The Culture War and I
I trace the origin of my connection to the culture war to the attacks on America from self-righteous, hot-headed revolutionary leftist rebels during the 1960s, a war on this side of the Pacific Ocean while one on the other side raged in Vietnam.
A veteran of the Korean War, I had begun to make a life for myself and my family in the America I fought for – a vibrantly productive country where freedom of opportunity and of mind was open to all. Countless many had and continue to put their lives on the line for America, a nation endowed with the world’s best Constitution and supported by faith-centered religious leaders. That America, we were soon to learn, was in the cross hairs of its domestic enemies.
It was clear to me and wide-awake Americans that the enemies of this country, visibly striking at America’s values during the 1960s, had by the 1980s effectively declared a culture war. Those of us alert could see the leftist influence on our culture in the growing degradation of education, entertainment, literature, the arts, and morality – targets of Marxist revision.
The assaults on our culture and way of life were coming at a time when computer technology had advanced to a stage when it was possible to “desktop publish” what you worked on with a computer small enough to have at home. (The Internet had not yet stormed the public.) Together with a printer, I was able to publish what I wrote. And so I took to publishing newsletters that alerted subscribers to the activity of a growing cabal determined to undermine America’s tenets and values, in ways subtle and not so subtle. This was in keeping with my duty to “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” an oath I when I entered the military.
Nothing, it seemed, was out of the reach of radical leftists in their drive to turn minds away from facts regarding almost anything you could name. Their fact-spinning and revisions of common knowledge and common sense provided me with topics for my newsletters.
To show, for example, how far the Left would go to undermine normal perceptions, in their drive to “revise reality,” I reported in a 1990 newsletter that a PBS video essay pointed out that the details in a Monet painting are triangles combining to form symbols that make political statements.
Image: Anthony J. DeBlasi
Strange. I thought I was looking at swirls of paint that came together to form images of lily ponds and cathedrals and harbors at sunrise. Was there something wrong with my eyes? Freud must have missed Monet’s triangles too, else he might have called them phallic symbols writhing in a sea of repressed desire.
Then came the news that Mozart’s opera Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) wasn’t a comic opera but a cry for political freedom, revising two centuries of critical review of that opera – this from arts guru Peter Sellars.
Attempted deconstructions of common knowledge and experience were generally more blunt and direct than this. Undercutting the way we look at things was and continues to be a deceptive tactic of deconstruction for changing minds and attitudes, a life-changing tactic that is most effective on those who have not been totally dumbed down.
The history of the attacks on American culture from the Left is beyond the scope of an essay. The following sample list of themes of my newsletters, however, can point to some of the issues over which the culture war has been fought. It’s been a conflict between enemies of America, most of them following Marxist rules, and the vast majority of Americans following Judeo-Christian principles. The result has been a deep and factitious division among Americans.
But first a few words on “where I come from.” My parents were immigrants from an impoverished Europe who came to America legally, attended classes that accustomed them to the language and history of America in preparation for becoming citizens, which they did, and raised their children (during a Great Depression) to be honest and civilized members of society. And I married a woman who as a child was sheltered from Nazi bombings of her country during World War II.
- We are not smarter than our ancestors (a delusion of “progressives”)
- People don’t change (something evolutionists don’t get)
- Science cannot supply “all the answers” (counting the ways)
- Authority is here to stay (an existential necessity that needs to be morally responsive to all people it affects)
- The sex drive is first and foremost a function of the body to generate children, who are never “accidents” or “organic waste” (and therefore entitled to protection and an equal share in life)
- Deliberately falsifying the news is tantamount to treachery (and, as such, an enemy of truth)
- Secular humanism, by dismissing the spiritual dimension of human life, is in effect against humanity
The writing in these newsletters was mostly my own, although the work of others, some well-known in their field, appeared by permission in them. Was this work worth the efforts? I sometimes felt that my newsletter shots at domestic enemies of the United States were like firing at tanks with a BB gun. But it was something I had to do, in the hope that Americans would eventually wake up.
I was just one among many in the culture war that were better positioned than I was. Some, alas, who had begun as stalwarts, succumbed to the pressure of Big Money (always, it seemed, on the wrong side) and allowed leftist apparatchiks access to their publications.
The newsletters stopped in the late 1990s when it became necessary to devote serious time to personal matters, but my writing re: the culture war did not end.
Never in the closing decades of the 20th century could I have imagined that Americans would still be asleep well into the 21st century, while their government turned rogue and moved aggressively to transform our constitutional republic into a police state, apparent to all except those duped by legacy media’s constant spinning of the news.
It is the opinion of a great many who have observed America’s transformation that, far from being “evolutionary” or “inevitable,” it has been a progressive takeover. It would be hard, at this late date, to prove otherwise.
In his hair-raising Gulag Archipelago Aleksander Solzhenitsyn wrote: “Alas, all the evil of the twentieth century is possible everywhere on earth.” In his 1983 Templeton Address in London, Solzhenitsyn said:
Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia [following the Soviet revolution in 1917]: ‘Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.’ Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: ‘Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.’
Anthony J. DeBlasi is a veteran and life-long defender of Western culture.
Image: Anthony J. DeBlasi