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Thread: Culture wars out of the closet

  1. #1
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Culture wars out of the closet

    I read two articles: one yesterday. I was going to post about it but decided not to. Then today, I read this one, so the first one didn't seen as one-off as I had thought. Wanted to know your opinions.

    The first one is an op-ed piece from the WSJ. No need to say that the WSJ is highly respected, mainstream, intelligent journalism. I think its writing is among the very best. I read it every day with the NYT to get a bit of a balanced view of the news and trends. So I was surprised at the extreme view of this piece. It reminded me a little of the discussions we've had about our natural tendency to want to "stick with our own kind" and whether mixing with other "tribes" is natural or forced. The comments.. well, you know how comments on the internet are. But this is the WSJ, for crissake, not Breitbart.

    The subject of the second one was surprising for its audacity. I live in my little liberal Northeast bubble, I know, but I really have a hard time fathoming that a person running for political office in Washington (not just the local town council) would post a billboard like this and get away with it.

    I feel that there are so many disturbing, incendiary feelings and beliefs that Trump has taken a lid off of, and I just don't know how it's going to end. I truly am not looking for opinions about what side of these issues you all stand on here. I'm just am curious if you think, like I do, that the whole opening up about this issue is a tinder box that's not going to end well.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    My main feeling about the future in general is this: "Brace for impact."
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    Simpleton Alan's Avatar
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    Regarding your first link, I think my grandson and I may have eaten in that guy's restaurant last summer when we spent a few days rafting the Ocoee River down on the Tennessee/Georgia border. I didn't see any evidence of his outlook while there which leads me to believe he's just a kook.

    The WSJ article is behind a paywall so I can't comment on whatever it may say other than to posit that based upon the title, I think there may be something to the idea that European culture may be in danger of usurpation by immigration. The popular notion that various cultures should be celebrated and preserved becomes less popular if it's not considered to be a minority culture. Cultural appropriation is, after all, a one way street and attempts to preserve the once dominant culture may be seen as "war" like.
    "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler." ~ Albert Einstein

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Sorry about the paywall. Here's a couple of paragraphs...

    Why did Europe decide it could take in the poor and dispossessed of the world? Why did we decide that anybody in the world fleeing war, or just seeking a better life, could come to Europe and call it home?

    The reasons lie partly in our history, not least in the overwhelming German guilt, which has spread across the Continent and affected even our cultural cousins in America and Australia. Egged on by those who wish us ill, we have fallen for the idea that we are uniquely guilty, uniquely to be punished, and uniquely in need of having our societies changed as a result.

    It is often argued that our societies are old, with a graying population, and so we need immigrants. When these theories are challenged—by asking, for instance, why the next generation of Germany’s workforce might not come from unemployed Greece rather than Eritrea—we are told that we need low-skilled workers who do not speak our languages because it makes Europe more culturally interesting. It is as though some great hole lies at the heart of the culture of Dante, Bach and Wren.

    When people point out the downsides of this approach—not least that more immigration from Muslim countries produces many problems, including terrorism—we get the final explanation. It doesn’t matter, we are told: Because of globalization this is inevitable and we can’t stop it anyway.

    All these instincts, when put together, are the stuff of suicide. They spell out the self-annihilation of a culture as well as a continent. Conversations with European policy makers and politicians have made this abundantly clear to me. They tell me with fury that it “must” work. I suggest that with population change of this kind, at this speed, it may not work at all.

    Yet still it is possible that the publics will not go along with the instincts of their leaders. Earlier this year, a poll of European attitudes was published in which citizens of 10 countries were asked a tough question: whether they agreed that there should be no more Muslim migration into their countries. Majorities in eight out of the 10 countries, including France and Germany, said they wanted no more Muslim immigrants.

    Over recent decades Europe has made a hasty effort to redefine itself. As the world came in, we became wedded to “diversity.” As terrorism grew and more migrants arrived, public opinion in Europe began to harden. Today “more diversity” remains the cry of the elites, who insist that if the public doesn’t like it yet, it is because they haven’t had enough of it.

    The migration policies of the political and other elites of Europe suggest that they are suicidal. The interesting thing to watch in the years ahead will be whether the publics join them in that pact. I wouldn’t bet on it.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    Simpleton Alan's Avatar
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    In a hyper-liberal society, resistance to The Borg is indeed futile.
    "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler." ~ Albert Einstein

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    I think "culture wars" can be much more broadly defined than various accusations of racism. While racism is real (although I think declining), I don't think Trump took any lids off anything. I think his real strength came from a growing tension between the masses and a liberal elite more fond of denouncing privilege in general than renouncing it for themselves. A class that feels comfortable lecturing their inferiors about inequality and global warming while sending their children to private schools and maintaining huge carbon footprints. A class that produces a candidate who preaches socialism and owns two vacation homes.

