Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Core Cultural Values

Jason at The Western Experience discusses the nihilistic program of gay rights extremism in his essay, "The Culture War is Real: Pick a Side."

Culture War

Jason lays out the stakes clearly, suggesting:

This isn’t a conservative or liberal debate. This is about traditional America vs. a counter cultural post modernist America. It is both necessary and required that Americans stand to defend the institution of marriage in order save our society.
Well, Jason's singing to the choir over here!

I do think it's indeed about conservatism, actually. But what really struck me is Jason's link to this letter,
at Brussels Journal, from November 2007, by Bruce Bawer at Little Green Footballs:

Hi Charles,

Your concerns about Vlaams Belang/Blok and the Sverigedemokraterna are totally justified.

In May, Paul Belien wrote as follows in the Washington Times: "Europe is in the middle of a three-way culture war between the defenders of traditional Judeo-Christian morality, the proponents of secular hedonism and the forces of Islamic Jihadism."

”Secular hedonism” is plainly his term for secular liberalism. Plainly he identifies with what he calls ”traditional Judeo-Christian morality.” And the structure of his sentence suggests that for him both ”secular hedonism” and ”Islamic Jihadism” are equal enemies.

And what about those of us who foolishly think this is a war for INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY? Are we just supposed to sit back and shut up and take orders from a bunch of little Euro-fascists?

As we say in Norway, stå på! (Stick to your guns!)

All best,
Bruce

So, my comments here are not so much a defense of traditional culture (Lord knows I've had a go of it lately), but instead are directed to disabusing folks of the possibility that the kind of atheistic libertarianism endlessly promoted at Little Green Footballs even remotely resembles a positive ideological paradigm shift for the coming era of post-Bush American politics.

I don't know of
Paul Beliën. I can say that the Bruce Bawer's quote of Beliën above doesn't sound particularly fascist to me, especially since genuine fascist ideology is at best neutral toward religion, or more doctrinally atheist or "post-Christian." Interwar fascism as it emerged in Italy, and in Germany's racist National Socialism, subsumed religion under the ideology of the state; fascism was flexible or pragmatic (opportunistic) in terms of building social coalitions geared to power. While Beliën may have developed a "fascist enigma" for his controversial positions in Belgian politics, the entire passage above says more about Bruce Bawer's apparent secular libertarian extremism than it does about anything relating to "Euro-fascism."

In
an earlier post, I noted how Charles Johnson has been attacking "Creationism" and "Intelligent Design" like his life depended on it. LGF's new secular-totalitarian agenda is frankly turning off a good many conservatives looking to preserve traditionalism as a key foundation of a revingorated right.

Now, I'm also throwing this out there in light of the friendly exchange I've been having with
Dan Riehl, whose latest essay response is here. Dan notes that on principle he would tend to place himself somewhere between the folks at The American Conservative and my "seemingly over aggressive" neoconservatism - especially as its evinced in my Godwater-esque foreign policy. Perhaps Dan might want to respond one more time, to my argument here, although he's been kindly indulgent of my digressions thus far, and I mean no importuning. I do hope that Dan might at least take a look around, reading Jason's post at The Western Experience, and then think about how he might position himself between the orientation found there and the excoriations of "Judeo-Christian" ethics evinced in Bruce Bawer's comments at Little Green Footballs.

(And note that Bawer's comments were orignally sent via e-mail to Charles Johnson,
which he subsequently published in his thread by permission. At the least, we can see this as an endorsement of Bawer's views, and the notion that Johnson might see those supportive of Judeo-Christian values as "fascist" is not at odds with his program of demonizing neoconservatives who privilege Western culture over the creeping Islamization of Europe.)

But let me be clear: I'm not instigating a flame war with Charles Johnson or anyone else. I'm interested in fleshing out what we stand for on the right. This discussion is primarily of academic interest, and its' important so far as Dan Riehl previously noted how he had little use for ideological labels. In response,
I noted that:

I'm neoconservative, but the label's not as important to me as is a pro-life, pro-family, and pro-victory ideological paradigm that takes moral traditionalism seriously and doesn't skimp on standing up for what's right, both home and abroad.
I'll conclude here, then, by just adding that there's an internal logic to the neoconservative perspective that aderes to a moral consistency on questions of life, liberty, and culture. An extreme libertarianism, espoused in brief by Bruce Bawer's comments above, and endorsed by Charles Johnson at his blog, would use the very Judeo-Christian legacies of rights and liberties to in fact weaken the social conservatism that is tied to a politics of faith and reason in God. Knowing that the same kind of groups that push gay culture licentiousness at home are now a key component of the leftist coaltion that is enabling the merchants of Islamic death abroad, it might pay for some of those who are hoping to stick with a principled small-government orientation to spread their sights a bit to perhaps recognize that the sustainability of small government culture and freedom at home depends on security from external enemies. There's no doubt paleolibertarians are in bed with secular progressives intent to tear down America's alleged "imperialist" power grab. We should be equally aware that the extreme secular libertarianism found at Little Green Footballs is not far behind.

If this is conservatism, it's not the kind paradigm that's going to preserve what's best of this nation, contrary to what its adherent may otherwise believe.

Photo Credit: The Brussels Journal, "Is This What it is All About?"

5 comments:

Jason said...

Prof.,

Thanks for expanding on the topic and putting it in clear, smart and effective terms.

You do this debate and many others raging in our country a great service. Keep taking on all comers!

Good Americans have become less vocal from being repeatedly bombarded with "alternatives" and institutionalized pluralism. I just hope the silent majority will decide not this time and not on this issue.

Donald Douglas said...

Thanks Jason!

Anonymous said...

Professor, I see you're expanding on the rule 5 hoo-hah. Is that a photo from this year's CPAC?

Dennis said...

No, actually it is a picture from a meeting of the democratic caucus.

Hey said...

Where you're getting the mix wrong is the state intervention part for social issues. We should have socially conservative norms but non-interfering laws. Criminalizing behavior of adults is stupid, counterproductive and evil. Setting up norms so that your behavior is private and doesn't impact on kids is superb.

The gay left has jumped in with islamsists, as have the isolationists. But some of the strongest conservatives are on the secular libertarian side. Giuliani wasn't a big hit with the socons (divorces etc) but he led an important fight against public funding of sacrilegious art and is just somewhat in favor of an aggressive foreign policy. Our brand of conservatism is the essential American one, in the vein of Washington - minimal government, get it out of religion, and aggressive action against security threats, foreign or domestic.

LGF is fighting a good fight in keeping creationism out of classrooms. Teach your kids what you will, homeschool them if you want, but don't inflict your theology on other people's kids. The same reason why we shouldn't have public schools be a promoting gay families (tolerance is differeent from state mandated approval), we shouldn't have the state choosing one flavor of theology as truth. It never worked well in Europe, it doesn't work in the Islamic world, so why bring it here?

The dividing line betwee libertarians is the isolationists & pacifists against those who see that we live in a dangerous world. Paleos are as socon as it gets but they fail this, whle dreher's crunchy con rejection of modernity and capitalism has made him a leftist (buchanan is pretty close to that as well, fascism is a pretty fair description of his prescriptions).

I'm personally hedonistic but see the value in conservative norms and want that for children. Your ire is misplaced, attacking your most closely aligned friends.