On a recent exchange at Webutante's site (you've got to see the comments by Australia’s Prime Minister Howard at the end! Fantastic!), in which she defended Howard, and had some scorn for the Bush administration who had their women scarf-up for a visit to a muslim shrine, a commenter took her to task for 'fearing' to respect (translation: kowtow to) muslim sensibilities. Vienna VA asserted "...Muslims will never be able to impose Sharia law here.”
To which I responded by asking "Why not?"
Vienna VA also found it reassuring to note that "...most Muslims don't even want to live under Sharia law..." That is likely true. Including in those places where it currently rules. And how is that supposed to be reassuring? Again, to the refrain "it couldn't happen here", I ask, why not? Why couldn't it happen here? What would stop it? Politely acquiescing to their eagerly offended sensibilities? Please.
Vienna VA further responded "Uh, I don't know. I'm guessing because the 295 million people who live here and aren't Muslim won't accept it?", and asked for one citation, law, etc of sharia law passed in our history, to justify our being being 'fearful' or I suppose contemptuous of the scarfed Bushies.
Quick recap. No matter the name of the 'War on Terror', it is a war on Islamic Fundamentalism. That our Administration would appear at an Islamic dedication, decked out in deference to its sensibilities - in disregard of our sensibilities as a nation attacked and wounded by those who REQUIRE their females to wear scarfs and potato sacks, is I think INEXCUSABLE, DISGUSTING and all around unacceptable.
Is it likely that our 295 million people are going to bow to sharia law anytime soon? Perhaps not. Frankly, that's so far from the point as to not even make the target range. The point is, that that picture is going to be viewed by numerous gunny sack attire imposing islambies, and they will be heartened by it. That alone is outrageous.
The obvious interpretation of the picture is that we seek their approval, seek their acceptance of us, seek to have them acknowledge that we have pleased them and are perhaps nice people after all.
In a time of War. Asstounding.
But we've got worse problems than the islambies to worry about, we've got ordinary people running around thinking things will never change, and all change is good, just be nice & be happy. Our real problem, is that this viewpoint is the one most prevalent among the cultural media, is the face of our popular culture - and That is something to worry about.
Numbers Don't Mean Squat
What Vienna VA and other members of the culturally clueless don't seem to grasp, is that a culture is not led by the opinions of its majority. A culture is led by those who effectively position themselves as its public face. It doesn't take a majority to impose the rules. It only takes an active, vocal minority to make demands and threaten those who disagree with them, to denigrate them - to put their face forward as THE Face, into your face, and with a majority who will not only let them do so, but will accept the denigration and embarrassment over their disagreements ("Gas guzzling, SUV Driving...", "Energy hogs.", "More concerned with comfort...", etc) in order to just get along, to not make waves, with just that and no more, the vocal minority will easily be able to rule - they will be perceived as the public Face of the Culture.
Webutante said "... to me political correctness and appeasement is generated by a deep and unacknowledged fear not to confront and make waves."
What leaders, good and bad, have always understood - and what the rest of us never seem to grasp, is that those who make up the culture, are only a very small slice of the population. Those who appear to be the guiding lights of the culture make up an even smaller slice of them. They are the ones who set the tone, or seem to, which the entire population will then seek to march in step with - even those who fancy themselves as the 'counter-culture' busily take note of the popular beat, in order to be out of step with it - making themselves if anything even more slavish than the simple follower.
For those who take comfort in the reassuring nods of their leaders and the accompanying phrases such as ‘it can never happen here’, just what is it that they think secures the 'culture' they live in? Numerical advantages? How many people are aware that the US Revolutionary war was supported by only a fraction of the populace - a third at best? That Hitler was voted into power by a small percentage of the population - which nevertheless was larger than the opposition groups? It wasn't because the majority of the people agreed and was with them, it was because a majority of the people weren't aware that they were the majority, and so they just went along with those few who they mistakenly took to be the majority.
