By John Eberhard
In this series I have discussed the culture wars, which has been basically an assault on the American culture by radical modern liberals, who are trying to achieve two major aims:
- Radical egalitarianism (total equality of outcomes, meaning everyone should get the same things regardless of their own skills or efforts, which comes from socialism/communism), and
- Radical individualism (total freedom to do whatever you want, especially involving total sexual freedom and an abandonment of basic morality)
In the first four articles in this series, I covered the basic description of the culture wars, the issues that the radical left is pushing, that the origins of the movement lie in the world views of Marxism, Secular Humanism and Post Modernism, and the tactics of the radical left.
With all this talk of a war – and hopefully if you’ve been following the series you’ve started seeing the signs – you might be wondering: who’s winning? Fear not. That’s what I’ll be covering now.
For much of the last 50 or so years, conservatives have not even realized they were engaged in any kind of a major war. Sure, they noticed skirmishes, but few have recognized, until the last 10 years or so, that we have been engaged in an all-out war.
This lack of recognition has left conservatives flat-footed, not realizing what was happening, and even today, has caused them to be reactive to the onslaught. In other words, while the left has launched assault after assault, conservatives have for the most part simply reacted to what the left has been doing, allowing the left to dictate the terms of the debate and make significant gains.
The saying goes that strong defenses win Super Bowls. But in wars, and really in most games, one cannot be on the defensive all the time and expect to win. One has to be proactive and launch his own assaults and put the other team on the defensive, if one expects to walk away with the trophy. The prize that hangs in the balance here is some simple matter of whether this civilization will survive.
So yes, conservatives have been caught flat-footed, and liberals have made serious advances. The good news is that most conservatives now recognize we’re in a real war and are fighting the good fight. But are they fighting hard or smart enough?
I’m going to take up four areas that are indicative of who’s winning the culture wars:
a. Morality and moral values
b. Social issues
d. The media
a. Morality and Moral Values
There has been a non-stop assault on the moral values of Americans since the 1950s. This has taken two major forms:
1. Lowering the bar on morality, or as the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, "defining deviancy down." This means that the public is assaulted with so much deviant behavior, that their concept of what is deviant gets defined down, so that more and more deviant behavior is now considered normal.
2. Attacks on religion, most especially Christianity
Lowering the Bar
Probably the first major assault on the morality of Americans came from author Alfred Kinsey, with his two books on sexuality released in the late 1940s. Author Daniel J. Flynn, in his excellent book "Intellectual Morons," states:
"By the twilight of the 1960s, the Sexual Revolution that Alfred Kinsey helped father was in full bloom. The Pill, the advent of Playboy magazine, increased sexuality in entertainment, male dislocation from decades of near-nonstop warfare, and the women’s and gay rights movements all changed the moral fabric. Kinsey, more than any other human being, can be said to be responsible for the change. His detractors point to the increased rates of abortion, illegitimacy, rape, divorce, and sexually transmitted disease as his legacy. His supporters claim that a more sexually open and tolerant society has improved the lives of nearly everyone, particularly gays, who are no longer forced to keep their lives hidden."
Flynn goes on to discuss the facts that Kinsey was himself a severe sexual pervert, and his books – which supposedly show the high prevalence of sexual perversion in America – are fraudulent because they were not based on statistically valid samples. In fact, because of his own perverted sexual preferences, in doing his research Kinsey spent inordinate amounts of time amongst prostitutes, gays and other groups that skewed the percentages on all his research.
The sexual revolution has reached the point where more and more sexual practices that were once considered deviant, are now considered normal. More and more often, anything goes.
The entertainment industry has been working overtime to lower the moral standards in America, openly promoting degraded activities and mocking and criticizing the moral values of the "flyover states" (meaning the states between New York and Los Angeles that most in the entertainment and news industries only see from the window of an airplane).
Any parent in America who cares about what entertainment their kids are exposed to, knows that the quality of entertainment has been sinking lower and lower. Janet Jackson’s breast-exposition on the Super Bowl was just one of the latest examples, though it created a firestorm of controversy at the time.
