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The Forum > Article Comments > 'Culture wars' and national identity > Comments

'Culture wars' and national identity : Comments

By Bill Calcutt, published 20/5/2013

The term is used as a derogatory label to characterise any discussion about core national values as the deliberate exploitation of prejudices.

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Where is this article leading? It seems to set the stage for a discussion that doesn't happen. Was there a second page which got lost along the way?

Yes, culture wars are real in Australia, as elsewhere.

The question is what can/should be done to ensure that culture wars are recognised, dealt with, avoided, neutralised, or whatever. Part of growing up is learning how to draw understanding from confused signals.

Is the real purpose of this article to encourange training at an early age in ethics, philosophy and related disciplines in order to provide the intellectual tools to see through the negatives of culture warfare and to deal effecively with complexity? If this is so, then why not come out and say so?

Or am I dead wrong?
Posted by JohnBennetts, Monday, 20 May 2013 9:47:11 AM
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Brother, a culture of marriage and independent institutions of moral and spiritual authority - are pre-political - you don't get states without these autonomous spheres of human life generating the citizens capable of ordered liberty.

Envy and hatred characterise liberal statists and the functionaries they train 'Monogamy v Polygamy Culture' because their culture doesn't work in the world - their numbers decline quite rapidly (abortion, contraception, divorce, perverted sexual practices)

But they've worked out their way to survive, seizing traditional institutions, weaponising the law, spiritual domination of Hollywood and education by ruthlessly self-selecting out conservatives (ABC etc and impose speech codes/legally attack freedom of the press and religion rather than re-asses their world view.

They as a class are hollow, filled with ambition and power seeking as cheap substitutes for a soul.

Conservatives need to mount no culture war, seize the organs of state, or make a fetish of politics. And when the culture warriors are called out for what they're doing, our self defence is called 'dangerous' "this person is dangerous he defends himself".

People need to educate themselves and rapidly and we as a polity certainly can't afford those we pay to educate for intellectual leadership continuing to feign ignorance about what the meritocratic establishment is.

We're actually now at the stage of working out what will come after the chaos these people have seeded.
Posted by Martin Ibn Warriq, Monday, 20 May 2013 10:02:30 AM
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Hi Bill,

When I read your Bio it set an expectation that your article might offer some substance for debate.

I suffered immediate recoil at the expression “culture wars” because this is a creation of humanities academia, an abstract designed to create concern amongst the population that there is a threat to society that can only be solved by those who think for a living.

My second recoil came from the reference to the Sydney Writers Festival and wondered to what extent your source material originated there? Certainly there are indications of this through gems such as reference to “explicit and enforceable national values”.

After that, try as I may I just couldn’t get any structure, content or relevance from your article, don’t know from whence it came or where it might be going?

You seem to have picked up some humanities thought bubbles without tying them together or extending your thinking.

I think there is something there but I’m sorry, I just can’t follow it
Posted by spindoc, Monday, 20 May 2013 10:33:17 AM
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What could be more hollow than believing that one is "saved" by the "resurrection" and "ascension" of Jesus, neither of which occurred - could not have occurred.
And yes there is a culture war going on out there which those on the so called "conservative" side take very seriously, as is demonstrated by the world-wide network of right-wing think tanks, especially in the USA, all of which combine in what David Brock called The Republican Noise Machine. The "religious" dimension and goals of which are described in the truth-telling book by Chris Hedges titled American Fascism.
And of course six OZ outfits which are very closely associated with the right-wing noise/propaganda machine are the Sydney Institute, the CIS, the IPA, the Australian "news"-paper, Campion College which pretends to be the ONLY liberal arts tertiary institution in Oz, and Connor Court publishers.
Speaking of Connor Court there was an extract of one of their books titled Australian Intellectuals Their Strange History by Greg Melleuish. What the article did reveal was that Greg himself IS the archetypal one-dimensional hollow man.

Meanwhile the real war is between the forces of death and the forces of life as described by Jules Henry in his book Culture Against Man, summarized thus:
"In Western culture today one must make a distinction between the culture of life and the culture of death. In the minds of most people science has become synonymous with destructive weapons, i.e. with death ... Where is the culture of life?
The culture of life resides in all those people who, inarticulate, frightened, and confused, are wondering 'where it will all end'. Thus the forces of death are confident and organized while the forces of life - the people who long for a culture of sanity and peace - are, for the most part, scattered, inarticulate, and wooly-minded, overwhelmed by their own impotence.
Death struts about the house while Life cowers in the corner".

To me it is completely obvious that the right-wing Noise Machine overwhelmingly supports the "culture" of death

The key archetypal symbol of our death saturated "culture" of death
Posted by Daffy Duck, Monday, 20 May 2013 12:05:14 PM
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Daffy Duck,

I’m so impressed with your analytical skills. It is so hard for people like me to see the meaning of articles such as this. I appreciate your in depth analysis. It will however, take me some time and perhaps many re-reads of your post before I am able to begin the process of even tentative steps towards a primeval understanding of what you have said however, I promise I will work on it and should I even have the temerity to generate a question, I trust you will feel magnanimous enough to deign an answer.

Thank you, thank you.

P.S. What on earth is going on in your head? For pities sake Daffy, take another pill.
Posted by spindoc, Monday, 20 May 2013 3:05:24 PM
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As Australian society has become more diverse with
continuing immigration, expressions in Australian
popular culture have changed over time. Language and
attitudes that were common at the end of the nineteenth
century are in many cases no longer acceptable one hundred
years later. Or are they? As the author tries to point
out, strong feelings still manage to find expression in
new ways, reinforced through the popular media.
Many of these expressions have emerged in recent times
relating to notions of nationhood which are seen as
incompatible with diversity.

These views may be expressed in various stereotyped views
of who the "real" Australians are. These expressions are based
on an ideology of national culture in which minority cultures
are regarded as alien and a threat to social cohesion.
As a result, the status and behaviour of minority groups,
particularly those who are more visibly different,
are defined and judged with respect to the dominant group of
largely British and Celtic backgrounds.

These attitudes are widely discussed in the media where they
are presented as reasonable and commonsense and are reflected
through media images that do not accurately portray Australia's
cultural diversity. In this way, these ideologies are
expressed and reinforced through a process of group interaction
and thereby are absorbed into popular culture.

These beliefs are also at the core of the resentment expressed
by some people at measures taken by governments to address the
disadvantages of particular groups of people. Affirmative
measures and positive actions are frequently seen as the
preferential treatment of one group at the expense of another
rather than the means of redressing the disadvantage inherent
in society. Examples include opposition to Aboriginal land
rights, calls for the removal of special benefits for
particular groups and resentment towards the provision of
English language support to migrants.

Education and inter-action between groups may help solve
some of these problems.
Posted by Lexi, Monday, 20 May 2013 6:46:31 PM
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