Michael Maiello's picture

    Religion Is Not A Counterculture

    I spend too much time on Ross Douthat and his sensei, David Brooks. Today, Douthat wrote a piece casting America’s practicing religious communities as a counterculture.  He then calls for the same tolerance that most countercultures, from beats to hippies to punks to vegans to gays have asked for but rarely received.

    Douthat says:

    “Now these conservative communities are, again, very much a counterculture, and their immediate prospects for growth are not necessarily bright. And the fact that their weakness is clearly driven by both the sexual revolution and certain socioeconomic trends makes it complicated and not entirely intuitive to propose their ideas as a solution to those same dislocations; at the very least, there’s a much longer conversation there, and in the meantime everyone should become a Mormon isn’t the first answer to the social crisis that I’d urge readers to ponder or policymakers to embrace.

    But going forward people in positions of authority, political and cultural and corporate, do have a choice about how to deal with these kind of communities, their members and their institutions and ideas … and particularly how to deal with the fact that many of those ideas really are in tension with the elite consensus, and sometimes the culture-wide consensus, on issues related to sex and marriage and abortion and homosexuality and more.”

    Douthat is full of hot air.  Religious values permeate American society, affecting believers, in-betweeners and non-believers on a daily basis. But, granting his premise that there has been some sort of power flip and the once dominant religious are now a dwindling counterculture, Douthat makes no mention of how these religious communities acted when they had the power and influence.

    Without advocating “an eye for an eye,” we have to ask what if the new counterculture's behavior when it was on top makes it worthy of tolerance and respect now.  How did they treat the gay counterculture during the 20th century?  How did they respond to the AIDS public health crisis?  How did these communities treat pot smokers?  How did they treat atheists and agnostics?  How did they react when well-meaning neighbors suggested saying “happy holidays,” during the Winter Solstice?

    Once the schoolyard bully has been taught a lesson that sticks, we don't have to keep fighting the guy and can move on to other matters.  We certainly don't have to keep giving him our lunch money, as Douthat suggests.

    Douthat intently ignores that his counterculture committed great sins against a group of innocent people and that his counterculture has not only not apologized, but never intends to, ever.  Were there some sort of admission of wrongdoing on the part of this counterculture, then there could be reconciliation and forgiveness.  But there's no real reason to tolerate the intolerance of a group of people who would repeal the rights of others if they only had the power.




    Nailed it.

    The bully gets called out, starts whining that now he's being picked on.

    The amount of time and money plutocrats have sunk into turning America's yokels and snake handlers and dimwits and bigots into a Great Big Fucking Hammer has been mind-blowing, and what they have built with their money and influence is really a political engineering marvel: a self-contained, proudly ignorant, red-white-and-blue fascism, assembled right out in the open while being conspicuously ignored by virtually our entire elite American political media persons.


    Media persons including first and foremost Douthat, Brooks.

    It's a 'counter culture' of carefully manipulated propagandized dimwits and bigots who would cheer and pay admission to see gays, hippies, the sick/homeless thrown to the lions if that could be arranged.

    Thanks!  A newly bookmarked blog for me.

    Latest Comments