Liberal America—the Sodom that pretends it’s Kansas

(Update: here, in a recent entry about tattoos, is a perfect example of how, in liberal society, we’re supposed to regard the perverted and transgressive as normal.)

“In America,” Jim Kalb recently remarked, “everything is normal.” Meaning that no matter how radical, extreme, and perverted things become in our society, they are and must be seen as ordinary, traditional, and non-threatening. The result is the peculiar phenomenon that I have described as the “radical mainstream.” On one hand, liberals and their mainstream-conservative enablers boast of America’s transformational progress since the mid-twentieth century; on the other hand, they claim that we haven’t changed at all. The fact that all kinds of moral and constitutional norms have been shattered, and that nihilism, gross sexual libertinism, and statism are the new norm, is never allowed into public consciousness. The liberals suppress the ugly truth of what America has become, in order to maintain the legitimacy of liberal society; and the conservatives join in the suppression, because their goal is to keep their place at the liberal table; they know that anyone who speaks the truth about the radical transformation of America will no longer be welcome in respectable circles.

This hypnotic spell, by which the liberal regime protects its legitimacy, must be broken.

In connection with the above, Phil Mushnik of the New York Post—who has become something of a conservative cultural critic in recent years, and indeed is the only cultural critic at that half-neocon, half-gutter newspaper—provides a concrete example decisively disproving the Orwellian assertion that contempory America is still “normal” and hasn’t changed since the mid-twentieth century.

No warning on outrageous ‘Wife’
October 21, 2012

Every now and then, on radio or TV, we bump into a cheery social scientist or urban studies academician who tells us that America’s moral alarmists are all wet—things aren’t much different and no worse from what they were 30, 40, 50 years ago.

And, often, he or she has written a paper, a book or an op-ed piece to prove it.

It’s at this point, that I’d love the opportunity to ask this person a single question:

“Were there metal detectors and/or police stationed at the entrances to your junior high school or high school 30, 40, 50 years ago, when you were a kid?”

The honest answer would be, “No.”

Well, I’d continue, there are now, but only because they’re very much needed to better protect students from what didn’t go on 30, 40, 50 years ago.

So, please, don’t tell me that nothing has really changed for the worse, when things really, really have.

To that end, when I was in high school, CBS’s Sunday night lineup, in order, was “Lassie,” “My Favorite Martian,” “The Ed Sullivan Show,” “Perry Mason,” “Candid Camera” and “What’s My Line?”

Now, at 9 p.m., CBS presents the one-hour drama, “The Good Wife.” Two Sundays ago it included a scene that was, well, nearly as incredible to watch as it is impossible to fully describe.

The character Kalinda Sharma (played by Archie Panjabi) met her estranged husband, recently released from prison, at a coffee shop. The two sat at the counter, each eating a cone filled with ice cream.

After calling her “a bitch,” he asked, “Do you remember this?”

He then reached down under the counter. Kalinda appeared to be sexually aroused.

His hand resurfaced and then he dunked his fingers in the ice cream cone she was holding. We’ll leave that to you to figure what that was about.

No need to scold or sermonize at this point, I’ll allow the above scene on a Sunday night on CBS to speak for itself.

“Viewer Discretion Advised” is no longer a fair warning. Rather, it has become a defensive dodge for network bosses who make damned sure to abandon their own discretion as one of the primary terms of their employment.

- end of initial entry -

Jim Kalb writes:

It’s not just the desire to keep their seat at the table that leads conservatives to treat America as eternally normal. It’s their kind of patriotism.

Their highest political standard is America as the embodiment of an ideal, but the ideal is freedom and progress with no distinct content apart from America itself. There’s God, but God is the God of freedom and of America’s destiny to become the means through which the whole world becomes free. So give feminism a few years to take hold here and a crusade to reform gender relations in Afghanistan becomes a conservative American value.

There are of course other kinds of conservatism, but in a mass consumer society what sells and seems likely to promote personal success wins out, so that’s the kind of conservatism that prevails. It eliminates awkward questions and makes its proponents feel good rooting for the home team so it’s hard to stop. And it does, as you point out, enable its proponents to be part of the National Conversation. So what’s not to like?

LA replies:

“It’s not just the desire to keep their seat at the table that leads conservatives to treat America as eternally normal. It’s their kind of patriotism.”

