Culture War on Wheels

Aaron Naparstek takes note of the curious phenomenon of right-wing websites juxtaposing an image of Barack Obama on a bicycle with Sarah Palin on a motorcycle with the headline “THIS IS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW”.

It’s a pretty good illustration, I think, of the fact that it’s a bit of a fallacy to think of cultural issues as something entirely separate from economic ones. Lifestyle issues about what kind of community you would prefer to live in or what kind of leisure activities you enjoy are, in some ways, inextricably bound up with substantive policy issues about regulations and what money gets spent where. Conversely, something I might like to think of as a basically technical issue — does it make sense to have a lot of tax, spending, and regulatory policies that encourage land and energy to be used inefficiently — has some culture war implications as such policies are, among other things, a covert way of subsidizing people with an unusually large number of children.