The Secular Progressives vs. The Traditionalists Essay
The Secular Progressives vs. The Traditionalists
In the New York Times best selling book from Fox News Commentator and mediator for The O’Reilly factor, Bill O’Reilly in his book Culture Warrior, defines and separates the two main competitors for the culture of America: The Secular Progressives vs. The Traditionalists. O’Reilly sees this battle as much more important than the more known and easily recognized conservatives vs. liberals and consequently sees the stakes as being that much more important as well with the winner deciding the fate of America policies, both foreign and especially domestic, for generations to come.
As a self proclaimed culture warrior, O’Reilly puts himself center stage in this debate as he boasts that he sees himself as one of the most hated men in America as a result of his views on the media and other secular progressives and what he views as their destruction of the core values that has helped to make America great. “The culture war has also made me perhaps the most controversial broadcaster in the country. That hot-button label “controversial” gives my enemies, they think, the right to attack me and my enterprises ceaselessly, unfairly, even dementedly.
I truly drive the opposing force nuts! As you may know, I’m engaged in fighting them on a daily basis, and that warfare is the subject of this book. ” ( O’Reilly, 5) And regardless of one’s opinions on Mr. O’Reilly, that is exactly what he does since he points out that one of the most important aspects of being a traditionalist is keeping your word. O’Reilly shows how the culture war has played out in such high profile cases as The Passion of the Christ, Fahrenheit 9/11 and the battle against religion in public life.
O’Reilly also touches on race, education, the protection of children, the ACLU and the war against Christmas which according to O’Reilly has seen an escalation in recent years in favor of political correctness which has run out of control. Bill O’Reilly enjoys high ratings and stellar book sales because he pinpoints the moral decline in America that millions of Americans agree is happening in America. At the same time, the name Bill O’Reilly also invokes many an impassioned opinion with many Americans hating what he has to say and according to O’Reilly, have levied death threats against himself and his family for his outspoken views.
As someone who has read this book and is well aware of the impact that O’Reilly has on American media, either in an affective way, either positive or negative, the opinions of the author always do invoke a response from individuals. Whatever controversies are the hot topic in the news, O’Reilly fearlessly confronts them and the reader, regardless of his political affiliation, is not left wondering what side of the isle O’Reilly is on. He sees many aspects of life in black and white and is both revered and hated for such beliefs.
“The culture war must be won quickly and definitively, and the best way to do that is to expose the secular-progressive movement in our country for exactly what it is, to explain why it is so harmful for America, and to identify the movement’s top leaders. So here we go! ” ( O’Reilly, 6) O’Reilly, towards the end of the book concedes that this will be a tough fight and that they winner is not set in stone. Therefore, expect more books of the same genre in the future from Bill O’Reilly.
In the 200 pages of Culture Warrior, O’Reilly wastes no time in starting his unapologetic attacks on a wide variety of interests in America. “For a variety of reasons that I will explain, I have chosen to jump into the fray and become a warrior in the vicious culture war that is currently under way in the United States of America. And war is exactly the right term. On one side of the battlefield are the armies of the traditionalists like me, people who believe the United States was well founded and has done enormous good for the world. ” (O’Reilly, 10)
According to O’Reilly, an example of the influence of the secular progressives’ power and influence in American culture is the war on Christmas perpetuated by the chief of all secular progressives: The ACLU. “Gradually, Christmas trees did become ‘holiday trees,’ Christmas vacation became winter vacation and Christmas parades became “Festival of Lights. ” (O’Reilly, 45) In America, between 80-85% of its citizens define themselves as Christians. Yet, O’Reilly points out the push by the secular progressives on the country towards a more religiously neutral celebration of the holidays.
The word “Christmas” and “Merry Christmas” is no longer politically correct to say, but the more neutral “Happy Holidays. ” Christmas trees are being replaced by Holiday trees even though their resemblance is the same. Using the term Christmas to describe the 25th of December as the birth of Jesus, and subsequently, the reason for the celebration is seen as oppressive to the minority in America that do not celebrate Christmas and therefore feel out of place during the Christmas season.
On the other side of the isle are the traditionalists who see this as an assault on Christmas and political correctness gone too far and is out of touch with the majority of American in this country. O’Reilly identifies the actions of the secular progressives as efforts to move America into being identified as neutral when it comes to religious issues. In doing so, O’Reilly sees this trend as being in opposition to the motivations of the country’s founding fathers; that, the majority were very religious and their mention of God can frequently be found in their personal writings.
O’Reilly outs the ACLU as center stage in his fight against the secular progressives. O’Reilly gives them credit for the lambasting of Christmas, the neutralization of religion in public life and for all sorts of moral degradations in American culture. This fight against the ACLU will not be completed any time soon and will most likely be seen in O’Reilly’s next book to be sure. O’Reilly points out in another example of the ideological differences between the secular progressives and traditionalists are their respective views on government and the desired role that each side wishes would play in their life.
