It’s the Culture, Stupid

by Brad Nelson   4/11/14

Roving reporter and this site’s friend, Lawrence, pointed out to me an article by Mark Steyn at Steyn’s site: Where the Action Is. He sounds like me (well, in general pessimistic outline):

Would it have made any difference to the country had any of these fine upstanding fellows prevailed? Or would we be pretty much where we are anyway? Aside from a trade agreement here, a federal regulation there, I’d plump for the latter. You can’t have conservative government in a liberal culture, and that’s the position the Republican party is in. After the last election, I said that the billion dollars spent by the Romney campaign on robocalls and TV ads and whatnot had been entirely wasted, and the Electoral College breakdown would have been pretty much the same if they’d just tossed the dough into the Potomac and let it float out to sea. But imagine the use all that money and time could have been put to out there in the wider world. Liberals expend tremendous effort changing the culture. Conservatives expend tremendous effort changing elected officials every other November — and then are surprised that it doesn’t make much difference. Culture trumps politics — which is why, once the question’s been settled culturally, conservatives are reduced to playing catch-up, twisting themselves into pretzels to explain (including in the pages of this magazine) why gay marriage is really conservative after all, or why 30 million unskilled immigrants with a majority of births out of wedlock are “natural allies” of the Republican party.

And he sounds like Mr. Kung who often notes that cultural is everything. Well, it may not be everything but it counts for much. Here’s another good bit:

Supreme Intergalactic Arbiter Anthony Kennedy wields more power over Americans than George III did, but in a year or three he’ll be playing catch-up and striking down laws because of their “improper animus” and wish to “demean” and “humiliate” persons of gender fluidity. Having done an impressive job of demolishing the basic societal building block of the family, the ambitious liberal is now moving on to demolishing the basic biological building block of the sexes. Indeed, taken in tandem with the ever greater dominance of women at America’s least worst colleges and, at the other end of the social scale, the bleak, dispiriting permanence of the “he-cession”, in 28 years’ time we may be fairly well advanced toward the de facto abolition of man, at least in the manly sense. That seems to me at least as interesting a question as whether the Republicans can take the Senate with a pick-up in this or that swing state. Culture is the long view; politics is the here and now. Yet in America vast cultural changes occur in nothing flat, while, under our sclerotic political institutions, men elected to two-year terms of office announce ambitious plans to balance the budget a decade after their terms end. Here, again, liberals show a greater understanding of where the action is.

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Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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6 Responses to It’s the Culture, Stupid

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    The concept of Fabian socialism was to take over the communications media and similar professions, and use that to push out opposing views so that eventually the people would choose socialism because they would know of no alternative. This is very similar to what liberals have done here in America.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      and use that to push out opposing views so that eventually the people would choose socialism because they would know of no alternative.

      I think that’s true. But the greater threat here is not just another crank utopian cause aggravating and lying its way to a majority. It’s that the cause is trying to delegitimize liberalism — the very idea that we are to live in a mostly pluralistic society where disagreements are tolerated and considered normal.

      That’s why these people are liberal fascists. And anyone who votes for them or in any way supports them is a fool and an enemy of freedom.

  2. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    OK, I’ll restate my position, “Culture trumps everything” and much of Steyn’s work makes this clear.

    American conservatives are fresh water fish swimming in the cultural brine of leftism. Who do you think will when in such an environment, the trout or the barracudas?

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      American conservatives are fresh water fish swimming in the cultural brine of leftism.

      That’s very good, Mr. Kung. You obviously ate your linguistic Wheaties this morning. Maybe we should rename this site something to reflect this cultural situation: Cultures are Stubborn Things…and I’m quite serious (although it would be a gigantic pain in the ass at this point to do that). Maybe we could just have a side-blog dedicated to Steynian (Kungian?) cultural issues and realities.

      I admit that I fully adhere to the Steynian view as espoused in his “Where the Action Is” article, which is linked above. Expecting to win elections every two or four years while other forces are moving the culture in general is naive. Rush Limbaugh has made much the same point which is no doubt why he’s delved into helping to change the culture with his books for children. Although he’s not doing this for free, I give him points for not just being part of the “conservative book club.” These are the types of efforts we should support fully.

      We need a sort of conservative “activism” but without the unkempt appearance, vulgar language (expect when bluntly describing the Left), dirty habits, and lying mouth — and hold the Kool-aid.

      The barracudas are winning. Or maybe it is more apt to call them “piranhas” because it is only a matter of time until they devour their own.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Note that cultural attitudes on abortion are trending against the Left. We need to study that and apply the lessons to other issues.

  3. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    “American conservatives are fresh water fish swimming in the cultural brine of leftism.

    That’s very good, Mr. Kung.”

    Glad you liked it. I think metaphors are an important weapon in the fight against the Left. People generally understand them quicker and remember them longer than long dissertations. You know how long fresh water fish last in salt water. I could just see conservatives floating belly up, if they don’t do something about the culture.

    The importance of culture has been something of a crusade to me for a long time. Their inability to recognize/acknowledge the importance of culture is exactly why I believe the vast majority of so-called libertarians are either Leftists in drag or superficial thinkers, or perhaps both.

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