A Turning Point in the Culture War?

Feb 6, 2017 by

by James Kalb, Crisis Magazine:

[…]  So we shouldn’t be surprised that respected progressives claim that Brexit, Trump’s victory, and other recent developments result from bigotry and are therefore illegitimate. The evidence is said to be an outburst of hate crimes, although in America verifiable crimes motivated by group or political hatred seem mostly the work of people opposed to Trump.

In any case, hate and bigotry are partly in the eye of the beholder: some say it’s hate to deny Bruce Jenner is a woman, others that it’s hate to write off a quarter of the population as an irredeemable basket of deplorables. At bottom, “hate” now seems to refer mostly to the belief that traditional ways of organizing life have something to be said for them, so traditional connections and distinctions, such as those between the sexes, are not wholly evil.

As an alternative, liberal commentators say recent reverses are illegitimate because they result from ignorance, conspiracy theories, and manipulations or deceptions perpetrated by Fox News, the Russians, obscure web sites, or whoever. Genuine news, apparently, is made up of the stories the New York Times and other established news organizations choose to present. Even if stories such organizations play up turn out to have factual problems, they’re still considered beneficial overall because they draw attention to larger truths.

It’s evident such claims are based less on facts than the conviction progressive views are patently correct and opposition purely a matter of ignorance and ill will. It’s hard though to discount their long-term effect when the major news media insist on them and they are backed by other centers of power, such as academia. Repetition transforms accepted understandings, especially when backed by social position and the ability to guide discussion through editorial decisions and manipulation of search results and social media feeds.

For now, though, established authorities have lost credit among many people, and the future is unforeseeable. There is a new readiness to defy orthodoxy, new vehicles for dissenters to make their voices heard, and a new willingness among many people to listen and consider. We should use the situation while we have it.

But how?

Read here