Wednesday, July 27, 2016

fighting the culture wars in the culture

I don’t know much about Andrew Klavan but he seems to be one of those mainstream conservatives who is wrong about most things. On the other hand he does seem to be right about at least one thing. He says

“Fight the culture wars in the culture. The culture wars are problematical because too often conservatives come across as anti-freedom or bigoted. That makes victory tough. I feel passionately about some cultural issues and indifferent to others, but I believe all of them should be fought on a cultural and informational level rather than a political one. For instance, I believe that abortion is the taking of a human life and that government therefore has a right to forbid it. But just speaking bluntly and honestly, I don't think I can win that fight in the political arena right now. Happily, the truth may do what politics cannot. The truth is on my side and the more the truth gets out about what abortion looks like, how it's done, and who the people who support it are, the more the public will know that it is unacceptable. Then we can win politically.”

There is at least some truth to this. The strategy of cultural marxism has been to change the culture first. The final political victories of the cultural left on issues like homosexual marriage have simply been mopping-up operations after the real battles were won. And the real battles were fought out in art and literature, in television series, in movies, in popular music. The idea of homosexual marriage had already been normalised in popular culture before to became a political issue. By the time it did become a political issue social conservatives had already lost.

If you look back you’ll find that the same method has been adopted in every major battle of the culture wars. The decisive battles are fought in Hollywood movies, on network TV series, in pop music. 

When you can to a very large extent control what people read, what they will see on television, what kind of movies they will watch, then you have pretty much total control of that society. If you have the schools and universities as well then you do have total control. The political process then becomes entirely irrelevant. The cultural left has always understood this. Very few conservatives have had any comprehension of this. Conservatives unfortunately have shown zero interest in actually fighting the culture wars in the culture.

It has to be admitted that the overall strategy behind cultural marxism was absolutely brilliant and it has been extraordinarily successful. 

Sadly conservatives have been unwilling to copy the successful tactics of the cultural left. The cultural left believes in winning at all costs. Any method is legitimate if it brings victory closer. When leftists gain a foothold in any organisation they start stacking it with their own supporters. It would never occur to them to hire on merit. If you have the correct political views you get hired. If you don’t have the correct political views you don’t get hired. End of story. Once cultural leftists gain control of an organisation they drive out their political opponents.

If conservatives actually want to win they need to be equally ruthless and equally indifferent to fair play.

Fifty years ago most of our cultural institutions were controlled by conservatives. Conservatives gave up their control through a monumental act of folly - they assumed that the cultural leftists were reasonable fair-minded people with whom it was possible to compromise and peacefully co-exist.

Amazingly, and tragically, most conservatives still accept that absurd assumption.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

why doesn't cultural diversity matter?

We live in a world in which we’re constantly told that diversity is the most precious thing there is, and yet the people and institutions pushing this line are entirely unconcerned by the fact that actual diversity is rapidly disappearing.

The actual diversity that is vanishing is cultural diversity and this represents one of the great tragedies of human history. A hundred years ago there were countless cultures on this planet, all with their own unique features. These were not necessarily national cultures - often one nation would contain a number of distinctive cultures. Within living memory the Cornish still considered themselves to be culturally quite separate from the English. A Yorkshireman would have considered himself to be more than just a generic Englishman.

Even in countries with much shorter histories there was considerable cultural diversity. It’s reasonable to say that until a generation or so ago Texans thought of themselves as a distinct sub-culture within the large American culture. 

If present trends continue none of these cultural groups will survive. Within a couple of generations the whole western world will be a single monoculture. Everyone will listen to more or less the same music, watch the same movies, watch the same TV programs, use the same slang, eat the same foods, obey the same social rules. Parts of the non-western world may resist a little longer but eventually they too will be assimilated into the monoculture. The elites have already pretty much gone down that path.

It’s not just going to be a monoculture but if present indications are any guide it’s going to be both trashy and dreary, and of course entirely materialistic and consumerist.

Not long ago I read a science fiction book (I’m afraid I don’t remember the title offhand) about a future in which virtually instantaneous travel was possible to all, to any place in the world. But nobody ever made use of it because there was no point. Why bother going to another city since every city on the planet was identical - the same architecture, the same interior design, the same fashions, the same range of cuisines, the same popular culture, the same movies playing, the same TV programs, the same everything. You could travel from Tokyo to New York or to Paris or to Melbourne but once you got there it was exactly the same in every respect as New York.

It seems like that future is getting closer. To me it seems like a nightmare future but oddly enough most people seem unconcerned. 

This post was inspired by an excellent recent posting at Vanishing American II.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

normal service to be resumed soon, with any luck

I've been offline for a few days while we're transitioning to the new National Broadband Network. The network nobody asked for but the government decided everyone was going to get whether they wanted it or not. At an astronomical cost to the Australia taxpayer.

I imagine there will be even more teething problems for the next few days but with any luck I'll be able to resume normal posting by next week.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

the rise of the dissidents

The recent Australian election in which the anti-immigration One Nation Party has apparently gained at least one, and possibly as many as four, Senate seats will no doubt lead to more hand-wringing about the rise of the dreaded Far Right. 

In fact the result has little to do with the supposed Far Right or even the Right in general. What we are seeing here, as we saw in the Brexit vote, is the rise of political dissidence. The dissidents are not really left-wing or right-wing. They are merely dissidents. The various minor party candidates who have been elected in Australia, like those who voted for them, do not have any particular political program. They do not model themselves on the established political parties in which party discipline is rigidly enforced and power is that that matters. These minor parties in Australia are decentralised and appear to be chaotic. Some of them are splinter parties of other splinter parties. They are not a unified coherent political force. They are a constantly shifting kaleidoscope of short-term alliances.

And that is their strength. That is why their voters vote for them. The people who vote for them don’t want superbly organised, professionally run, highly efficient parties. That’s why they no longer vote for the major parties. They don’t trust professional politicians. They prefer to put their trust in amateurs like Derryn Hinch and outsiders like Pauline Hanson. 

Their supporters don’t care if the election of these outsiders leads to so-called political instability. We’ve had strong stable governments and those governments have betrayed us and buried us in a mountain of useless and unnecessary laws and regulations that we never asked for. People don’t care any longer if we have minority governments and if those governments are short-lived. What they do care about is somehow getting through to politicians that ordinary people are tired of politicians telling them what they must do. They want to tell the politicians what to do. They want politicians to sit down, shut up and do what the people tell them to do. You know, like it’s supposed to be in a democracy.