View From The Culture War Trenches

View From The Culture War Trenches, by Rod Dreher.

Michael Brendan Dougherty has written one of the best pieces of political and cultural analysis that I’ve seen in a while. It’s a short essay called “Trump Is Incidental To The Culture War,” and it’s well worth a read.

In it, he offers a theory for why Democratic presidential candidates aren’t reaching rightward to try to peel off voters from Trump, as they have successfully done against Republicans in past elections. In fact, as MBD points out, they’re either pushing harder to the Left, or at least holding to strongly left culture-war positions. …

The truth, says MBD, is that the Left is just as dug in on its culture war positions as the Right is. …

We know that the Left’s promises are worthless. I’ve you’ve been paying attention for the past 20 years, you know that the Left’s behavior in the culture war is governed by the Law of Merited Impossibility: “It will never happen, and when it does, you bigots will deserve it.” …

MBD’s core conclusion is that Trump doesn’t really matter in the culture war. Both sides are driven most by fear of each other. …

I understand why the Left fears Trump in power. What is a mystery to me is why they don’t see how thoroughly they’ve conquered this culture — and, eventually, will have conquered its politics. As a religious conservative, if it were possible to trade the presidency for the cultural power the Left has, I would take that deal without thinking twice. As I explained here, power to force one of the most successful corporations in America — Chick-fil-A — to violate its brand and change corporate policy out of the “shame” of having donated a little money to the Salvation Army, of all groups — man, that is some real power. It’s malevolent, but it’s real, and it’s going to dominate American life for the foreseeable future. …

We know what the Left in power wants to do to our liberties and our institutions, if they have the chance. Once we lose them, it’s going to be hard to get them back, if it’s even possible. This is not a theoretical matter. We have seen it happen, right in front of our eyes. It is hard, at this point, to gaslight us, to tell us that we have nothing to worry about, when we quite obviously do. For pity’s sake, we saw what happened to the Covington Catholic boys! We don’t have to love or approve of Trump, or believe that he loves and approves of us. It is enough that he doesn’t despise us, and consider us enemies to be trampled over in the name of social justice. …

You may well be pleased by the Trump presidency, but you should also not fool yourself into believing that Trump has turned this culture around. Even if he were a saint, he couldn’t do that; it’s not in the power of this or any political leader to do so. At best, he has held some of these forces at bay …

The left’s identity politics is very dangerous:

We are a culturally divided country, and each side fears and loathes the other. I can’t see how this ends well. …

It is going to coalesce along lines of racial identity — “Back to blood,” as the title of Tom Wolfe’s final novel had it — because the Left has made a god of identity politics. Without a healthy sense of nationalism to unite this disparate country, and without a shared religion, it stand to reason that race is the only thing left. This is what I mean when I keep saying that the identity-politics Left is summoning up demons that it can’t control. Christians won’t be able to control them either. We are going to be marginalized, and faced with having to hold our own churches together, and keeping ourselves — white, black, Latino, and Asian believers — from descending into race hatred.

All that anti-white racism and the revived antisemitism might become actionable.