Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Liberals Win Culture War; May Give Iran the Bomb (Part II)

“Obama is not just a citizen of America. He’s a citizen of the world. And he’s a disbeliever in American exceptionalism in any sense stronger than the British believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks in Greek exceptionalism. . . Obama is very much in the mainstream of modern progressive thought in his embrace of cosmopolitanism and his distrust of nationalism.”

--Bill Kristol, Weekly Standard

Obama is our first non-white, third world-linked president. His arrival symbolizes the changed American elite leadership that grew out of the civil rights and feminist struggles of the 1960s and 1970s.

Shelby Steele
Shelby Steele, conservative author of the award-winning The Content of Our Character, wrote a recent National Review article proclaiming that in the cultural wars, it’s bigger than just Obama. Anti-American liberalism has won, and Steele helps us understand why--dissociation:
post-1960s liberalism fell into a pattern in which anti-Americanism — the impulse, as the cliché puts it, to “blame America first” — guaranteed one’s innocence of the American past. Here in anti-Americanism was the Left’s all-defining formula: relativism-dissociation-legitimacy-power. Anti-Americanism is essentially a relativism — a false equivalency — that says America, despite her greatness, is no better an example to the world than many other countries. And in this self-effacement there is a perfect dissociation from the American past, and thus a new moral legitimacy — and so, finally, an entitlement to power.
in the culture war between liberalism and conservatism that followed the tumultuous 1960s, liberalism won. That is, liberalism won the moral authority, the power, to set the terms of social relations among Americans — the manners, the protocols, the ideas of decency, the rules establishing how people must interact within the most diverse society in human history. Liberalism gave America a new “correctness” that enforced these new rules with the threat of stigmatization.
post-1960s liberalism won a certain moral hegemony over the culture by establishing dissociation as the über human value — the value that arbitrates the importance and relevance of all other values. Even those timeless, conventional values that people in earlier times never thought to challenge now come under the purview of dissociation. . . personal responsibility and the work ethic. . . Insistence on values such as these seems to put victims in double jeopardy. It makes them the victims of both oppression and their own irresponsibility — implying that their own choices are as much a cause of their inferiority as the fact of their oppression. . . the idea that the victims may be accountable in some way for their own ongoing weakness is just impermissible. It violates the assignment of guilt and innocence — who is culpable and who is entitled — that dissociation seeks to enforce.
When we look at American exceptionalism through the lens of dissociation, that exceptionalism is transformed into garden-variety white supremacy. Dissociation sees this exceptionalism as proof of America’s evil character. . . When you win the culture, you win the extraordinary power to say what things mean — you get to declare the angle of vision that assigns the “correct” meaning.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s well-received attack on Iran and its nuclear program, delivered to a packed audience of U.S. senators and congressmen, may be (white) Israel’s last, best hope to hold back Obama’s “nuclear weapons for Iran, not just now” foreign policy. In a changed world, a U.S. elite conditioned by dissociation from supporting any “dead white men’s foreign policy” may be ready to accept the reality of Iran’s bomb.

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