Tag: culture wars

Lose Slowly or Win: Cold War and Culture War

 

Reagan EducationRonald Reagan represented a fundamental shift from the long bipartisan consensus on the Cold War. After Presidents Truman and Eisenhower oversaw the Korean “Conflict,” our strategic leadership and thinking turned pessimistic. We shifted from an assumption that our system had greater viability and resilience to a defensive crouch, hoping the horse might learn to sing before the bear and the dragon consumed the world. Reagan radically rejected that dark view. Today, we face a continuation of the same struggle in a new guise, and once again people who identify as conservative are mostly pessimistic, believing that the best we can hope for is a long delaying action, ending in leftist victory. Donald Trump represented a shift in the cultural war, the internalized Cold War between freedom and totalitarianism.

Korea and Nuclear War: doubting democracies’ durability

In the immediate aftermath of World War II, America stood alone as a superpower. We alone had achieved dominance on land AND air AND sea. America alone had the demonstrated ability to rain nuclear fire on its enemies. In this context, George Kennan’s famous 1946 “Long Telegram” expressed confidence that the United States could prevail, without open warfare, against the Soviet Union.* His conclusion is well worth our reading or re-reading in today’s context, so I reproduced it below.

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Good news. Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia – a town that is also home to the state-supported Virginia Military Institute and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, and an ignominious restaurant called the “Red Hen” – will not be changing its name. So says their Board of Trustees. And the vote wasn’t close. If you’ve […]

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From the commentator “The worst song of all time is being written pretty much 15 times a week. Just turn on mainstream Top 40 radio.” I have to agree – everyone has their own worst songs of all times. What is your worst song ever – the song that causes you to instantly dive for […]

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Desi-Rae is a sociopolitical commentator, crypto enthusiast, and artist who started her talk show Just Thinking Out Loud, after she realized she felt conflicted about honestly speaking her mind. Originally from Jamaica, she offers her perspective on US politics, how you used to be able to disagree with someone and still be friends with them, why she hates identity politics, and how people were always assuming what she thought because she’s black. She and Bridget discuss whether being racist or sexist is the worst vice a person can have, the cost of cutting family members out of your life, how victimhood requires constantly looking for oppressors, why we should ask people to learn about the parts of themselves they don’t like, and how everyone in America is rich compared to the rest of the world.

Yascha Mounk is the founder of Persuasion, an online community and publication for people who believe in the importance of the social practice of persuasion, and are determined to defend free speech and free inquiry against all its enemies. They seek to persuade people who disagree with them, rather than to mock or troll them. He and Bridget discuss the rise of the populism, why status anxiety is the strongest predictor of populist movement in society, the idea of white fragility, and why exhorting whites in the US to take on a strong collective racial identity is not the way to build a fair, multi-ethnic democracy in this country. They look at how many authoritarian leaders have come to power in the last 20 years, share their hope for the future, and examine the idea that many Americans don’t want to win the culture war, they want the culture war to go away.

 

Max Eden joins Brian Anderson to discuss how America’s latest culture war appears headed for public schools—the topic of Eden’s latest story, “‘There Is No Apolitical Classroom.’

Across the country, schools are preparing to reopen in September with rigorous hygiene protocols to protect against Covid-19. Now, in the aftermath of nationwide protests in response to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, activists are making a renewed push to incorporate “antiracism” content into classrooms. According to Eden, “antiracist schools will teach very different material from the schools of yesteryear.”

Book Review: ‘Strange Rites – New Religions for a Godless World’

 

Poll after poll demonstrates declines in religious observance in the United States today, especially in the Millennial age cohort. Some faiths and denominations are declining more quickly than others, with a few holding steady. Are people ceasing to believe any higher powers, or is something else at work? Tara Isabella Burton examines this issue in her new book, Strange Rites – New Religions for a Godless World, just out within the last week. Ms. Burton makes the argument that while adherence to traditionally recognized faiths (particularly Christianity) has declined precipitously, human beings still have a need to believe that the world is “enchanted” and human beings still need the community that shared rituals can offer. So even as adherence to particular faiths is declining, new religions are emerging to fill spiritual longings. Ms. Burton terms this the “Fourth Great Awakening.”

