By John Eberhard
This is my final installment in the series on the "culture wars," in which I will summarize and wrap up the series.
I began this series in April 2005, after reading three very interesting information sources: an article by Brian C. Anderson, editor of City Journal magazine, entitled "We’re Not Losing the Culture Wars Anymore," the excellent book "Slouching Towards Gamorrah" by former federal judge Robert Bork, and the book "Unholy Alliance" by David Horowitz. These sources brought the importance of this topic into crystal clear focus for me.
What I discovered was that the radical modern left in America has been waging a war, along cultural lines and against western civilization, for over 50 years. Only within the last 15-20 years have conservatives begun recognizing the nature of the war and fighting back with effective methods.
The culture wars have been waged over such issues as legalizing abortion, eliminating public expression of religion, gay rights and gay marriage, gun control, the right to die, the degradation of TV, movies, music and entertainment in general, and the general lowering of moral standards in society.
Although the liberal arguments are pretty and sound "reasonable," nearly all the planks of the radical modern liberal platform are directly or indirectly aimed at destroying one or more of the elements that hold western civilization together.
I believe that the culture wars, collectively, are one of the most important issues of our time. How they turn out, will determine whether or not our civilization will endure, or whether it will be replaced by something else offering a far more degraded quality of existence.
Some may believe that I overstate the issue, but one of the big issues I have tried to get across in this series is that the modern, radical liberal agenda, if fully implemented, would bring about the end of western civilization as we know it. I know it seems incredible. It is incredible. You think that no sane person would support such a program, and that’s exactly right. Read on.
The culture wars is a struggle where the radical left is promoting two large ideas or goals: radical egalitarianism and radical individualism.
Egalitarian is defined by the Webster’s Universal College Dictionary as "asserting, resulting from, or characterized by belief in the equality of all people, especially in political, economic or social life."
Radical egalitarianism asserts that there must be equal outcomes for all people in all arenas of life. This is not the "equal opportunity" promised in the Declaration of Independence. It is the idea that all people must actually receive an equal standard of living, material possessions, status in life, etc. This is regardless of the person’s skills, talent, drive, or effort expended. And this is regardless of cultural attitudes or habits, many of which greatly aid survival and some of which greatly detract from survival. The original source of this idea comes from socialism/communism and Karl Marx.
According to the radical egalitarian, if there are differences in income levels and average levels of achievement between groups, that indicates that the group achieving more is in some way discriminating against the group with lesser achievement. This idea has been insidiously woven into many of the concepts of modern life, from affirmative action to hiring quotas and "diversity programs."
One problem with this concept is that it would force everyone into a mediocre, average level of existence, with no route or option for anyone to achieve more through more education, harder work, etc. It removes any incentives to work harder, or for that matter, even to work at all. This is probably the biggest factor in the complete failure of any communist/socialist experiment to date.
In "Unholy Alliance" David Horowitz points out that the radical leftist lives in a theoretical utopian future where radical egalitarianism actually exists and works, and so all people are equal in every way. Since the current society always falls short of his utopian dream, then all current (especially capitalist) societies are judged by him to be morally wrong.
It’s interesting to reconsider whether the goal of everyone having totally equal possessions and status in life is even actually desirable. If you consider that it is not, then the entire communist idea falls flat on its bearded face.
Radical individualism is the concept that a person should be able to do whatever he or she wants, with no constraints whatsoever on his or her behavior. The radical individualist is for complete sexual freedom, and against any people or institutions that promote ethics, morals or moral codes, or try to put any kinds of restraint on his behavior.
One of the phenomena of the culture wars is "defining deviancy down." It means that deviant behavior is practiced and promoted so much, that the public finally goes into apathy and gives in, accepting it. So if you could envision a scale, with acceptable behavior on the upper part of the scale and deviant behavior on the bottom part of the scale, then over time, the line that separates the acceptable from the deviant behavior goes further and further down. More and more behavior that was formerly considered deviant, is now accepted. Or the public feels compelled or forced to accept it.
The radical individualist fights against cultural institutions that try to regulate and constrain his behavior, such as the Church, the family, and the schools. As these institutions come under attack and lose their power and ability to exert control over society, then society itself becomes more random and chaotic. Crime increases. Promiscuity increases, with attendant problems such as widespread single parent families, abortions, venereal disease, etc.
As the chaos becomes worse and more widespread, would it surprise you to learn that the radical leftist then calls for – greater government intrusiveness and control? Greater government power then allows the radical egalitarian to achieve his goal of equal outcomes, a goal that only be achieved by force from the government.
