Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

on leftwing hatred

December 4, 2016

It was observed frequently during the campaign that the progressive strategy of dismissing every dissent from its ideology, even mild representations like the Tea Party and Mitt Romney, as virulently evil racists had made it inevitable that the next iteration of dissent would be something rather less genteel. Thus Donald Trump, President-Elect of the United States.

This is a long piece, perhaps longer than it needs to be, but it covers a significant issue quite well, that being the role of hard-line social justice ideology in the election of Donald Trump. It could provide a Quote of the Day for at least a week. Here’s a sample:

The monster of Trumpism is in large measure a monster created by the social justice ideology and identity politics of the progressive left. The more that a demonizing and merciless ideological narrative is used as a weapon against particular demographics, the more that they will resist it. The social justice narrative calls for white people, and men in particular, to assume a crippling guilt, to be the scapegoats for America. Trump’s movement is exactly the sort of resistance that such a narrative will provoke.

White people and men refused the narrative. For all of the progressive left’s insistence upon the evilness of America on account of straight white Christian men, Trump’s movement is founded in large measure upon the counter-claim that, for all of its undeniable faults, the nation of America was once great, and it was predominantly white Christian men who made it great.

Trump is a shameless and guilt-free candidate. This is exactly the sort of candidate who will thrive in the current context. As Michael Story has observed, the progressive left so radically overused the necessary antibiotics of shame and guilt that they produced a shame and guilt resistant candidate and movement. When people appreciate that guilt and shame have been weaponized to force them into cultural dhimmitude, they will start to celebrate shamelessness and guilt-freeness.

on white privilege

December 3, 2016

It has seemed to me for awhile that a weakness of much current discourse that focuses on systemic analysis is the lack of attention to real lived lives of actual human beings. My concern is explained pretty well here:

Just as in the fight against heart disease or drunk driving, awareness only has value if it actually leads to a change in behavior, and there’s no sign that these quasi-religious renunciations of privilege have accomplished such change.

This, in turn, presents a larger problem. The discourse of this school of politics is resolutely immaterial in its language, with endless discussion of acknowledging and feeling and admitting and occupying, almost none of which amounts to what anyone might consider doing.
h/t Alastair Roberts

Quote of the day

November 29, 2016

If you ask me, the best thing someone who wants to be a real writer can do is to get the hell out of Brooklyn and all these other culturally progressive bantustans that train your mind to think that unfashionable Ohioans at the rest stop who try to comfort a pregnant stranger in distress with a kind glance are the Enemy.

Rod Dreher

Quote of the day

November 28, 2016

I’ve never watched the Kelly File, or any of her news shows (though I’ve seen plenty of clips that get passed around), so I can’t say I’m particularly familiar with Megyn Kelly’s thought nor her approach to hosting a news show. She has gotten a lot of attention lately for a variety of reasons during the campaign, Fox News drama, and her new book, and it certainly hasn’t been uniform across either side of the political spectrum, which I’ve found interesting, which is why this profile of her caught my eye. It ends with special attention to her place in the modern women’s movement.

Megyn Kelly is exactly the kind of woman that a legitimate women’s movement would celebrate—which is why the feminist movement never will.

Carrie Lukas

Quote of the day

November 25, 2016

[Progressives] believe they have won the culture wars, that there is no room left for dissent on matters like gay marriage, abortion, and transgender entitlements. They believe, too, that questions of public policy, from health care to entitlements and welfare, have been settled once and for all. Any remaining dissenters should feel the full weight of the administrative state, with all its powerful mechanisms.

John Daniel Davidson

Quote of the day

November 21, 2016

Maybe it’s time to consider whether there’s something about shrill self-righteousness, shouted from a position of high social status, that turns people away.

Thomas Frank

on Trump and racism

November 18, 2016

It’s taken as a given on the political left that Trump is a racist, that his campaign was premised on appealing to white supremacy, and thus anyone voting for him, supporting him, or not opposing him vociferously enough is racist. His victory in the 2016 Presidential election has led to an outpouring of vitriol along this line, along with histrionic claims of emotional suffering inflicted upon students, children, etc., by the realization that half of the nation is blatantly racist.

