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HawkerHurricane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 12:23 PM
Original message
David Brin on 'the real culture war'

Wading through such a torrent of opinion can be daunting. Still, a few post-election conclusions seem widely accepted. (I'll try to use a neutral voice.)

Karl Rove is a genius. After the 2000 election, George W. Bush's political strategist said -- "There are four million missing evangelicals out there. I'm going to go get them." And he got them.

The red-state vs. blue-state division grows more illuminating when the vote is broken down county-by-county. The most-cited vote distribution maps suggest, at least superficially, that this appears to be a war between rural and urban America. Commentators noting a surge in support for the president from rural areas seldom add that he lost urban-cosmopolitan America by unprecedented margins.

A different indicator was shown in breaking down Kerry (and Nader) support vs. Bush according to voter education levels. This time the vote of those least educated split evenly. (Gore won this category in 2000; this is the class where Rove scored his biggest gains.) By far the greatest variation between parties occurred among those who are most-educated, e.g., those with postgraduate degrees. This trend grows even stronger when comparing red-vs-blue states according to percentile of college grads. (Note: this chart relates to the 2000 election, which differs here from 2004 only in that Kerry won New Hampshire.)

America's tax-exempt churches have become centers of relentlessly vigorous political activism. This happened before, cyclically, in the Great Awakenings of the early 1700s and 1800s, the Know Nothings, the Temperance Movement, Depression-era spirituality etc. Still, we who lived amid five decades of confident post-WWII secular consensus have never witnessed such vociferous partisanship from the nation's pulpits.

Church radicalization is accompanied -- and justified -- by a perceived chasm of moral values. Disputes are couched in terms of good-us and evil-them, rather than differences of opinion about pragmatic government policy. Many in this movement openly anchor their values and politics upon an expectation that the world will soon end, according to an apocalyptic script in the Book of Revelations.
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Selteri Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 12:55 PM
Response to Original message
1. Sadly true
And this cycle tends toward one extreme or another.

The last time this corruption was quite so rampant was the Spanish American War with Yellow Jounralism.
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Supersedeas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 09:36 PM
Response to Reply #1
9. education and access to information make a difference
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HawkerHurricane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 12:16 PM
Response to Reply #1
12. I tend to think of Teapot Dome...
for corruption in high places.

Of course, the Press during the Teapot Dome scandal reported it instead of covering it up.
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salin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 01:03 PM
Response to Original message
2. For several years, I have viewed the current
fundie movement (where even mainline churches have become more literalist) as part of a recurrent trend in US history (going back to the two "Great Awakenings" mentioned in this post). I think also that the timing of these often is around the time of great technological change... and perhaps related to fear of a rapidly changing world. Inevitably these periods burn out. Seems it is too hard to try to live as puritans and the movements lose their appeal to those who were brought into the movement and the movements shrink back (they never disappear).

I think this current era started picking up speed in the eighties... has already hit its peak and should soon start to wane. Remember historical eras span decades not months... it may be a good number of years before this movement has completely waned in its political power. Ironically - it is in the gaining of political power, that I believe, will accelerate its ebbing. Emboldened the admin pushes so far that it has already begun to alienate some who were part of this movement just a few years ago.
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FizzFuzz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 01:39 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. thank you..this makes alot of sense to me.
I needed to hear it, too.

I just have to say I appreciate learning so much at DU. The historical perspective here really helps me to put this in perspective.

It's the crazed fundamentalist support that I especially see around work which drives me nuts; or, at least that is one of the factors driving me nuts. I knew that its a cycle and has to change, but didn't really have good history to back that up. But as it is, there are so many folks at work who would probably be capable of discerning fact, if they weren't being spoon fed from their ministers and the whole churchy infrastructure...Instead, I can barely talk to these people--they really do believe they hold the morality card and "everyone else"--meaning liberals, are reprobate.

I'm considering whether to talk about it with an office mate. I like her alot, though we try to avoid politics and religion, since she's a conservative Christian. (but she's so smart and funny and feminist--go figure--but it's why I like her and I wouldn't be considering trying to have "a little chat" if not for that).

Anyway, she said the other day "well, I'm a conservative, there are some things you and I probably disagree on". I didn't have time to discuss, but I did say, "I bet we agree on alot more than you's just that certain groups get demonized." And she understood about demonizing. so maybe I can have an actual dialogue, if I can keep my head from exploding.

Really, they only THINK we hold different basic values.

I think.
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salin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. try this...
tell her that while there are probably a good number of things that you would disagree on - that it might be an interesting conversation to try to find the issues around which you agree. You would just have to set groundrules - ala while searching for common stands/issues... not getting sucked into emotional discussions that would sidetrack the quest (and sabatoge what might be a very interesting conversation.)

