Friday, January 27, 2017
Donald Trump's New Culture War
The nation’s foremost culture warrior is President Donald J. Trump.
He wouldn’t, at first blush, seem well-suited to the part. Trump once appeared on the cover of Playboy. He has been married three times. He ran beauty pageants and was a frequent guest on the Howard Stern radio show. His “locker-room talk” captured on the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape didn’t, shall we say, demonstrate a well-honed sense of propriety.
There is no way Trump could be a credible combatant in the culture war as it existed for the past 40 years. But he has reoriented the main lines of battle away from issues related to religion and sexual morality onto the grounds of populism and nationalism. Trump’s culture war is fundamentally the people versus the elite, national sovereignty versus cosmopolitanism, and patriotism versus multiculturalism.
It’s the difference, in a nutshell, between fighting over gay rights or immigration, over the breakdown in marriage or Black Lives Matter. The new war is just as emotionally charged as the old one. It, too, involves fundamental questions about who we are as a people, which are always more fraught than the debate over the appropriate tax rate or whether or not we should have a defense sequester.
The participants are, by and large, the same as well. The old culture war featured Middle America on one side, and coastal elites, academia and Hollywood on the other. So does the new war. And while Trump has no interest in fighting over gay marriage or engaging in the bathroom wars, his staunch pro-life position is a notable holdover from the old war.
Yet any of his detractors who is warning, out of reflex more than anything else, of an attempt to control women’s bodies or establish a theocracy is badly out of date. Donald Trump has many ambitions, but imposing his morality on anyone clearly isn’t one of them.
Instead, he wants to topple a corrupt establishment that he believes has put both its selfish interests and a misbegotten, fuzzy-headed altruism above the well-being of the American people. This isn’t just a governing program, but a culture crusade that includes a significant regional and class element. It channels the concerns of the Jacksonian America that is Trump’s base and, as Walter Russell Mead writes in an essay in Foreign Affairs, “felt itself to be under siege, with its values under attack and its future under threat.”
The revolt of the Jacksonians as exemplified in Trump’s presidency sets up a cultural conflict as embittered as any we’ve experience in the post-Roe v. Wade era. “If the cosmopolitans see Jacksonians as backward and chauvinistic,” Mead writes, “Jacksonians return the favor by seeing the cosmopolitan elite as near treasonous — people who think it is morally questionable to put their own country, and its citizens, first.”
This backdrop will add intensity to almost every fight in the Trump years. Consider the president’s war with the media. Almost all Republicans have testy relationships with the press. For Trump, though, the media are something more than a collection of biased outlets; they are a particularly noxious, high-profile expression of exactly the Northeastern elite that he seeks to dethrone.
On the other side of the ledger, it’s nothing new for those occupying the commanding heights of our culture to accuse of Republicans of being narrow-minded and bigoted, but the level of vitriol will be elevated to meet Trump’s frontal challenge.
His emphasis on borders, cultural coherence, law and order and national pride will engender a particular fear and loathing. It is an article of faith among the cultural elite that these priorities — despite what they consider the aberration of November’s election — are the relics of a rapidly disappearing America that can’t possibly represent the country’s future. Trump and his supporters beg to differ.
The culture war is dead; long live the culture war.
Majority of Americans Want Some Abortion Restrictions, Object to Taxpayer Funding, Poll Says
A majority of Americans are in favor of stopping taxpayer funding of abortions and banning most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, according to a new Marist poll commissioned by the Knights of Columbus.
“There is a consensus in America in favor of significant abortion restrictions, and this common ground exists across party lines, and even among significant numbers of those who are pro-choice,” Carl A. Anderson, CEO of the Catholic organization Knights of Columbus, said in a statement.
“This poll shows that large percentages of Americans, on both sides of the aisle, are united in their opposition to the status quo as it relates to abortion on demand. This is heartening and can help start a new national conversation on abortion.”
When polled, 61 percent of Americans opposed using tax dollars to fund abortions within the United States, while 83 percent of respondents opposed subsidizing abortions outside of the United States.
When it came to the partisan breakdown of individuals polled, 41 percent of Democrats and 87 percent of Republicans opposed using taxpayers’ money to fund abortions.
Large majorities of the Marist poll’s respondents supported significant restrictions on abortion, including banning the practice after 20 weeks, unless the mother’s life is in danger.
