Saturday, March 11, 2006

Why the culture war matters

A while back, I exchanged emails with a reader concerning a POLITICAL UPDATE about the war on Christmas entitled Christmas and communism. My reader agreed with me on the substance of the issue, but didn't think that the issue was very important because most people agree with us. In response, I wrote the following email about the culture war, which I will now share with you:

You don't have to have a majority to get your way. 70-80% of Americans support school prayer, oppose affirmative action, support the Ten Commandments at courthouses, oppose illegal immigration, and want to ban partial birth abortion, yet liberals have achieved their positions on all of these issues. What makes the war on Christmas so interesting to me is that 96% of Americans celebrate Christmas, and yet the left has torn down nativity scenes, renamed Christmas trees and Christmas break, and even bludgeoned private companies like Wal-Mart and Target into banning their employees from saying "merry Christmas."

You shouldn't equate winning elections with winning the culture war. Many of the things that I listed above happened under Republican Presidents with Republican-appointed Supreme Courts. Ultimately, culture is more important than politics. The prevailing culture usually determines political outcomes. Politicians are more likely to be influenced by the culture than to influence it.

One way to define culture is what we do without thinking about it. That is, most people don't make most decisions by logically analyzing the possible choices and consequences, along with costs and benefits. They do what comes naturally. I certainly agree that issues like social security, taxes, and immigration are very important. I think I've covered a wide range of important issues in the POLITICAL UPDATE. But the outcomes of these issues will be decided by the prevailing culture. Why is it that some people choose freedom and others choose dependence on government? Why do some people fight government encroachments and others acquiesce? These are cultural issues.

Simplifying greatly, I believe that people will either depend on God or government. Faith in God gives people the will and courage to be free and to resist government. George Washington agreed, saying that the Constitution (which greatly restricts government) was "made for a moral and religious people, and is wholly inadequate for any other." Another person who agreed was Antonio Gramsci. If you read Death of the West, which I still strongly recommend, you'll know that he was one of the communist founders of cultural Marxism. He realized that people's religion was preventing them from worshiping the state, as he sought. He and others began a campaign to destroy religion and traditional Western culture through cultural Marxism, thus igniting the culture war.

I should clearly distinguish between economic and cultural Marxism. Economic Marxism has been thoroughly discredited and lives on only in phrases such as "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer," and such nonsense. Very few people are cultural Marxists as such, and relatively few are consciously trying to destroy our culture, but cultural Marxism has taken on a life of its own. Political correctness, multiculturalism, deconstructionism, "tolerance," and "diversity" are all the poisoned fruit of cultural Marxism. Most of the people who advocate these concepts aren't Marxists, of course, but if you trace the origins of these ideas back to their conception, you'll find that they were invented by communists. "Political correctness" was first used in a communist party newsletter. "Tolerance" was defined by Herbert Marcuse, another cultural Marxist, as "Tolerance of movements from the left, intolerance of movements from the right."

Christmas isn't going to be abolished, at least not soon. But the goal right now is to strip it of any religious meaning. This entails tearing down nativity scenes and banning the word Christmas wherever possible. Liberalism tries to make people feel dirty, or at least self-conscious, about mentioning Christmas (you might offend someone!)

The same thing is happening with other holidays. Every year, a bunch of Ward Churchill types attack Columbus Day for honoring the genocidal racist imperialism that Columbus brought to America, or whatever. Gay rights groups attack the New York Saint Patrick's Day parade for not allowing drag queens to march in it. Are these people marginal? Maybe. But they have succeeded in getting parades canceled in one case and stopping all Democratic politicians from marching in the other.

Concerning post-9-11 patriotism, I find it interesting that Central Michigan University, in the middle of very conservative area, banned displaying the American flag after 9-11. I believe that the purported rationale was that it would offend foreigners. Similar incidents occurred all over the country. You can't tell me America isn't under attack, and I'm not talking about Osama. If I remember correctly, Central reversed its policy after public outrage ensued.

The public is on our side, as repeated election results show. But culture influences you subconsciously. People can be influenced by a culture that they don't like. As time passes, new generations arise that accept the changes as normal. I'm not saying that we can't win. We can win, but we have to try.

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