The sexual revolution of the seventies was the beginning of the Culture War. For thirty years the forces of moral rebellion and decadence have been generally victorious. But during the election of November 2, 2004 the voters of eleven states decisively approved amendments to their State Constitutions to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. None of the votes were close. The state victory margins ranged from 60% vs 40% to more than 70% vs 30% in favor of Marriage Amendments. This sweep was a bracing victory for the Universal Moral Law and a humiliating defeat for the wicked agendas of rebellion against that law. It was a bitter defeat for the gay agenda and the Liberals who support that agenda. It is a signal to Evangelicals and Conservative Catholics that they can actually win this culture war.

The fall of Vicksburg is a metaphor for the election victories of 2004. The Civil War started when the rebels fired on Fort Sumpter on April 12, 1861. President Lincoln had a large map in his office and he put his finger on Vicksburg, Mississippi, and proclaimed it to be the strategic key to union victory. To take Vicksburg is to control the Mississippi River, cut the Confederacy in two and deprive the south of the supplies from river traffic on the Mississippi and rail supply lines running from Vicksburg to Atlanta. On the Fourth of July, 1883 General Grant took Vicksburg. By some marvel of synchronicity, Gettysburg was fought on July 1-3, 1883. Pickett's Charge on July 3rd is often called "The High Watermark of the Confederacy." At this point the Union army knew it could win. Before Gettysburg and Vicksburg, the rebels were generally victorious. The two strategic victories of April 1883 made possible the reelection of Abraham Lincoln the next year. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, on April 9, 1865, only three days short of the fourth anniversary of the siege of Fort Sumpter. Vicksburg and Gettysburg came near the halfway mark of the four year war. After a string of failed ideas for taking Vicksburg, Grant seems to have thought of the plan for the siege of Vicksburg in April, 1883 and began the long but successful siege in May. The tactical idea which was the key to the strategic victory of Vicksburg came at the chronological halfway point in the war.

The large margins of the eleven Marriage Amendments signaled to the Evangelicals and Catholic allies that they can actually win the culture war against the moral rebels. This victory is to those allies what Vicksburg and Gettysburg was to the Union soldiers. Just as the rebels against the Union had been winning most of the battles prior to April 1883, the culture rebels against the Moral Law were winning most of the struggles prior to November 2004. As with Vicksburg and Gettysburg, the tide in the Culture War has turned and the good guys now have the initiative and the advantage.

As the Battle of Vicksburg was the midpoint of the Civil War, November 2, 2004 was probably the half-way watershed divide in the Culture War. The peaks of mountain ranges are often the boundaries of two river system watersheds. The rivers flow east from the Rocky Mountains in one watershed and west in the other watershed. Half of the journey west is the arduous climb in the eastern watershed zone to the mountain summit. The mountain top victory is the half-way point. The other half of the journey is the treacherous descent in the western desert watershed. The Culture War has run thirty years and has reached the mountain top half-way point. It may run yet another thirty years on the other side of the mountain.

More blood was spilled in the second half of the Civil War than in the first half. Some of the fiercest scraps of the Culture War are ahead of us. The outcome of the Culture War are just as vital to the future of our nation as the outcome of the Civil War. There can be no doubt that God was on the side of freeing the slaves and saving the Union. There can be no doubt that God is on the side of saving Marriage and vindicating His Moral Law. Let God be so honored in this great nation, while all the peoples of the earth are watching.

The Battle for the Courts

There is a synchronicity between the victory of the eleven state Marriage Amendments and the Republican victories in 2004. President Bush has renewed prestige and political capital. The Republican majority in the Senate has increased by four seats and now stands at a 55 45 majority. Sixty votes are needed to stop a filibuster and force a judicial nominee out of committee onto the floor of the Senate. This means that Democrats on the Senate Judicial Committee can still filibuster and prevent President Bush's nominations of Conservative judges to have Senate approval. Liberal judges have been powerful allies of the moral rebels. The Marriage Amendments prevent the judges from pushing through gay marriage in some states. But there are a host of other vital issues in the Culture War where liberal judges are still doing great damage. The ratification of Conservative judges to federal courts is essential to victory in the culture war.