The poll found that 85 percent of Americans supported some restrictions on abortion.
“It’s also worth pointing out, we have 74 percent of all Americans who support these [significant] restrictions and 77 percent of women who would support these restrictions,” Andrew Walther, the vice president of communications and strategic planning for Knights of Columbus, said in a conference call to reporters.
We’ve been doing this now going back to 2008, asking Americans what kind of restrictions they would support on abortion, and what we found here, as in previous years, was an overwhelming support for limiting abortion to at most the first three months of pregnancy, with substantial support for limiting it to cases of rape, incest, and the life of the mother.
The Marist poll’s numbers, showing the majority of Americans support some sort of restriction on abortion, were released during the same week as the annual March for Life event, an annual pro-life event that meets in the District of Columbia.
Additionally, on Monday, Donald Trump reinstated a policy that specifies that federal funds designated for family planning can only be used to support foreign nongovernmental organizations that will not promote or perform abortions in foreign countries.
The Marist poll sponsored by the Knights of Columbus was conducted between Dec. 12 and Dec. 19, 2016. The survey included responses from 2,729 adults living within the continental United States and has a margin of error of ±1.9 percentage points.
Big brave liberal male hits a conservative woman at a women's march
Police have charged a Canadian man with assault after he was caught on video at the Edmonton, Alberta, Woman’s March punching a camera held by a female conservative reporter who said the camera subsequently hit her in the face.
Jason Dion Bews, 34, is charged with assault and uttering threats, CTV News reported Tuesday.
Sheila Gunn Reid, Alberta bureau chief for Rebel Media, was covering the Saturday march and said she tried to interview Bews, who became indignant — and soon violent.
“Go away,” Bews said to Reid, who was shooting video of Bews from her tripod-mounted camera. “Get out of my f***ing face. I will break your f***ing camera.”
A few women there attempted to calm things and apparently blocked Reid as Bews walked off through the crowd — and Reid was furious: “Hey, don’t tell me to calm down! That guy just hit me in the face!”
One woman told Reid, “You deserve to be angry. You deserve to be angry. But I’m trying to make sure nothing else happens.”
Reid in a later video report said that the “left-wing women there helped him get away,” adding that “there was one woman there who said I was the problem. There was another man who said I provoked it all. There was another who said I incited it. One woman even blocked my camera with her sign so I couldn’t film the little puke coward running way.”
“Yeah, I’m the problem you victim-blamer!” Reid told those protecting the man in the raw video.
Ezra Levant, founder of the Rebel, told Metro News “there’s something weird going on at a women’s march when a man assaults a woman and the reaction of the assembled marchers is to assist him in scurrying away and to denounce the victim.”
CTV News reported earlier that Bews spoke with the network on Monday and said he talked to police and that he wouldn’t face charges.
CTV News added that Bews said he didn’t hit Reid in the face, just her camera — and that he doesn’t believe the camera hit Reid.
Bews added to the network that apologized via a tweet and said he’d replace the camera — and that he and his wife left their home due to threats via texts, phone calls and emails.
Two people who said they saw the incident disputed Reid’s claim and said she was never hit.
“He just hit the camera off the tripod … [he] didn’t actually assault her in any way,” a self-proclaimed witness who called herself Tiana said in a Facebook video.
“Had she been hit, there would have been a reaction,” said the other self-proclaimed witness, who called himself Ezra.
Bews’ violent behavior drew scorn from a couple of female Canadian columnists.
Danielle Paradis wrote that his “few short moments of ego” threw the work of the Women’s March into jeopardy:
The fact is the behaviour Bews displayed on the tape isn’t OK and you’d think a participant at a women’s march would have the wherewithal to know why.
When the cause is women’s rights that means you respect all women at the rally — whatever their reasons for attending, whatever their demeanour. If that’s too difficult, maybe you don’t belong there.
The sad irony is that it’s often violence against women that causes trouble at progressive events. In the hundreds of Occupy camps, incidents of violence and sexual assault against women were well reported. Indeed, reports of men raping or groping women in the tents in New York’s Zuccoitti Park was a part of the justification for shutting down the camps.
Candice Malcolm wrote that “modern feminism is no longer an inclusive movement to protect and improve the lives of all women.”
