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Culture Wars

Eric over at Classical Values seems to hate the fact that Health Care is going to make the culture wars explode like we’ve never seen before. I too am not looking forward to that:

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.

Sounds all too familiar. Those of us active in the Second Amendment community are immersed in a culture war issue as well. I remember Eric once writing that he couldn’t stand activists. As an activist in the pro-2A issue, you’d think I’d take exception to that, but I know exactly what he means. I’m firmly in the “leave me the hell alone” category. I involve myself in this game (and make no mistake about it, it is a game) because no one is going to leave me alone just because I shout it loudly enough. You have to make them leave you alone, and that means fighting collectively as a community. Your ends might be individual, but you can only achieve goals through the political process by collective action. Even the revolutionary elements of our movement don’t escape the collective action problem, though that type of collective action is more emotionally appealing to many people.

Saul Alinsky says you need to paint the struggle in terms of black and white to be an effective organizer. Your side has to be on the side of the angels, and the other side is evil incarnate. I think he’s correct in that. There’s a deep need for people to feel they are on the side of the angels in a righteous struggle against pure, unadulterated evil. I think that is the essence of the culture war, and it’s become that on both sides. It’s tough business for someone who just wants everyone to agree to leave everyone else in peace, and not hijack the political process or cultural institutions to impose one way of living over another. I’ve never been able to bring myself to adopt Alinsky’s tactic, even though I know it can powerfully motivate people to action. To me, once you unleash that kind of thinking, it’s very difficult to get the genie back in the bottle. There are plenty of historical calamities that have resulted from it. Too many to name.

12 Responses to “Culture Wars”

  1. Harry Schell says:

    I totally agree about being an activist of the “leave me alone and I won’t trouble you” type. Don’t like guns, don’t buy them.

    What I am afraid of is the people like Pelosi and Obama who really think they know more than you about your choices, and therefore they should dictate the choices you have. The healthcare bill(s) do exactly this, and this will be the blueprint for more legislation that pleases the Red Queen and the aspiring President for Life. Cap + Trade is a replica thought process, in a different area of life, and there is plenty more to come.

    So, yes, I think the intensity of culture wars will ramp up. First, the marxist utopian intelligensia thinks its time has come. Second, many in the “leave me alone” group see that they have been sold out, and are unwilling to tug the forelock. That is what the Tea Parties are about. Third, marxists usually get nasty when they are thwarted, and the more entitled to rule (as opposed to govern) they feel, the sharper their ire will be at resistance.

    My deepest prayers are that the First Amendment will be enough, and that the Second may rest easy. There is a lot riding on McDonald besides Chi’s gun ban.

  2. Arnie says:

    It is a tricky doctrine, “live and let live.” I would love to be left alone to my own values and devices, to reap what I sow, and to keep all I reap. But then someone always comes along whose fears or ambitions define my lifestyle as an impediment to their ideal outcome or as a bothersome itch that won’t let them live content with their surroundings. E. g., they are afraid of my guns, or think my SUV is poisoning their air, or think I should help pay to have a common road I never drive paved, or that I should be forced to help pay for a lifesaving operation for some poor child I don’t even know and whose problem I had nothing to do with. And what about the religious father who insists only God should heal his son’s appendicitis, not a surgeon. Should he be left alone? What about his free exercise of his religion? His religion bothers me, but mine probably bothers him. So if I can interfere with his free exercise, do not I surrender my free exercise to him? To others? Do I really want to do that. Right now, I prefer to err on the side of liberty. Mainly because I want to be left alone to do what I believe is right. If the other guy is therefore free to do to himself or to his family what I believe is wrong, then so be it. I am not accountable for what he does. He will answer to his own God (or to mine, whose-ever is the true One), but he won’t answer to me if he is wrong, nor should I have to answer to anyone for HIS wrong. I hope to treat others as I would have them treat me: leave me be.

    For what it’s worth,

    Arnie

  3. hillbilly says:

    I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but today, Obama signed a huge “historical calamity” into law.

    We are living a “historical calamity” right now. We have effectively taken a huge step towards becoming a socialist nation.

    Staying in the “leave me alone” camp won’t keep them from leaving you alone.

    One of the biggest mistakes made by people who think like you do, Sebastian, is the absolute insistence on bringing an etiquette book to a machete fight.

    Get….A…..Clue…………..

    These people are not screwing around. They are the enemy. And they are totally politically and literally ruthless.

    And they must be defeated.

    By any means necessary.

  4. Sebastian says:

    I agree they must be defeated. What are you doing, Hillbilly, to help defeat them? What did you do to try to avoid this horrible thing from coming into being in the first place? Other than bitching, I mean. We’re all very good at complaining. Action is more difficult, no fun, and not often emotionally rewarding.

  5. Jay T says:

    Agreed that for some of us we would really rather be doing something else but if we take off for a minute the forces arrayed against us will pounce.

    While also agreeing the political action is a game the end result is much more. It is our very liberty at stake. At the point it passes political means it is then far from being a game. Let us hope we can keep it political but that decision rests with the opposition.

  6. Jay T says:

    To clarify a point:

    Those of us who served our country served so that all sides can participate in the political process. Unless that process is stopped we must always opt for political resolutions. “We” won’t ever stop someone from participating even if their views are in direct opposition. The question is will they do the same.

  7. Sebastian says:

    They at least abandoned “deem and pass” taking this whole operation up from treasonous. Now it is back to being merely sleazy.

  8. Jay T says:

    Deem and pass would have erupted in their faces.

  9. mariner says:

    It’s way too late to worry about letting Alinsky’s genie out of the bottle. Our enemies did that a long time ago.

    We can either give in or fight back, and fighting back means using their own tactics against them if that’s what works.

  10. Sebastian says:

    I can still work pretty ruthlessly against my opponents without hating them. The question is, can you find a movement of people who can do that? I think Alinski’s answer probably would have been no.

  11. Hillbilly says:

    What am I doing, besides bitching?

    I vote in every single election. My job is also deep behind enemy lines, in a profession that is dominated by liberals and Marxists.

    I smile and nod, but I do things to subvert their agenda at every turn. In fact, my greatest victories are to get them to believe that my subversions are actually their ideas.

    I’m polite on the surface.

    But every single subversive thing I do is fueled and fired by a deep loathing, and dare I say it, hatred for everything Marxist, collectivist and leftist.

    I really do think that you must, in order to be effective, have a dislike for them. It keeps you going.

    Everybody must be aware of what we are dealing with here.

    There is no such thing as an “honorable disagreement” with Marxists and collectivists and leftists.

    Just like there was never such a thing as an “honorable disagreement” with Nazis or Klu Klux Klanners.

    Marxists and collectivists and leftists have produced evil on a scale that makes even the evil Nazi bastards look like a rowdy bunch of school kids.

    Joseph Stalin, by himself, out-mass-murdered Hitler by about a factor of three to one.

    That’s what we’re up against here. The same ideology. There are plenty of folks who proudly stand up and call themselves Marxists these days.

    When it comes to battling these evil Marxist bastards, you cannot get all squeamish about how icky Alinsky’s tactics might be.

  12. Sebastian says:

    You vote, that’s great. So do 125 million other Americans, most of whom are vastly ignorant about exactly what they are casting a vote for. There are ways to greatly magnify you influence over this process. That’s what I’m saying people who value liberty need to get involved with. It’s not enough to just vote anymore. If you just vote, you’re letting other people pick who you vote for.

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