Market Mad House

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

My Thoughts

The Revolt Against Culturism Explains Modern Politics

If you want to understand modern politics; particularly in the English-speaking word, you must examine the revolt against culturism.

To clarify, The Oxford Living Dictionaries describe culturism as a “Belief in the relative superiority or inferiority of certain cultures;” or, “discrimination or prejudice based on assumptions about culture.”

Various forms of culturism have become the dominant ideology in the major English-speaking countries. For instance, political correctness; which conservatives mislabel as “Cultural Marxism or Neo-Marxism, on American college campuses,” Hindu nationalism in India, Christian conservatism, and Trumpism in the United States.

How Culturism Protects Capitalism  

Culturism is widespread because it protects the current power system. To elaborate, culturists believe culture is the only power that matters.

Hence, culturist intellectuals and politicians rarely question the economic system or the government. For instance, college students march on the university English Department rather than Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) or the Houses of Parliament.

Furthermore, culturism provides a convenient mindset for ignoring, attacking, and belittling the victims of our dysfunctional capitalism. To explain, in the culturist mindset poverty results from the poor person’s culture.

How Culturism serves the Rich

For instance, the poor whites in Appalachia; the poor blacks in Alabama, or the poor Africans are poor because they practice the wrong culture. Culturists ignore obvious causes of poverty like racism, bad education, corrupt governments, income inequality, racism, and lack of infrastructure.

Thus, the wealthy culturist intellectual has no obligation to help the poor or pay higher taxes to fund better schools or social programs. Moreover, the intellectual can blame the poor for poverty because they practice the wrong culture.

Consequently, the culturist does not have to feel guilty when he votes for politicians who cut taxes, reduce education funding, or slash social programs. Additionally, the culturist can sleep easy when his political party suppresses the votes of the poor, throws people into prison because of their skin color, or tramples their rights.

How Culturism makes Government Ineffective

Finally, culturism makes the political debate all about cultural issues and nothing else.

For instance, culturist politicians ignore Climate Change, Wage Stagnation, Poverty, Income Inequality, Corruption, Corporate Power, Terrorism, Pollution, crumbling infrastructure, and other crises. Instead, leaders talk about Confederate monuments, school prayer, abortion, transexual toilet use, gay marriage, Burqas, Shira Law, red hats, and other “cultural” issues.

Politicians love culturism because it allows them to have heated debates without the possibility of raising anybody’s taxes, or cutting anyone’s government services. Conveniently, culturism distracts voters and the media from the society’s larger problems.

Additionally, culturism lets intellectuals be radical without threatening their stock portfolios. Not surprisingly, culturism is the official ideology on America’s college campuses, Wall Street, K Street, Silicon Valley, and Hollywood.

Consequently, culturism is the official ideology of the ruling classes in the United States and the United Kingdom. Wall Street, K Street, and the City of London encourage culturism because it diverts the people’s attention from the corrupt and dysfunctional economy and politics they profit from.

The People Revolt Against Culturism

Thus we can frame recent political movements like Occupy, the Tea Party, France’s Yellow Vests, and even Trumpism as popular revolts against culturism.

To elaborate, Trumpism began as a reaction against culturist party elites among rank-and-file Republicans. To explain, Republican leaders upset voters by refusing to discuss economic issues like trade, job-loss, income inequality, and growing corporate power.

However, the movement’s leader; President Donald J. Trump (R-New York), has partially succeeded in re-framing the Trumpist agenda as culturist. For instance, as President, Trump focuses on immigration and the “threat” it poses to American culture rather than economic issues.

In addition, Trump condemns African American football player Colin Kaepernick for not kneeling for the national anthem. Meanwhile, Trump appoints people of color he admires like Herman Cain to high office. Thus, I think Trump views blacks and Latinos as culturally, not racially inferior.

The Left Turns on Culturism

Meanwhile, the leftist Occupy movement in the United States launched its revolt against culturism by marching on centers of economic power like Wall Street. Moreover, Occupy’s activities’ took place from the campuses. Thus, Occupy marks a sharp departure from the culture focused New Left.

Tellingly, Occupy’s heirs’ a new generation of insurgent Democratic politicians ignore the cultural issues. Instead, politicians; like US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), US Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), and presidential candidate Andrew Yang (D-New York), only discuss economic issues.

In the United Kingdom, the new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is an old-school socialist who never talks about cultural issues. Instead, Corbyn’s focus is on meat and potatoes economic issues such as housing.

France’s Violent Revolt against Culturism 

Importantly, the first violent revolt against culturism is occurring in France.

In April 2019, mobs of middle-class Gilet Jaunes; or Yellow-Vest, protesters took to Paris’s streets to protest the pledges of €1 billion ($1.12 billion) to rebuild Notre-Dame. In fact protesters carried signs that said “Millions for Notre-Dame, what about for us, the poor?” Reuters reports.

To explain, the Yellow Vests are angry about donations to fix a cultural symbol; Notre-Dame which burned on 15 April 2019, while the government slashes basic services average people use. Moreover, the Yellow Vests are angry about President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to scrap France’s Millionaire’s Tax in 2017.

Violence against Culturism Begins

Notably, a wave of vandalism and desecration at historic churches across France followed the Notre-Dame donation. Newsweek reports unknown vandals are smashing religious statues, throwing crosses on the ground, and desecrating the host.   

Therefore, France is experiencing the first violent revolt against culturism. Not coincidentally, the Roman Catholic Church; which many people associate with right-wing culturists, is a target of the violence.

Fortunately, only a few acts of anti-culturist violence are occurring in America. However, a man asking “How’s Trump” reportedly attacked a Russian Orthodox monk at a gas pump in Seattle. The monk alleges the assailant became angry after seeing a cross he was wearing, The Inquisitor reports.

Only time will tell if the anti-culturist violence becomes widespread outside France. However, such outbreaks are likely as technological unemployment and income inequality get worse.

In fact, I think much of the popular anger against President Trump in the United States is a reaction against his culturalist messages. Notably, I think one of Trump’s greatest fears is a populist anti-culturist challenge in next year’s Republican presidential primaries.

Uniquely, the most popular commentator on America’s inflammatory Fox News Channel Tucker Carlson is making economic populist attacks on big business. Interestingly, Carlson frames his attacks in culturist terms, bemoaning the collapse of traditional communities but his intent is clear.

In particular, Carlson targets a wealthy champion of culturism; US Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah), in his famous anti-capitalism monologue. Thus, Carlson could open the floodgates to right-wing attacks on culturism in America.

Under these circumstances, our elites had better move beyond culturism. The people are speaking and their message is clear; “forget culturism and focus on real problems.“ If the leaders do not listen, the people will find new leaders.