Words and history are strange things. Without words, we would not know history, and history is often a contest of words. The word “war” gets thrown around pretty freely in Clown World. Blame Lyndon Johnson for that. There was a “War On Poverty,” then there was a “War On Women,” a “War on Terror,” you get the idea. It is all very de-sensitizing. When someone thinks of the “War On ____” they are not thinking of clouds of B-29’s foaming over some Japanese city, perched to dispense thousands of metric tons of liquid fire onto the civilian population. That is pretty impressive when you consider that in the lifetime of people who are still around, the United States did exactly that on a regular basis several times a month. In a real “no-shit” war.
The denizens of Piss Earth have no context, no sense of history, and no idea what “war” means. Maybe that is by design, maybe it is just an accident of history. But consider this. “War” is a three letter word. That means in the greater scheme of words, it came along pretty quickly– much more quickly than “fascist,” “pornography,” or even “television.” Like “boy,” “girl,” “king,” “God,” and “food,” it is a word that is supposed to convey a very sharp meaning very quickly. People should fear the power behind three letter words, and except perhaps for “king” and “God” they should fear “war” most of all.
Pat Buchanan, a man who knows history, and knows words, gave a famous speech in 1992 about war– he called it a “Culture War”. He said “There is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we will one day be as was the Cold War itself.
Most of the people reading this weren’t alive during that speech, but at the time, it was possible to look around and see the “America” of the 1950’s and 1960’s and think to yourself that Crazy Uncle Pat had dipped into the cream sherry a little early that day.
That was a long time ago now. Back then the idiots over at Turning Point USA would have been yeeted to the street for being communists by the Democratic Party. The front of this very real Culture War has rolled so far back that “campus conservative” organizations like Charlie Kirk’s little Turning Point Tea Party will virulently defend gay sex as a bedrock conservative value.
It’s time for a little context, because the people fighting the “Culture War” seem to stumble along blissfully, as though finding just the right meme or buying the right hair gel will give them the “optics” they need to totally turn the tide on kulturkampf and roll back a century of left wing communist victories.
Today is the 5th of November. You know why the 5th of November is important…right?
No, its not just anarchists and Natalie Portman, though V For Vendetta certainly preys on the deep guttural memory invoked by the 5th of November that resonated with the English speaking world until about ten years ago. The 5th of November is a day that is only important for two groups of people, both of whom are losing the Culture War so decisively, even the “conservatives” likely know a lot more useless trivia about screeching German lunatics and The Crimes of The Jews than they do about the cultures they claim to defend. Those groups of people are the Anglos and the Catholics. Everyone’s favorites right? Great time of it we are having it lately. This is how it goes, a rhyme so ubiquitous to Anglophones for the last 500 years that little girls played jump-rope and sang along merrily.
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes Day is the 5th of November, and it commemorates the day Guy “Guido” Fawkes and some of his Catholic friends were caught stashing gunpowder under Westminster Palace to try and blow king James up from underneath and re-institute Catholic rule over England. Now let’s pause for a moment and appreciate a world in which it was possible to conceive of this plan– they very literally just leased a space under the throne room and packed it with Gunpowder.
Guy Fawkes Day was not a commemoration of the dashing-but-dumb Catholic swashbucklers who very nearly saved England from the despotic clutches of the Reformation. It was a state subsidized holiday to villainize them, repudiate them, and mock their memory. It remains widely celebrated in what is left of the United Kingdom today.
If you won’t give me one,
I’ll take two,
The better for me,
And the worse for you.
A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
A penn’orth of cheese to choke him,
A pint of beer to wash it down,
And a jolly good fire to burn him.
The 5th of November is what happens when you lose a Culture War. The Catholics lost a Culture War in England– and instead of getting kicked off Facebook, Catholics all over England got the death penalty. A few generations later, when a Catholic king stumbled back on the throne of England, the memory of the Gunpowder Plot and its fallout was still so fresh that the King moved tenderly on the throne, and legal restrictions remained on Catholicism in the United Kingdom until the middle of the 20th century– interrupted only by the sudden and rapid decline of England itself.
The cost of losing the Culture War is not simply of losing our “free market” or even our “freedoms”. The cost of losing a Culture War is obliteration. The reason there are not many readily available instances of Culture Wars being won or lost in history textbooks is because the winners totally obliterate the losers. They are simply exterminated. The Gunpowder Plot and ruination of the English Catholics is only recoverable in collective memory because of a nursery rhyme.
The “Old South” mostly lost a culture war. The first hundred years of the American state was dominated by the culture of cerebral, genteel, Enlightened farmer-statesmen– largely drawn from Southern states. When their civilization was crushed mercilessly under the wheels of global finance capital, their memory was transformed overnight into villains. By trick of fate, their sons and daughters won a small reprieve, but at last their memory is being ground into the gravel of history on the wings of a new culture war.
Today is the 5th of November. Think long and hard, if you think at all, about what the Culture War means for you, at a time when it is no longer possible to think that it will all be okay. Dark days lie ahead for those who would keep the flame of the west alive. Think long and hard about where you want to be when Texas turns blue and North Carolina is overrun by communists. Think long and hard about the frightening specter of Attorney General Kamala Harris and President Elizabeth Warren.
Guy Fawkes was sentenced to being drawn and quartered in front of a howling mob. He was saved from that grisly fate only by “falling” from the scaffolding from which he was to be hung. His neck snapped on impact, and the crowd roared. Their children learned to hate his memory, and their children’s children, and their children’s children’s children. You should fear the Culture War, and act accordingly, because we are losing it