So the sequence is:
1. Promote relaxed moral standards, by promoting promiscuity, excusing criminality (they had a hard childhood, etc.).
2. Deviancy is defined down, with more and more deviant behavior being accepted, often due to the loud and shrieking demands of radical leftists.
3. Society becomes more random and chaotic.
4. The leftist calls for greater government control, more intrusive government programs, higher taxes and so on.
5. With greater government control, the leftist is able to achieve greater equality by coercion, force and higher taxes.
Conservatives have been fighting against the modern radical liberal agenda.
Part 2: The Issues
The radical modern liberal does not represent anything close to a majority in America today. A 2004 Gallup poll found that 20% of the US population described themselves as liberal, 40% described themselves as conservative, and 40% said they were moderate. So liberals are not a majority, and in fact never have been, despite the apparency of this that we often get from the fact that liberals control the mainstream news media.
But unfortunately, the modern radical liberals do currently control the Democratic Party. And their issues are supported completely by the mainstream news media, by Hollywood, and within college faculties. Their occupation of positions of power and control of many of the main communication lines of the society is what makes them so dangerous.
Conservatives are fighting against radical egalitarianism and radical individualism, and trying to return to a concept of equality and freedom that is not destructive to the society and social order.
What Radical Modern Liberals are For and Against
Here’s a quick list of the things that radical modern liberalism is for and against in the culture wars:
2. Affirmative action
3. Other forms of socialism such as national health care
4. Abortion, including partial birth abortion
5. Gay rights including gay marriage
6. Right-to-die and assisted suicide
7. Open borders, against deporting illegals, even criminals
8. Demanding equal outcomes, not just equal opportunities
9. Radical environmentalism
10. Radical feminism, including redefining "gender" to mean that there are now five genders, male, female, gay, lesbian, and transexual
11. Moral relativism, where there is no concept of right and wrong, only your "opinion"
12. Multiculturalism, where all cultures are considered and treated equal, including those that practice slavery, capital punishment for practicing a religion other than Islam (which most of the Middle East does), that practices female genital mutilation, etc.
13. Liberal judicial activism
14. Permissiveness about sex, including early sex education, condoms, etc.
15. Total support for the United Nations, and for the US surrendering its sovereignty to it
16. Tax increases
17. Rewriting history to remove teachings of the merits and brilliance of the Founding Fathers, and instead to vilify them
18. Supporting the rights and/or rewarding of various "victims" groups
1. Incarceration and punishment for criminals, even violent criminals, but enthusiastic for the rights of criminals
2. Personal responsibility
3. The war in Iraq
4. The war on terrorism
5. The US defending itself
6. The military
7. The US acting alone to protect its interests
8. Tort reform (meaning reforming our court system to reduce the number and magnitude of suits in America)
9. Religious expression in public, especially Christianity
10. Business in general
11. Tax cuts
12. Americans owning guns
Just about everything in the modern liberal agenda either,
a) Penalizes those who are productive or have achieved things, and rewards those who are NOT productive or who are active liabilities to society, or
b) Tends to destroy those things, like the family or the church or business, that are the pillars of society and keep it going strong.
Part 3: The Genesis of the Radical Left
The Secular World Views
In one of my other recent articles, I discussed the various world views. Some of the key elements of the three secular world views are instructive in understanding the origin of today?s modern radical left:
Secular Humanism: Materialism, anti-church structure, atheism, moral relativism (no clear definition of right and wrong, it depends on how you feel).
Material Humanism / Marxism: The materialism means that the world is all material – no spiritual aspect to man. Theology: Atheism. Psychology: Pavlovian behavioralism. You can condition people to do what you want them to do. Sociology: Abolition of home, church and state. Economics: Socialism/communism.
Post Modernism: Philosophy: Pragmatism; whatever works (not necessarily what’s right). Theology: Individualism, libertarianism, capitalism, non-religious self law. I’m God. I make the law. I’m in it for me. Economics: Randian capitalism (based on Ayn Rand’s novels), whatever capitalism you can get away with.
You can see elements of the new liberalism that originated in each of these world-views. Radical egalitarianism has its roots in Marxism.
The radical individualism that resists any restrictions on behavior, has its roots in all three of the world-views above:
* Secular Humanism with its anti-church structure, atheism, moral relativism;
* Material Humanism / Marxism with its atheism, Pavlovian behavioralism (including modern psychiatry and psychology), abolition of home, church and state; and
* Post Modernism with its lack of ethics, selfishness and lack of any type of philosophy of helping others.
