The End of the "Culture War"

Pre-RaphelliteKnightandLady

Pre-RaphelliteKnightandLady

The High Court has spoken; the 30-year "Culture War" is officially over.

Technically speaking, the Supreme Court's ruling on the unconstitutionality of denying federal benefits to same-sex married couples isn't quite so all-encompassing. Symbolically, however, the meaning of the decision is clear enough.

It's important to recognize the manner in which this victory/defeat has taken place. For at least a century, the Marxian Left (in various phases) has taken up the charge of abolishing marriage. The traditional family was, depending on the time and place, the last bastion of Christian mystification, capitalism, sexism, patriarchy, racism, homophobia, meat-eating, und so weiter. . .

For a retro-leftist, the idea of "gay marriage" is as subversive and ridiculous as it is for a traditionalist: "gay marriage" would mean bringing homosexuals into the oppressive, bourgeois tyranny of monogamy!

The Culture War ended not through the acceptance of "free love" but through a kind of Hegelian synthesis; gay marriage was legitimized by becoming, strangely, a "conservative" cause. It became about equality—and who could be against that?! And as Republican Senator Rob Portman opined, gay marriage will bring "stability" to gays' lives—so no more gross, half-naked parades; gay couples will instead get a mortgage and start voting Republican.

The malleability of public opinion throughout this process has been breathtaking. A recent CBS poll reported that 53 percent of the public supports gay marriage. (Of course, polling can produce different results depending on how questions are phrased; it is clear, however, that many more American support gay marriage than oppose it.)

In 1996, 68 percent of the public was opposed to the innovation (it’s worth asking how many people learned that gay-marriage was an actual issue by being polled (?)). As late as 2009, gay marriage advocates were still in a distinct minority.

It’s useful to compare this trajectory to that of interracial marriage, particularly since the two are so often compared. In 1967, the Supreme Court heard Loving vs. Virginia, involving a White man who wanted to marry a Black woman (then illegal in the Old Dominion), and ruled that Virginia's prohibitory Racial Integrity Act of 1924 was “unconstitutional.”

The Court's decision was hardly popular or in line with social norms. Gallup reports that at the time of the Loving ruling, an overwhelming 80 percent of the country opposed interracial marriage. It was only in the mid-‘90s—some 30 years after the case—that a majority appeared to approve of miscegenation. (“Appeared” is operative here, for by that time, it’s reasonable to assume that a large percentage of Americans were afraid to tell pollsters what they really thought.)

In a reversal of this situation, politicians and the Supreme Court are now trying to catch up with public opinion, which, in turn, appears more influenced by trends in the media and entertainment industry than government activism.

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It's natural for nationalists to view this Supreme Court decision—and its acceptance by the public—as yet one more nail in the coffin of Western civilization, one more reason to feel that we've lost and our cause is hopeless.

I sympathize.

But from another perspective, the real battle for our race and civilization has yet to be fought, and the "Culture War" has been a mere proxy for—or, probably, distraction from—our higher calling.

The term "Culture War" gained currency in the '80s, but it references battles that stretch back to the mid-'60s. The Culture War was, to a very large extent, The Boomers' War; it defined that generation . . . on issues that are fading in relevancy. The Boomers chose sides on Vietnam, Watergate, the Great Society, the New Left hippies, and the rest. And much like we tend to listen to the popular music of our youth for the rest of our lives, Boomer conservatives have been rehearsing choruses from decades hence: Follow the Constitution, Support Our Troops, Oppose Big Government, etc. Such slogans were formed in the wake of the Second World War, when America was economically flourishing, when its nation was 90 percent White, and when it faced starkly different geopolitical concerns.  Our challenges lie elsewhere.

To ensure I'm not misunderstood, let me say that I don't support gay marriage; indeed, I find it to be unnatural in the deepest sense of that word. (And, no doubt, very few gay men will find the idea of monogamy to their liking.)

I don't, however, cling to the illusion that if the Court had deemed the practice illegal, this would, in any significant way, alter the trajectory of Occidental civilization.

Marriage must, indeed, be re-founded on a much more radical level than that imagined by the egalitarian "Religious Right" and "Constitutionalists"; marriage must not merely be "between a man and woman"; the family must become an integral part of the health of our race—of our charge to birth a strong, intelligent, beautiful, and productive people.

My hope is that, as the final shots of the Culture War are fired, and the old slogans become echoes, nationalists can move on to a higher idealism.