The Feeling of Society When the Cultural Seasons Change


As the rain clears out on an autumnal Friday afternoon, a bit of encouraging analysis might enhance the mood.  Although, I should preface this post with an acknowledgment of the limited extent of the positivity.  What follows is encouraging not because it is suggestive of improvement so much as it at least confirms that we’re not crazy… at least not most of us.

With a quick hop-skip-and-jump, we turn to Rod Dreher’s post about a Yascha Mounk essay concerning a study by Stephen Hawkins, Daniel Yudkin, Miriam Juan-Torres, and Tim Dixon.  Adding an even more cursory blog post than Dreher’s at the beginning of an attenuating list would be repetitive, so I’ll just articulate the conclusion that I would draw and refer you to those links for the evidence.

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The crazy condition of our politically correct, identity-obsessed culture does not reflect our society’s values, but only those of a tiny ideological minority of comfortable elites driven by fear that their pleasant illusions cannot hold.  Because they’re elites, they set the tone of much of our entertainment and our public discourse and have an overly strong hand in the education of future generations, but people are getting fed up with their bullying.

The problem that needs solving is that most people just don’t want to have to think about the issues that the progressive extreme is intent on foisting on us, which means that the power of the latter’s position is not so much in its ability to persuade as its prerogative to decide when the people can take a break and maybe get back to their lives.  This produces a public sentiment something like, “Fine… affirmative action, climate change, LGBeTc… can I just finish my daily cleanup and relax a bit before bed?”

Until very recently (I’d say), the overpowering trick was to make conservatives seem like the ones keeping the issues alive.  Public sentiment:  “For crying out loud, live and let live… and let this topic go away so we can go back to our burgers and talk about sports.”

One could make the case that what we’re seeing now is disorientation on the Left following the eight years of Obama’s ideological reign, during which a gap opened up between progressives who understood how the strategy of cultural change was supposed to work and progressives who’ve come to believe the implementation of their ideological imperatives is just the natural order of the universe.  As the public sentiment has become, “Whoa, there,” the activists are responding with outrage that, yes, dawn follows the night of their revelry and fall follows the hot summer of their control.