Tag: Rachel Lu

Lonesome Purple Hearts and Angry Red Ones: Love and Contempt in a Divided Red Tribe

 

Red America, blue America. It’s a crude categorization, but useful. According to Rachel Lu, the red tribe is the tribe of traditional, transcendent bourgeois values, while the blue tribe is the tribe of neo-Epicureanism, which by its nature is shallow and tepid. According to Charles Murray, the red tribe professes traditional values while struggling to practice them, while the blue tribe, for the most part, lives out these values while failing to profess them. According to Mark Regnerus, when it comes to the specific traditional values of chastity and stable family formation, while both tribes are far from paragons, on average the red tribe fails a lot harder than the blue tribe does, even though it’s the red tribe, not the blue, which promulgates language like “chastity” and “family values”. If you stop looking at averages though, something interesting happens: the red tribe splits. Red-tribe children who inherit exceptional amounts of social capital (which arises from networks of shared social norms, including trust and reciprocity) are more sexually virtuous than their blue peers, while red-tribe children with low social capital are so much less sexually virtuous than their blue peers that it drags the whole red average down below that of the blue.

This sexual split points to a more general split among conservatives: the red tribe can be crudely divided into two tribes, both of whom profess a zeal for cultural capital, but only one of which has secure access to cultural capital. (There’s not complete agreement on what social and cultural capital are, but for this essay, cultural capital includes social capital, along with other accumulated cultural riches.) As much as blue-tribe language tends to denigrate the value of the West’s cultural capital, blue-tribe children enjoy better access to that capital than many red-tribe children do. However, there’s a class of purple children – typically red-tribe children raised in blue milieus – who achieve cultural-capital royalty: whatever struggles they face, access to cultural goods, whether moral, intellectual, or aesthetic, isn’t really one of them. They inherit not just the red-tribe zeal for cultural capital, but blue-tribe access to it, an access which differs not only in quantity (more of it) from average red access, but also in kind (probably less NASCAR and more Shakespeare – brows a little higher rather than lower).

Blue-tribe access to it. How does the blue tribe maintain good access to something it publicly professes not to value much? Evidently, it must be by doing rather than saying. Culture isn’t just something you have worthy or unworthy opinions about, it’s also something you do. And a lot of blues still do it, even if their opinions about why it’s worth doing are unworthy. To be too much in enmity with the blues is to put yourself at odds with many of the vehicles still left for passing on the great achievements of our culture. Reds routinely decry the corruption of academic and arts organizations, for example, but so far have had scanty success forming organizations of their own to pass down the treasure of Western knowledge and beauty. For all the nonsense on college campuses, for all the schlock modern arts organizations promote, colleges still harbor teachers with genuine love for whatever little corner of Western heritage is their expertise and arts organizations still exhibit works of transcendent beauty. These dreaded blue, “elitists” milieus might make piss-poor advocates of the traditions they enjoy, but many in these milieus still enjoy aspects of those traditions, and in enjoying them, keep them going, at least for another generation.

Fake Realism on Sex

 

The other day I read our own @rachellu’s review of the new book by Mark Regnerus, provocatively and moralistically called Cheap Sex. The review is a balm upon the heart, so go read it. The book itself is receiving more praise then I can catalog here — it’s science and it’s reassuring for conservatives. The facts are in and they’re what you’d expect: liberated America is a sexual marketplace, and that’s a wasteland.

I’ll skip the topographical survey of the wasteland. Writer and reviewer both agree with most among us that we’re long on problems and short on solutions; and most — but not all — our predictions are grim. We’re shamelessly theoretical about our catalogs of facts — no prudes we! And then we’re hopelessly impractical about doing anything about all this stuff we think we know. Am I the only one to find this hilarious, that we’re hard at work, most earnestly and morally, to prove that knowledge is a source of impotence? This is not to say anything against either author. They didn’t cause this mismatch between the power of our science and the impotence of our politics.

Let’s talk about the problems with our science, because that’s where we seem to turn to ask for knowledge that works, that helps us out. We can call it political science or social science or psychology or evolutionary biology. What we want to get out of it is knowledge about ourselves as human beings. The problem here is that we ourselves are split between theory and practice.* You might say that theory is a talking brain like Stephen Hawking, trying to know the cosmos, and practice is back on Earth, him turning his wife into a nurse and then a nurse into a wife, because someone has to care for the body while the mind is roaming. But let’s not start with our healthcare crisis…

Member Post

 

A long time ago, my fellow Ricochetti, I tried your patience with an especially eloquent defense of Senator Rubio, that contradiction in terms which brightest shines in the eyes of the American electorate. The internet is forever, so you can read it. The man is back at it–bravely mocking philosophers, dreaming of summoning blue collar […]

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Member Post

 

After listening to John Podhoretz bash Mark Levin on the Glop podcast and reading comments from Nick Stuart’s post Who Else Should Stop Talking? I am disappointed in my fellow members’ profound ignorance of who Mark Levin is, and what he says and does.  According to them, he yells. He calls people names. And (because […]

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