Monday, September 22, 2008

Why the Culture War Has Re-ignited

The selection of Sarah Palin as McCain's VP choice has re-ignited the Culture Wars. During the Emmy awards, Tina Fey opined she wanted Sarah Palin to be removed from public life. Laura Linney, Howie Mandel, Jeremy Piven, Stephen Colbert, and John Stewart all expressed their negative views of Sarah Palin. John McCain? He wasn't even mentioned. Even Saturday Night Live got into the act, with a skit suggesting that Todd Palin was molesting his daughters.

The Culture Wars, last seen in the 1992 election, are back. Sarah Palin is at the center. Instead of Murphy Brown. This time, of course, for her decision to have five children, with a blue collar, supportive man. But what drives the reason the Culture Wars are being fought? After all, much of this abuse directed at Palin is spontaneous, coming from people such as Sandra Bernhard. Who, to the acclaim of the Washington Post, declared that Sarah Palin would be "gang raped" by "some of Sandra's big, Black brothers" should Palin dare to venture into Manhattan.

What is driving this abuse? It's fear of demographics, and the need to control culture to make up for the demographic collapse of White Liberalism.

Simply put, White Liberals are not having many children. Philip Longman, in his "Return of the Patriarchy," notes that "Red" states that voted for George W. Bush in 2004, had a 12% fertility advantage over "Blue" states that voted for John Kerry. Liberals do know this, and it accounts for the fury over which they wage the Culture Wars, and also their support for illegal and legal immigration.

The story of Forty-Three year old Alexis Stewart, daughter of Martha Stewart, is fairly instructive. The forces of both urban anonymity, and Liberal Culture, encourage educated, urban, high income women to delay childbirth until radical (and risky, for both mother and child) means of fertility, which in the case of Stewart cost $28,000 a month, are required. Meanwhile, as Longman notes, Mormon and Evangelical Christians have many children.Mitt Romney has for example, five sons. Liberals know well that they will simply be outnumbered and shoved aside from power by sheer fertility (and their own lack of it) unless something is done.

Hence, the Culture Wars. Culture is the Liberal "Secret Weapon" for controlling political, social, and yes demographic power. Liberals bank on the power of Culture to transform, young men and women, from socially conservative, Evangelical, Mormon, and other "patriarchal" groups into well, Liberals. To a certain extent they have been successful. Young women in particular flock to urban centers, as Strange Maps points out. While commenters on Strange Maps have pointed out some possible errors in the map's assumptions, the main point that young women and men flock to urban areas is not disputed. As "Pick Up Artist" and blogger Roissy has noted, urban living imposes it's own dynamics. Including anonymity, endless choice, and a consumerist approach to relationships. The dynamic has not escaped the notice of Liberals, who bet on the dynamic and the omnipresent Media Culture to create their own Janissary Corps.

The Turkish Sultans, engaged first in the conquest of Anatolia, which at the time was overwhelmingly Christian, had a problem. A problem made worse by the final conquest of Byzantium in 1453, and the conquest of Christian nations in the Balkans, Southern Russia, and Southern Poland. Namely, revolt by Christians who outnumbered the Muslims, at least locally. The solution to this problem was the formation of the Janissary Corps, by the Sultan Murad I, around 1365. Local Christian youths were conscripted, forcibly converted as Muslims, and trained as elite soldiers who formed the Sultan's own personal army, as opposed to the tribal levies who were loyal to their own tribal leaders. The Janissaries were paid, regularly, as soldiers, and wore distinctive uniforms. Their loyalty was to the Sultan, not other leaders or groups. Their military prowess, and the ability of the Sultans to use them as an ever-expanding personal army, accounted for much of the Ottoman success, even as late as 1683 and the Second Siege of Vienna. Eventually, of course, the Janissaries became a rather debased Praetorian Guard, controlling the Sultans rather than acting as agents of his will. But for the better part of five hundred years the institution was successful.