The Birth of Modern Liberalism: Port Huron
Former federal judge Robert Bork pinpoints the genesis of the modern liberalism movement to a single event in the 1960s, the June, 1962 meeting of the Students for a Democratic Society in Port Huron, Michigan.
That meeting was attended by now-famous radical from the 60s period Tom Hayden. Bork says that the statement drafted at that meeting, now known as the Port Huron Statement, was the blueprint for the 1960s radicals that violently took over university campuses across America. This document basically identified capitalist America as the corrupt cause of all evil in society, and called for "tearing the system down."
I read the entire (rather tedious) document myself, with the goal of better understanding what this movement is up to. Here are some of the highlights:
a. Much like the Communist Manifesto, it rails against Capitalism and business as the source of all evils in society. Much of the Port Huron Statement is based thoroughly on Marx.
b. It is openly pro-Communist:
c. It is extremely anti-US:
d. It urges unilateral disarmament of the U.S. (i.e. the US getting rid of its nuclear weapons without requiring the Soviet Union to do so).
e. It urges the transfer of sovereignty (in this case the control of our military) from the US to the United Nations:
There are many similarities and parallels to the Communist Manifesto.
Bork comments, "Though most Americans have never heard of the proceedings at Port Huron, they were crucial, for the authentic spirit of Sixties radicalism issued there."
"The temporary abeyance of the Sixties temper was due to the radicals graduating from the universities and becoming invisible until they reached positions of power and influence, as they now have, across the breadth of our culture. They no longer have need for violence or confrontation: since the radicals control the institutions they formerly attacked, the Sixties temper manifests itself in subtler but no less destructive ways."
"They didn’t just go into the universities. The radicals were not likely to go into business or the conventional practice of the professions. They were part of the chattering class, talkers interested in policy, politics, and culture. They went into politics, print and electronic journalism, church bureaucracies, foundation staffs, Hollywood careers, public interest organizations, anywhere attitudes and opinions could be influenced. And they are exerting influence."
An additional, interesting aspect of this group that is that most of the "chattering class" professions these radicals moved into have no real experience in commercial enterprise, i.e. making money. With few exceptions, all these radicals went into fields where making money is a foreign concept.
Note that this lack of experience in making money, allows them to hang onto their utopian dream of a society where all receive equal outcomes. Most people, when confronted with the business imperative of turning a profit, and its objective, real world measurements, realize that hard work, achievement and talent are essential for administrative and commercial success. So the (unequal) incentives that are an inherent part of the capitalist model – you work hard, get educated, help the firm succeed and thereby get rewarded – are vital for success in any endeavor.
Most production that actually makes money will grind to a halt, or continue in greatly reduced efficiency, like previously in the USSR, or in Cuba, which has gone from one of the highest per capita incomes in Central and South America before Communism to one of the lowest.
Part 4: The Tactics of Radical Modern Liberalism
Now we’ll look at the tactics of the radical left, which have been very effective. A lack of understanding of these tactics has caused conservatives to be largely caught flat-footed.
The tactics of the radical left are:
A. Pushing for the most radical position
B. Total attack on any conservative position
C. Claiming victimization and squawking loudly
D. Making ridiculous assertions, accusations or comparisons, which are repeated by other liberals, and carried for weeks by the media
E. Character assassination of effective individuals
F. Total support from the mainstream media
G. Exclusion of conservative ideas from higher education
H. Propaganda from Hollywood, music, etc.
I. Redefining words such as "tolerance" and "intolerance"
J. Wrapping the radical agenda in the mantle of "rights"
K. Judicial activism
For detail and explanation of each of these tactics, see Part 4 of this series.
Part 5: Who’s Winning?
Conservatives Caught Flat-Footed
For much of the last 50 years, conservatives have not even realized they were engaged in any kind of a major war. They noticed skirmishes, but few have recognized, until the last 15-20 years, 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 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?
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 then considered normal.
2. Attacks on religion, 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."
The sexual revolution has reached the point where more and more sexual practices that were once considered deviant, are now considered normal.
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 now has as its main goal, wiping out any public expression of religion, especially Christianity. 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 domain.
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.
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. 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: This 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. Recent changes in the Supreme Court may shift the balance on this.
4. Radical Feminism: With 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.
5. Radical Environmentalism: Environmentalists have succeeded in spreading false data and getting it broadly accepted, and suppressing true data in many cases. Overall, although they have succeeded in some spheres, I see the radical liberals losing this fight.
6. Public Expression of Religion: The ACLU and secularists/atheists 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 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. 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. Although Republicans have done a poor job in some ways, particularly in pursuing limited government and in actually 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. These are not assured however.
d. The Media
I don’t think anyone is really sure exactly 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.
