A nasty shooting war over education is emerging between Education Secretary Arne Duncan and new presidential entrant Rick Perry. Although other issues are in the foreground, the broader backdrop is Duncan’s effort to set himself up as a one-man legislature versus Perry’s ferocious resistance to national control.

But the backdrop behind the backdrop is the deep estrangement between the two moral/metaphysical cultural coalitions that coexist (barely) in this country but don’t trust one another or strongly “own” one another as fellow citizens. This is why  policy nationalization inevitably produces a vicious culture war , and that is exactly what has happened here.

If you read First Thoughts, you read it here first ! (Unless you also read Public Discourse , in which case you may have read it there first .)

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