Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A House Divided Cannot Stand

In his Clash of Civilizations Samuel Huntington argues that the world, following the centuries of western hegemony, is now divided along civilizational lines. So if you are a politician in Singapore or China, you extol the obvious superiority of Confucianism, and if you are a political leader in a Muslim country you extol the obvious truth of Islam and the Prophet, peace be upon him.

Huntington believes that the ideological age, in which half the world was run on socialist ideas, is over, and that we are reverting to a religious age, with cultural rather than ideological cues. International and intranational conflict, he writes, now occurs along civilizational -- actually religious -- fault lines, not ideological fault lines, as during the Cold War.

Except that the ideological fault lines were religious, if we accept that socialism/communism/progressivism is a secular religion.

On this view, the leaders of the West should be extolling the virtues of Christianity, as the rest of the world extols their Axial Age religions; only they are not. In fact, the West is divided between a nominally Christian capitalist side and a progressive/secular religious side.

The interesting thing is that the progressives use not their religion, but tribal cues, to rally their voters. Thus they have spent the last 50 years raising racial and sexual consciousness among women and minorities. This is palpable in the current 2016 election cycle as Democrats rally women against the sexual harasser Donald Trump and blacks against the police with Black Lives Matter.

Notice that our Democratic friends are not raising issues; they are raising race and gender identity. Now, nominally, this race and gender politics proposes the white male as an "other." But really, behind the screen, they are attacking our Christian, capitalist, limited government culture.

Against this progressive push, Donald Trump openly wraps himself in the flag and the nation. Although, of course, his core voters that show up at his rallies are overwhelmingly white and ordinary middle-class.

If Trump were the racist, sexist that our Democratic friends want him to be then he should be openly making a racist, sexist pitch for his Trumpster votes just as Democrats are unashamed as making a sexist pitch for "nasty women" and a racist pitch by endorsing the racist Black Lives Matter.

But here is the thing. If Huntington is right, and the coming fault lines across the world are going to be religious, then the divided West better get its act together. Because in any conflict the side that is united has a huge advantage over the side that is divided.

To raise the question is to answer it. Right now, native Westerners across the West are starting to rise up against their globalist rulers, and they are doing it over the question of religion. People in the west are clearly stating that they do not want a Muslim minority in the West that achieves strategic concentration.

As this Muslim issue develops it will put pressure on the western women who are clutching their pearls this season over Donald Trump's locker-room talk. And the Muslim issue will put pressure on African Americans that are more worried about police shootings than about the cultural collapse in the black majority inner cities and the threat that rising Hispanic and Muslim numbers represent to their special status as liberals' favorite victims.

For years I have worried about how conservatives can possibly push back against liberal identity politics -- i.e. sub-national tribalism -- because how can you do the politics of division when your basic line is that Americans are the best people in the world and America is the best country in the world? Where is the encouragement for rage and coming out to vote out the corrupt rascals?

The basic thrust of Huntington's Clash of Civilizations argument is that wars on the fault lines between civilizations force secondary actors to decide which side they are on, and usually they side with their co-religionists. So you can see that as the fault lines develop in the coming years, they are going to force the West to decide which side it is on, and the current divide between Christian capitalists and progressive identity believers will have to be resolved one way or another.

But there is another question, that Huntington doesn't address. He talks about fully westernized politicians like Lee Kuan Yew putting on the armor of Confucianism when running for office in Singapore. But was that just a blind?

Put it this way. How much of the western cultural agenda is optional if you want to be a leading civilization that can carry a big stick in the world and win fault-line wars? Capitalism? Limited government? Democracy? Rule of Law? Christianity? Tolerance? Science? Free speech? You tell me.

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