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Democrats’ Culture War is Destroying Their Ability to Govern Competently Enough to Fool Voters


REPORTED BY: NATHANAEL BLAKE | APRIL 25, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/04/25/democrats-culture-war-is-destroying-their-ability-to-govern-competently-enough-to-fool-voters/

donkey

The ideology making Democrats unpopular is also preventing them from understanding why they are unpopular.

Author Nathanael Blake profile

NATHANAEL BLAKE

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New York Times columnist Charles Blow recently claimed to be “truly shocked” by a poll showing President Biden with a 33 percent approval rating. I was shocked, too — how could his approval rating be that high?

Blow, of course, is surprised at Biden’s unpopularity, and worried that the Democrats are stumbling into a bloodbath in the November midterms. Blow is paid to understand and explain politics and culture to his readers. That he is surprised reveals a lot about the bubble he is in. And his meandering analysis of Democrats’ problems illustrates how the ideology making Democrats unpopular is also preventing them from understanding why they are unpopular.

Blow initially blames Biden — for being too much of a “decent man … sober and straightforward” rather than a “showman.” This is a ludicrous assessment of a politician, who, until age caught up with his tongue, was one of D.C.’s preeminent bloviators. Nonetheless, Blow’s ordinary partisan delusion is less interesting than the ideological blind spots revealed when he turns to genuine sources of Biden’s unpopularity, such as “the fear of crime and the pinch of inflation” and that “Republicans are playing heavily into culture war issues.”

Class and Culture Wars Merge

Although Blow does not seem to realize it, these issues combine to reinforce voters’ disapproval of Biden. Democratic failures on bread and butter issues such as crime and inflation are related to the culture-war radicalism that has captured their party. Twitter, not the blue-collar union hall, is now the heart of the Democratic Party, which is controlled by the educated, urban professional-managerial class, epitomized by woke, union-busting CEOs. This faction has merged the class and culture wars — championing cultural radicalism, entrenching its own economic interests, and neglecting the common good.

The Democrats are the party of wealthy diversity consultants lecturing hourly workers about white privilege and cis-heteropatriarchy while inflation eats away at wages and investment firms buy up homes in the hope of making America a nation of permanent renters. The governing priorities of those running the Democratic Party are sending government money to their clients (from teachers unions to Planned Parenthood) and waging culture war.

Dems Are Fanatical Culture Warriors

And they are fanatical culture warriors. Consider Blow’s complaint that the GOP is “challenging the teaching of Black history and the history of white supremacy in schools, as well as restricting discussions of L.G.B.T. issues and campaigning against trans women and girls competing in sports with other women and girls.” He adds that “Republicans are using white parental fear, particularly the fears of white moms.”

This litany of whines highlights the bubble Blow and his audience at The New York Times are in. Ordinary Americans know the difference between teaching history and teaching poisonous ideology derived from critical race theory. Americans understand that it is unjust for males to compete in women’s sports, and that it is perverse to teach young children about sex and gender ideology. They are angry when educators encourage children to transition, and outraged when they hide it from parents.

Voters have also noticed that the cultural left never stops where it says it will. We were assured that the LGBT movement was about tolerance for consenting adult relationships; now it is about transgender toddlers, child drag queens, and men in girls’ locker rooms. We are also now told that being anti-racist somehow means judging people based on the color of their skin. Blow and other bubbled liberals may be okay with mastectomies for confused teenage girls, but most Americans are not.

This cultural radicalism erodes Democrats’ ability to govern competently. Sometimes this is the result of neglecting the basic tasks of government in order to prioritize boutique cultural issues, other times it is a direct consequence of ideology, as exemplified in the crime wave resulting from woke prosecutors and defunding the police.

Cushioned from Consequences

In either case, wokeness is an ideology for those who are cushioned from its consequences. Indeed, wokeness is primarily a phenomenon of the college-educated, and especially the well-off; it is a niche, luxury political philosophy that thrives among the privileged and in the shelter of academia.

But though it is often a political liability, there are ways it serves the interests of its adherents. In particular, woke ideology legitimates the rule of the woke over the non-woke, and justifies economic exploitation and socio-political repression. Wokeness claims to reveal the systems of unjust oppression that permeate society; it focuses on race, sex, and gender, and relegates economic class to a second-tier concern. This allows many of the privileged and powerful to claim to be righteous allies of the oppressed without having to sacrifice economic or social power or position. Indeed, many can claim to be oppressed themselves. This is why wokeness tends to focus on BIPoC and LGBT representation in boardrooms and Ivy League campuses, rather than helping the working class.

