Monday, May 10, 2010

The Cultures in the War

Before getting into a war, or even commenting on it, one should at least assign names to the sides and identify the main features of each. If you aren't sure who you are at war with and what your goal is, it is very difficult to fight or win, and you are easily distracted. You could win many battles and still lose the war; we already tried that once in Vietnam, we assumed the other role in the American Revolution.

This war (so far) is mainly one of ideas; ideas about government, taxes, laws, religion, education, and so on. There are at least four major parties; and few clear-cut names. I'm going to call them the 'Individualist', 'Collective', 'Religious', and 'Authoritarian'. I've tried to separate them based on what seems to be the primary or head of state for each group. But each has so many variants and things that come close that more explanation seems necessary. So hang on, here goes.

From the standpoint of anthropology, this certainly ignores some groups and examples from the Amazon head hunters and Borneo cannibals (primitive cultures) to Communes or religious groups in the west. They are all indeed unique cultures, but I expect no actions on their part and expect little or no interaction. They don't harm me, and I don't expect to harm them.

I could have named the involved cultures after the seeming major powers in terms of nations: the American, European, Islamic, and Asian. But that use means constant qualification since we (for example) have in America an active struggle between the Individualists and Collectivists. Or I could name them after their primary goals: Liberty, Equality, Sanctity, and Stability. But that also requires constant explanation since (again for example) many in all cultures do seek personal sanctity. One way to bring this to a more rapid close is to give a brief outline of each. I should also warn that no one (including myself, an Individualist), can undertake such an outline in less than 50,000 words without allowing their choices and preferences to come into play.

The Individualist

In an Individualist culture each individual sets their own standards and values, each may determine their own means and their own ends. Within such a society common (and perhaps necessary) values include tolerance, private property, free markets, and justice; all supporting the primary goal of Liberty.

The Collectivist

In a Collectivist culture the group as a whole determines standards and values. All members are guided or forced to comply with the same set of standards. The primary goal is Equality, and all other ends become subsidiary to it. Equality here is much more like the French 'Egalite' and seems to mean equal outcomes or results rather than equal rights and chances.

The Religious

The goal of this culture is to ensure that all members have and maintain the same set of standards and values, practices and ends, starting with their beliefs about God. I can't make any extension to this statement without delving deeply into philosophy, so we'll pass for now. I just need to point out that what our current culture war has to deal with is the more extreme versions of Islam.

The Authoritarian

The Authoritarian culture integrates all the goals and methods of society (the means and the ends); merging them into one and administered as a unit by a ruling man of clique. Many titles have been used but this is basically the 'strong man' version of things. Stability is the keyword goal; which in this case means the preservation of that particular dictator, along with his descendants or chosen heirs.

Back to the War

For now my major concern is the Induividualist-Collectivist struggle to see which group or culture will control the future of the United States federal and local governments. But I cannot totally ignore the others since each would welcome the collaps of America and take any advantage they couldd or the collapse of our individualist heritage.

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