New feminism has morphed into an anti-Western, anti-conservative ideology. It aims to undermine men—especially straight, white men—and fight against “the patriarchy,” that is, the traditional institutions of society, like the family, marriage, religion and even the economy.
Malcolm added: “Some men — weak men like Dion Bews — use violence to intimidate and assert power over women.”
And new feminism bizarrely enables this behaviour, ironically, even a rally for women’s rights. Both at the rally, and later online, many on the left have rushed to defend Bews.
These leftist feminists have shown their true colours. They’ve demonstrated that feminism isn’t about women, it’s about politics – where a feminist man, even a violent one, comes ahead of a conservative woman.
This is the regressive left, the real source of violence and intolerance in our society.
TheBlaze’s Mike Opelka interviewed Reid on the radio, and she said Bews is a “beta male” who on Tuesday “turned himself in out of complete and utter fear.”
Ultrasound: The Anti-Science Left's Bugaboo
Abortion extremists are the new Luddites.
Remember Ned Ludd from your grade-school history lessons? He was the Occupy Wall Street agitator of his time — a phantom leader of early 19th-century British textile workers who vindictively smashed spinning jenny power looms to bits in a desperate bid to halt technological progress.
Now, it's radical feminists hysterically stoking fear and loathing of machines. Revolutionary developments in sonography have endangered their agenda of unrestricted abortion on demand, at all times, no questions asked. The popular diagnostic tools that give parents and doctors around the world an increasingly vivid window to the womb fundamentally undermine Planned Parenthood's dehumanizing propaganda.
With more and more pregnant women over the past three decades changing their minds about abortion after seeing and hearing the life growing inside of them, the peeved pussyhat brigade is on a mission:
Ultrasounds. Must. Be. Stopped.
The latest salvo in the wimmin's war on sinister sonograms? It's a doozy of a screed this week published by Moira Weigel, "writer and a doctoral candidate in comparative literature at Yale University," in the Atlantic Monthly magazine originally titled, "How the Ultrasound Pushed the Idea that a Fetus is a Person."
What a patriarchal jerk, that insidious Mr. Ultrasound is, pushing around such sexist lunacy as the idea that unborn babies are alive!
The original subheading of the article is even better (er, worse): "The technology has been used to create an imaginary 'heartbeat' and sped-up videos that falsely depict a response to stimulus."
Weigel sneered that "there is no heart to speak of" in a six-week-old fetus and used "heartbeat" in scare quotes to assert her scientific authority. She similarly employed those scare quotes to deride "life," "baby" and "baby bump."
After actual medical experts and parents exposed Weigel's Neanderthal ignorance of basic embryology, the ridiculous claim was removed and a sheepish noncorrection correction appeared at the end of the biology denier's piece for the once-august Atlantic Monthly.
"This article originally stated that there is 'no heart to speak of' in a six-week-old fetus," the editors' note admitted. "By that point in a pregnancy, a heart has already begun to form. We regret the error." (Read it in smarty-pants "Saturday Night Live" character Emily Litella's "Neeever mind" voice for full effect.)
Next in the anti-science Atlantic's investigative series: How X-rays pushed the idea that humans have skeletons! How microscopes pushed the idea that microorganisms exist! How electroencephalograms pushed the idea that human brains send electrical impulses! A deep dive by the intrepid Weigel into the world of "imaginary" bones, bacteria and beta waves will no doubt yield a Pulitzer nomination if not a Nobel Prize.
Curiously, Weigel raised no objection to the appalling use of ultrasound by Planned Parenthood operatives to harvest unborn baby parts. In 2015, the Center for Medical Progress exposed how Dr. Deborah Nucatola, the abortion giant's senior director, boasted of using "ultrasound guidance" to improve the quality of coveted organs ("a lot of people want liver"). Ultrasound machines helped their harvesters "know where they're putting their forceps" to score better prices.
"We've been very good at getting heart, lung, liver," Dr. Nucatola chirped, "because we know that, so I'm not gonna crush that part, I'm gonna basically crush below, I'm gonna crush above, and I'm gonna see if I can get it all intact."
Ironically enough, we don't need ultrasound to see quite clearly, through the ghoulish words and barbaric deeds of abortion zealots like Quack Doctor Wanna-be Weigel and Dr. Nucatola, that having a heart doesn't always guarantee humanity.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.