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Author Topic: Dominant Cultural hegemony
Slander Monkey
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quote:
Originally posted by Doug64:
quote:
I also think that such a society is inherently unstable and unsustainable... but that's another story.
I have to disagree with you on this one - it seems to me that the societies that prove inherently unstable tend to be the ones that are wide open, without strong ground rules. The Mormons have done just fine in Utah for over 150 years (when they weren't unofficially at war with the dominant culture, that is).
Ok, I suppose I was being a bit pedantic, writing in the spirit of everything eventually changing and such, but my original intent (ignoring the original poor phrasing for a moment) was that a Plymouth-style society (or any rigid exclusionary type of society) is unstable on a country-wide scale -- but I mean country in a general sense here not specifically as a reference to the U.S. The thing with rigid exclusionary systems, it seems, is that the more rigid it is, the more susceptible it is to suffer a schism. Whether schism counts as instability, you can decide that for yourself, but it will definitely (and often sometimes drastically) change the contents of the society.

It seems to me that the current state of Mormons actually shows how the all inclusive approach to culture provides a stabilizing effect on society -- if Mormons get tired of being Mormons they don't have to continue adhering to the rigid societal constraints and suffer for it -- it's no big deal, they just stop. At worst those folks move to the next state -- this is far easier and more acceptable to most people than creating internal strife in the tightly regulated society in hopes of somehow breaking free or changing the system. Outside pressure is not really a big problem either, because there is not a significant detriment or societal penalty for not being Mormon. I'm not sure how Utah as a whole manages to stay free of external pressures and remain fairly homogeneous, though I think the fact that it closely resembles a moonscape plays a role in keeping outsiders out [Wink] .

Out of curiosity, what societies were you thinking of when you said: "it seems to me that the societies that prove inherently unstable tend to be the ones that are wide open, without strong ground rules?" It sounds like you're talking about anarchy here, but I was assuming that we were talking about culture and society as more or less separate from governance. I would agree that anarchical societies -- truly absent of any laws government or otherwise -- are pretty unstable -- particularly when the dominant sub-culture decides it should dominate a bit more.

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flydye45
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The "alienation" is real and is making red state "redder" and blue states "more blue". This is as each side outrages it's "dissidents" in their cultural hegemony.

But Robertson has a point. EVERYONE feels alientated by something. There is no fix. And everyone complains about not finding an appropriate date. It isn't as easy for a "Christian" (nice lumping there) as Ev makes it out to be.

"Wanted, ex-Jewish Atheist with socially progressive leanings. Must be computer literate and enjoy deep debate. Cooking and easy sexual mores a plus." This is a little tougher to fill then "Wanted Female with Low Standards. Must have car and clean criminal record." Or some of the "tolerant" folk could try dating Christians.

Our record regarding bias is excellent. We have improved incredibely in the last 200 years. We have a great system. It is not a PERFECT system, which is the (unrealistic) goal of some on the Left.

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Zyne
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quote:
Or some of the "tolerant" folk could try dating Christians.
Why would I date someone who thinks I'm going to hell, and that there's a spirit telling them to change me?
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Animist
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Doug, 150 years is, in terms of the life expectency of a sustainable culture, not a very long time at all. Plenty of cultures which proved, ultimately, to be unsustainable - Rome, Classic Maya, Anasazi - lasted longer than this before collapsing. (But then, perhaps we're thinking of a different sort of "sustainability"...)

Although in this case we are talking about a subculture within a larger culture...I don't have any references to go with on that one. Does anyone?

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flydye45
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Gee, Zyne, it's good you don't lump everyone together with blatant generalisms like me. [Roll Eyes]
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Doug64
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Slander Monkey, perhaps I wasn't quite clear - as I see it, "strong moral consensus" and "rigid" aren't synonymous, and when a large enough segment of a society lose such a consensus the result tends to be anarchy leading to totalitarianism. The perfect example of this is the collapse of the Roman Republic - when the stakes of political success changed from fame to wealth (combined with an influx of Greek rationalism) the moral underpinnings of the Republic's political system broke down, resulting in civil war, assassinations, and purges and eventually the Empire.