“On the home front in America, traditional forces strongly believe that their hard-earned money is not the property of the government, to be distributed as largesse to others who, perhaps, are not willing to work to earn their prosperity. ”( O’Reilly, 75) O’Reilly points to Europe and the stagnation of the economy that many of the nations are enduring. There is little motivation to work and to get ahead in life because of the high level of taxation and the desire of the secular progressives to copy America’s government involvement after that of Europe’s.
O’Reilly says that the secular progressives wish to drastically increase taxes and therefore, kill the incentives that many Americans have to be independent and to work for what they have instead of high taxations creating a cradle for people who do not wish to work. O’Reilly wishes to avoid America moving in that direction and that America’s economy remain independent of high taxes which would fund such social programs like handing out clean needles to drug addicts, condoms to students and free money to people who do not wish to work.
Such ideas firmly place O’Reilly among the traditionalists of America and that is where he is likely to stay. Among one of O’Reilly’s most impassioned rants he saved towards the end of the book. It is against the people who seem to rant against America and all that is supposed to be wrong with her. In the chapter entitled “Hating America,” O’Reilly lists the people in the spotlight that seem to do their best to degrade America and the greatness that O’Reilly sees on a daily basis. O’Reilly, who is in opposition to the ideology of Norman Mailer but one who respects him, details the differences in their thinking concerning conservatives vs.
liberals and for O’Reilly traditionalists vs. secular progressives and their opinion on America. “A good example of the useful face-off between polar opposites was my interview with Norma Mailer in March of 2006. One of America’s great writers, mailer doesn’t hate America but he finds it seriously flawed-as you know, a core secular progressive tenet. But mailer separates himself from the S-P garrison because he sees its weaknesses, selfishness and relativism. . . . Mailer says: ‘A great war is going on here, larger even that we realize, between liberals and the conservatives.
The conservatives are saying in effect: ‘You guys are trying to wreck existence by becoming too vain, too godless. ” And liberals are replying, “Your obsession that God is judgmental looks to force all of humanity into rigid patterns that won’t work any longer. ” (O’Reilly, 120) O’Reilly thinks that Mailer is incorrect but unlike his personal detractors, does so in a respectful manner. “But Mailer is wrong. Traditional and conservative thinkers who understand their country do not put God at the head of public policy, nor do we point fingers at the opposition and label them sinners.
Traditionalists believe that secular-progressive policies will weaken America and lead to societal chaos. While we see no reason to banish God from the public square, we don’t expect Him to be writing social policy on tablets and handing them to us in the Sinai. ” ( O’Reilly, 193) O’Reilly does state the importance of the Bible and that it must be on the reading list of every true traditionalist but that a traditionalist will not be zealots in their pursuit of establishing a theocracy in America.
In the second phase of secular progressives’ view that America is seriously flawed is their desire for America to no longer be the lone superpower in the world. “The secular progressive movement wants the United States to decline in power. It wants a new world order where global consensus would rule and the superpower model for our time would recede into obsolescence. ”(O’Reilly, 194) But O’Reilly accurately points out a different side towards America’s effect in the world and an effect that is central to traditionalists’ opinion of America and of her greatness.
“ By contrast, the T-warrior will fight to keep, even increase America’s vast power. Why? Because T-warriors understand that the United States is a righteous country that has in our brief history freed billions of people from political enslavement. It is our might and money that brought down Tojo, Hitler and the Soviet Union… If we go into decline, the world would be a much more dangerous place. Can you picture Russia and communist China dominating the world? How about the combined Arab states?
” (O’Reilly, 194 Journalist as defined by O’Reilly, the answer is a resounding NO! The greatest strength of O’Reilly and the strength that makes him so successful can sometimes be one of his weaknesses: arrogance. Many of his points go beyond liberal or conservative, secularist or conservative but for the others, it might be seen as relative as it depends on the reader to make the final decision since the decline of morals or whether ignoring America’s religious foundations is a good or bad thing may never fully answered in this lifetime and in this country.
But such topics are always good for material since millions of Americans do closely follow O’Reilly on the radio and on television. The reader’s view on the Culture Warrior depends upon their religious and political leanings. If one feels that the existence of a liberal media that wishes America’s influence in the world to be curtailed is greatly exaggerated and America’s declining morals either doesn’t exist or is not important, Culture Warrior will evoke a strong and negative response.
However, on the other hand, if one defines himself as a conservative and/or traditionalist, then the topics that O’Reilly details will hit its mark. And for millions of Americans, it does just that. This is an important and entertaining book that, like much of what O’Reilly does and says, will spark many needed discussions around the classrooms and water coolers of America. O’Reilly is effective when it comes to seeing and articulating issues of importance in today’s ever changing society and most importantly, it is a window into the mindset of millions of Americans.