No sooner had the votes been counted and the winner announced than all hell broke loose. The date was November 8, 2016, and Donald Trump won an upset victory for the Presidency of the United States over front-runner Hillary Clinton. Violent protests broke out in Portland, Oregon and elsewhere; Trump supporters were viciously attacked; calls for ‘impeachment’ and ‘resistance’ were heard across the country, and ‘sanctuary cities’ pledged defiance against the new administration’s immigration policies. Stephen Scalise, House Republican Whip, was shot and nearly killed by a disgruntled Bernie Sander’s supporter.
What’s going on?
The best explanation is that we are experiencing an intensification of what is called the great cultural civil war, the most strident and divisive social conflict since the American civil war of the 1860s. Donald Trump’s election did not cause the conflict - it was more like poking a stick into an already agitated hornet’s nest - but it accentuated a trend that has been happening for decades.
The term ‘culture war’ was coined in the 1991 book Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America by James Davison Hunter, the year before the election of Bill Clinton as US President. On one side are the left-wing ‘progressives’ (sometimes referred to as ‘liberals,’ but best to stick with ‘progressive’) versus conservatives or traditional values conservatives (don’t confuse them with professed conservatives who support smaller government and capitalism but are libertarian in their moral views).
‘Progressives’ include the American Democratic party, Australia’s ALP, the Greens, yes, even some from the Liberal Party like Malcolm Turnbull, mainstream media (including Time Magazine, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and Australia’s ABC & SBS), academia, Hollywood, and, to some extent, the judiciary. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Nancy Pelosi, are some notable progressives. Millennials who want ‘safe-space,’ ‘triggered,’ ‘social justice warriors’ and are easily ‘triggered’ are the vanguard of progressivism.
Traditional-values ‘Conservatives’ include some in the American Republican party, some in the Australian Liberal party, some of the minor political parties in Australia (definitely not the Sex Party), some in Fox News. America’s Ronald Reagan, Britain’s Margaret Thatcher, and commentators like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity are considered prominent conservatives. In Australia John Howard, Tony Abbott, Barnaby Joyce, Andrew Hastie are conservatives, and also Cory Bernardi who started the Australian Conservative Party. Andrew Bolt is a conservative culture warrior journalist - the most ‘Christian-friendly’ non-Christian journalist in the nation. Let’s not forget a Australian-based Christian culture warrior named Bill Muehlenberg who heads up a blog called ‘Culture Watch’ ().
Some of the key issues at stake in the culture war include:
• Climate change-global warming,
• Same-sex marriage,
• Separation of church and state,
• Gun laws (a big issue in the United States),
• An Australian republic,
• Recreational drug use,
• Censorship, and
Ultimately, what is at stake is nothing less than the survival of western civilisation as we know it. Extreme progressives want to put the west out of business and replace it with a big government, egalitarian, multicultural, globalist utopia (note: the other group that has declared war on the west are the jihadists).
In Australia, the biggest issue in the 1990s was the call for an Australian republic, which led to a failed constitutional referendum in 1999. The so-called ‘debate’ during this time leading up to the referendum, had all the trademarks of the culture war: elitist support, including big business, the Australian media, academia, sports and entertainment industry versus the average Australian. It was a top-down rather than grass roots endeavour. Instead of civil discourse, insults and charges of being ‘un-Australian’ were levelled at those who wanted to retain the status quo. In light of the vitriol we are seeing today, the republic campaign of the 1990s seems tame in comparison.
Earlier manifestations of the culture war began around the time of World War I. There was the rise of Marxism, cultural-marxism, later on the Frankfurt School, the globalist internationalist agenda (one-world government). Political correctness and an overriding narrative also became a factor. Truth and facts were not, under no circumstance, to get in the way of a good story.
The culture war got another big nudge during the 1960s with the advent of the birth control pill, the Port Huron Declaration, sexual revolution, the US Supreme Court banning prayer in public schools, the University of California - Berkley ‘free speech movement,’ the anti-Vietnam war protests that became violent, and the US Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling (1973) which gave American women a constitutional right to an abortion. All these things, and more, laid the groundwork to what we now see today.
While pluralistic, democratic societies can have healthy differences of political philosophy, what makes the ‘culture war’ different is the ‘winner take all,’ ‘leave no prisoners,’ ‘scorched earth’ approach, particularly from the far left. Rational, civil debate has been replaced by screeching, insulting, and intimidating talk - a veritable ‘call of the jackals.’ Social justice warriors don’t want to hear the other side and have resorted to all kinds of tactics, including ‘shout-down, shut-downs’ and violence, to keep people of a different persuasion from speaking on campus or in public. Even legendary feminist icon Germaine Greer has her speeches targeted because she does not embrace the current transgender agenda. Freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, and parental rights are under threat. Extreme political correctness, and actual violence, are becoming more normal. It looks, smells, and tastes just like a war and is as strident and divisiveness as the American civil war. TO BE CONTINUED.