culture warrior

O'Reilly's Culture Appeasers

Perhaps the signature show on the leading news network on television is The O'Reilly Factor on the Fox News Channel. Reviled by liberals and not often held in esteem by conservatives, Bill O'Reilly is nothing if not at least an interesting character. He certainly has legions of fans who watch his show and buy his books. But in this highly partisan time in our history, where almost everything on television, in movies, online and even on your phone is political, The O'Reilly Factor first got traction more than a dozen years ago not by discussing politics — which it does more than the political shows themselves — but by examining cultural issues. Mr. O'Reilly has a concern for the debasing of the culture and, long before Glenn Beck, exposed the destructiveness of secular progressives and gave voice to traditionalists who respect values long the bedrock of a flourishing American society that became the envy of the world. He wrote a best selling book, Culture Warrior, about it and even has a "culture warrior" test on his Web site. The questions look like they come out of a Family Research Council survey. 

Inevitably, his show got sucked into the political gabfest, but he reserves a weekly segment called "The Culture Warriors" that examines the debasing of society. It used to be instructive. Now it's useless. Whereas his original analysts were adversarial to the muck in pop culture that penetrates the innocence of children or leads to deleterious behavior, the bubbleheads he now employs as "warriors" are nothing more than culture appeasers. One, Gretchen Carlson (a former Miss America and Richmond news anchor), recently said she agrees with homosexual marriage and wouldn't say if she agreed with abortion. Yesterday, her substitute, Courtney Friel, couldn't, or wouldn't, say if she thought a Web ad with eight- and nine-year-old children using the F-word was a bad thing and, if that wasn't peculiar enough, the other regular, Margaret Hoover (a "pro-choice Republican" who also favors same-sex marriage) said she thought the ad was "funny." Children using the "F-word" is funny?

To be fair, Mr. O'Reilly remains true to his convictions. But he strains credibility by giving people who agree with the debasement of society the largest platform in cable news to dismiss its adverse affects, a pair who often respond with a rhetorical yawn and a nothin' to worry about snub. It's like asking an actor to review his own movie. If he wants people to disagree with him and debate, fine. Let's have at it. But he should not bill this pair as something they are not, which gives cover to those who can't wait to think of the next outrageous ad to produce, the next redefinition of marriage, or the next excuse for abortion on demand. If a warrior is one who is opposed to something and willing to fight against it, it looks as if they have already redefined that as well.

From BillOReilly.com: Segment Summaries: Culture Warriors:

On the issue of the kids saying the F-word, Friel pointed out that the parents were apparently okay with it: "The parents all gave permission, and they were on set." Hoover said that the kids cursing didn't bother her in the end: "At first I was offended, and then I realized it was a big joke. And I laughed. It was funny." The Factor didn't think it was appropriate for the children to be saying things like that: "I would not let my 9-year-old do that. No way."

Has The Culture War's Decisive Battle Begun?

It has, according Herbert E. Meyer, who recently wrote a column entitled, "The Culture War's Decisive Battle has Begun," for The American Thinker (read it here). Meyer, who served President Ronald Reagan as Special Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence and Vice Chairman of the CIA's National Intelligence Council, and who is the host and producer of the video The Siege of Western Civilization and author of How to Analyze Information, writes the nomination of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for vice president was the battle's shot across the bow. Meyer writes with clarity in defining the two sides in the culture war — "traditionalists" and "Left-Wing Liberals." He writes that the differences are so irreconcilable that we are experiencing a second Civil War and that in every war there is a decisive battle. That battle won't end the war, but it becomes the tide that changes the course of the war and decides its fate. For example, Gettysburg, he writes, during the Civil War, or Midway  during WWII (although, he must mean the Pacific theater; certainly D-Day was the turning point in Europe and perhaps for the entire war).

He then defines the two types of wars: Military ones, which are relatively short; and ideological wars, which can last decades, such as the Cold War. Such is America's culture war. He writes:

And there are long ideological wars, such as the Cold War, in which short bursts of fighting are separated by long periods of political maneuvering.  In these long ideological wars, the outcome isn't determined by firepower but by will. That's because the aggressor's objective isn't to kill the defenders, but to wear them down until they no longer have the courage and stamina to keep resisting.

The defenders win only when they stop merely resisting — in other words, trying just to not lose — and start playing offense. For example, by the late 1970s the Free World's will to resist the Soviet Union's endless challenges had nearly evaporated. Détente was just a palatable word for surrender. And then — unexpectedly and virtually at the same moment — three individuals most people had never before heard of exploded onto the scene and into power.  They were Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Pope John-Paul II — none of whom, by the way, had any foreign policy experience before taking office. Their objective wasn't to "not lose" the Cold War, but rather to end it with victory for the Free World.  Together they threw the switch from playing defense to playing offense, stunning the Kremlin's over-confident leaders who believed that history was on their side. Within a decade, the Cold War was over and the Soviet Union had ceased to exist.

More than interesting, it is a profound observation. As much as John McCain is not perceived as a culture warrior by some Christian conservatives, maybe it took a Cold Warrior to understand what it takes to win an ideological war. McCain is one of the last still-in-office politicians to have been at the political forefront during the Cold War — certainly at its height. Two minor disagreements here: Ronald Reagan certainly was well known, for a variety of reasons, including a 1976 run for president and two terms as California governor, and who had met plenty of world leaders. John Paul II had plenty of "foreign policy experience" as it were: He had been fighting, ideologically, the Nazis and then Soviet communists inside the Iron Curtain his entire life. But as for his larger point, of leaders with a clear, unwavering vision of right and wrong, and the importance of defeating wrong, we agree.

He continues:

By choosing Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate — and by staking his own claim to the presidency on "Country First" more than on any specific policy initiative — John McCain has thrown the switch and put us Traditionalists onto the offense. By doing so he has unleashed the energy and the will to victory among Traditionalists that have been dormant for so long the Left-Wing Liberals mistakenly assumed we'd lost. And by taking the over-confident Left-Wing Liberals so completely by surprise, McCain has stunned them into revealing themselves for the vicious phonies that they are.

As a result, what started out as a typical campaign between Republicans and Democrats — each party trying to hold its base while attracting enough independent voters to win — has exploded into the Culture War's decisive battle.  

Commanding the Traditionalist armies is a war hero whose personal courage and patriotism have overwhelmed any disagreements within the coalition about specific policies and issues. His second-in-command is a pro-life hockey mom with genuine executive talent, star quality, and the most valuable asset of all in politics: a common touch. Commanding the Left-Wing Liberal armies is an elegant, eloquent cosmopolitan whose most striking talent is his ability to push past everyone else to the front of the line. His second-in-command is the U.S. Senate's leading plagiarist, whose only undeniable talent is his ability to use Senate confirmation hearings as a platform from which to trash honorable Republican appointees such as Bill Clark, Robert Bork, and Clarence Thomas.

Meyer's column certainly is clearly thought and crafted, with precise analysis. It's also, if not a call to arms to those long-since armed, it's a rallying cry not to lose, for a resurgency, to see through to victory that ultimate, war changing battle, and drive on to final victory. We encourage you to read it, then take action. It's not too late to engage the opponent.