Hechtman: The culture war is over and the left has won

I sent the Canadian leftist Ken Hechtman an e-mail with no text but just a subject line:

You’ve been surprisingly silent about Sarah.

Mr. Hechtman replies:

You’re right, I have. Two reasons:

1. I’ve been following your conversation on the subject with more interest than any other I can remember on VFR. It’s a conversation that has to happen between conservatives. I don’t want to derail it and make it another conversation about me. [LA replies: I won’t let that happen; any responses to you will be on substance, not on you personally.]

2. What I do think about it (and was starting to say to you and Robert Locke in a general way just before her nomination crystallized it) is very sweeping and long-winded. I’ve been busy setting up for a general election that’ll be called tomorrow and I haven’t had the time to write it out in a coherent way.

Briefly, the culture war is over and we won. Sarah Palin may well be anti-liberal but she is in no sense conservative, if “conservative” means safeguarding and following and living the traditions of the past. How far back would you have to go before the conservative Christians of the time would have unanimously refused to accept Sarah Palin as one of their own? 100 years ago? 50? I would guess something between 20 and 30 but you’d know better than me.

And that’s the giveaway. You would be happier living 50 or 100 years ago than now, with the set of options open to you then. So would most of your readers. Sarah Palin would not. Neither would most of the Republicans cheering her on. So if she is going to be the standard-bearer for conservatism, you have to call yourself something else.

At the same time, the Palin phenomenon also means that when a smart and capable woman uses her abilities to their full extent in public life, even at her children’s expense, that’s not “liberalism” or “feminism” anymore. That’s simply the way it is and very few people want to go back to the way it was before. Accepting and acknowledging homosexuals in your family (Dick Cheney) or circle of friends (Sarah Palin) isn’t being “liberal” or “tolerant” anymore. Again, that’s just the way it is and very few people want to go back. Same rules apply for sex outside marriage.

So what all this means for us is we need to declare victory and go home. The feminist movement and the gay movement, they’ve achieved the sane half of what they wanted. It’s time for some UN-sponsored DDR, that’s Disarmament, Demobilization and Re-Integration.

- end of initial entry -

Philip M. writes from England:

I like the way Ken Hechtman says that gays and feminists have achieved the “sane half” of what they wanted. What happens, Mr Hechtman, when the gays and feminists try to achieve the non-sane half? You labour under the delusion that you are in control of the situation, that your views are the inherently reasonable ones. You have not understood that when a group demands equality, they are really just asking for more … until someone makes them stop.

America is in a state of flux, multiculturalism destroys not only the past, but the future. While it is possible to work out how one group may react to events, with so many ethnic and demographic possibilities ahead, predicting politics becomes like predicting the weather. A multicultural state can have no common destiny, only endless brokering and bargaining. I would love to hear if you have any concrete political strategies for the future, otherwise, as in all totalitarian one-party states, political reality will have to be dragged unwillingly along behind the economic and social realities, as with the fall of the USSR. For example, as Latino power grows in California, corruption drives out the businesses and high-earners. This in turn drives out the remaining whites, and America is left to decide whether it wants Mexifornia to remain in the Union. If some states were sensible enough to make themselves “sanctuary states” for white-flighters, the break up of the Union then becomes an attractive option. Better all of something than none of everything.

Instead of thinking about a new, national party, why don’t conservatives work from the bottom up? Get on parish councils, get elected at a local level where people are not just thinking about immigration as an issue affecting other parts, but on their own doorstep. Get people used to voting independent-conservative, get in the local press and radio. Then link up with other independent-conservatives state or nationwide, as a grass-roots movement. There seems plenty of articulate conservatism at VFR. Why aren’t you all putting this to wider use? Do something!

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 07, 2008 02:04 AM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):