However, these new spiritual practices are at once radically different from anything that gone before, and yet radically American in their forms and ethos. They are also radically self-centered. Her basic thesis is this: the internet provides access to information on practically anything imaginable, and quickly connects like-minded people over any niche interest, allowing us to pick and choose our friends beyond the limited physical circles we have been limited to in the past, but this also allows us to concentrate ourselves, our interests, and our desires, creating a world of information and practice uniquely tuned to ourselves. In short, we can each pick and choose our own practices, rituals, and relationships, creating “remixed” faiths, and it is the “Remixed” whose worlds Ms. Burton illuminates.

This book is, in large part, about charlatans. It’s about capitalism and corporations and the new cutthroat Silicon Valley of spirituality. It’s about people who want to sell us meaning, brand our purpose, custom-product community, tailor-make rituals, and commodify our very humanity. It’s about how the Internet and consumer capitalism alike have produced experientially satiating substitutes – many, though not all of them, poor – for well-developed ethical, moral, and metaphysical systems. It’s about the denatured selfishness of self-care, and the way in which “call-out-culture,” at its worst, serves as the psychic methadone, providing us with a brief and illusory hit of moral belonging…

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Either Poles are too dumb to understand what’s ridiculous about a pornographic butter-churning contest, or they’re not. I’d bet they’re not, and they know a parody of eroticism when they see it. Too bad The Imaginative Conservative doesn’t. Apparently, there’s at least one writer out there lacking the imagination to recognize a parody when he […]

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Yesterday, the Evening Standard in London reported on the quest of Emile Ratelband.  Mr. Ratelband is apparently frustrated with the results that he gets on Tinder.  Tinder is a dating website. Mr. Ratelband is frustrated.  If he were to truthfully report his actual chronological age, it would be 69.  He does not get dates with […]

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Something Isn’t Working as It Should

 

In a few short months, gun owners have gone from counting votes in the Senate to get CCW reciprocity passed nationwide to fighting for our Second Amendment lives.

Gun owners are in a culture war and we’re losing. The forces of civilian disarmament are using the techniques of the anti-smoking movement against the private ownership of guns and they’ve had more success curbing civilian gun ownership with this tactic than they’ve had fighting a political war over the previous 10 years.

There’s No Civil War

 

America is not on the verge of a civil war, no matter how much some media moguls may want us to be.

The silent majority of the American people don’t spend their time and energy on sick Twitter burns. Or howling at Trump Tower. Or putting on “pussy hats” and marching with Linda Sarsour. Or even writing brilliant, articulate posts like this on Ricochet.

A Problem on the Right

 

Let’s make one thing clear. According to the left, you don’t deserve to have an opinion. They don’t care about your input. They are not interested in finding a way to live together in peace and harmony. They see you as a Nazi, a threat, deplorable, a virus on the earth. They want you and your worldview gone. To them, you are a racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic bigot and therefore your opinion doesn’t matter. Why, then, do we on the right continue to engage in political debate as if we are too above the fray to take the gloves off? Why do our representatives talk about “taking the high ground” and maintaining a civilized political discourse? The left isn’t looking to debate the opposition; they are looking to destroy it.

The left has made their intentions clear. A recent opinion piece by Tim Kreider published in the New York Times titled, “Go Ahead Millennials, Destroy Us” sets forth in no uncertain terms a long-standing leftist theme: Destruction of Western Values and Institutions. In Kreider’s article, published March 2, 2018, he implores America’s youth, “Go get us.” He states:

My message, as an aging Gen X-er to millennials and those coming after them, is: Go get us. Take us down – all those cringing provincials who still think climate change is a hoax, that being transgender is a fad or that “socialism” means purges and re-education camps. Rid the world of all our outmoded opinions, vestigial prejudices and rotten institutions. Gender roles as disfiguring as foot-binding, the moribund and vampiric two-party system, the savage theology of capitalism – rip it all to the ground. I for one can’t wait till we’re gone. I just wish I could live to see the world without us.