The Wicked Working Class

Thus, it is to be expected that woke discourse often suggests that the working class (especially working-class whites) have it coming for their sins of racism, sexism, transphobia, and so on — the wicked deserve punishment, not sympathy. This is why pundits such as Blow are so quick to accuse dissenters of racism and bigotry. And it is why the woke left supports oligarchic power in pursuit of its aims, and eagerly uses economic, technological, and cultural power to suppress dissent.

This is why professors are having to submit woke loyalty oaths in the form of diversity statements, and why mandatory diversity, equity, and inclusion training has become the norm in the corporate world. This is why the left is eager to use social media censorship to suppress “misinformation” — which in many cases is truth that is inconvenient to the regime (e.g., the Hunter Biden laptop story).

It is also why the left cannot understand its own failures. They have isolated themselves in a bubble that has drifted so far from reality and the concerns of normal voters that even electoral disaster may not bring them back to Earth. Cocooned in privilege and ideology, they think Biden is doing just fine. But most Americans have had enough of a government that is more committed to transitioning children than to controlling crime and inflation.


Nathanael Blake is a senior contributor to The Federalist and a postdoctoral fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Gov. DeSantis Is Right To Attack Disney. Republicans Everywhere Should Follow His Lead


WRITTEN BY: JOHN DANIEL DAVIDSON | APRIL 21, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/04/21/gov-desantis-is-right-to-attack-disney-republicans-everywhere-should-follow-his-lead/

Gov. Ron DeSantis

Woke corporations that wage war on families and target children should expect to be targeted in turn by GOP lawmakers.

Author John Daniel Davidson profile

JOHN DANIEL DAVIDSON

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News broke Wednesday the Florida Senate had passed a bill to dismantle Walt Disney World’s half-century-old “independent special district” status, an arrangement whereby Disney has been allowed, since 1968, essentially to govern itself. Gov. Ron DeSantis says Disney’s self-governing status should be subject to review, to ensure that it is still “appropriately serving the public interest.”

Good. Disney is reaping its just reward for inserting itself into the political debate about Florida’s parental rights bill, which Disney lost in spectacular fashion. Republican governors and lawmakers across the country should be taking notes. This is how you deal with big corporations that try to throw around their weight and force woke policies on voters and families. You punish them, not just because they deserve it, but also, as Voltaire famously put it, pour encourager les autres.

Disney was no doubt betting that DeSantis and Florida Republicans would do what Republicans have almost always done in the face of woke corporate pressure: simply back down. That’s what South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem did last year when at the behest of the NCAA she vetoed a bill that would have protected girls’ sports from trans ideologues.

Same with Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who vetoed a measure banning genital mutilation and hormone treatments for minors (he was subsequently overridden by the state legislature). Same goes for then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who in 2015 infamously caved to corporate pressure and gutted his state’s religious freedom law.

Indeed, at any other time and place, with almost any other Republican governor and legislature, Disney would almost certainly not have faced any consequences for wading into the debate over the parental rights bill. After all, since when do Republicans actually wield power against the enemies of their voters and defend ordinary families from powerful woke corporations? Almost never.

By breaking that mold, DeSantis has set a clear example that other GOP governors and state lawmakers should follow. If a corporation like Disney wants to insert itself in a political battle that has nothing to do with its business — in this case, a fight over whether to prohibit classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity to children in kindergarten through the third grade — then it should be prepared to pay a heavy cost. Simply put, corporations that do what Disney did, publicly lobbying against the rights of parents to have a say in whether their young children are exposed to sexually explicit subject matter, have marked themselves out as enemies of a free people and should be treated as such. If Disney wants to make war on families in Florida, then the proper role of a democratically elected government is to go after Disney with every power at its disposal. Maybe that means they lose tax breaks that were once justified for purely economic reasons. Same for the special status Walt Disney World has enjoyed all these years, governing a 40-square-mile area in central Florida as it sees fit.

This isn’t about the economic arguments, not anymore. Whatever merit there was to the notion that Disney “serves the public interest” before the fight over parental rights has completely vanished. Now that Disney has taken a stand against families and parents, there can be no doubt: Disney does not serve the public interest in Florida, and Floridians owe it nothing.

Conservatives should understand this, but not all of them do. Over at National Review, Charles Cooke has decided to stand athwart history, as it were, and yell: “Independent special district status is complicated!” His complaint with DeSantis is that there was no need to punish Disney over its opposition to the parental rights bill because the bill passed. Disney lost, DeSantis and Republicans won. Moreover, he adds, until a month ago, “Walt Disney World’s legal status was not even a blip on the GOP’s radar. No Republicans were calling for it to be revisited, nor did they have any reason to.”

