It was once a universally accepted notion that politics grows out of culture — that the profound insights of art, religion, scholarship and local custom ultimately shape the terms of political debate. Somewhere in our history we passed a divide where politics began to be more highly valued than culture.
Its is not difficult to find evidence for this assertion. Take, for example, the rise of single-issue politics and the plethora of political pressure groups and the lengths to which politicians go to court such groups. Above all, there is the shrillness and one-dimensionality of most political rhetoric. The quality of public discourse has degenerated into shouting matches between bands of professional crusaders. As James Davison Hunter has put it, the culture wars consist of “competing utopian politics that will not rest until there is complete victory.” The result, Hunter concludes, is that “the only thing left to order public life is power. This is why we invest so much into politics.”
…The very metaphor of war ought to make us pause. The phrase “culture wars” is an oxymoron: culture is about nourishment and cultivation, whereas war inevitably involves destruction and the abandonment of the creative impulse. We are now at the point in the culture wars where we are sending women and children into battle and neglecting to sow the crops in the spring. Clearly we cannot sustain such a total war. In the end, there will be nothing left to fight over.
“If there is hope,” wrote Heather Wilhelm, “it lies in the ‘mehs’.”
If there was hope, it MUST lie in the mehs, because only there in those swarming disregarded masses, 85 per cent of the population without Twitter accounts, could the force to destroy SocMed ever be generated. SocMed could not be overthrown from within. Its enemies, if it had any enemies, had no way of coming together or even of identifying one another. Even if the legendary Brotherhood existed, as just possibly it might, it was inconceivable that its members could ever assemble in larger numbers than twos and threes. Rebellion meant a look in the eyes, an inflexion of the voice, at the most, an occasional whispered word. But the mehs, if only they could somehow become conscious of their own strength. would have no need to conspire. They needed only to rise up and shake themselves like a horse shaking off flies. If they chose they could blow SocMed to pieces tomorrow morning. Surely sooner or later it must occur to them to do it? And yet ——!