Now, Liberals do not intend to impress and forcibly convert socially conservative young people. Rather, they believe that the Media Culture, and the signaling of what is fashionable and trendy, will work the same way in the anonymous, consumerist, status-driven urban culture that young men and women largely inhabit today. After all, they reason, the young men and women who leave small towns and suburbs, enter into large urban areas that are beyond daily contact with their parents, former friends, and social networks. Making these young men and women extremely malleable for new social norms, based on approval of taste-makers and fashions that determine relationship success, in a place where anonymity and endless choice abounds. Having the "correct" opinions are vital for relationship success. Reinforced of course by the Media and Culture which tells young people what attitudes are attributes of those successful in relationships and status and power in the urban mosh pit, and what attitudes are the mark of failures.

This is why the Culture Wars were fought in the first place, starting in the mid to late 1980's when the Baby Boomer generation early cohorts first reached their late thirties and early forties, and positions of cultural power. It's why Murphy Brown had a child on her own, with a father irrelevant. It's why nearly every television show, movie, and pop music artist all push the same social conventions of social liberalism. It is the weapon against fertility — the ability to "capture" young social conservative men and women and "convert" them to social Liberalism, when they move to large Urban Areas, outside the reach of their childhood churches, parents, and friends, and the social networks that shaped their views.

Sarah Palin, of course, just by example, threatens that ability to push a social consensus. Just by existing as an example of a woman who did not move to a large urban area, and pursue the kind of life that say, Alexis Stewart did, she is a threat, from outside Culture. Outside movies, television, and popular music, what Liberals see as the great social shapers of attitudes in the modern world. No less than George Clooney, after all, claimed it was Hollywood that helped end racism and sexism, through it's movies. If Sarah Palin has a successful political career, particularly if she assumes the Presidency at some point (a future viewed as pure horror by Margaret Cho and Tina Fey), she represents an "end run" around the Liberal Culture. A threat to the ability of Liberals to use Culture as a Janissary Corps to indoctrinate young men and women into their own worldview.

This threat is seen most clearly by those who use their Cultural monopoly, in movies, television, and popular music to enforce cultural mores. Hence the spontaneous and rage-filled venom spewed by movie, television, and pop music celebrities. Including Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and now, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford who dubbed Barack Obama "a Lightworker", presumably after watching one too many episodes of "Charmed" which also featured "White Lighters" with magical powers.

Even the Media people like Morford absorb without question the culture produced by television:

Many spiritually advanced people I know (not coweringly religious, mind you, but deeply spiritual) identify Obama as a Lightworker, that rare kind of attuned being who has the ability to lead us not merely to new foreign policies or health care plans or whatnot, but who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet, of relating and connecting and engaging with this bizarre earthly experiment. These kinds of people actually help us evolve. They are philosophers and peacemakers of a very high order, and they speak not just to reason or emotion, but to the soul.


It is also why people like Morford hate that Palin could threaten this cultural monopoly by her success:

Every white woman I know is positively horrified.

Wait, that's not exactly true. It's more accurate to say that every thoughtful or liberal or intuitive or open-minded white woman I know worth her vagina monologue and her self-determination and two centuries of nonstop striving for equal rights and sexual freedom and exhaustive patriarchal unshackling is right now openly horrified, appalled at what the addition of shrill PTA hockey-mom Sarah Palin seems to have done for the soggy, comatose McCain campaign -- that is, make it not merely remotely interesting and melodramatic, but aggressively hostile to, well, to all intelligent women everywhere.

Truly, among women in the know and especially among those who fought so hard to bring Hillary Clinton to the brink of history, nausea and a general recoiling appear to be the universal reactions to Palin's sudden presence on the national stage, stemming straight from the idea that there's even a slight chance in hell such an antagonistic, anti-female politico could be within a 72-year-old heartbeat of becoming the most powerful and iconic woman of all time.

They say: You've got to be kidding me. They say: This is what we get? This could be our historic role model? Two hundred years (OK, more like 2000) of struggle, only to have this nasty caricature of femininity try to hijack and mock and undermine it all?

