CJay Engel

October 23, 2019

Culture, Downstream from Politics

We always hear that politics is downstream from culture. I am increasingly interested in Paul Gottfried's case that, in actuality, the opposite is true. Under some forms of democracy, especially in its early years, the government will represent the general culture of the people. Under this arrangement, culture drives politics.But as democracy matures and the state morphs into the creation of a Total Bureaucracy-- indeed as it has developed in the west-- things shift. The state takes on a life of its own and has the ingrained tendency to shape culture for its own endsGottfried, as usual, is particularly keen:

Contrary to an older understanding of culture, what we are referring to is a process of moral and social radicalization. It is a process that didn’t come about unbidden but which powerful, pervasive administrative rule promoted. And the social engineering function of public administration here and elsewhere in the West has been particularly evident since the 1960s, with governmentally encouraged immigration and an accelerating war against discrimination. Presumably, when Hillary Clinton assured a gay rights group that she was addressing last year (October 5, 2015) that she would use the IRS to force recalcitrant religious institutions into endorsing gay marriage, she was not simply responding to a cultural condition. She was working to create one.

Hence why the state is behind the move in the last 4-5 years to shock the middle class. It's part of the need that the state has to leverage cultural change for its own ends. Gottfried:

As an engine of social and moral change, the state is on a perpetual behavior-modifying mission. Political Correctness is not just about “culture.” It results from government policies relentlessly applied for the purpose of changing the way we think about human relations. Accelerating immigration from different cultures also furthers the state’s presence in our lives. Demographic change weakens established patterns of social interaction that might resist the state’s expanding control, such as long-standing cultural identities. Further, immigration generates conflicts that require or are thought to require the intervention of state actors.

The issue of immigration is hotly debate in libertarian circles. And while I personally tend toward a more Hoppean approach, I most certainly think that, whatever one's position, we should at least be mindful of the extent to which the central government loves to use immigration as a tool for cultural conquest. The point isn't really about immigration per se, but rather how the state recognizes the types of conflicts that are generated in cultural and demographic changes and how it can exploit them for its own ends.

About the author

C.Jay Engel is the founder and publisher of Bastion Magazine. He has written for, LRC, David Stockman, and related. He owns several consulting business, actively works on the magazine, and lives in Northern CA.

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