During the second term of President Bush, somewhere between two and four aging Supreme Court Justices will probably retire or die leaving their seats on the bench vacant. If the Senate allows the President to appoint two conservative justices, the present court which is left of center on social and moral values, might be neutralized as the great enemy in the Culture War. If Bush appoints four Conservative judges, the court will be in a position to dismantle many of the damaging rulings by predecessor Liberal Courts.

Other Culture War Factors

The election gave President Bush a mandate, it energized Evangelicals, it continued the long rise of the red states and the red counties, and it finally forced the Democrats to recognize that they are the minority party. Democratic leaders are beginning to restrain their left wing bad boys from making demeaning remarks about Evangelicals and about God, religion and moral values. Democrats elected in competitive districts are now less willing to be publically seen opposing the moral values of the American public. The five Senators needed to help the Republicans stop a filibuster on judicial appointments can hopefully be gleaned from Democratic Senators who won by a small margin and fear the wrath of Evangelical voters. This phenomenon will be seen again and again as various pieces of Culture War legislation comes to Congress. This is one reason why the good guys will start to win more victories that they lose during the second half of the Culture War. However, some of the powerful Culture War opponents are bitter and angry. They will put up a stubborn rearguard battle every step of the way.

International Synchronicity

The signal of an historical threshold comes from news abroad as well as from the election. Yasser Arafat is dead. He was the great fomenter of terror by the Palestinians. He could not live with the idea that Israel as a neighboring state will be there for the duration. Again and again Arafat duped the west by pretending to negotiate for peace, only to scuttle the deal as soon as any hope of an agreement began to emerge. He gave speeches in English about peace while he was giving speeches in Arabic encouraging terrorism. He fomented a civil war in Jordan and another civil war in Lebanon. There was no hope of peace in the Middle East as long as Arafat was alive. But now Mr. Terrorism is dead, and his diabolical games are at an end. This morning, the French Army gave Arafat, the arch enemy of civilization, the full ceremonial honors of a head of state, even though he was not really the head of a state. The treacherous fools honored the treacherous terrorist.

There must be an end of terrorism in Palestine before the American war against terrorism can finally succeed. Palestinian terror is the example and inspiration for terrorism world wide. Palestinian terror inspires radical theories of Islam throughout the Arab world. Realistically, the end of terror in Palestine may take some time. We do not know who Arafat's successors will be in the PLO. Hamas, a terror group independent of the PLO, is alive and well and killing people in Gaza and the West Bank. Still, the end of terrorism in Palestine no longer seems impossible now that Arafat is gone.

Someday , when we have peace and freedom in Israel, Afghanistan, and Islam, it will be the beginning of the end of the world wide reign of terror. I suspect that Arafat's death is the half-way watershed divide in the war on terror.

There are two other international events which signifies of a watershed moment in history. 1) The American-Iraqi joint attack of Fallujah signifies a new and highly effective tactical toughness against miserable terror nests. No more games and no more Mr. Nice Guy. Time to get serious about the war on terror. 2) The exposure of Kofi Anan's corrupt mismanagement of the U.N. sponsored Oil for Food program in Iraq heralds a new realism about international relations. Kofi has been a consistent opponent of America and a facilitator of some of the most corrupt and evil regimes on earth. He is a vexing obstacle in the war on terrorism. The diminishment of his status might open opportunities for international cooperation in the war on terrorism. In the future, the liberals might be less critical of the President when he finds it necessary to bypass the corrupt U.N. in order to fight terror.

A message from Stephen Stone, President, RenewAmerica

I first became acquainted with Fred Hutchison in December 2003, when he contacted me about an article he was interested in writing for RenewAmerica about Alan Keyes. From that auspicious moment until God took him a little more than six years later, we published over 200 of Fred's incomparable essays — usually on some vital aspect of the modern "culture war," written with wit and disarming logic from Fred's brilliant perspective of history, philosophy, science, and scripture.

It was obvious to me from the beginning that Fred was in a class by himself among American conservative writers, and I was honored to feature his insights at RA.

I greatly miss Fred, who died of a brain tumor on August 10, 2010. What a gentle — yet profoundly powerful — voice of reason and godly truth! I'm delighted to see his remarkable essays on the history of conservatism brought together in a masterfully-edited volume by Julie Klusty. Restoring History is a wonderful tribute to a truly great man.

The book is available at

© Fred Hutchison


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Fred Hutchison

Frederick J. Hutchison attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, as an undergraduate, and Cleveland State University to get his Master's degree in business... (more)


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