I have a good friend who worked for a very prominent right leaning think tank. We have great respect for one another's minds (policy wise) and often seek common ground conversations... and laugh a bit when we get into brief political arguments (we never stay on those for more than a minute or two... as neither of us would change the other persons mind so why bother).
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Strelnikov_ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 01:17 PM
Response to Original message
3. He Suggests An Alliance Between Democrats And Libertarians Is Possible
Sort of a marriage of convenience in order to roll back the neo-con agenda.

Considering the imperialist police state direction the Greed Only Party is taking the country, I have thought this could eventually occur.

From the essay:

Proposal #3: Forge New Alliances

. . .

"Events of November 2004 may have changed this a bit. A new group -- Libertarians for America -- has formed to suggest temporary alliance between the Libertarian and Democratic parties. Two authors who are involved in the movement -- Greg Costikyan and Ed Ricciotti -- put it this way:

As a group we (Democrats and Libertarians) agree on just about every social issue as it pertains to civil liberties, government accountability, etc. We are caught in an ideological catch 22 when it comes to taxes and state sponsored social programs. But those issues can wait. The real enemy is the current neo-cons' War on Terror, being used as a vehicle to compromise civil rights. When it comes to what should be the DFC priority and strategy, Civil rights, a balanced federal budget, and a more defensive foreign policy should take center stage.

Could this do any good? Any alliance between liberals and libertarians might be short lived. It should nevertheless be founded on strong statements of compromise, expressions of faith in pragmatic empiricism, and agreement on a need for electoral reform. In the short term, it might be nice to see the LP put some fear into the GOP, worrying about its flank for a change."
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starroute Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. I keep going back and forth on the liberal/libertarian question
Sometimes I think an alliance might be possible. Other times, I despair of there ever being enough common ground.

The core issue it keeps coming back to is the question of who is to protect the weak from the strong.

Liberals tend to see this as the natural job of government and are willing to overlook the fact that governments are often intrusive, heavy-handed, and inefficient at the job.

Libertarians tend to resent government intrusion in their lives to the point where they're prepared to fantasize that anybody with a gun and a little knowledge of the law can take care of themselves -- or that if they can't, it's fine to let them fall by the wayside.

There are a lot of temperamental differences between liberals and libertarians that might prevent any sort of long-term alliance. But I keep thinking that if libertarians would just acknowledge that certain things and people do need protection, and if the liberals would come up with better methods than government bureaucracy and one-size-fits-all regulations, there could be a lot more commonality of effort.

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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 02:51 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Libertarians Need To Face Reality That Corporations Aren't Citizens
or Individuals with Rights.

Corporations are powerful entities which are granted priviledges. They need to be prevented from intruding into Individual lives as much as the Government needs to be.
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bloom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 10:25 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. I heard a libertarian running for office
who was trying to make the argument that there didn't need to be environmental regulations because people could just file lawsuits over pollution problems.

It didn't sound like a very good plan to me.
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HawkerHurricane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 12:23 PM
Response to Reply #6
13. The only problem I see...
is that EVERY Libertarian I talk to seems to be a Republican who wants to smoke pot and doesn't like Bush... but there's no way in hell they'll vote for a draft dodger like Clinton, a Green freak like Gore, a communist sympathizer like Kerry, etc. etc. etc. The guys I know sound like pot smokers who listen to Rush while high.
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PROGRESSIVE1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 03:21 PM
Response to Reply #3
8. On Strict Social Policy, Democrats and Libertarians are twins!
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 10:40 PM
Response to Reply #3
11. Libertarian - Democratic Alliance...loindelrio, check this out.

Wow, Harry Brown, Libertarian Pres. candidate several times. This guy is rokken! Sounds like he posts on DU.

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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 12:30 PM
Response to Original message
14. Well, I Don't Believe They Found 4 Million Evangelicals
Edited on Sun Jan-30-05 12:31 PM by Beetwasher
I think that's their cover story. Otherwise, the rest of the analysis is pretty astute.

I've never read any Brin, how's his stuff? I'm a big Science Fiction fan and have yet to check him out.
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 12:38 PM
Response to Original message
15. It's a BULLSHIT cover for Election fraud!
Edited on Sun Jan-30-05 12:40 PM by Tinoire
I totally agree with Beetwasher as do several DUers with whom I talk off-line.

Bush did NOT find 4 million "missing" evangelicals. Bullshit. Not unless you want to believe those people materialized out of nowhere or were spawned overnight in some cabbage patch.

His base did NOT increase. What they are implying is the Bush managed to reach 4 million sleepers. BULL. Those people were ALWAYS voting for the Right-wing from the beginning.

Clever little trick to cover election fraud. Take 4 million people who have historically been voting for you and reinvent them pretending they're "new".

And the STUPID Democratic Party falls for this BS, starts pouting off about "faith-based initiatives" and fracturing the Democratic base even more.

Yes. Karl Rove is brilliant. But he seems more brilliant than he is by being being compared to the idiots running our party.

On edit- thanks for posting that.
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