It cannot be true, they say. The universe must be joking, would not dare dump such a homophobic, Creationist evangelical nutball on us, this anti-choice, God-pandering woman who's the inverse of Hillary, this woman of deep inexperience who abhors birth control and supports abstinence education and shoots exhausted wolves from helicopters and hates polar bears and actually stands for everything progressive women have resented since the first pope Swift-Boated Eve.


This cultural monopoly in the English speaking media, is also why Liberals support illegal immigration, and increased legal immigration as well. They assume that the mostly Mexican immigrants, legal or not, will be absorbed into the cultural assumptions of the Urban professional class: PETA, Greenpeace, "Lightworkers" and other New Age nonsense, and of course Global Warming and the Gaia religion. Along with the endless pursuit of status and consumerist relationships. Mostly, the White young men and women who make the journey from the hinterland into the Big Cities have been absorbed into that Cultural monopoly.

What the Liberal Elite don't understand, of course, is that particularly for Mexican Immigrants, legal or not, this absorption simply does not take place. Like Sarah Palin, they stand aside. Not by living in small-town Alaska, but by living outside the English speaking Media. Just in the last few years, Nielsen has listed Univision, in addition to ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and the CW, in broadcast networks. As can be readily discovered by the casual observer, Nielsen shows that Hispanics don't watch the same things Whites or Blacks do. During the Summer Olympics, both Whites and Blacks mostly watched the Olympics on NBC. For Hispanics, it was shows like "Sabado Gigante." The Olympics did not make the top ten for that demographic.

Hispanics in the US (and we are largely speaking of Mexican Immigrants, legal or illegal, and their children) have not one but two broadcast television networks offering Spanish-language content, Univision and Telemundo. Anyone watching their shows, will find radically different ideas about the place and role of women in society, treatment of animals, romance and relationships, concerns about the environment, and much else. Though Hispanics vote reliably Democratic, they hold vastly different attitudes towards, say gays and gay marriage, than the Liberal Culture of the English speaking elite. They remain, decades after large scale immigration into the US, legal or otherwise, largely distinct and separate culturally from their English speaking contemporaries. This is true even of English speaking children of Mexican immigrants. Who remain loyal to Spanish language media, culture, and mores. Even if they are outside daily contact with their parents, churches,and social network. The vast ocean of English speaking Liberal Culture holds little attraction to them, and they remain immune to it's function of absorbing and acculturating newcomers to the large urban centers of America.

Large Urban centers such as New York or Los Angeles can have two separate, distinct, and largely exclusive populations, the White Yuppie professional class, and the largely Hispanic working class, that rarely if ever interact. While the effect of Liberal Culture in English language outlets is powerful, it has no effect whatsoever on those who live side by side with it, but separate to it. This outcome of course, is something that Liberals cannot see, just as fish in the middle of the ocean cannot fathom where the shore begins and the sea ends.

This blindness, and the battle for supremacy over the fertility of socially conservative Whites through the "Janissary Effect" of Liberal Culture is what drives the fury over Palin by those who drive that culture. They see their power slipping away from them, by the existence of an alternate model. Ironically, they fail to see (as do European elites who vastly overestimate the power of assimilation by culture with their own, separate Muslim population) that the real threat comes not by the example of Palin but the numerical supremacy of the Immigrant population they have welcomed as allies against more fertile and conservative Whites.

A Mexican origin majority voter State (California is majority Mexican, but not in registered voters who are still overwhelmingly White), would outlaw gay marriage, and likely benefits for "registered partners." Since gay rights and gays remain deeply unpopular among Mexican nationals and those of Mexican origin. Dog fighting and cock fighting would be legal, since those are popular past-times for Mexican nationals and Mexican origin citizens. As the effect of English-language Culture in remaking socially conservative White men and women in large urban centers into largely child-less yuppies becomes stronger, ironically the more fertile Mexican origin citizens will wield far greater voting power, and remake society to their liking.

Largely undoing many of the key aspects of the White Liberal Society.

No one said that the Cultural gate keepers of English language media were smart. Merely powerful.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Couple of points:

1) California is not Mexican majority yet. While white anglos no longer constitute a majority, they are still the largest single ethnic group in the state. A Hispanic majority is about 10-20 years away, depending on their birth rates (which are declining) and immigration (ditto).

