And just what are these traditions the modern conservative wants respected? They’re very rarely stated out loud, and when they are it’s usually in code: family, God, country. But dig deeper and it’s […] that women should serve as obedient reproductive vessels; that white men are biologically and culturally superior to others; that the ability of corporate executives to get rich from polluting air and exploiting workers is a greater freedom than that of communities not to be poisoned and abused; that it’s the inherent right of powerful countries to bomb less powerful ones and steal their resources; that being rich is a sign of divine favor, and the poor deserve their plight; and so on.

These are bad ideas. They are deplorable. They appeal to our baser instincts, and they preserve the power of society’s abusers at the expense of its victims. In every case, the hindsight of history looks with displeasure on those who defended such things. And in every case, the heroes are not only the activists, but also the culture bringers who pushed slowly but surely to drag societies into a better place.

It doesn’t matter how many elections conservatives win, or how much power they hold. Politics is downstream of culture, and they will never get the cultural respect they crave.

David Atkins on who earns respect.