    But beyond that, I think the term "culture wars" applies to battles on a number of fronts. Abortion for one; but also a more general struggle between traditional concepts of acceptable behavior and a newer set of prescriptive rules aimed at a sort of coercive tolerance. Differing views of whether "rights" are things government can't interfere with or things government must interfere with. Whether the individual or the collective good should be paramount. Whether speech can be violence. The degree to which personal freedom exacts a duty for personal responsibility to be at all meaningful.

    Trump didn't open some sort of Pandora's box. He a wasn't even the first plague to slither out of it.

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    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I expect this stuff will work itself out; it always has. Waves of immigration (and conquest, for that matter) are the norm, not some kind of anomaly. This country was built taking in the "poor and dispossessed" and it's worked pretty well--we've historically been a society of innovators and entrepreneurs, traits that come with people energized by new beginnings.

  8. #8
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Well, you're very clear about what side of the culture war you're on.

    Quote Originally Posted by LDAHL View Post
    A class that feels comfortable lecturing their inferiors about inequality and global warming while sending their children to private schools and maintaining huge carbon footprints.
    I can actually see your point there.

    But not here

    A class that produces a candidate who preaches socialism and owns two vacation homes.
    Bernie does not preach "socialism"--he preaches "Democratic socialism." And it really gets on my nerves when people point fingers at his income as if he were Jay Gatsby in a rumpled trenchcoat. In comparison with almost ALL other politicians in Washington he has nearly the lowest net worth. He does not own two vacation homes. He purchased one modest lake house with the proceeds of his wife's family vacation home. It is a diversionary tactic to nitpick his financial assets, which are a far cry from those of most of his colleagues in Washington. His life is completely consistent with his message, IMHO. Unlike Al Gore.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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    Senior Member CathyA's Avatar
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    I have a hard time reading much. But I truly feel that the issue is so complex.......and that is that perhaps civilized peoples are running into problems with instinct versus our attempts to control those instincts. There have always been groups of people who wanted to conquer all the others. But I think the majority of peoples are content to just live among their "tribes" and leave it at that.

    But as our brains grew, and we started to be able to think about everything........question everything.......agree or disagree with everything, etc., we started running into problems. I think our instincts are to be with our own kind. But then, I believe that there are nature and nurture reasons for some peoples being more open to "others", while others are defensive and violent against "others". Then you have the europeans coming to america long ago with ideas on how to get everyone to be equal and get along and all have the same rights.......which I think might have been a noble endeavor, but too much against our instincts and our fairly primitive brains. We have been told to ignore those instincts........to ignore that some cultures act different than others......that some cultures have different brain chemistries, etc., etc., etc.

    And while the laws/constitution, etc., are set up to force/encourage people to ignore instincts and rise above them, these instincts are very strong and are constantly trying to be expressed.
    Like I said, I think the europeans had extremely good intentions, but I'm not sure this experiment can work out. Maybe we are approaching the answer to the question of "Can all cultures/peoples live together in harmony?" Forcing it, doesn't seem to be working.

    Maybe some of you are saying I believe these things so I can be a racist........but I'm sincere when I say I've always tried to understand cause/effect sorts of things and understand why things end up the way they do, and it's brought me to this point.

    Even if certain cultures were attacked by an aggressor.......they would all be united. But nobody is really subconsciously feeling united anymore because we're all mixed.

    I think DNA and brain chemistries are far under-estimated in their demand for expression.

    It's sort of a simplistic/utopian plan to make all peoples live together and get along most of the time. I'm not sure I even want that world. I love the different countries and different cultures and I don't want them all to be the same. I want biodiversity in cultures too.
    Please don't insult my thinking. I'm a pretty perceptive person, even though I can't read much or talk with fifty cent words.
    I'm incredibly connected to nature and feel that man has tried to disconnect himself from it......in behavior, beliefs, etc.
    I don't know what the answer is. The horse is waaaay out of the barn at this point. Like I said, I'm just trying to understand how we got to this point of such turmoil.

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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post

    Bernie does not preach "socialism"--he preaches "Democratic socialism." And it really gets on my nerves when people point fingers at his income as if he were Jay Gatsby in a rumpled trenchcoat. In comparison with almost ALL other politicians in Washington he has nearly the lowest net worth. He does not own two vacation homes. He purchased one modest lake house with the proceeds of his wife's family vacation home. It is a diversionary tactic to nitpick his financial assets, which are a far cry from those of most of his colleagues in Washington. His life is completely consistent with his message, IMHO. Unlike Al Gore.
    Asserting that Bernie isn't as rich as Nancy Pelosi strikes me as a pretty weak argument for his tribune-of-the-people bona fides. He still maintains a position in the top 5% by income, and even if he has to be satisfied with a modest $575K shack on the lake, I would say he's doing pretty well.

    http://www.newsweek.com/bernie-sande...-houses-587721

    As to the distinction between a "democratic socialist" and the unadulterated variety, I don't see much difference in the desired end result.

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