Tag Archives: Culture War

No One Has Read Huntington

The more I read people reference The Clash of Civilizations, the more I continue to believe that no one has read the actual book. In a recent New York Times article, journalists Scott Shane, Matthew Rosenberg, and Eric Lipton write that:

Mr. Trump was echoing a strain of anti-Islamic theorizing familiar to anyone who has been immersed in security and counterterrorism debates over the last 20 years. He has embraced a deeply suspicious view of Islam that several of his aides have promoted, notably retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, now his national security adviser, and Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s top strategist.

This worldview borrows from the “clash of civilizations” thesis of the political scientist Samuel P. Huntington, and combines straightforward warnings about extremist violence with broad-brush critiques of Islam.” [ NYT: “A Sinister Perception of Islam Steers the White House.”]

The article was about how President Trump and his team of Culture Warriors at the helm of his administration believe in a far-right notion of radical Islam and have an outsized fear of it. Yeah. Ok. I know.

To say that this worldview borrows from Huntington is akin to saying that because my co-worker said the words “I am Genghis Khan,” means he is Genghis Khan. I’m bad at comparisons, I know.

My point is that just because there is a cultural element to Trump’ grand strategy and that his chief strategist Steve Bannon believes in a clash of civilizations means that it is borrowing anything from a thesis that was trying to predict how conflicts in the future might look like. Huntington wasn’t endorsing clashes of civilization, he was simply arguing that culture – shared values, customs, language, and belief-systems – are likely to spark conflict in the future as opposed to any other possible reason for war, such as trade or land.

All three reporters are fantastic. Scott Shane’s book from two years ago about Anwar al-Awlaki was probably my favorite of 2015. This to me is sloppy, lazy and I don’t know what purpose it serves, to be honest.

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We are Living Through the Extremes of the CultureWarification of Our Discourse

[In response to http://mic.com/articles/115430/gwyneth-paltrow-has-no-idea-what-living-on-29-a-week-is-actually-like%5D

Liberals finally confront Paltrow over her anti-vaccine dangerous pseudo-science. Just kidding, that would be rational and backed by empiricism and could actually influence how celebrities speak in public. (Do not read this as me advocating for me calling for tons of think pieces on Paltrow in that regard, you might wanna direct your rage at the U.S. Congress. Better yet: vote.)

What are they mad about?

Certain sections (the mad as fuck delusional idealistic juvenile sect) of the left are mad at Gwyneth Paltrow for engaging in a symbolic gesture. Meanwhile, states [those lower organized governmental entities that have elections which you don’t vote in] around the country – like the one I live in which saw only 32% of all registered voters vote, one of the lowest turnouts in the COUNTRY – are finishing up budgets that are devastating to the working poor, minorities, children, and the old, and all of us.

It’s not a smart point to say that Paltrow is out of touch. She literally is worth, allegedly, upwards of $120 million. No shit. No shit. No shit. No shit. No shit. No shit. No shit. This yahoo writes, in his horribly written and literally non sequitur filled word splatter, that: Paltrow needs to realize how out of touch she is. Good job for “punching up,” you are being a good little automaton warrior. Not really. You also write that she was undoubtedly trying to shine a light on poverty which literally is a word that almost no politician hardly ever uses and you find time to write this piece that literally has and should not have any materially influence at all.

You say that she needs to get in touch? She’s not going to. Also, with the kind of social distance that she necessarily has due to her privilege, and wealth, for example, she cannot put herself in the position that nearly half of all Americans are in which is one emergency away from bankruptcy. Anything whatsoever that Paltrow could ever do alone will always be symbolic. Probably read up on estates taxes, offshore accounts, the anti-IRS right wing money making corporate machine, Thomas Piketty, the tax system in general, prison reform, state elections, legislators, the vile Fix the Debt group, the housing crisis, the bailout, welfare reform in the 90s, I could go on forever. Probably start with the brain though and Homo sapiens.

And why does she need to? She’s a liberal so if she votes she will probably vote for a Democrat which regardless of the similarities, won’t try and cut social service spending. Democratic legislators and governors are vetoing and blocking destructive cuts.

I have already spent too much time on this – my problem, not yours – and it could be tightened up but I had to get something out. Bottom line: Paltrow is out of touch, that is all but irrelevant and Paltrow maybe could have bought different stuff – of course she didn’t because she eats that stuff, presumably, and fuck you for spending so much time and tweet-characters to attack a celebrity which already is the one section of society that for some reason we feel like we have the right to do so. God forbid we start acting so vigilant towards the Blackstone Group, or war criminals, or the kleptocracy, or climate change which is going to kill millions upon millions of us sooner rather than later. Look up climate science and the year 2050.

Also, we need to fucking vote more and run for office (thanks David Graeber) and vote out incumbents who vote out entrenched politicians. And get money out of politics.