Conservatives frequently decry the blindness of culturally-neutral, postmodernism to pathologies that threaten to undermine America's core social and political values. As they correctly point out the dismal human rights record of tribal Muslim societies, they rail against multiculturalists who tiptoe around Muslim sensibilities. Hear, hear! Let's not tiptoe.
When it comes to their own backyard, however, some conservatives go PoMo blind while our highest values are assaulted again and again by a Southernist subculture that has arrogantly claimed to represent "true" American cultural values. These are the same people who defiantly wave the confederate battle flag as a Southernist shibboleth while masquerading as a "states' rights" movement. That movement amounts to nothing more than advocacy for an inanimate state's so-called "right" to deprive actual living human beings of their rights.
The truth is that there was never a war for states' rights as Southernists would have us believe. The Southernist rebellion was a tribal war to protect the tribe's use of state power to deprive basic rights to nonmembers of the Southern white tribe. Substituting the word "rights" for "power" makes the Southernist cause sound morally elevated -- a pig dressed in a tuxedo. To this day, when states' rights are mentioned, it is almost always with reference either to depriving some individuals (non-Southernists) of their right to full participation in American society or to forcing some Southernist notion of Dixie Jesus on the rest of us.
Although the Southernist vision of a state with the "right" to exclude blacks from full participation in American life was legally defeated by the persistent efforts of courageous blacks and others who refused to tiptoe around morally depraved Southernist sensibilities, dogged remnants of pathological Southernist tribal culture persist in bullshit Southernist claims to represent true American values and culture. These claims are put forward in a latent civil war for Southernist state power that continues in the political and social realms of American life.
Southernists have replaced the lynching and murders of their hundred-year post-war tribal insurgency with what they now call a "culture war." By any other name, however, it is still a "tribal war" and they are the anti-American insurgents who do what all tribalists do: they overvalue their own beliefs and rights while undervaluing the beliefs and rights of others. In the Southernist tribal subculture where slavery and racism once thrived, religious and subcultural arrogance still thrive. These phenomena are not merely incidental to tribalism. They are intrinsic to it.
I was prompted to comment on this subject by a post in PERRspectives. It offers a compelling look at the evidence for Southernist cultural pathology:
The same dismal pattern applies to a wide array of measures of social dysfunction and pathology. 8 of the top 10 states with the highest murder rates are squarely in Red America. 7 of the 10 states with the lowest murder rates were in the Kerry column. (Interestingly, six of those states have no death penalty statute.) The 10 states with the highest divorce rates in 1998 all went for Bush in 2004. Red states constituted 9 on the top 10 in terms of out-of-wedlock births. And the Bible Belt has the greatest percentage of births to women under age 20, with the worst 15 states nationwide all among in the GOP ranks. By almost any measure of societal breakdown that so-called Republican "values voters" decry, it is Red State America where moral failure is greatest.
For one hundred years after the formal end of the Civil War for Southernist Power, the Southernist insurgent movement fought tooth and nail against every effort to put a stop to its institutionalized exclusion of African-Americans from full participation in American life. They used to call other Americans who opposed their willfully monstrous conduct "outside agitators" -- code words for American from the North and "Jew." The code words themselves would underscore the tribal nature of their insurgency.
While they've become slightly more sophisticated in the expression of their tribal prejudices, it remains true today that you are not culturally an American in the eyes of a Southern tribesman unless you are willing to tiptoe around the sensitivities and pathologies of Southernist tribal culture. You must cede your rights to the Southernist who feels entitled to redefine what it is to be an American. That goes double for American-born gays, Arabs, blacks, Hispanics, Greeks, Italians, Poles, eastern Europeans, Catholics, Mormons, Adventists, atheists, agnostics, liberals, New Yorkers and a host of others. If you are one of these, tiptoe in your politics because you do not represent American culture, according to the Southernist. Stand with hat in hand as you pay homage to Southern tribal sensitivities and pretend that you don't see those
gray state Red State pathologies.
Related Post: Mike Huckabee's progressive views on crime and justice