March 23, 2010
The Culture War still sucks!
(But where's the "traditional" Culture War I'm supposed to be against?)
Melissa Clouthier thinks Obamacare is deliberately divisive:
I don't believe health care will go away. I believe it will divide us, create chaos, and turn the conversation away from big dreams and freedom to provincial "my piece of the pie" talk.She's right.
this legislation is a superconducting super collider of culture-war conflagrations. It will throw off new and unforeseen cultural spectacles for years to come (if it is not repealed). The grinding debate over the Stupak amendment was just a foretaste. The government has surged over the breakwater and is now going to flood the nooks and crannies of American life. Americans will now fight over what tax dollars should cover and not cover. Debates over "subsidizing" this "lifestyle" or that "personal choice" will erupt. And when conservatives complain, liberals will blame them for perpetuating the culture war.Precisely what Zombie was complaining about the other day.
It used to be that the term "Culture War" meant -- for one "side" -- being against gays simply for being gay (supporting discrimination and favoring sodomy laws), wanting to imprison women for having abortions, favoring censorship (of pornography, "anti-family" TV shows, Howard Stern, etc.), and engaging in all sorts of personal attacks on people for things like having long hair, wearing the wrong clothes, or smoking pot. For the most part, many of those on the other side wanted to be left alone, laissez-faire style. The majority of gays, for example, would like to be left alone. However, the situation has been compounded by activists who don't want to leave anyone alone. They believe in identity politics, in-your-face lifestyle activism, inquisitory behavior like "outing" people, and in many cases their tactics have exceeded anything the other side has done. (The appalling violent demonstrations against opponents of gay marriage are a perfect example.)
For many years, I have advocated a leave-people-alone approach to the Culture War (which I have tended to define along the lines of Pat Buchanan's famous "Culture War" speech.) In answer to the cries of intolerance, I have proposed simple tolerance, and no more. I have also tried to point out the folly of focusing on distractions like condoms on bananas while more important things are being ignored, and I guess now is as good a time as any to repeat a question I have asked:
If country is headed for bankruptcy, in whose interest is it to keep people bickering over penises?Obviously, it's in the interest of the
But still, it's looking very much like my definition of Culture War is outdated. I'm reminded of my confusion over the phrase "Traditional Values." I have, um, traditionally made certain associations and assumptions based on commonly accepted definitions, generally agreed on by both "sides" of something I thought sucked, and then I form what borders on philosophy about politics based on that, and now decades later I wake up to find the ground rules have apparently changed. Yet at the same time, I know that the traditional Traditional Values Pat Buchanan-style Culture Warriors are still out there.
But there has been an undeniable definitional shift. On both sides.
It's almost like being against racism, in favor of racial equality and against segregation, and then waking up to see that it is "racism" to oppose affirmative action, and even racism to disagree with the president over health care. As to what happened to the evil segregationists, who knows?
To the extent that the "Culture War" now means wanting socialism and demanding government lifestyle subsidies, it's obvious that I am on the "side" that opposes socialism and subsidizing lifestyles. But as I said, I hold the same laissez-faire views.
Sorry, but I refuse to allow socialized medicine to turn me into a little fascist. Regardless of what the government might make me pay for; I will still refuse to support restrictions on what people do with their bodies, what they put into them, how they screw or how often, etc. I cannot support the argument that "it costs all of us because we now have socialism," because that is just using socialism (which is one wrong) to accelerate the destruction of freedom (which is another wrong). It is not an individual's stupid or unhealthy behavior that costs us; it is the unjust laws that compel us to pay.If being opposed to socialism means being on what was once the Pat Buchanan side of the Culture War, then the Culture War ain't the Culture War no more.
The meaning of the expression has changed, and it's back to the drawing board.
But what do you do when words and phrases don't mean what they are supposed to mean? Use an eraser?
posted by Eric on 03.23.10 at 11:17 AM
Search the Site
Classics To Go
See more archives here
Old (Blogspot) archives
A knee sock jihad might be premature at this time
People Are Not Rational
No Biorobots For Japan
The Thorium Solution
Radiation Detector From A Digital Camera
This war of attrition is driving me bananas!
Attacking Christianity is one thing, but must they butcher geometry?
Are there trashy distinctions in freedom of expression?
Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood