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The Politics of Culture

The Sage of Mt. Airy argues that the wearing of a burqa must be taken as a political statement.  Citing Claire Berlinski

Because this is our culture, and in our culture, we do not veil. We do not veil because we do not believe that God demands this of women or even desires it; nor do we believe that unveiled women are whores, nor do we believe they deserve social censure, harassment, or rape. Our culture's position on these questions is morally superior. We have every right, indeed an obligation, to ensure that our more enlightened conception of women and their proper role in society prevails in any cultural conflict, particularly one on Western soil.

Obama sees this differently ("[F]reedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one's religion.  That is why there is a mosque in every state in our union, and over 1,200 mosques within our borders.  That's why the United States government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab and to punish those who would deny it.")

By the way, the Sage defends himself (and other residents of Mt. Airy) against this fiasco

On another cultural matter, baseball season brought out these Mexican flag-waving exhibitionists.  (The great counterpoint remains this Rick Monday play, during an even worse era.)   Pitching star Fernando Valenzuela made his debut, to the waving of Mexican flags in Dodger Stadium, in honor of his nationality.  I don't recall anyone taking offense, and no one should have.  When other nations of the world add to this country, that's one thing.  When they seek to subvert its core principles, that's another, whether it is done by a foreigner or by the president of the United States.  

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Discussions - 4 Comments

In this country we believe in the flag not the rag.

This is a fundamental disagreement about "liberal democracy." One side (the progressives) view the liberal state as completely independent of culture -- a neutral broker among plural, often competing interests. The other side (us), views "liberal democracy" as a Western invention, and as such is ultimately rooted in Western values and inseparable from Western sensibilities.

I think we will find that it takes more than ideology to forge and sustain a nation. It is my belief that every nation has a cultural DNA which sets constraints on social and political change. This is why we can't simply accommodate an endless stream of non-European migrants or non-Christian groups. It has nothing to do with bigotry -- it's simply a realist assessment of what is required to remain who we are. Of course, this assumes that one likes who we are, and that (I believe) is the crux of the matter.

I appreciate the cultural argument, but ultimately it's the creed that counts. European Americans like Kagan can read Pride and Prejudice annually, but if they insist on gay marriage as a fundamental right (as a founder of the Federalist Society did), they can't get much more unAmerican culturally than that.

I have to disagree. Creed is a pretty weak force that is bent and distorted by extreme pluralism. For instance, gay marriage is being justified as a "civil right" given the individualism of our creed; it is our cultural that bans it. Just so, once we've allowed gay marriage, then by what right do we restrict the number of marital partners? And it just goes down hill from there (e.g., incest laws).

No, the creed simply can't contain everything that is needed to run our society. Much like dark matter/energy allow the formation of galaxies, so culture allows (and limits) the creed. If we short-sightedly cling to the creed to save us, we are lost.

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