Thursday, April 27, 2017

Long March News

     By now I’m sure all my Gentle Readers have learned about the cancellation of Ann Coulter’s appearance at Berkeley, which was scheduled to occur today. In other Left Coast news, Portland, Oregon’s annual Parade of Roses was cancelled for the same reason. I’m certain we have only a few hours before a hue and cry arises over President Trump’s pledge to return K-through-12 education to state and local control. Instapundit readers will already know that graduate-student-union activists have attacked an internationally famous chemist as a “rape apologist.”

     So what else is new? Well, there’s a Liberty Zone tirade about the decline of trust in the news media, and Darin at Crusader Rabbit discusses why Fox News is moving leftward. I must admit, it disturbed me somewhat that in his new tenure over Bill O’Reilly’s vacated slot, Tucker Carlson (“He’s so cute!” – my wife) chose to interview Caitlyn Jenner as his first priority. But if Darin is correct, it’s all of a piece. Money talks, don’t y’know.

     There are the ongoing attempts to erase history. There’s the usual Islamic agitation for special privileges. There’s all the usual bashing of Christians, men, white people, and anyone else with too much pride to form their own special interest group. Keeping track of all this stuff is cutting into the time I need to purge my hate mail.

     A little more of this and we’ll have lost the culture, fellow freedom lovers. Maybe we already have.

     The emergence of citizen journalism, conducted mainly via the Web, seemed promising. The explosion of indie writers and filmmakers heartened me considerably. The homeschooling movement, coupled to the proliferation of school-choice initiatives, promised to bring important change. And of course, there were the talk-radio stations and Fox News. For a while, it looked as if we might break the culture free of the Left’s stranglehold.

     I’m not sure why it hasn’t happened. The Left isn’t good at journalism (it suppresses the most important news), entertainment (there are irritating leftist political messages embedded in everything), or education (our kids are coming out both stupid and deluded). Out-competing them seemed the way to go. If that’s correct, it’s taking far longer than I hoped. Worse, forces I’d have thought would favor freedom have proved by their behavior to be on the other side.

     The digital revolution, of course, was inherently apolitical. The facilities it created are available to all. Yet it’s we in the Right who’ve striven most determinedly to use them. So why aren’t we getting anywhere?

     Though significant and cheering in and of itself, it would be a grave mistake to overvalue the election of Donald Trump. Remember Andrew Breitbart’s adage: “Politics is downstream from culture.” Ultimately, the culture might prove to be the only battleground that matters.

     In contemplating this matter, I find myself wondering about the importance of communities: neighborhoods and voluntary assemblies such as churches, clubs, and charities. I’d guess that most people don’t think of them as cultural elements, yet they plainly are. Churches promulgate conceptions of morals, ethics, and what constitutes a life well lived. Clubs give emphasis to particular interests and pastimes, themselves important signposts of how we spend our free time. Charities, of course, actuate our fellow-feeling sentiments, which are critical to any view of what is best in life.

     (Do you think there were charity organizations among the Mongol hordes? Myself, I’d bet against it.)

     But Americans’ interest in all three of these things have fallen off. Churches have suffered political infiltration and a correlated decline in attendance at services. Clubs, especially men’s clubs, are waning as well, though the reasons aren’t quite as clear. And though Americans remain the most charitable people on Earth, we’ve been “contracting it out” – i.e., eschewing personal involvement in favor of writing a check to some large, supposedly charitable organization – ever more as time has passed.

     Whatever fraction of our culture is embedded in those institutions has weakened gravely. Nor is it clear how they might be resuscitated.

     “The news is all bad, but it’s good for a laugh.” – Tom Paxton

     Street violence is rising. Privacy and cash are under attack. Transgenderism has become a trend. Communists and left-wing identitarians are bidding to become the dominant voices -- indeed, the only voices -- in the national discourse. The Republican caucuses in Congress have preemptively surrendered to the minority Democrats. Even Donald Trump is retreating from the border wall. Perhaps worst of all, a small number of major institutions have secured effective control of the Internet. They’re fighting the repeal of one of the most pernicious developments of the Obamunist Era: net neutrality. Miraculously, none of them are governments...but give them time.

     Of all the pro-freedom initiatives of the past decades, only one – the right to keep and bear arms – seems to have achieved a net advance. We’ll see shortly whether that’s good news.

     Inasmuch as this is trending ever more depressing, while I have fiction to write and numerous chores of other sorts (don’t ask), I suppose I’ll close with a couple of relevant images:

     Have a nice day.

     UPDATE: Yes, so soon. I’ve already received an email about the above column. My correspondent wrote “Come on, give me an example of some really bad news.” Okay, you asked for it: One of my fellow parishioners tells me that her three children have adopted an exciting new game: racing the timer in their electric toothbrush. Truly, we are doomed.


Anonymous said...

Patience good sir, patience. It took time to get us in this mess and it will take time to get us out of it. Hopefully by peaceful means. We must remember this has come about by design of some who have aquired power and/or money by developments. They will fight to keep things as they are or move further along the path they like. Finally, perhaps reading John 14 will cheer you. The Good Lord has a plan so even when we are having a bad day we must keep our faith in Him and try to be of good cheer. To be a little morose what is the worst that could happen in this vale of tears? Our reward is not here although it would be nice to not have too much trouble on the road to our eternal reward.

daniel_day said...

The Z-man had an interesting discussion of forced cultural change which I half-expected you to link:

Francis W. Porretto said...

I dislike Zman and despise his blog, Daniel.