[The first part of this article was published yesterday… read it here.]
by David Theroux
According to a Radar Online source “with inside knowledge of the network’s machinations,” the New York Daily News has reported that “It’s an absolute disaster for A&E. . . . Now, it’s a standoff between the family and the network, who is going to blink first? There is no way Phil is going to apologize for his comments because he doesn’t think what he said is hateful or prejudice, it’s his religious beliefs. . . . A&E isn’t going to walk away from ‘Duck Dynasty,’ they can’t afford to do it. It’s just a matter of getting both sides to agree on how to move forward.”
And indeed this is exactly what has happened, even though GLAAD is not glad about A&E’s reversal, stating that “Phil Robertson should look African American and gay people in the eyes and hear about the hurtful impact of praising Jim Crow laws and comparing gay people to terrorists.” In response, Brietbart’s Warner Todd Huston has noted: “It is interesting that GLAAD put Robertson’s comments about African Americans first in its own statement about his comments on homosexuals. One might think that GLAAD feels it lost the battle on that issue and needed the cover of ‘racism’ to add heft to its complaints. Still, the statement takes Robertson’s comments out of context and mischaracterizes them. Robertson made no such claim that Jim Crow laws did not harm African Americans, nor did he ‘compare’ homosexuals to terrorists.”
Cultural “leftists” have been pursuing a campaign against Judeo-Christianity, traditional morality, gender identities, the nuclear family, limited constitutional government, free enterprise, the family, civility, individual liberty, personal responsibility, the rule of law, and much more. In the name of “tolerance” and “diversity,” this campaign has sought to impose a “secular theocracy” to smother bourgeois values and coercively impose “progressive” culture on an unwilling public, and gender issues have become a key rallying point (see, for example, articles in the Wall Street Journal, National Catholic Register, Hartford Courant, Reuters, and Washington Times).
And what about Robertson’s views of a clear and innate differentiation between men and women? In a recent Wall Street Journal interview of Camille Paglia, “A Feminist Defense of Masculine Virtues,” she similarly decries “opinion makers [who] deny the biological differences between men and women” and considers “the idea that all gay people are born gay” to be “the biggest canard.” Also and as reported in The Guardian, in recent studies of the human brain,
[s]cientists have drawn on nearly 1,000 brain scans to confirm what many had surely concluded long ago: that stark differences exist in the wiring of male and female brains. Maps of neural circuitry showed that on average women’s brains were highly connected across the left and right hemispheres, in contrast to men’s brains, where the connections were typically stronger between the front and back regions. Ragini Verma, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, said the greatest surprise was how much the findings supported old stereotypes, with men’s brains apparently wired more for perception and coordinated actions, and women’s for social skills and memory, making them better equipped for multitasking.
So, and contrary to postmodern wishes, is gender no more a choice than is the law of gravity or one’s birthday, DNA, or species? Vive la différence!
In his essay “America’s Ruling Class—and the Perils of Revolution,” author and scholar Angelo Codevilla superbly examines the culture war here as a conflict between two political classes in contemporary America. As Independent Institute Senior Fellow Robert Higgs points out regarding this article:
Codevilla cuts immediately to the core: the United States today is divided into (a) a ruling class, which dominates the government at every level, the schools and universities, the mainstream media, Hollywood, and a great deal else, and (b) all of the rest of us, a heterogeneous agglomeration that Codevilla dubs the country class. The ruling class holds the lion’s share of the institutional power, but the country class encompasses perhaps two-thirds of the people.
Members of the two classes do not like one another. In particular, the ruling class views the rest of the population as composed of ignoramuses who are vicious, violent, racist, fanatically religious, intolerant, irrational, unscientific, backward, generally ill behaved, and incapable of living well without constant, detailed direction by their betters; and it views itself as perfectly qualified and entitled to pound the rest into better shape by the generous application of laws, taxes, subsidies, regulations, speech controls, and unceasing declarations of its dedication to bringing the country — and indeed the entire world — out of its present darkness and into the light of the Brave New World it is busily engineering.
This class divide has little to do with rich versus poor or Democrat versus Republican. At its core, it has to do with the division between, on the one hand, those whose attitudes are attuned to the views endorsed by the ruling class (especially “political correctness”) and whose fortunes are linked directly or indirectly with government programs and, on the other hand, those whose outlooks and interests derive from and focus on private affairs, especially the traditional family, religion, and genuine private enterprise. Above all, as Codevilla makes plain, “for our ruling class, identity always trumps.” As true believers, these people “know” they are superior in every way, and they are not shy about letting everyone else know that they are. “Arrogance” might as well be their middle name.
As I have also discussed elsewhere, this “progressive” (i.e., authoritarian) campaign first began in earnest during the “Renaissance” of the sixteenth century, and by the “Enlightenment” of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries this view took on a ferocity in leading the “modern” Zeitgeist dominated by a secular civic religion of utilitarianism, moral relativism, narcissism, collectivism, and the worship of government power. In short, postmodern, cultural elites disdain almost everything upon which civilization has rested and work toward silencing all contrary views. Litmus tests that trigger such campaigns have included (but are not limited to) global warming, Obamacare, gender and race identity, Judeo-Christian beliefs, and birth- and gun- control.
In response, Duck Dynasty has remarkably broken through this Nanny-State malaise, connecting with many millions of people fed up with the absurdities and bullying of “liberal” elites. And whether viewers consider homosexuality a sin or not, the show has further raised a crucial tenet of the natural law, the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” C. S. Lewis showed in his brilliant book The Abolition of Man and other writings that the &natural law is central to individual liberty, personal responsibility, civic virtue, and the rule of law, and has been universal to all civilizations and essential for their very existence, even as rulers have repeatedly and hypocritically exempted themselves from it.
The Golden Rule is the basis for tolerance in the freedoms of speech and religion, including whether individuals are allowed to freely express their views when asked, without being smeared, bullied, and silenced. One may in fact love the sinner but hate the sin. Jesus said it best:
You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.” But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. (Matthew 5:43–44, NIV)
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3–5, NIV)
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12, NIV)
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:21–22, NIV)
So the lesson here is that treating all people, white or black, gay or straight, male or female, young or old, drunk or sober, rich or poor, etc., with love and respect is paramount. In a new, thirty-minute film about the Robertsons, “I Am Second,” Phil and his family discuss their own dark and ugly journey through drunkenness, violence, drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, and far more, and how accepting Jesus taught them to love God and all people, turned their lives around, saved their family, and formed the basis for what has become the immense success of Duck Dynasty.
[Editor;s Note: This is the last half of the second installment in a two-part series on Duck Dynasty and what it reveals regarding America’s “secular theocracy,” from the inimitable David Theroux, President and CEO of the Independent Institute. If you missed it, read the first part here.]