Did they not? What changed in the last month that might have prompted them to revisit the issue? Could it be that Disney came out publicly as a very real threat to Florida parents who don’t want their second-graders instructed about sexual orientation and gender identity? Could it be that the fight over the parental rights bill revealed Disney as something other than an entertainment brand and Walt Disney World as something other than a beloved family theme park? Could it be, in fact, that this entire affair has exposed Disney as a malign force in Florida’s civic life?

That Cooke can’t grasp this, and instead attacks DeSantis by tediously explicating the particulars of Florida’s independent special districts, shows the naiveté of conservatives in general and Republican politicians in particular on woke corporations pushing extremist agendas. Cooke argues there are lots of independent special districts in Florida, and that Walt Disney World “is unique not in its type but only in its particulars.” Orlando International Airport and the Daytona International Speedway, he notes, have a similar independent status. Why single out Disney?

To ask is to answer. Did the Orlando International Airport or the Daytona International Speedway wage a public campaign against the parental rights bill, and while doing so commit to pushing a “queer” agenda on children? No, they didn’t. Disney did. That makes all the difference.

If the airport and the speedway had behaved the way Disney did then yes, Florida lawmakers should have absolutely punished them. (Thanks to the impending revocation of Walt Disney World’s special status, it’s unlikely the airport or speedway or any other entity in Florida with a similar status will decide to follow in Disney’s footsteps, which is part of the point.)

Cooke further laments that singling out Disney is a mistake because, “Walt Disney World is deeply rooted in Florida’s soil, as a result of agreements the Florida legislature made with it in good faith. To poison that soil over a temporary spat would be absurd.”

But here again Cooke — and really, it’s not about Cooke, it’s about the accommodationist strain on the right that he and NR represent — misunderstands the nature of the fight. This is not a “temporary spat,” as Disney itself has made clear. It’s an ideological and cultural war that corporations like Disney will never stop waging.

For many years now, only one side in this war has been crying “no quarter” before every battle. The other side has pretended not to believe it and surrendered time and again, with predictable results. Finally, DeSantis and Florida Republicans have taken the enemy at their word and responded in kind. Republicans everywhere should go and do likewise.


John Daniel Davidson is a senior editor at The Federalist. His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Claremont Review of Books, The New York Post, and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter, @johnddavidson.

Law, Culture Wars, and the Christian


http://barbwire.com/2014/04/06/law-culture-wars-christian/#pgtW9pMsROJPdTmt.99
 
Bill Muehlenberg
on 6 April, 2014 at 06:50

biblicallaw-and-justiceLaw and legal issues are of course a vital component of life. And for good parts of human history the laws of God stood over, and greatly influenced, the laws of men. But in the secular West today this is becoming more and more rare, and increasingly we find the rise of ungodly, if not anti-God, law.

This comes in many forms, including so-called anti-discrimination, equal opportunity, and anti-vilification laws. These are being used to stifle Christians from sharing the gospel, forcing them to violate their own consciences, and keeping them from speaking out publicly about important social and moral issues. We see examples of this happening all the time.
Today law in the West is largely in the hands of those who adhere to the worldview of secular humanism. This is reflected on a daily basis in a whole host of areas: laws and legislation passed, court and judicial decisions, sentencing for crime, activist agendas promoted through law, and so on.

Judicial Activism

Let me focus on that last area I just mentioned: judicial activism. This is where judges who are pushing radical agendas effectively take the law into their own hands, and promote militant social engineering causes. The most recent example of this was when the High Court ruled on a NSW case, actually claiming that there are no longer two genders, but people can now have a “non-specific” third gender! I discuss that bizarre case in detail here: Aussie Court Rules Against Biology — and Redefines Reality.

The sad truth is, all over the Western world we are witnessing the rise of judicial activism. We find the active political involvement of judges in contentious social issues. The problem is, judges — often unelected and unaccountable — instead of legislators, are making and repealing laws, and internationalising law as well.

Judges have overstepped their bounds, and their agendas are often at odds with the majority of those they claim to serve. In fact, far too often the rule of law has been replaced by the rule of judges. This usurpation of the democratic process should be of concern to all of us.

The rule of law is of utmost importance, and judges are to be neutral in its application, and not seek to push their own political and social agendas. Judges are meant to serve the people and the laws the people helped to make, and not rewrite the law books and promote Political Correctness and social radicalism. But that sadly has been exactly the case for a number of decades now.

Judicial activism can take many forms: it may simply mean that judges are speaking out on controversial ethical and political issues when such pronouncements are not really proper to the role of a judge. Or worse, it can mean using one’s position as a judge to not just apply the law but to radically reinterpret and rewrite the law, to suit trendy political changes or to enforce a stifling Political Correctness.