Movies today are featuring more and more graphic violence, along with more and more "loosey-goosey" morals. It’s getting harder and harder to select an interesting movie that won’t leave you revolted. I find it amusing that the movie industry is all worried because they have been in a slump this year, with attendance down from last year. I’ve seen articles with industry types giving all sorts of theories as to why, excepting of course that most of the movies they are turning out this year are very poor.
TV and video games have followed suit of course, with more and more violence, sex and as much foul language as they can get away with. TV has been steadily lowering the bar on profanity for years, and this past year, Bono of U2 used the "F" word on a live awards show, with the word neither being censored out or the network being fined.
Recently, the newest version of the video game Grand Theft Auto (the most popular video game in America) was pulled off the market because of a major controversy due to the fact that there was a section of the game that was pornographic, i.e. gave you a simulation of seducing a woman.
Then there are rap CDs, with the gangsta rappers routinely promoting their own depraved version of reality, talking about their "hoes", their perverted sex lives, violence against women, and promoting killing cops.
Clearly in the area of moral values, the modern liberals are winning, destroying morality and creating an environment where we feel forced to accept more and more behavior that was once considered deviant.
Attacks on Religion
Two books, "Winning the Future" by Newt Gingrich, and "Slouching Towards Gamorrah" by Robert Bork, describe in detail how the Supreme Court began, in the 1950s, to not just push for more separation of church and state, but began coming out with rulings that were actually hostile to religion.
The ACLU, once a group that actually cared about human rights, now has as its main goal, wiping religion, especially Christianity, out of the public square. Their court battles to get rid of the Ten Commandments, the mention of God in the Pledge of Allegiance, the picture of the cross on the seal of the County of Los Angeles, and their battle against the Boy Scouts for not allowing gay Scoutmasters (can’t any logical person see why that would be a problem?), are part of a national campaign. Just for the record, an overwhelming majority of Americans do NOT favor the removal of these religious symbols and expressions from the public square.
I was listening to "Air America" the other night, the failing and embattled liberal radio network, just because I enjoy watching their death throes. The host was railing against Christianity, because they try to push their moral values on America, calling them the "American Taliban."
The mainstream news media are becoming more and more bold in their critical commentary about Christianity and all religions. Most entertainment coming out of Hollywood portrays religion, religious figures and religious beliefs in a negative light.
Robert Bork in "Slouching Towards Gamorrah" details how the more liberal Protestant religious sects are getting looser and looser in the moral codes that they advocate or require for their parishioners. I read several months ago that the United Church of Christ, the Protestant sect in which I was raised, had their national yearly convention. Their leadership voted by an 80% margin to endorse gay marriage.
So religion, especially Christianity, is today under constant siege from the moral relativists on the left. At the same time, because of the success of this PR campaign, the churches are under pressure to loosen their own moral codes. Sadly, many, especially the more liberal Protestant sects, are complying. One might ask, if a church no longer requires or promotes a moral code, what is its purpose?
b. Social Issues
The modern radical liberal has been fairly successful in pushing a broad agenda of radical social issues on the American public. Here’s where they’re winning and losing:
1. Abortion: the 1972 Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision made abortion legal in all states. Although many legal scholars have criticized the decision, especially its saying that the Constitution guarantees a "right to privacy" (there is no such right outlined anywhere in the Constitution), abortion on demand is the law of the land. Congress attempted numerous times to pass a ban on the brutal practice of partial birth abortion, which was vetoed several times by Clinton, finally signed by Bush, but then overturned by a liberal activist judge.
Liberals have won this battle for the time being but the tide is shifting to conservatives. Look for Roe to be overturned within the next 10 years.
2. Gay rights: The gay rights battle has reached the stage where gay marriage is the current issue. This group has been very successful, mostly by squawking loudly, and using protest PR. However, a majority of the population opposes gay marriage. Look for this point to be tightly contested.
3. Welfare and Affirmative Action: Welfare reform in 1996 was extremely successful, getting record numbers of people off welfare and virtually ending the "welfare for life" culture.
Affirmative action is still alive and well, however, as evidenced by the Supreme Court decision affirming the University of Michigan admissions practices which give higher weight to blacks and hispanics.
4. Radical Feminism: With its insistence on the elimination of the patriarchy from American life, its promotion of lesbianism and other radical goals, radical feminism has not really resonated with a majority of American women. However, this group has done untold damage on college campuses by instituting and gaining support for a ridiculous curriculum that is anti-male, anti-family, and even anti-logic.