"At the time Rome defeated Carthage, the Romans were virtually incorruptible, the Greek statesman Polybius wrote: from their piety (which the skeptical Polybius attributed to their superstition) arose their integrity. `If, among the Greeks for example, a single talent only be entrusted to those who have the management of any of the public money; though they give ten written sureties, with as many seals, and twice as many witnesses, they are unable to discharge the trust reposed in them with integrity. But the Romans, on the other hand, who in the course of their magistracies, and in embassies, disburse the greatest sums, are prevailed on by the single obligation of an oath to perform their duty with inviolable honesty. And as, in other states, a man is rarely to be found whose hands are pure from public robbery; so, among the Romans, it is no less rare to discover one that is tainted with this crime.'" (The Roots of American Order, pp. 99-100)

At the time Polybius wrote that the wheels were already beginning to come off the Roman moral order, resulting in the Empire and eventually even that failed. Eventually that vacuum was replaced by Christianity, though not in time to save the Empire.
quote:
It seems to me that the current state of Mormons actually shows how the all inclusive approach to culture provides a stabilizing effect on society -- if Mormons get tired of being Mormons they don't have to continue adhering to the rigid societal constraints and suffer for it -- it's no big deal, they just stop.
Yes and no. They may stop observing the Sabbath, the rituals, the ward activities, etc., but can they as easily ditch the moral world view they absorbed? That is much harder.
quote:
Doug, 150 years is, in terms of the life expectency of a sustainable culture, not a very long time at all.
True enough, but any example you use from US history will have that problem - 228 years isn't much longer (though it is the longest-lasting form of government currently in existence), and since we were talking about the US I thought the example should come from its history.
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Zyne
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fd45--Show me a Christian who doesn't think I'm going to hell, who is comfortable with my atheism and not in the least way feeling obligated to try and change me, and I'll show you a Christian I could date. I've not met any who were really, really okay with having that kind of a relationship with a non-believer. I think you've got to be at peace with another's beliefs to carry on an intimate relationship, and my experience has been that Christians are not accepting of another's non-belief, or willing to leave it at just that, there is a thing in the tenants of all Christian sects that puts a charge on the believer to see that others hear the message with the goal that they, too, believe. Which is fine itself, but a terrible start to a dating type relationship with someone who is a confirmed non-believer.

So I don't date Christians. But I hang out with them, all the time.

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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by Paladine:

If you look at the "Christian" holidays as they're celebrated in public contexts, they rarely if ever have anything to do with the actual religion. They're popular culture holidays that retain their religious names.

Well said. Most of them are even losing their religious names.
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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:


"It's a simple matter of self-interest for teachers."

I think this is needlessly cynical. While most teachers self-identify as liberal, I suspect this is because traits that we consider liberal are also traits required of most teachers, and therefore someone likely to be interested in a teaching career is also likely to hold values and possess attributes that would bias them towards a liberal worldview.

I'll ask around at the next faculty meeting, but I feel pretty confident in saying that the majority of teachers who vote liberal do so because the conservatives want to cut their paychecks, and cut funding for the schools. (OK, so maybe they are just saying that we shouldn't spend more money, but the effect is the same)

For many teachers their voting is based on only one subject. That is education. Duh, that is what they do all day everyday (and don't tell me that we only work 180 days a year, those are the bad teachers you are thinking of, and we don't want them teaching either). Yeah, abortion is wrong, but if it is legal, I won't lose my job.

Personally, Bush and Kerry both strayed too far from the truth, and I voted for Badnarik, but I do know why teachers vote liberal.

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JLMyers
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philnotfil,

You sure it's not just that the better educated you are the more accepting of other peoples life-styles you are?
[Smile]
KE

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philnotfil
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That is a secondary concern to voting for the person that will keep your job.
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flydye45
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I know it's not a perfect match. My atheist friend is married to a nice Catholic girl. While she is not comfortable with that, he can sometimes be full bore obnoxious with her "silly superstitious beliefs."

That being said, there are many Christians in name only who would be perfectly fine with your beliefs (though that might change with what you teach the kids).

That being said, I, a Christian, married a Buddhist. How could I demand she change her religion when I wasn't willing to change mine? Once we agreed that the kids would be Christian (a mutual choice), we moved on. Hell is for God to decide. So consider that a cautionary tale.

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Robertson, Ugly and Nohow
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Zyne,

quote:
fd45--Show me a Christian who doesn't think I'm going to hell, who is comfortable with my atheism and not in the least way feeling obligated to try and change me, and I'll show you a Christian I could date.
I'm sure that any christian guy who can overlook your marital situation will be quite unconcerned about your atheism. [Razz]
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TomDavidson
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"I feel pretty confident in saying that the majority of teachers who vote liberal do so because the conservatives want to cut their paychecks, and cut funding for the schools."