This has certainly been the case in the US, where in the past half century a whole raft of radical judicial decisions have been made on such controversial issues as abortion, euthanasia and homosexual rights. As Robert Bork has commented, we are beginning to understand “what it means to be ruled by an oligarchy. The most important moral, political, and cultural decisions affecting our lives are steadily being removed from democratic control” and put into the hands of a few radical judges.

Phyllis Schlafly minces no words when she laments “the judicial supremacists who have been systematically dismantling the architecture of our unique, three-branch constitutional republic, and replacing it with an Imperial Judiciary.”

And with judicial decisions attacking the very nature of the moral order — as in its pro-death and anti-family decisions — one has to ask if the courts are still to be regarded as instruments of justice. As Robert George notes, the “worst abuses of human rights have come from the least democratic branch of government — the judiciary.”

And of course our radicalised law schools are fueling all this. Today we have feminist legal theory, queer legal theory, Marxist legal theory, deconstructionist legal theory, and so on. Every kind of radicalism around seems to gravitate towards our law schools. And with good reason. Activists know that if they can take over our legal faculties, our courts and our judiciaries, they can impose their radical agenda on the rest of society.

In addition to the law schools, there are a host of legal reform bodies, often government supported (and taxpayer funded). They too tend to have a radical and secular agenda they are promoting, be it drug decriminalisation, the legalisation of prostitution, the decriminalisation of abortion, or the promotion of homosexual rights.

Cultural Marxism

So how did all this arise? Antinomianism has always been with us, ever since the Garden of Eden of course. But the anti-God agenda of recent times — including judicial activism and the radicalisation of law — has come about, not by accident, but quite deliberately. The field of law, like so many other areas, has been strategically targeted by those who want to overthrow the West and its Judeo-Christian foundations.

Let me mention just one important component of this. In the 1930s Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci said that there is more than one way to take over a nation. There is the obvious method of external use of force — armed rebellion and revolution and the like. But a nation can also be subverted from within — without firing a shot.

He made the case that radicals should take over the institutions of power and influence: the media, politics, the universities, and the courts. He spoke of the “long march through the institutions.” He knew that by so doing an internal revolution could easily take place. Sadly, we have seen his strategy almost fully realised now.

Indeed, no one could have foreseen how quickly and easily the institutions did crumble before the radical activists. The moral, cultural and social blitzkrieg has been as thorough as it has been all-consuming. And the success of this revolution, as Roger Kimball reminds, “can be measured not in toppled governments but in shattered values.”

How do we turn things around?

As to the radical law activists, much can be done: Their activities need to be exposed, and their public funding needs to be curtailed. In addition, alternative legal bodies need to be set up to reflect mainstream values, and to challenge the judicial activists. All these strategies are long term goals, and require time, effort and commitment from those concerned about the way things are now headed.

Indeed, reversing the decline of the West and its ungodly direction is no small task. And redeeming law in the West is just one part of this process. Much would need to be done in many areas. But let me speak to just one facet of this. A large part of our problem is that we Christians have allowed secular humanists and others to take over the field of law while we have simply pulled out.

Thus we are no longer being salt and light in this vital area as we are meant to be. By abandoning law — and most other spheres of power and influence — we have basically lost so many of these battles by default. We have handed these important areas over to our enemies, and we wonder why we keep losing here.

We need Christians to reclaim every area of life. That is because Christ should be Lord over every area of life. After all, he is the one who created politics, and law, and the arts, etc. These are parts of his original cultural mandate (see Genesis 1:28).

But we have sat back and allowed God’s enemies to take over all these areas. It is time for us to wake from our slumber, and get back into all these realms. So we need Christian lawyers and judges and law professors. And of course they need to be guided soundly by the Christian worldview.

Simply being a Christian in law, but soaking up the secular mindset and worldview, will not be all that helpful. We need to think Christianly here, and seek to promote Biblical values and ideas in the legal realm. So Christian participation in all areas of society, strongly informed by a biblical worldview, is imperative if we want to see some of these areas turned around for the glory of God.

For too long Christians have pulled out of the surrounding culture, and allowed the other side to take control. It is time we once again take seriously the idea of the Lordship of Christ, and take on board our responsibilities to be salt and light in every part of life — law included.

God is the ultimate source and author of law. But law in the West today has been hijacked by the secular humanists in their war against God. Christians need to re-enter the battle.

Image credit: http://www.peacemakersinstitute.com

Read more at http://barbwire.com/2014/04/06/law-culture-wars-christian/#zzMiyHpiIp0c1Ogc.99

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