2) Philip Longman's point was that eventually there would be no one left among the counterculturalists to do the proselytizing:

"One could argue that history, and particularly Western history, is full of revolts of children against parents. Couldn't tomorrow's Europeans, even if they are disproportionately raised in patriarchal, religiously minded households, turn out to be another generation of '68?

The key difference is that during the post-World War II era, nearly all segments of modern societies married and had children. Some had more than others, but the disparity in family size between the religious and the secular was not so large, and childlessness was rare. Today, by contrast, childlessness is common, and even couples who have children typically have just one. Tomorrow's children, therefore, unlike members of the postwar baby boom generation, will be for the most part descendants of a comparatively narrow and culturally conservative segment of society. To be sure, some members of the rising generation may reject their parents' values, as always happens. But when they look around for fellow secularists and counterculturalists with whom to make common cause, they will find that most of their wouldbe fellow travelers were quite literally never born."

True enough.

3) I've been hearing the line about how Hispanics/Mexicans are natural Republicans, family oriented, etc. etc. for twenty years now. It hasn't happened yet and it ain't gonna. First of all, the family-orientedness is a myth. Mexicans (both stateside and in Mexico) have very high rates of illegitimacy and family disintegration. Second, I have seen evidence to suggest that second- and third-generation Americans of immigrant families are even MORE radical and obsessed by identity politics. As they become more "educated" (majoring in Grievance Studies, mainly) they also adopt the values/attitudes of the white left on other issues: women's rights, gay marriage, environmentalism, etc.

3) This is reflected by the vast majority of black/minority legislators, who keep getting re-elected despite having voting records completely at odds with the sentiments of their constituents on the above issues.

Whiskey said...

Anon -- agreed that Mexican origin/nationals have high illegitimacy rates, but the ability of the Left to transmit cultural values is limited, given the vastness of the alternative, Spanish-language media which caters to the Mexican culture, not the White Yuppie culture.

Constant new waves of Mexican immigrants, legal or otherwise, and the close proximity of Mexico make the kind of cultural absorption that happened with say, Italian immigrants, many from the impoverished south or Sicily, very difficult. Particularly since relatively few Mexican origin residents/citizens attend College.

Gerard said...

Brilliant essay.

Why would the elite put such faith and energy into wooing the Mexican population?

They've literally got nothing else.

Desperation politics. Desperation culture.

Anonymous said...

This time, of course, for her decision to have five children, with a blue collar, supportive man.

I have a feeling that if Palin was pro-choice, liberal women would be way less furious about her.

However, one thing I have noticed among women who dislike Palin is that many are quite pleased about the 180 turn conservatives have done on working mothers of very young children & how conservatives defend her with feminist, NOW-approved language ("you wouldn't ask a man that!"), as the (apparently formerly) conservative notion that these women should put career activities on hold during these years and that men & women have different roles yadda yadda is another idea that makes liberal yuppie women furious.

USpace said...

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Well done, fascinating, great analysis! Sandra Bernhard's biggest attraction was always just an ugly woman trying to be funny. These Leftist women are really losing their minds. Rosanne wondered on Bill Maher's show whether McCain would take away women's right to vote. Even Maher's audience thought that was a nutso thing to think.
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absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
never elect a woman

who's a conservative
she's just a gender traitor

.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
just HOPE to pay more taxes

DREAM about high fuel prices
CHANGE PROGRESS to move backwards

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absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
NEVER ELECT a woman

OR a minority
if they are Right of center

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All real freedom starts with freedom of speech. Without freedom of speech there can be no real freedom.
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Philosophy of Liberty Cartoon
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Help Halt Terrorism Today!
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USpace

:)
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T. AKA Ricky Raw said...

Great post.

I find the LA vs. NY map very interesting. LA was made popular to single guys thanks to Entourage on HBO, NY was made popular to single women thanks to Sex and the City on HBO.

Kevin J waldroup said...

PS small town ameriea has started to make their own movies