Radical liberals are losing this fight, but we have to watch out for their curriculums in colleges, and the effect they might have on impressionable young women.
5. Radical Environmentalism: Environmentalists have succeeded in spreading false data and getting it broadly accepted, and suppressing true data in many cases. I recommend two excellent books, "Challenging Environmental Mythology" by Jack Dini, and "State of Fear" by Michael Chrichton. Although the Chrichton book is a novel, in true Chrichton fashion it is packed full of facts and statistical information.
Overall, although they have succeeded in some spheres, I see the radical liberals losing this fight.
6. Religion in the Public Square: The ACLU and secularists in the mainstream news media have mounted a full-scale war on religion, promoting a false interpretation of the First Amendment. The First Amendment bans the government from establishing a state religion, like they have today in Germany for example, and which has been common in Europe for centuries. It does not ban religious ideas or values from being expressed in public, or from influencing government activities or policy.
The liberals are winning this battle for now, but it is being highly contested.
7. Terrorism, National Defense and National Security: Liberals have been pushing since the Viet Nam War for appeasement, and peace through surrender. Even now Cindy Sheehan is calling for immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq. It does not occur to her or her compadres, apparently, that if we do that, it will embolden the terrorists and they will eventually control not just Iraq but the entire region.
Conservatives are winning the battle on terrorism, national defense and security, for now. But the public is fickle, the allure of peace (without confronting the situation or the dangers of surrender) is strong, and the public needs to be constantly sold on the idea.
Since 1980, Republicans have won the White House in five out of the last seven elections. Bill Clinton’s two terms were the only Democrat wins out of the last seven.
Democrats held a majority in Congress for over four decades. In 1994 Republicans captured a majority in Congress for the first time in my lifetime. Except for a short time in 2001-2002, they have held it ever since.
So Republicans control the White House and Congress right now.
What this has meant is that, although Republicans have done a poor job in some ways, particularly in pursuing limited government and in promoting some liberal causes (prescription drugs for instance), overall the conservative agenda is winning out in the executive and legislative branches.
As long as Republicans in Congress and the White House do not become intimidated by the mainstream news media, into thinking there is more opposition and less support for them than there really is, and as long as they remain relatively true to the conservative agenda, they will continue winning elections. Unfortunately Republicans do tend to become intimidated by the endless parade of attacks on them in the mainstream press, as evidenced by the recent surrender in the Senate on Bush’s judicial nominees, which was not necessary and which angered many conservatives. Republicans need to remember and act like they are in the majority, because they are.
Liberals have actually begun to realize that they are not in the majority in America, and that they have poor prospects in the near future for achieving their radical agenda via passing laws. Unfortunately they have found an effective way around this, which is judicial activism, i.e. liberal leaning judges going beyond the proper power of judges to actually legislate from the bench. Liberals have found that this is the only way they can make meaningful progress on much of their agenda. Unfortunately for conservatives, it is working. I’ll cover this more in a future article.
So conservatives are winning in Congress and in the White House, but losing in the courts.
d. The Media
I have left this one of the media for last, because it is arguably the most important.
I don’t think anyone is really sure how it happened, but the media has been significantly biased to the left since at least the 1950s.
Anyone who doubts that this is so should check out my earlier articles on media bias, which contained ample statistics proving this point. Or they should study what each party stands for in my earlier article on this, then study the mainstream news press, i.e. the major daily newspapers (especially the New York Times which leads the pack), as well as the network news programs, CNN, MSNBC, PBS and NPR.
This group, which we’ll call the mainstream news media, has an incredible liberal bias, causing them to:
- Champion liberal causes
- Report Democratic politicians in the most positive light possible
- Forgive or develop amnesia over any facts that make a Democratic politician look bad
- Criticize or ignore conservative causes
- Criticize anything President Bush does
- Report Republican politicians in the most negative light possible
- Report over and over again, any facts that make a Republican politician look bad
- Give lots of airtime to liberal sources, experts, politicians, and authors
- Ignore or denigrate conservative sources, experts, politicians, and authors
- Ensure that all reporting on the Iraq War is completely negative, giving lots of space to deaths of our soldiers and no space to advances or good news
That in a very tight nutshell is what the mainstream news media in America is doing today.
