Are Christians the powerful or the marginalized?

In the course of a post on why so many evangelicals are supporting Donald Trump, S. D. Kelly tosses off an observation that explains much about the current controversies between Christians and secularists.

Secularists tend to see Christians as “the powerful”; that is, in postmodern parlance, those who are in a position of power and privilege who oppress “the marginalized,” those who lack power and privilege.

But Christians tend to see themselves as “the marginalized,” oppressed by the cultural elite who exclude them and exercise their power against them.

Thus, when a Christian baker refuses to participate in a gay wedding, the secularists see the Christian heteronormative establishment discriminating against marginalized and oppressed gay people.

While Christians see secularists–who control the culture, the entertainment industry, the educational establishment, the government, and the law–imposing their sexual ideology on those with traditional Christian values and punishing them for their minority religious beliefs.

This explains much of the rhetoric, argumentation, and high feelings on both sides.  Are these just two irreconcilable perceptions?  Or can we make an objective case for one side or the other?  Does realizing these different perceptions suggest other ways of addressing these controversies? [Read more…]

Who’ll win the Irish vote?

We keep getting told that demographics favor the Democrats and look bad for the Republicans, as America becomes more ethnically diverse, a phenomenon particularly evident in the growing Hispanic vote.  But Josh Gelertner gives us a history lesson putting all of this into context.

He points out that ever since the machine politics of Boss Tweed in the 1850s, Democrats have pandered to immigrants fresh off the boat in exchange for their votes.  Thus the Irish became an important part of the Democratic base.  The same thing happened with the next wave of immigrants, the Italians.  But after awhile, each of these groups assimilated into American culture, whereupon they stopped voting exclusively for the Democrats.

He then argues that the same thing will happen to Hispanics–indeed, that it has already started to happen.  Today, no one talks about the Irish or the Italian vote, though they used to.  The same thing, Gelertner says, will happen with all immigrant groups. The American melting pot keeps working.

Read his argument after the jump, including how anti-Hispanic sentiment today is similar to the anti-Irish and anti-Italian sentiment of the past.  Does he have a point, or is he too sanguine about immigration?

He seems to assume that cultural assimilation happens naturally.  In the past, America worked hard to “Americanize” its immigrants.  This was a major task for schools.  As late as my day, we had lots of American history (in which Americans were portrayed as good guys), required Civics classes (teaching the Constitution and the workings of Democracy), and even lessons in “Americanism” (Cold War anti-communism, including the superiority of individualism over collectivism, free market economics over socialism, and freedom over regimentation).  Instead, schools today teach multiculturalism. Cultural assimilation is impossible if there is no particular culture to assimilate to.

[Read more…]

The whole world’s gone hipster

Go into a “cool” coffee shop.  Notice the reclaimed wood, big glass windows, subdued colors, and light bulbs hanging from the ceiling.  Now go into another cool coffee shop in another city.  Notice how the look is exactly the same.

Now, if you can afford it, fly to Paris.  (We’ll wait.)  Go to the cool coffee shop.  See anything familiar?  Go to Denmark.  Moscow.  Peking.  Sydney.

If you are sick of coffee by now, go to a restaurant, bar, Airbnb rental, or anywhere with the reputation of being cool.  Look where the hipsters hang out.  Notice how everything looks the same!

So says British journalist Kyle Chayka, who says that “the hipster aesthetic is taking over the world.” [Read more…]

Young men living the dream

Research shows that young men 18-30 are more likely to be living with their parents than with a woman.  And that the large number of the unemployed in this demographic are not only living with their parents but spending virtually all of the time they would normally be working playing video games.

But here is the kicker:  They LIKE living this way.  It isn’t that poor economic prospects are causing them to retreat into a depressing isolation.  They consider this a good life.  Expending their sexual impulses in internet pornography, rather than marriage or dating that could lead to marriage, and channeling all of their aggression into first person shooters, instead of the military or ambition or earning a living or protecting a family, this generation is happy, content, and living the dream.

So says Samuel D. James, drawing on the research of Erik Hurst and the insights of Russell Moore, excerpted and linked after the jump.

[Read more…]

The plight of religious traditionalists

Rachel Lu has written an important essay for National Review on the plight of religious traditionalists.  Donald Trump, she observes, has no interest in religious liberty issues or “fake culture war” causes that traditionalists care about.  And Republicans planning a post-Trump party are going the way of “fiscally conservative but socially liberal.”  And progressives, of course, can’t stand conservative religion.  So both political parties want to disassociate themselves from religious traditionalists.

And yet, she says, despite the efforts to marginalize religious conservatives, they have some cards to play. [Read more…]

The party of the rich

Democrats are now the party of the rich, and Republicans are the party of the blue collar worker.  So concludes Reihan Salam, writing in the liberal Slate, drawing on research by think tanker Lee Drutman, who shows that the wealthiest Americans now tend to vote for Democrats.

Why?  Because the wealthy tend to be “socially liberal”; that is, they support abortion, gay rights, gun control, etc., etc.   Contrary to how they usually describe themselves, they are not necessarily “fiscally conservative.”  They are so affluent they don’t mind paying slightly higher taxes, and they want the government to provide health care and other benefits for the lower class that serves them.  But they are far from Bernie Sanders-style socialists, being supportive of big banks and Wall Street.

Conversely, as we see in the ascension of Donald Trump, lower income workers–concerned about free trade, exporting jobs, and low wages, as well as what they see as America’s cultural decline–are voting Republican.  This is all an exact reversal of just a few years ago. [Read more…]