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Is the 'Culture War' Over?


Is the 'Culture War' Over?

Bob Burnett

Recently, New York Times columnist David Brooks lamented that conservative Christians are losing the culture war. Brooks suggested that conservative Christians shift focus and “nurture stable families.” But Brooks is wrong; the culture war isn’t over. Conservatives are stuck in a war they can’t win.


"The culture war’ is a manufactured weapon injected through as many different means as there are cynical operators using it. The aggregate biases - a miasma in turn manipulated - installs those biases at and with levels of reaction commensurate with the muddy shadows they’re made of.

A call to be present within the installed biases, within ourselves to take the hammer of true direct experience and break though the brittle reactionary shell of biases.


Thanks for saving me the time…


Are the culture wars over? Not on your life. We have two Parties led by self-centered sociopaths, entirely in thrall to the One Percent, and both desperately need the distraction which these “wars” provide.

One Party distracts by championing liberal hotbutton social issues, while stabbing liberals in the heart re the things that hurt us the most. The other distracts by championing nonsense called “family values”, while gutting the lives of their constituents in favor of the One Percent, too.

Neither is about to change that game plan, and neither will begin to discuss their real, bipartisan policies which oppress Americas. On issues such as Neocon war, the offshoring of jobs, the ongoing shredding of the social safety net, domestic spying, oppression of whistleblowers and reporters, and the resurrection of the Cold War and the nuclear arms race, the two Parties are One.


A very astute analysis, logan.

One footnote to add: the US military continues to be comprised of more and more conservative Christains, more aptly identified as theocrats who vote for GOP candidates focused on turning the US into a Christain theocracy.


A good, lucid piece, but I think the Pew Report must have assumed Catholics to be Christians, so they should not have been totally left out of the discussion. Some US Catholics fit the patriarchy bill if not the “literal reading of the Bible” bill, but the majority do not fit the patriarchal mode (while not exactly against it either)

And with Pope Francis almost taking over progressive journal headlines these days, it’s kind of hard to fathom the Catholic absence here.


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Excellent analysis, Mr. Burnett. I especially appreciate the way you brought Calvinism, Patriarchy, and the evisceration of women’s rights into your narrative. IF you visit the C.D. forum, I’d be interested in you taking the following documentary’s exposures into account for a future piece of writing. The use of fundamentalist Christianity inside the military to essentially incite a New Crusades is inordinately troubling when an estimated 55 million American Evangelical Christians believe in End Times.

There are 3 very dangerous components to this widely spread (and shared) delusion:

  1. That if End Times are inevitable and “God’s Will,” there is no need for conservation, investment in Green energy technologies, or changing humanity’s consumer-driven course
  2. That a belief in Armageddon–to determine which "god’ wins the great battle, jeopardizes the rest of humanity–arguably those who have evolved way beyond this “war is the source that gives our lives meaning” debacle
  3. Enormous suffering, cruelty, inequality, and immorality are not just tolerated–but furthered under the mistaken notion that war serves a Holy ends

Here is the documentary (it spans the first 7 minutes or so):


In all likelihood, you, Old Goat, Logan Waters, and Wise Owl are white males. Why is this significant? Because by so blithely dismissing the very real and pertinent concerns of Blacks, women, Latinos, and other marginalized groups, and ONLY focusing on the Surveillance State and/or Capitalism’s long-standing Class War, in what ways can your stances be discerned from Right Wing gun toting Libertarian males who also happen to see no problem with patriarchy, the racist paradigm, or the expulsion of Latinos (as “illegal aliens”) after their own nations have been financially decimated by NAFTA and the like?

Rendering invisible the very valid and real concerns of those who are NOT white males is not going to fix a society since the class struggle in and of itself does little to shift the paradigm that’s founded on sexism, first and foremost, with Racism running a close second.

Class, which is mostly about economic standing, is only part of the calculus. Ethnicity, religious differences, gender strengths and weaknesses, and cultural distinctions are real. They give flavor to the human composition. Without these distinctions, everything becomes clone-formatted to what white males think is real, true, valid, or valuable. THAT model led the world to where it is. And guess what? The remedy is not wiping out the witness, value, and voices that represent diversity and alternatives to the status quo that martial patriarchy built… it’s giving them MORE room to express.

Can you white guys even see past your own prejudices, or understand that for a long time, regardless of the pains implicit to the Class Struggle, other groups suffered FAR more and were in possession of far less voice, agency, and influence over the direction of mass culture, mass politics, and mass destiny?

THAT is what IS changing and it terrifies the “old guard.”

I just caught the following from your post. I don’t think it’s merely my imagination that suggests that you and your pals too often LIFT the points that I emphasize in order to repackage them as your own. In fact, I am convinced this is done to water down their importance largely because those who lift the references that I frequently share do so to support arguments that often run in diametric opposition to my own.

“One footnote to add: the US military continues to be comprised of more and more conservative Christains, more aptly identified as theocrats who vote for GOP candidates focused on turning the US into a Christain theocracy.”

This is called co-opting, and/or “neutralizing the radical in order to control the conversation.”

Indeed. (And is it possible that you don’t know how to spell Christians?)


The Church of Rome as in Roman Catholics sponsored more than 200 years of witch hunts that did away with the Feminists and free-thinking women of that prolonged era, a dark age to be sure. Thousands of women were killed… this was part of a campaign to expunge not just women’s rights, but any woman from demanding anything outside of obeying narrow and soul-deadening norms.

There are no women in any positions of the Catholic hierarchy that rise above “nun” and that word is interesting given it’s obvious analogy to the word: none. As in NO power or influence.

The Catholic Church’s views on women’s reproductive rights ARE pitiful and true Dark Age material… even if a majority of Catholics still use condoms or other birth control.

So making a specious meaningless statement like “some US Catholics fit the patriarchy bill if not the…” is just nonsense. Do you even understand what patriarchy means? For years I was stalked by idiots on this site who talked about Matriarchy every time the subject of Patriarchy came up… as if there’s any historical equivalence. Their level of discourse was straight out of “You say potato, I say potat-a.”


A nice comment after a good essay. The “Culture Wars” has been a reincarnation
of a classic strategy used by all hierarchies these many millennia… Divide and
Conquer. Almost universally run by, and catering to, men, rich and powerful up
in their aeries, it’s usually easy to play upon latent prejudices… racial, gender,
religious, class privilege and lack of it . Howard Zinn nails it when, in “A People’s
History…”, he comments on a brand new political strategy early in the 1800s,
when the two-party system is perfected (by Jackson?), confusing and deluding
voters, essentially playing a subtler and pervasive version of good cop/bad cop.
Zinn writes, “…It was an ingenious invention…”. Each party posing as standard
bearer for whatever current, and “opposing”, social mores prevailed, dividing
race from race, women from men, rural from urban, worker from slave, and both
of the latter from whatever latent middle class existed. Again, divide and conquer
in its most refined forms. And brutally cruel. But Marx got one thing right… every
society (perhaps in modern terms: “sufficiently large complex adaptive system”)
contains the seeds of its own destruction, i.e.: truly systemic transformation. No
societies filled and driven by such hateful conflicts and contradictions can last
indefinitely, especially ones bumping up against their own limits, finiteness
and stupidities.


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