The mainstream news media, has an incredible liberal bias, causing them to:
1.Champion liberal causes
2.Report Democratic politicians in the most positive light possible
3.Forgive or develop amnesia over any facts that make a Democratic politician look bad
4.Criticize or ignore conservative causes
5.Criticize anything President Bush or other Republicans do
6.Report Republican politicians in the most negative light possible
7.Report over and over again, any data that make a Republican politician look bad (even if it?s false)
8.Give lots of airtime to liberal sources, experts, politicians, and authors
9.Ignore or denigrate conservative sources, experts, politicians, and authors
10.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.
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 never have been in the majority. All surveys I have seen put liberals at about 20% of the population. A 2004 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 series, 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.
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.
Of course there is still a war to be fought and conservatives 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.
Part 6: The Conservative Culture Wars Battle Plan
This is arguably the most important part of the series, the battle plan. This is how conservatives are going to defeat the radical liberal left, bring sanity and societal calm back to America, and create a new Golden Age in the 21st century.
0. Use the left’s tactics but don’t descend to their depraved ethics level
A. Reinforce and continue the conservative alternative media revolution
B. Expose and ridicule liberals, as we have been doing
1. Paint/expose/position the radical liberals as being very radical, in order to alienate them from mainstream Americans
2. Position the radical modern liberal with the failed ideology of communism, which is the truth
3. Expose what the radical modern liberal is really working towards
4. Expose and explain why the radical liberal agenda is inherently
destructive to society
C. Affirm the conservative platform and world view
D. Re-educate the public away from the socialist safety net idea
E. Go on the offensive, put liberals on the defensive
1. Federal marriage amendment
2. Outlaw welfare benefits for illegal immigrants, enforce
3. Pass college students’ bill of rights (Horowitz)
4. Social Security reform
5. Constitutional amendment allowing Congress to overturn
Supreme Court and other courts by majority vote
6. Constitutional amendment(s) exactly defining and clarifying the separation of church and state, right to own guns
7.Broadly push for repeal of failed government programs, even dissolving failed government agencies
F. Allow black conservatives to address and handle black issues, so that no one can be accused of being racist.
G. Realize that all liberals are not our enemies
H. Promote religious freedom
For details and explanation of the battle plan, see Part 6 of the series.
The Big Summary
As mentioned, most of the radical modern liberal agenda is based on Marxism, on the false notion that all people must receive equal possessions and status in life, regardless of their talent, skills, intelligence or effort expended. If you show that one notion to be false, which I hope I have done, the whole "philosophy" collapses like a house of cards.
But because the concept of the need for "diversity," false data on the environment, the gay rights agenda, the degraded lowered morality standard, the concept of the socialist safety net, and many more have woven their way into our culture and, for many of us, our way of thinking, it is vital to strip this false data out of our lives.
What You Can Do:
1.First and foremost, it is vital for you to become more educated on these issues. See our resource center for web sites you can visit for conservative news and commentary.
2.Read books on the issues. Our research center also has numerous excellent books that we recommend, including titles specifically about the culture wars.
3.Become educated about liberal media bias. Read my articles about this topic and the several books I recommend. This is vital because if you do not understand the onslaught of liberally biased news that you receive, it will give you a slanted view of all the facts and events, and you will not be truly informed.
4.Fox News channel is highly recommended, as they give a more balanced, slightly right of center viewpoint than any other news channel, which has propelled them to number one in cable news, with more listeners than all the other cable news channels (CNN, MSNBC, etc.) combined.
5.Keep reading my newsletters.
6.Hook up with other conservatives in your area.
7.Educate your friends on these issues.
8.Engage others who are discussing political issues. You have undoubtedly heard conversations in which people were expressing liberal views, often with the condescension, smugness or assumption that any intelligent person would agree. If you agree with what I’ve been saying here and in my other articles, you might have felt intimidated by this sort of condescension (which is their intention). I have found that in such cases, it helps to simply say "I don’t agree with that." You’ll feel better and the liberal may receive a healthy shock. The important thing is to begin the discussion and start to spread these ideas.
9.Write to your state and federal officials (such as your Governor, state legislators, US Representatives and Senators, and the President) on issues of importance to you. You will find that it is easy to find the web sites of these officials using search engines, and all of them will either give you an email address or allow you to fill out a comment form on the site. You may not get a personal reply but these letters and emails are paid attention to.
10.Give me your feedback. I love hearing from you and it makes this job worthwhile.