Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hard Truths About the Culture War

I'm reading Robert Bork's, A Time to Speak: Selected Writings and Arguments, which is a collection of Bork's life work dating back 50 years.

This afternoon I read Bork's 1995 essay, "
Hard Truths About the Culture War," which despite its age, is the best essay on the rot and decay of American culture I've ever read.

Modern liberalism is most particularly a disease of our cultural elites, the people who control the institutions that manufacture or disseminate ideas, attitudes, and symbols-universities, some churches, Hollywood, the national press (print and electronic), much of the congressional Democratic party and some of the congressional Republicans as well, large sections of the judiciary, foundation staffs, and almost all the "public interest" organizations that exercise a profound if largely unseen effect on public policy. So pervasive is the influence of those who occupy the commanding heights of our culture that it is not entirely accurate to call the United States a majoritarian democracy. The elites of modern liberalism do not win all the battles, but despite their relatively small numbers, they win more than their share and move the culture always in one direction ....

What we are seeing in modern liberalism is the ultimate triumph of the New Left of the 1960s - the New Left that collapsed as a unified political movement and splintered into a multitude of intense, single-issue groups. We now have, to name but a few, radical feminists, black extremists, animal rights groups, radical environmentalists, activist homosexual groups, multiculturalists, People for the American Way, Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union, and many more. In a real sense, however, the New Left did not collapse. Each of its splinters pursues a leftist agenda, but there is no publicly announced overarching philosophy that enables people to see easily that the separate groups and causes add up to a general radical left philosophy. The groups support one another and come together easily on many issues. In that sense, the splintering of the New Left made it less visible and therefore more powerful, its goals more attainable, than ever before.

In their final stages, radical egalitarianism becomes tyranny and radical individualism descends into hedonism. These translate as bread and circuses. Government grows larger and more intrusive in order to direct the distribution of goods and services in an ever more equal fashion, while people are diverted, led to believe that their freedoms are increasing, by a great variety of entertainments featuring violence and sex ...

Read the whole thing, at the link.

The groups mentioned by Bork as "splintering into a multitude of intense, single-issue groups" are almost the complete roster of organizations composing the Obama administration's hard left-wing coalition called "Unity '09."

Bork was not optimistic in 1995, at the time of the essay's publication, of stanching the left's destruction of American culture. Yet the early backlash to the administration in tea parties and public opinion is certainly an encouraging sign for those hoping to reverse the bleak future promised by the radical left's culture warriors who have have seen the culmination of power in this administration.


TAO said...

Yes, culture war....

While Robert Bork was writing frantically in 1995 about the imminent demise of our culture at the hands of liberalism we were in the midst of a conservative resurgence with a variety of single issue groups emerging on the right, the Christian Coalition, Fox News, oh and a whole lot more, and today we have what...continued cultural demise.

It appears that the really hard truth about the culture war is that it is a war that can only be fought to a standstill...kind of like World War I where a huge price was paid and the front lines barely moved.

The rot and decay of American Culture as were are currently witnessing seems to be just as much a creature of modern liberalism as it is of modern conservatism.

It should be obvious that time and culture move forward and rather than trying to stem the movement forward we actually may achieve more by establishing an ideal and attempting to achieve it. Our founding fathers did that when they wrote the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution both of which were ideals to achieve rather than attempts to recapture something that had existed earlier.

Might be time to reorganize and refocus rather than constantly attempting to hold on to something that seems to slip by us all the time.

We have dramatically lowered our abortion rate but we now are witnessing the fact that 40% of all children born in 2007 were born to mothers out of wedlock.

We are not doing something right.

dave in boca said...

Thanks for the link. As a bit of musing out loud, let me say that as I watch Kennedy's twitching imitation of Hamlet on the SCOTUS, I recall that two other "liberal" justices were appointed by Republican POTUSes who thought they were getting a member who would uphold federalist virtues, only to see a rapid "recantation" of Constitutional values as the new justice began to consider the special pleadings and bizarre black swans that occasionally come to the Court for adjudication. I don't think Bork would have ever ratted on his principles, as so many justices have in a rapid fashion. I recall Eisenhower stating that the appointment of Earl Warren as Chief Justice was the biggest mistake in his presidency. Of course, GHWB & Ford were RINOs if there ever were POTUSes who fit that description.

The only thing GHWB's somewhat "wobbly" son GWB did right was appointing Roberts and Alito. Even Reagan didn't so as good a job on the Supreme Court. And Thomas was a good appointment by GHWB, I must add.

BTW, "Whizzer" White was a Demo-bot appointment who ended up voting conservative, if memory serves me well.