A Cautious Man
September 22, 2003
"Culture War Profiteers"
That's my working title for an idea that came to me while driving home from work. Sometimes, I do something which my spouse would never let me do if we were together - I listen to right-wing radio. Anyway, Mr. Hannity had David Limbaugh on, who apparently is the brother of the radio entertainer named Limbaugh. David Limbaugh has a new book about the war that liberals are raging against Christianity.
I know, I should have put that last phrase in quotes.
So later in the evening, after I pick my son up from Youth Symphony practice, I flop onto the couch and turn the television on. Since I was alone in the room, I (yes, you guessed it) turned to the right-wing news channel. There was Mr. Hannity (with his sidekick, Mr. Colmes) speaking with the same David Limbaugh, who was repeating his charges.
God bless him, but Mr. Colmes actually turned to Mr. D. Limbaugh and asked, "So are you saying that there are no liberal christians?" Mr. D. Limbaugh fumbled around, denying that he would say such a thing, then he implied that liberals who claim they are christian might be deceiving themselves.
Okay, so leaving aside the issues of the death penalty, aid to the poor, the wisdom of pre-emptive war and tolerance of others' religious beliefs (on which some Christians might find themselves on the wrong side of D. Limbaugh's line), I realized that the whole book is, well, a crock. Mr. Limbaugh has apparently collected a bunch of anecdotes about times when some people have believed that "anti-Christian" actions were taking place. Sure, there are some people who act poorly when faced with a situation involving religion - but to translate that into a general "Liberals hate Christians" mantra is a little much. That's not to mention the examples which are, frankly, exaggerated. I know for a fact that one of the examples touted tonight is a distortion of the actual facts (since it involves my own community).
But, more on that another time. I just felt the need to write down my realization that this is a classic example of someone who wants to promote the idea of a "culture war", so they can make money. In order to popularize the concept of a "culture war", these guys (and gals) have to encourage intolerance, xenophobia, and basically fear of anybody who is "different" from their target audience. And that is how these people earn their living.
It's not so different from those newspaper publishers or armaments makers, who are rumored to have been instrumental in encouraging wars in years past ("Remember the Maine" and all that). If every war has its profiteers, then the Culture War Profiteers are part of a grand tradition.