Something discovered and put into practice by activists (left and right) has been the tactics of abrasively vocal minorities presenting themselves as majorities with a claim to the moral high ground. Ideally, that claim to the moral high ground will be legitimate, as with Samuel Adams when he was a pioneering practitioner, but all they really need to succeed is for there to be a majority who don't want to confront such people, and who will shruggingly accept that square-peg-into-the-round-hole-ifying phrase:"...No, I don't like them either, but still, they do have a point...."
Yep, I'm sure they do... and they're going to poke you in the eye with it.
The proregressives reached positions of power in this country, and successively achieved their agenda's, not because the majority of The People agreed with them... but only because the people either accepted that they had a point, or were willing to accept that they knew better and had "more proper larn'in" than they did, and most of all were afraid to have them appear to the public face as 'square', 'out of touch', 'old fashioned'.
The great sin of the MSM is that they not only allow this Face, this thinness of culture to continue, they propagate and participate in it (yes, there is more, much more to it than that – see some of my earlier posts – but this is how it appears on the face of it). In many ways, the last well balanced debate in this country was over the original adoption of the constitution. The Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers were marvels of principled thought coupled with passionate reasoning. Nothing like that has occurred since. Not the Lincoln vs. Douglas debates, not the civil war or Slavery, not over westward expansion or acquiring territories in Hawaii or the Philippines, not over either of the Roosevelt’s 'Deal's' or the world wars bracketed by them or anything else since.
Since that time we've mostly had to make do with a culture no deeper than its Public Face - an expression, a smirk, scowl or sniff – perhaps with an accompanying sound byte, which substitutes for, and wins all arguments. By talking down, over & shouting down an unamplified opposition.
But what few of the top leaders consider (publicly at least) - yet which I think all secretly fear - is that their power rests entirely upon the populations willingness to accept that their leaders know best, and that they themselves know very little, it rests on their willingness to feel embarrassed that they don't themselves know or have an interest in learning all the claptrap that the leaders profess, and that they will willingly bow to their threats and demands. It rests upon Nock’s & Isaiah’s Remnant not discovering that they are more than they think.
The leaders dread and fear this, because one single well placed refusal, can bring all their posturing and power lunches to a screeching halt. If the population hears one among them say 'No', listens to what's behind that 'No', realizes that there are others who think their same hidden thoughts and who also takes note of those same 'silly' and 'simplistic' facts and pick up on them, then the leaders positions are doomed.
Moral, Immoral or Not Even
On the face of it, you'd think that Westerners in general and Americans in particular are Immoral on the whole, or amoral at the very least "5% of the population but use 25% of the worlds resources!", "SUV Driving, gas guzzling, over concerned with their childrens sports teams", etc. Someone on another site had asked 'What one word would you use to describe America?'
My answer was: Moral.
But embarrassed about it.
And though the will to be moral is deeply ingrained in us, even still today, its verbal understanding is for most of us, exceedingly thin and is easily swayed; we can be led around by anyone who has a sense of conviction, a claim to wider understanding who can sell us that he has already done the research so we don't need to, and has found that 'it is the right thing to do'. The leader who can consistently and sincerely proclaim that, appear confident in that - wins.
It takes a lot of blatantly contrary facts piled up to make us open our eyes and think it through ourselves, and go through the distracting work of determining that he's wrong, and to realize what needs to be done, must be done, after all, we've got families & jobs & hobbies we'd much rather spend our time on. Churchill said Americans are a people who will inevitably do the right thing - but only after exploring every available alternative. He knew us well.
Culture's like ours don't fall by force of arms or decree - they fall by acquiescence, acquiescence to some small set of ideas whose far reaching implications and importance they completely fail to grasp. Usually catch phrases that seem to mean one thing, but are use to smuggle in something quite the opposite. "Got to be able to laugh at yourself", "Don't be Selfish", "Who am I to judge?"
Case in point, the much lamented state of civil discourse.
Most people didn't even realize that manners, civility and respectful behavior had been ejected from the public sensibilities until the late 1960's and early 1970’s, when their children began to curse them out and give them the finger while at the same time demanding that they have their holey jeans or college bills paid for.