Yes, of course. The essence of small “c” conservatism is to validate and support the existing society, no matter how leftist and depraved the society becomes. However, the idea that a major motive of mainstream conservatives is “to keep their place at the table,” “to be part of the conversation,” was recently phrased in a new way that made an impact on my thinking, so I wanted to emphasize that new idea here.

Kathlene M. writes:

Here’s another example of how something “American” has changed for the worse while ordinary Americans continue to believe it’s still as “American as Apple Pie.” I’m referring to that All-American sport of baseball.

From 2006 to 2010, my husband enrolled our son in T-ball, then Little League Baseball. We noticed immediately that the parents and the coaches, and even some of the children, had tattoos. They were everywhere—on legs and arms, mostly on men but also on some women. We found that we didn’t fit in when we attended games, and my son was not enthusiastic. Finally (to my and my son’s relief) my husband decided that the negative tattoo influence (along with its associated negative behavioral correlation) far outweighed any “team-building” benefit that my son was getting from participating in this once “all-American Sport.” My husband has finally conceded that baseball has transformed from the days of his youth but he still holds on to the hope that other leagues can’t possibly be as bad.

This is how many conservatives delude themselves. They tell themselves, “It may be bad here, but this is an anomaly and it cannot possibly be that bad elsewhere.” Or “It’s bad here but it’s a temporary thing. It cannot possibly stay this bad, can it?” So they tolerate the intolerable by ignoring it in the hope that it will go away, or by hoping that the tiny bit of good that remains will outweigh the bad.

Major League Baseball has also degenerated along the same lines with more tattooed players than I ever remember seeing. I cannot muster as much excitement watching baseball anymore. Same goes for football and basketball.

P.S. One other way that conservatives delude themselves is by saying, “It’s not that bad, really.” They slowly adapt to the intolerable. When my husband recently asked an acquaintance whose child attends public school in a “conservative” area about the amount of homosexual indoctrination in the curriculum and how bad it is, the man replied, “It’s there, but it’s really not that bad.”

Karl D. writes:

This reminded me of something. Has Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan ever called Obama a liberal in their stump speeches, debates, or anywhere for that matter? I ask because from what I remember going back to the Reagan years up until the early Clinton years it was par for the course for the GOP candidate or those running for the nomination to paint Democrats (and rightly so) as liberals and actually using the word. I wish I could remember which presidential race I am thinking of that sticks out in my mind, but the GOP candidate was constantly calling his rival a liberal during the debates. [LA replies: I think that was Bush the elder and Dukakis in 1988.] Come to think of it, besides pundits, I can’t recall any Republican politician recently using the “L” word against or about a clearly liberal politician. Or am I just not remembering correctly?

Edward writes:

No need to be concerned. Movies, TV, etc. will be cleaned up as soon as sharia becomes dominant in America. The major Moslem organizations met in Chicago in 2010. In their conference they projected that by 2050 there will be a critical mass of Moslem population in the U.S. to permit the imposition of sharia on the country.

James P. writes:

Jim Kalb describes conservatives thusly:

“Their highest political standard is America as the embodiment of an ideal, but the ideal is freedom and progress with no distinct content apart from America itself. There’s God, but God is the God of freedom and of America’s destiny to become the means through which the whole world becomes free.”

Take out the “God” and make “America” optional and this is indistinguishable from liberalism.

We are all liberals now!

As for the story about “The Good Wife,” I would like to live in an America in which sexual encounters in restaurants were not merely impossible in a TV drama but impossible in reality. Unfortunately, such vulgarity is no longer unthinkable.

Beth M. writes:

There have been multiple studies over the years that have shown that people generally think that the public schools are not very good, BUT they think that the public school that their own child attends is an exception to the rule, and “significantly better than average.” I have certainly found this to be true among the people that I have known who have had children in public school. They may roll their eyes about some aspect of the curriculum, and they may think that the teacher that Johnny has this year is sub par, but they absolutely do NOT want to sell their house and move, or start paying tuition or homeschooling.

I can’t tell you how many times people have told me that the public school in their neighborhood is “just like a private school.” Few of these people have any direct experience with any private or parochial school, so they have no idea of the gap between the education offered by their local public school and that offered by a top-notch or even above-average private school. They don’t want to make any personal sacrifices to get their children a better education, so they tell themselves that no changes are necessary, because everything is just fine.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 25, 2012 11:37 AM | Send

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