In the wake of Phyllis Schlafly’s claim that conservatives are moving out of states that permit marriage equality and to totalitarian-minded Red States in search of some Putin-like City on the Hill, conservative pundit Selwyn Duke has come up with a way to “win” the culture war that conservatives have lost: secede. In a column this week on Renew America, Duke argues that conservatives must embrace separation over cultural differences with liberals – just like the former states of Yugoslavia.
Yes. He wants to “Balkanize” America. He calls the process natural.
Natural…This is sort of, I suppose, like the process that turned a document (the U.S. Constitution) that doesn’t so much as mention God or the Bible, into a document actually written by God and based on the Bible. Or an amendment that bans establishment of religion into a document that actually establishes religion. Or the process that takes Biblically-sanctioned polygamy and concubinage and turns it into “traditional” marriage of one man and one woman.
You know, “natural.” Like fracking, getting “natural” gas through unnatural means. But fracking a brain rather than the ground. I like to think of them as byproducts of thought. You know, the stuff we usually flush.
What the myopic and homophobic Duke is afraid of is being “absorbed by a wider culture.” For Duke, liberals are some sort of variation of Star Trek’s Borg, who assimilate everything in sight. And he’s come up with a great “new” way of making the battle lines clear: view the enemy as the “other.”
Wow, it is almost as though Duke has at least a passing familiarity with the Bible, because that is exactly what the Old Testament does with regard to the Gentiles, or as later Christians came to view them, the Pagans. This is the Mosaic Distinction spoken of by scholar Jan Assmann, the point at which the true/false distinction was brought into religion. The Old Testament is an anti-Pagan diatribe, dismissing everything outside of Judaism as false. Gentiles become the despised “other.” Heck, even Jesus didn’t have anything good to say about Gentiles, dismissing them as dogs and swine (and yes, that includes you, Mr. Duke).
In other words, Duke hasn’t come up with anything new and original here. His plan is more of a “get back to basics and hate your Gentile neighbor” plan: “Oh,” he laments, “the others may occupy the same borders, but they are as alien as anyone outside them.”
Their culture is to be rejected not just because its decadent and despicable – and our liberal-created variety is certainly those things – but because it is of the other. So it is with the others’ laws, social codes, and traditions, too: they are born of an infidel, alien culture and are to be viewed with extreme suspicion if not hostility.
And this is precisely how leftists should be viewed.
Never mind that the United States was founded upon liberal principles as the world’s first modern liberal democracy, founded not on a Biblical list of things you can’t do, but rather upon a secular Enlightenment list of natural rights, an idea that is about as un-Biblical as you can get.
Duke, of course, champions the status quo. If liberals shout “change” then conservatives must shout “tradition” and push for tradition’s restoration. And he doesn’t want a “cold intellectual understanding of the issues” because of course, intellectualism gets in the way of the “passion” (hatred of the other) off of which the modern Republican Party feeds.
So Duke says conservatives need “some sort of Amish jihad, a deep love of the good and hatred of the evil that translates into action.”
Loathe what the liberals stand for, meet their agenda with animosity, cultivate a visceral desire to wipe it from the face of the Earth. Hate, hate, hate it with the fires of a thousand burning suns.
These people occupy the wrong century. They would have been far happier in the thirteenth century. Oh wait, Duke and his fellow heretics would have been quickly rounded up by the Inquisition and “put to the question” with pincers and pliers and hot things in unpleasant places.
The only age in which heretics like Duke have been allowed to operate with impunity since the Theodosian Code was published in the fifth century has – ironically enough – been the liberal United States of America, the product of the secular European Enlightenment. That is the only reason Duke can spew his particular heresy with impunity.
Because the ideals of liberalism protect him from the forces of religious tradition he champions.
The problem is, he just doesn’t get it. He is far happier now, and far better off, than he would be in the state he so much desires, a state with an established religion that, rather than having to secede from the other, can ruthlessly suppress it instead. Because like it or not, know it or not, Duke himself is the “other.”