Culture Wars: Supporting “Them” Over “Us” Until We’re Dead

Too many putative conservatives, especially establishment Republicans, do not realize what is at stake in these culture wars. They still think it is just politics as usual; whose brother-in-law gets the next paving contract. Meanwhile, suicidal notions are slipping more and more into the mainstream, especially in youth circles, whose idle minds are the Left’s playground. National security experts worry about radicalization by some terrorist in a cave in the Middle East with a laptop. A much more massive effort at subversion is in full swing every day from well-funded domestic sources. Those on the Right (or anywhere else on the spectrum who thinks it is better to live here and now rather than elsewhere or elsewhen) must fight back just as hard or there will be nothing left to conserve.


By William R. Hawkins l January 22, 2018

I was shocked when I first saw a Viet Cong flag being flown on campus as an undergraduate. It was bad enough to see the U.S. flag burned, but to see the banner of the enemy raised in its place was just wrong. I had grown up in a medium-sized Midwestern city with a nice balance between industry and farming. We weren’t far from the affluent suburbs of Chicago, or the museum and concerts further into the city. Though my paternal grandfather had worked in the local railroad switching yard, my father had gone to college and was editor of our local newspaper. It had been a good life, full of promise – so why were there students whose prospects were just as bright in a strong and prosperous America turning traitor? And for the sake of a doctrine as evil as Communism? It still makes no sense to recall posters of Marx, Lenin, Ho Chi Minh and Mao Zedong being tacked up in the student union and dorm rooms.

Not everyone who opposed the Vietnam War was in league with the enemy. There were two large coalitions. The Peace Union (PU) were liberals with a pacifist bent; hopelessly naive but not anti-American. I was friends with one of the PU’s leaders and we often played bridge after dinner at the dorm. The other, more active group was the Radical Union; they were the “anti-imperialists” who wanted American to fail, not just in Southeast Asia but everywhere. Then the guns could be turned on the U.S. itself. Their emblem was the Phoenix, rising from the ashes. We know, of course, what that ugly bird brought forth after the New Left “won the war” at home, particularly in Congress after Watergate. Millions died and tens of millions were enslaved by the victorious Reds. Only now, over four decades later, has a devastated Vietnam climbed out of its hole enough to seek inclusion in the “imperialist” world economy. Progress would have come much sooner had the Communists been stopped as in South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore.

The Left’s desire to see America fail is not dependent on any true measure of success by those they champion. During the Cold War there was ideological affinity between home-grown radicals and Communist aggressor states and movements. Now, however, there is nothing in Islamic jihadism that can appeal to a typical leftist who abhors religion and rejects puritanical values. But they have a common enemy; us, and that’s enough. And, there are many who are eager to renew their vows with Moscow as Putin becomes more assertive; and who want to protect Iran and North Korea from “U.S. warmongers.” Nor are all the supporters of “them” over “us” focused on threats overseas. The “Sanctuary Cities” movement explicitly aims to keep criminal aliens on the loose to prey on more of us here.

This institutionalized desire for national suicide is not just confined to the fever swamps of academe, though this is where its unnatural notions are conjured up. Take for example Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s new book, Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment, which The New Republic (Dec. 11) called “brilliant.” The reviewer, Patrick Blanchard, is a long-time opponent of private gun ownership and writes for a variety of left-wing rags, including The Nation, long the vanguard of the “any enemy of my enemy (America) is a friend of mine” movement. His academic background is in literature (fiction). He approves of Dunbar-Ortiz’s argument that “America’s obsession with guns has roots in a long, bloody legacy of racist vigilantism, militarism, and white nationalism.” In other words, the American colonists and founders wanted to be able to defend themselves from attacks by Indians and agents of hostile powers. The key to this is the idea of the militia, which Dunbar-Ortiz accepts in its original meaning: the duty of every able-bodied male to come to the defense of the community; for which he would have to be armed. Many of the battles along the frontier had little to do with government-organized units. Then as now (in too many parts of the country) self-defense was a local-personal response to danger. The California State University-Hayward scholar breaks no new ground here; it is her belief that early – and for that matter current, Americans should not have that right to self-defense that merits attention. It would have been better had the founding generation been wiped out. Unsurprisingly, her background goes back to the 1960’s New Left and she reportedly visited the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua in 1981. So, she has spent a long career hating and working against the country in which she has lived, enjoying the kind of soft academic life only a rich and successful nation can provide. Indeed, none of the indigenous people she has championed could have given her anything like what she has enjoyed here, even if given another thousand years.