While I'll certainly agree that this is a consideration, I submit that teachers would not necessarily believe this in the first place if the majority of them were not already liberal to begin with. [Smile] In other words, it's not belonging to a union that makes them liberal; they have a union because they're liberal.

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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
While I'll certainly agree that this is a consideration, I submit that teachers would not necessarily believe this in the first place if the majority of them were not already liberal to begin with. [Smile] In other words, it's not belonging to a union that makes them liberal; they have a union because they're liberal.

I will politely disagree. I know teachers at my school who are conservative and vote liberal. They have a union because people do stupid things. I know a band director who is in danger of losing his job because a school board member's child is in his band and is not getting preferential treatment. Yes, the teacher could get things resolved without the union reps doing it for him, but he has more important things to do, like teaching. There are many, many, many teachers who are only union members for the "malpractice insurance." I also know many who are not members of the union, because they feel strongly enough that it is a detriment to public education in the US. Unfortunately for everyone of those there are three who are members because they see union leadership positions as good sources of income and for everyone of those there are about five who just don't care too much either way and as long as their dues are taken out before they get their paycheck they don't really notice.
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TomDavidson
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"I know teachers at my school who are conservative and vote liberal."

I'm not sure how you're defining "conservative" and "liberal" in this context. Is union membership automatically a liberal thing?

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flydye45
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The NEA and Labor Unions of almost all stripes contribute a majority of their political cash and "sweat" equity to the Democrats.

I am not certain it is an ideological stance as it is a "they will give us more jobs and less oversight" as a quid pro quo.

I understand "voting for your job" and I am sympathetic to "darling Johnny" problems that teachers face, but they also reject out of hand policing their members to weed out the worst of the bunch. Granted, when I went to high school, I had ONE miserable teacher. But then again, I went to a wealthy high school...

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Richard Dey
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Doug64:

"At the time Polybius wrote that the wheels were already beginning to come off the Roman moral order, resulting in the Empire and eventually even that failed. Eventually that vacuum was replaced by Christianity, though not in time to save the Empire."

Chronology confuses your projected cause-and-effect relationship between the Republic, the Empire, and the Christian destruction of the Roman Empire. The Republic was never so perfect as Claudius the Idiot, who never experienced it, claimed that it was. It was nearly destroyed by external forces AND internal forces several times, ultimately by civil war which was no fault of what was raised upon it.

Polybius, a very interesting Greek writer of a gay-founded town who rightly had mixed feelings about losing his freedom to Rome, never lived in the Empire that you denounce either. He lived and died in the Republic -- which was not destroyed by Greece; rather, it was Rome that annexed Greece.

The Empire didn't implode; its guts were eaten out of it by Christians -- just as Gibbons related in 1776: another book which our founders read widely and roundly discussed, specifically leading to their decision that a separation of church and state was critical to the republic's survival.

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flydye45
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Richard, things are not so simple. There were a LOT of historical forces during that time which you are ignoring in your rush to condemn the Christians.

Nor did the founding fathers necessarily draw the conclusions that Christians were the
problem (unlikely, since most of them were Christians). Instead they probably deduced,
with Constantine's constant meddling with Christian "orthodoxy", that more trouble then good was made with state established religion, particularly in view of the schisms, sects and denominations vying for influence at the time.

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Doug64
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Richard, I didn't mean that Greece destroyed the Republic, I meant that Greek rationalism imported into the Republic helped undermine the moral order underpinning it. And the Republic's collapse led to the Empire because Romans no longer had sufficient self-control for a republic and so needed a strongman in charge.

I completely disagree with your assertion that Christianity was responsible for the Empire's collapse, but don't want to turn this thread into a "who destroyed the Empire" thread. But I suspect that the 1st Amendment had more to do with the wars of the Reformation than anything Gibbons wrote.

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Richard Dey
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Doug: I don't question that Greek rationalism questioned Roman mores or even Hebraic morality; that is the origins of ethics. And we've already discussed who destroyed the Roman Empire; the German barbarians finished off a Christian Empire, not a Pagan one.
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Doug64
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Christian at the top. Not quite the same as Christian. And during the Middle Ages much of what stability Europe enjoyed was because of the Church, the only real "international" organization to survive the crash of the Empire. I see no reason why the Church shouldn't have been able to provide the same service for the Empire if it has come to power a little quicker. (That's not to say mixing church organization and political power is a good idea, it very much isn't, but it does have an upside.)

[ December 04, 2004, 12:51 PM: Message edited by: Doug64 ]

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