Some people say to me – "What about you?" "What about Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity?" "Aren’t you all biased to the right?" I’ll just dispense with this argument right now. I am a commentator. Rush Limbaugh is a commentator. Sean Hannity is a commentator. In the mainstream news media, is there a place for commentary? Yes, there sure is. On the Opinion/Editorial page. But the NEWS is supposed to be reported fairly and without bias. And it is not, period! See the following books in case you have any doubt:
Bias by Bernard Goldberg
Slander by Ann Coulter
Treason by Ann Coulter
The New Thought Police by Tammy Bruce
Off With Their Heads by Dick Morris
Journalistic Fraud by Bob Kohn
So what has been the effect of all this bias? Well, there are a number of effects I can point to:
1. People get the impression that liberal viewpoints are in the majority or at least represent half of the population. They are not in the majority (not even close) and never have been. All surveys I have seen put liberals at about 20% of the population. A 2003 Gallup Poll found liberals at 20%, conservatives at 40%, and moderates at 40%. They media coverage of course tends to sway the moderates.
2. Over time the liberal bias causes people to start accepting radical leftist causes that are pushed at them non-stop.
3. Conservatives tend to get intimidated, thinking there is much more criticism of them and less support for them than there really is.
Media – The Tide Has Turned
More than with any of the other topics covered in this article, the tide has really turned with the media. That is not to say that the mainstream news media is any less biased toward the left than they have ever been. If anything they are more so today.
What has turned the tide is that they are no longer gatekeepers for news. It used to be that the mainstream news media controlled what news we could hear and read. So if there was a story that would have hurt a Democrat, they could bury the story and we’d never hear about it. And if they got their facts wrong about some story, in a way that hurt the Conservatives and helped the Liberals, you’d never hear about it.
Not any more.
The mainstream media has not only lost the keys to the gate, but the gate has been nuclear bombed back to the stone age. Alternative media, such as talk radio, web sites, blogs, books, and Fox News have obliterated the gate for good, allowing people access to news, information and commentary that they never used to get. An excellent article by Brian C. Anderson, Editor of City Journal, entitled "We’re not Losing the Culture Wars Anymore," and later expanded into the book "South Park Conservatives," tells the tale of how alternative conservative media have changed the media landscape forever.
Consider the following examples of stories that would have never seen the light of day, but ended up not only coming out, but significantly affecting the course of events:
a. The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and the book "Unfit for Command" about John Kerry’s Vietnam years. I believe that this book, more than any other single factor, killed Kerry’s bid for the White House. The book contained a lot of shocking material on Kerry’s willingness to lie to further his own ends. The mainstream news media sat on the story for months, reporting nothing. Finally the conservative alternative media trumpeted the book so much that it made it onto the New York Times bestseller list, at which point the mainstream news media HAD to cover it.
b. Rathergate. Dan Rather’s 60 Minutes II story, which utilized bogus documents to try to kill President Bush’s re-election bid, would possibly have succeeded in another era. Certainly we would never have known for sure that these documents were fake. Bloggers took care of that, taking down Dan Rather instead.
c. Reagans Miniseries. CBS put together a miniseries on the Reagans in 2003 which portrayed Ronald Reagan in a very negative light and attributed various statements to him (including anti-gay) that he never made. A huge outcry by conservative media and the public, prior to the airing, caused CBS to pull the entire series and show it on the much lower viewed Showtime network.
There are other examples too. The point is that the left has forever lost their lock on information dissemination in America. The genie is out of the bottle and it’s going to be impossible to put him back in.
I think this is the most significant gain to date for conservatives in the waging of their side of the culture wars. People can now get the other side of the story, and they can select their own news sources, without being force-fed the liberal propaganda line as they were for 50 years.
My own personal belief is that liberal philosophies are, as Ann Coulter says, "counter-intuitive." So now that the liberal monopoly on news is broken (even though they still own the biggest sources), liberal causes will start to lose more and more support.
Of course there is still a war to be fought and we must continue to fight it with all guns blazing. But by loosening the liberal vice grip on the news, perhaps the most important battle of the war has been won, by conservatives.
Coming up next, the battle plan for conservatives.