This “them over us” attitude has penetrated mainstream entertainment, as the even more spoiled Hollywood Left portrays America as a place where an increasingly alien and monstrous “them” are to be embraced as being superior to us. For example, “The Shape Of Water,” a movie directed by Guillermo del Toro which was considered headed for a number of high awards. It is billed as a fairy tale romance between an American girl and an amphibious monster from the Amazon. This is not “Beauty and the Beast” where the beast is no such thing. Del Toro has taken “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” as his inspiration, turning it on its head. As he told NPR (Dec. 1), if the movie had been made in 1962, the year in which it is set, the government agent who captured the monster would be the hero, but now he is the villain. “And the image of the monster or ‘the other’ carrying the girl on his arms would be the image of horror.” In Del Toro’s imagined world, however, the girl falls in love with the monster and willing commits acts of bestiality with it. To Del Toro, “the moment she and the creature get together is done almost like a painting. It is so poetic and balletic that, you know, you never see anything shocking except the notion.” Yet, Del Toro is very frank about the nature of the creature, “He stays in its carnal form – an animal. And he still has a very controversial diet of raw protein that includes cats, you know? And he doesn’t get civilized and eat a cat with a fork and a knife.” The monster is also described as “ a god-like figure” which goes back to the long tradition of “the noble savage” who being closer to primitive nature sits on a higher plane than those of us who have succumbed to civilization.

An even worse example is about to be reborn. James Cameron has recently announced that he plans four sequels to his 2009 blockbuster “Avatar.” They will premiere every two years at Christmas starting in 2018. What a perfect season to glorify the killing of humans by aliens! The original movie is hard left “anti-imperialist” propaganda, simple-minded even for that genre. In the 22nd century, humans (who are obviously the products of Western civilization) come to the planet Pandora to mine a precious metal called unobtanium. Already the naming of the planet and the metal should alert viewers to the shallow thinking involved. The humans work for a corporation protected by mercenary troops. They are menaced by the primitive indigenous population who live in a beautiful rain forest with sentient trees! The tall, blue skinned natives are humanoid to invoke sympathy (with feline features), but are also meant to be alien enough to create “us” and “them” categories. The story evolves so that the audience is led to favor “them” over “us.” It’s the usual nonsense about the supposed moral superiority of the “noble savage” over the crass “dead hand” of civilization. And the audience is supposed to cheer when the aliens attack the human base and kill everyone with spears.

When the movie premiered, Cameron described his stark message. “There’s a sense of entitlement – We’re here, we’re big, we’ve got the guns, we’ve got the technology, we’ve got the brains, we therefore are entitled to every damn thing on this planet.” He then asserted, “That’s not how it works and we’re going to find out the hard way if we don’t wise up and start seeking a life that’s in balance with the natural cycles of life on earth.” So, we must retreat from civilization. The aliens on Pandora are in such harmony with primitive nature that there is no need to progress! Lives that are “nasty, brutish and short” are the new ideal. The irony, which Cameron is too dense to understand, is that what made his movie a success was the spectacular special effects, which he had to invent new technology to produce. No indigenous people could have even dreamed of such things, not to mention the lifestyle Cameron enjoys as a wealthy member of civilized society. He could move to a rainforest any day, but doesn’t. But then ideology comes from the fantasy realm, it has nothing to do with reality other than to seek its destruction.

Too many putative conservatives, especially establishment Republicans, do not realize what is at stake in these culture wars. They still think it is just politics as usual; whose brother-in-law gets the next paving contract. Meanwhile, suicidal notions are slipping more and more into the mainstream, especially in youth circles, whose idle minds are the Left’s playground. National security experts worry about radicalization by some terrorist in a cave in the Middle East with a laptop. A much more massive effort at subversion is in full swing every day from well-funded domestic sources. Those on the Right (or anywhere else on the spectrum who thinks it is better to live here and now rather than elsewhere or elsewhen) must fight back just as hard or there will be nothing left to conserve


William R. Hawkins, a former economics professor and Congressional staffer, is a consultant specializing in international economics and national security issues. He is a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis, of the Conservative-Online-Journalism center at the Washington-based Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research.

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