Brendan Nyhan, at SpinSanity, chastises the Democrats for manufacturing opponents to "civil rights." His argument hinges on the definition of "civil rights." Like most political arguments, the definition of terms is usually the foundation of the issue because definitions are our attempts to cement reality. And differences in the perceptions of reality create issues.
Conflict over issues creates one of the justifications for government. And for an excellent look at the creation of conflict, its role in legitimizing government, I would suggest reading Prof. Murray Edelman's book Constructing the Political Spectacle. Warning: This book will raise the blood pressure of committed objective idealists.