Scott Alexander, who describes himself as working in the area of mental health, has written a devastating essay dismantling this narrative. Mr. Alexander is not a supporter of Mr. Trump by any stretch of the imagination, yet because of his understanding of this particular aspect of human behavior he’s quite adamant about setting the record straight on the issue.

It does matter to people’s well-being what they are constantly told about themselves and others and their relationship to the world. That the political left is willing to accept causing harm to people by repeating falsehoods because they want political power should worry anyone, especially political liberals of good will.

on the 2016 Presidential election in the USA

November 16, 2016

I don’t think the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is quite as consequential as we are being led to believe. Most of the Sturm und Drang reflected in news reporting over the past week or so seems to me oriented toward maintaining interest. No judgement there, that’s just the way those companies do business, and it’s their business to do. That’s how they make money. Whether or not it makes life better for their customers is being debated in the wake of the campaign. I suspect governance from Washington, D.C., will muddle along in 2017-18 as it has for the past several years.

That being said, how people are responding to the election of Donald Trump says a lot about the condition of the society. It’s intriguing to me the number of responses that were in the vein of “I didn’t realize how horrible the country is.” Granted, that type of response is coming from people not only against Trump but for Hillary. My wrestling with the decay in the character of the country occurred in the summer when he clinched the GOP nomination and she clinched the DEM nomination, and I wondered how it was that the two major parties managed to nominate candidates with historically high unfavorable ratings. Regrettably, the Libertarians also nominated one of the worst possible representatives of their governing philosophy:


But I digress.

Donald Trump isn’t particularly conservative in his policy preferences, if his past statements are a guide, nor is he particularly Christian, again, if his past statements and lifestyle are anything to go by, yet he gained enthusiastic support from conservatives and many Christians, who rode along with the wave of people who want a drastic change from the political status quo. That’s among the problems Hillary faced, but she’s not particularly Progressive, if her past behavior and policies are a good guide, and that’s the only major group on the Left that was genuinely enthusiastic about voting. The Obama coalition did not transfer to her, and the rank and file democrats who couldn’t push themselves far enough left to embrace Bernie Sanders don’t seem to have found a compelling reason to get excited about electing her. The Christians on her side of the political divide seem to be deeply committed to the Progressive vision for governing the country, but I don’t know how energized they were, or if their energy bolstered others in the way the energy for Trump seems to have done.

So conservatives and Christians on the Right have found themselves aligned with someone like Donald Trump, and progressives and Christians on the Left found themselves aligned with someone like Hillary Clinton. That to me is the point at which there should have been some soul-searching about what it says about our society that in our quest for political control and power, the process we’ve created produced this contest.

But are we really surprised? Should we be surprised that a society steeped in the type of song lyrics, television shows, and movies that dominate pop culture would find a Donald Trump palatable? Should we be surprised that a society that regularly makes allowances for powerful people to avoid consequences for illegality would find a Hillary Clinton palatable? The Trump campaign may have attracted a following among the bigoted fringes of social media, but the Clinton campaign relied on identity politics that makes it inevitable for individuals to segregate and identify by racial and gender categories, which creates clear targets for bigots, and may generate more.

The Humpty Dumpty of the American experiment seems to me to be off the wall, and I’m not hopeful it can be put together again because the character and vision for what it should be is no longer agreed upon, at least as far as I can tell. That’s not a result of this election, or any other over the past 20 years, at least in my opinion. These elections are symptoms of a society that has made choices of what it’s willing to do and be, and those choices have made us a disparate people without a corresponding idea of a common meeting place to pursue divergent ways of life peacefully together. That’s what seems worth attention in these next few weeks and months, rather than where President-Elect Trump is having dinner and the minutia around the transition.

on civilization and culture

June 25, 2016

I’m beginning to read Samuel Huntington’s book, The Clash of Civilizations. I think one of the things that concerns me most is the Progressive separation between what they identify as their aims and the cultural underpinnings that make those aims achievable. How easily civil society can be destroyed, and the harm that will result, is missed by modern liberals and progressives, as this report from a debate in Canada demonstrates.

on Obama’s spiritual transcendence

June 16, 2016

I wonder if Mr. Morford retains his belief that this President has been different from the rest. Something has occurred in our society over the past 20 years that has made genuine assessment of political figures very difficult. It would be hard to challenge and critique the policies and actions of someone you regard as spiritually advanced relative to the rest of the human race.