Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Left is addicted to the culture war.

Trump is a drug dealer.  The left injects what he sells.   They aren't fools and ideologues.  They are addicts.

It hurts so good.
It is the shocking taste of sour apple candy.  It hurts so good.  

The addiction leads them to self destruction.

Progressives in America have reason to think things are going well:

Obamacare lives on.

"Tax reform" is already being defined as tax cuts for the wealthy and a broken populist promise.

Republicans generally look confused, divided, and unable to govern.  

A majority of Americans distrust Trump's judgement on North Korea and question his temperament to handle foreign affairs.

However, In the midst of success, the left continues its pattern of pushing middle America into the hands of Republicans and policies they don't like.  Trump distracts.  He doesn't just throw out proverbial red meat for culturally conservative Republicans.  It's real target is the left.  They are the ones who eat it, and it is poison for them.  

Democrats do not see it in themselves, but they have become as self righteous and intolerant as the Christian right.  Culturally modern liberals notice with joy and amusement the intolerance of the Baptists for the Mormons, of the home schoolers who insist Moses co-existied with dinosaurs and object to textbooks that say something different. 

The left has its own intolerance.  The culture war battles do not favor the left when they are put onto the table of wedge issue debate.  The left wins the culture war when it is waged quietly, when it happens by accretion, like weight added inexorably to the stomachs of middle age men.  The left is, indeed, winning the culture war--attitudes toward homosexuality, toward mixed races, toward diversity, toward women, to the normalization of secularism--are all being won.  That is the problem for cultural conservatives.  They are losing.  

But conservatives have a formula for surviving: liberal self destruction.

Pew Poll
Conservatives win when Democrats-progressives-cultural liberals fight to demand the margins on the changes taking place. The perfect scorns the good.  The vegan walkers condemn the vegetarian bicyclists who condemn the Prius owners.  

Trump succeeded in pushing out of the public eye the damning issue of a Republican health care bill that would have pushed millions of Americans--including Trump voters--off of health care, and replaced that discussion with a discussion of patriotism and respect for American soldiers.  

Progressives-Democrats took the bait and they have been doing it for decades.  In 1968 Black Power and urban rioting replaced Martin Luther King's non-violence as the face of black protest.   King emphasized shared values.  Black power emphasized difference and separatism.   Movement on civil rights ended and backlash superseded forward progress.  Nixon used the Southern Strategy, campaigned on cultural values, and won.

This blog received extensive push-back from progressives for the advice it gave to NFL players two days ago.  The advice was to protest, yes,  but to change the optics of that protest.   It is easy to confuse taking care in the message not to alienate with advice to slow or temper the message.  That was how it was received, that it was advice to give in, to slow down.

In fact, the advice was different.  It was to change the optics and to use people's respect for tradition and the sacred.  The advice of putting TWO knees down, in prayer FOR America, keeps the protest an advance of shared community.   One knee down, in protest of America, is a wedge issue because it appears to deny the sacred.   Progressives say the symbol is actually a message of the legitimacy of dissent, but it is not viewed that way.  It is viewed as disrespect to the shared community.   The posture of prayer for America by Americans re-establishes the message as connection and respect for the unity, for the home team.

Progressives do not need to divide to make their points, but they choose to, because in progressive politics there is need to drive out heresy, to purify.  Trump exploits that.

The left loves to fight the culture wars:
   race, religion, the National Anthem, politically correct speech, notice of micro aggressions, concern about 'cultural appropriation', homosexual rights, transgender bathrooms, abortion, gay marriage, Christian symbols in public parks, the words used to describe Muslims, immigration limits, guns, bicycle lanes on streets, speaking English, bi-lingual education, immigration rules, Sharia law, the words used to describe foreigners, the speed of aid to Puerto Rico, NFL players, Tim Tebow, allowable speakers in colleges, racial profiling of blacks in policing, respect for police, respect for the military.

Click Here. 30 Seconds. We speak English.
The list goes on and on.

When Trump wants a distraction he knows what to do.   He fires off something that causes the left to fight among itself, publicly, over exactly how to to best address the point.  The left insists on making it about division, not unity.  The NFL athletes hold themselves outside the group, thinking that is the message they should send.   Trump loves that.  It is political suicide.  Blacks want to be separate, great.  Let them, middle America thinks.

The progressive left is in its own bubble.  Outside that bubble Republican candidates harvest the electoral benefits of the culture war.   

An example of this is the attached ad by a candidate for governor in Alabama.  Many readers will find the ad amusing, and the ad has been the subject of parody, but there is a lesson here in this ad if progressives will have the empathy to learn from it.    Candidate Tim Jones believed this addressed the concerns of his constituents, that it addressed their resentment over people who hold themselves separate from the rest of us.  Some people aren't trying to join the team, i.e. of English speakers.  

Democrats are the party of inclusion, of multiculturalism.  They do not need to back away from that policy.  But they need to change emphasis lest they exacerbate a culture war that serves the interest of the backlash, not the social change.   Words and body language in support of inclusion need to demonstrate inclusion, i.e. part of team America.  That means showing respect for symbols of inclusion and unity.  And better yet, using them.

  It isn't easy, but it is simple.  


  1. Good point, though I do question whether much of the "left-baiting" is intentional. For example, the uproar over restricting free speech by NFL players while whining about that same free speech for white supremacists shows the trouble Regressives have with basic logic.

    I think the South is lost to Progressives for the time being. They are so backward it's hard to see how they can be included in a forward looking agenda. Maybe...just maybe...when all is said and done with Trump they will come around, having seen how they were duped, but that is a faint hope. It is in the nature of Regressives to be resistant to change, since their self-worth is tied to their prejudices and misguided loyalties.

    That said, I now wrestle with the problem of how to integrate unrepentant Regressives into a Progressive future, short of containment through expanded civil rights laws and strict enforcement, something my fellow Progressives find distastefully draconian.

    Perhaps a wall...?

  2. History Repeats Itself

    The Nixon and Reagan elections are the historical precedents. The Republican candidates campaign on patriotism, law & order and anti-cultural liberalism. The enlightened Democrats are shocked and outraged that they lost. After three years of denigrating and insulting conservatives, Democrats doubledown and nominate a very leftist candidate to vanguish the "redneck" barbarian "regressives". Democrats are then slaughtered as the "dog whistle" blowing Republican is reelected by historic margins.

    During the two terms of anti-liberal and white backlash Republican rule, arch conservatives are confirmed to the Supreme Court. Liberal progressives live in dark days until a centrist Democratic southern state governor (Carter/Clinton) tells liberals that voters want moderation not liberal moralism and cultursl values. The Dixiecrat wins returning chastened Democrats to power.

    The process repeats with Trump.


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