Home Living Today Culture Donald Trump Isn’t Fighting A Culture War But A Cultural Revolution By Elizabeth Kantor

Donald Trump Isn’t Fighting A Culture War But A Cultural Revolution By Elizabeth Kantor

4 min read
Ross Douthat is mistaking the new American cultural revolution for a mere culture war. In a New York Times column under the headline “Trump’s Empty Culture War,” Douthat accuses the president of engaging in the bad kind of culture war, in which “attitudinizing, tribalism, and worse-case fear-mongering float around unmoored . . . without a single issue being clarified or potentially resolved.”

On the contrary, the fight Trump has joined is not a culture war but a cultural revolution. And it could not be more replete with significance. Instead of debating the controversy over NFL players taking a knee for the national anthem, Douthat would rather we were arguing about how we can rein in police abuses and reduce prison sentences without endangering public safety.

But why are we not having that conversation, or any rational conversation on many other issues of pressing importance to our divided nation? It’s not because of Donald Trump. It’s because one side of our national divide doesn’t want to have a conversation, or an intellectual argument, or even a culture war.

What they want instead—and are doing their best to enforce with every possible tactic, from tweets accusing white players who don’t take a knee for the national anthem of white supremacism, to brutal physical attacks by Antifa brownshirts, to college students hounding their professors out of their jobs Red Guard–style, or chanting “speech is violence”—is for everyone who opposes their positions on these issues to be entirely shut up.

One Side Isn’t Aiming For Compromise But Dominance

Actually, it’s worse than that. They want their opponents to be shamed or bullied into recanting and forced to parrot the party line, as in a Mao-era self-criticism session where the humiliated and broken accused admitted to inadvertently betraying the revolution and his comrades…

Gallup reported last year that 69 percent of college students now believe their schools should restrict “intentionally offensive” speech.

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