As a culture, we were comfortable seeing ourselves as people like the Hardy's of the popular 'Andy Hardy' serials in the early 1930's with Mickey Rooney, where the kids were somewhat mischievous and precocious, but good, civil and respectful and where Dad was the wise Judge Hardy who could be counted on to help put things right in the end.
From there, the Dad's began to become more bumbling, the kids more and more ill-mannered, the elderly and authorities more and more infantile. There can be traced a very gradual, but nevertheless dizzying descent from the Hardy's to 'Ozzie & Harriet', to 'Father Knows Best' to 'I Love Lucy' to 'Andy Griffith' to 'Family Affair', to 'Happy Days', 'M*A*S*H', 'Mork and Mindy', 'Roseanne', 'Married With Children', 'The Simpson’s' and 'The Family Guy', and it happened in an Historical blink of the eye.
It was accomplished largely through one of a small set of Ideas, through the eye-rolling, scowling, admonition "Oh, come on, you've got to be able to laugh at yourself! Don't take yourself so seriously.' With no deeper consideration of what that could mean, the public bought it. It seemed to have a point, sounded ok, ‘what’s the harm in that? and besides, that mocking, eye rolling glare they give me when I object – I don’t like that, and laughter is the best medicine’. But the public didn't realize that they didn't mean laughter in the healthy, uplifting manner they all imagined, but laughter in the derisive, digging, cutting, destructive way of mocking all that you hold above you, that you admire and revere - laughing in that way that secretly says 'I don't have to live up to that, I only need to pull it down and step on it.', and get away with it with a laugh.
People who aren't taught to thoroughly examine their ideas and beliefs - won't. They are open to rule by the facial twitch of those in the fore face of the culture.
There is a reason that the schools do not teach the Federalist & anti-Federalist papers. As Aristotle says, a Liberal Arts education is best for a people who seek to be free and govern themselves as free people. A different Gov’t, such as an Oligarchy or Tyranny, would require a different people and a different sort of education in order to produce a different type of people, a people better suited to that Gov't's needs ('Hello Dewey, well Hellow Dewey!' – and Peabody, Allcot, Wundter… look them up, you’ll be aghast).
The Catch-22 in the Face of Culture
The still beating heart of American character, together with our incessant self questioning and freedom to do so, are still in a position to change the face of Culture in this land. The guiding lights of Culture are in power only as long as those charged with upholding them - We The People - believe and respect them, defend them over and above the murky and embarrassing alternatives (such as studying the issues for ourselves – yech!)... but when enough suspicion is raised that the majority is actually right in what they secretly suspect... then trouble is a brewing for the leaders.
When the silent majority stirs to an issue, the 'leaders' of that culture quaver and cave in, and the recent amnesty bill is a case in point. The difficulty We The People have, and which those same leaders well know, is that the We The People will go back to sleep once we see that things have been put right, and we will be difficult to stir us up again (or at least it has always been that way… in the past). That’s why they were so surprised that after dropping the issue for a week, We The People were still pissed off when they tried to revive it again the following week.
Still though, we do tend to go back to sleep to things which don’t interest us, and it is difficult to rouse us to their relevance.
Difficult, that is, unless we listen to and discuss things that the Faces in our faces might otherwise have wished that we had. Hence the special anger directed towards Talk Radio and the Blogosphere (on either side). Vocal Minorities, in order to seize and keep a hold on power, require that communication be as limited as possible to a one way conversation - from them on high, to you down low.
Any sign of actual two-way communication, public dialog, is anathema to those who seek and wield power for powers sake.
Talk Radio, the Internet and the Blogosphere flies right in the Face of that. They aren't used to us getting right back into their face. When you see the kowtowing, PC-speaking, West abandoning and America deriding fools peddling their crap with a straight face - stick yours right back in theirs. For the first time in history the remnant doesn't need to wait until after their culture is gone, they can asert themselves in realtime for eachother to see and recognize before it's too late.
Talk Radio, the Internet and the Blogosphere are tailor made for flying right back in their Faces.
Ain't that a shame?