The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Christmas and the Culture Wars

Let's make this absolutely clear.

Political correctness can neither kill, nor even dent Christmas.

The evil PC-thugs who are so audacious that they say "happy holidays", or worse, "season's greetings" (run, children!), cannot harm Christmas. Besides it isn't even their intent to do so.

This goes straight to the heart of the "culture war". It's roughly the same battles, fought on roughly the same parameters, over a variety of social issues.

When you look at "Christmas UNDER SIEGE!!!" and "the institution of marriage UNDER SIEGE!!!", you find that the arguments made (particularly the ways they are made) are virtually identical.

Proponents of, let's say, "December pluralism" are seeking not to diminish or denigrate Christmas, but to promote the inclusion of non-Christians into the season, the reality being that America is neither composed of 100% Christians (the numbers are something like 76 percent) nor a state that sponsors one religion over another. This has no effect on your tree-lighting, present-wrapping, carol-singing, or your big family dinner.

What's the culture-war-right's response to this? They flail about, saying that December pluralists are out to destroy Christmas. O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Hannity and of course the 700 Club types are all on this kick right now.

Now consider gay marriage. Proponents of equal marriage rights for all have no intent to do a thing to heterosexual marriages, but rather to extend marriage rights to include others. Opponents of same-sex marriage argue that leaving marriage rights to hetero couples preserves the sanctity of marriage, just as many of them aregue that December nonpluralism preserves the meaning and importance of Christmas.

The culture-war-right are the absolutists on every issue of the culture war. By contrast, the culture-war-left are the inclusivists. One side wants to preserve a woman's right to choose, while the other wants to outlaw abortion altogether. The left wants same-sex couples to have the same rights allocated to hetero couples, while the right wants to maintain the legal illegitimacy of committed same-sex relationships. The left looks out for the substantial American minority that doesn't celebrate Christmas, and the right wants no other observance to be recognized in any substantial manner in the public square, on TV or otherwise.

Why don't we see this dynamic play out exactly as shown above? Because of some clever Orwellianism by the right: Wherever possible, they have cast the left as the exclusivists. The want to "destroy Christmas", "destroy the sanctity of marriage", and so on.

In order to preserve this charade, the right sometimes has to bend over backwards a bit. Case in point, the manipulation of the recent incident at a Cupertino school into a "banning of the Declaration of Independence".

This was my long way of saying, in effect, "don't believe the hype!" Christmas isn't going anywhere! Go read the friggin Grinch again, Christmas can survive a lot more than anything the dreaded PC Police can conjure.

By the way, you know what's a good way to celebrate Christmas? Peace on earth, and goodwill towards men. That's how.

Until next time, my dear Chicken Littles of the right . . . SEASON'S GREETINGS!


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