At Stake: Almost Everything that Matters
I opened by saying the struggle is for the heart and soul of America. Hyperbole, you say?
Let me try to explain. Again I turn to John Fonte, as I know no one more insightful in this area than he, and commend his Gramsci and Tocqueville in America: Why there is a Culture War in Policy Review Online. He tags the warring camps as Tocquevillians versus Gramscians. Tocquevillians support transmission of our social, economic and political way of life, while Gramscians oppose it, intending instead to transform it into something "Europeanized, statist, thoroughly secular, post-patriotic, and concerned with group hierarchies and group rights in which the idea of equality before the law as traditionally understood by Americans would finally be abandoned. ...[T]he ideological, political, and historical stakes are enormous".[Source]
But, as Fonte notes, the culture war is actually more than a war of culture. It's a clash of two antithetical world views, including two sharply contrasting ideals about individualism, labor, property, fundamental values, society, economic systems, and government itself. The tension pervades foreign policy, as well as domestic affairs, and leads increasingly to wilful subversion of one set of policies by advocates of the other, often with reckless disregard for the national interest.
In The Ideological War Within the West, Fonte concludes:
In America, there is an elemental argument about whether to preserve, improve, and transmit the American regime to future generations or to transform it into a new and different type of polity. We are arguing about "regime maintenance" vs. "regime transformation."
The challenge from transnational progressivism to traditional American concepts of citizenship, patriotism, assimilation, and the meaning of democracy itself is fundamental. If our system is based not on individual rights (as defined by the U. S. Constitution) but on group consciousness (as defined by international law); not on equality of citizenship but on group preferences for non- citizens (including illegal immigrants) and for certain categories of citizens; not on majority rule within constitutional limits but on power-sharing by different ethnic, racial, gender, and linguistic groups; not on constitutional law, but on transnational law; not on immigrants becoming Americans, but on migrants linked between transnational communities; then the regime will cease to be "constitutional," "liberal," "democratic," and "American," in the understood sense of those terms, but will become in reality a new hybrid system that is "post-constitutional," "post-liberal," "post-democratic," and "post-American."
Where does it go from here? After the Berlin Wall, progressives used the period of relative calm to reassert aggressively their agenda of deconstruction and transformation.
"Gramscian ideas are far advanced in America. You see them in "hate crimes" laws, in gender equity legislation, in forced corporate "sensitivity" training, in the menace of coerced "right thinking" in the universities. You feel the nuances of it in casual conversation. It's an attitude at a cocktail party. To speak Tocquevillian (the deepest American cultural tradition) is as bad as lighting up a cigarette at a dinner party on the Upper West Side." The Roots of America's Culture War, Lance Morrow, Time Online Edition, February 2001
As Fonte sees it, "Since September 11... the forces supporting the liberal-democratic nation state have rallied throughout the West. In the post-9/11 milieu there is a window of opportunity for those who favor a reaffirmation of the traditional norms of liberal-democratic patriotism. It is unclear whether that segment of the American intelligentsia committed to liberal democracy as it has been practiced on these shores has the political will to seize this opportunity. In Europe, given elite opinion, the case for liberal democracy will be harder to make. Key areas to watch in both the U. S. and Europe include immigration-assimilation policy; arguments over international law; and the influence of a civic-patriotic narrative in public schools and popular culture."[Source]
A lot of America is gone already. How much more will we lose? What's at stake in Election 2008?
Almost everything that matters.