Ricochet vs. The Fractured Republic

 

I’m reading Yuval Levin’s book, The Fractured Republic, and it’s very good. His main premise is that America has moved from a period of consolidated culture (1930s – mid-’60s) into one of diffusion, and both parties are trapped in nostalgia for their respective “glory days.” The Democrats pine for the mid-’50s through the ’60s (high percentage of unionized workers, civil rights protests, War on Poverty via federal programs, etc.), and the right wants to restore the Reagan years (tax cuts, deregulation, moral majority, etc.). He says it’s impossible for us to return to either vision of America, given our current diffuse culture and atomization.

Anyway, in his chapter “Subculture Wars,” he writes:

The problem we face is not the risk of cataclysm, but the acceptance of widespread despair and disorder in the lives of millions of our fellow citizens. We risk getting used to living in a society that denies a great many of its most vulnerable people the opportunity to thrive. Making the case against such acquiescence in the torpor and misery of so many would mean calling people’s attention to just what it these Americans are being denied – to the possibility of flourishing, and to its appeal.

How’s Life, Ricochet?

 

Every so often, when the culture or political wars get so out of hand that even this political nerd wants to ignore it all and settle down with the cat, I throw out a “how’s life” post for Facebook. The idea is to catch up on the important stuff: kids, grandkids, parents, pets, shiny new jobs, an old job that’s driving you crazy, recipes, what-have-you.

The lovely blonde suggested a similar post for Ricochet. So, Rico-peeps, what’s new with your life outside of politics, policy, and culture wars? Have cute pet pictures? Pictures of the grandkids with watermelon all over their faces? Do you have good news to share, or need a shoulder to lean on after a summer that ought to be nuked from orbit?

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In a recent episode of Arrow titled Specter of the Gun the writers of Arrow take on the issue of gun control.  The episode starts with a man loading a duffle bag full of guns and ammo in preparation for an attack of some kind.   The bag is marked Forefathers Repair, get it?  See what […]

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​City Journal associate editor Matthew Hennessey and contributing editor John Tierney discuss the politicization of science and how the Left’s dominance in universities and the scientific community actually threatens progress.

Read John Tierney’s article from the Autumn 2016 Issue of City Journal, The Real War on Science.

Ulysses S … Trump?

 

US-TrumpGeneral George McClellan was beloved by his troops. McClellan returned the affection, earning a reputation as a well organized and meticulous commander. Giving credit where due, McClellan turned the Army of the Potomac into a cohesive unit and kept it together, even in the face of defeat. He is also credited with fortifying Washington, DC and securing the Union frontier, all through his skills in logistics. But after some early victories, defeats became all too common. It is a common theme of biographies of McClellan that, when it came to actual battle, the general was overly cautious, unable (or unwilling) to gamble, and failed to take advantage of Confederate mistakes that might have turned stalemates into victories, or victories into routs. According to some, McClellan consistently overestimated his opponents’ strength and, thus, refused to advance or attack for fear of losing. Lincoln came to distrust the general and, when sufficiently frustrated with McClellan’s hesitations and caution, fired him.

The Army of the Potomac then went through a series of generals (Burnside, Meade, Hooker), all of whom were blamed for similar failures of leadership, chiefly the inability or unwillingness to advance against the Confederacy. Then came Ulysses Grant. In the western states, Grant had fought hard against the Confederacy. Unlike the other generals, he was willing to risk casualties to achieve strategic advantages and would try unproven tactics if he thought some advantage could be gained. With the full aid of superior Union industry and a far larger Union population — advantages his predecessors shared but failed to exploit — he was relentless in his advances, racking up casualty numbers that earned him criticism as a butcher of his own troops. But he won battles.

The years since 2008 have reminded me greatly of our Civil War. The Obama administration has effectively declared a cultural war on middle America through an expanded regulatory state, lawsuits in retribution of political appointments, collaboration with far-left activist groups, the stirring-up of racial animosities, attacks on religious institutions, the opening of borders, assaults on the Second Amendment and the attempts to gut the First Amendment, and scores of petty and vindictive skirmishes against small businesses, churches, and private citizens. Our president has pitted half of America against the rest, claiming — like some restless dictator — that his advances and occupations are really defensive in nature, while wielding powers no prior president would have dared try.