For a while now, many of the political Christian conservatives have warned and declared the existence of a “culture war” that exists in the West, more pronounced in the United States. There certainly was foresight to these calls as we see the degradation of culture today, but it is also clear their goals and means to said goals were unclear, dubious, and almost utopian. Today, that movement is still in disarray. The election of Donald Trump was not a vindication of the old religious culture wars, but rather a slight against the encroachment of political correctness in society, media corruption, overseas wars, and much more. More than any other election, religion was inconsequential and almost completely ignored. The proof that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were the representatives of the main political parties is proof enough that was the case. What is also clear, however, is that the culture wars, which are very real and very much raging, are turning in favor of the Christians. The problem is that it is not turning in a way which they would like. To explain why this is the situation presently, I will point out 3 events that occurred mostly originating online but have possible ramifications (if not, already do) in the real world. These will not be listed in any chronological order:
David Rubin Leaving The Young Turks (TYT)
David Rubin, a political and cultural commentator was on the sadistically named “The Young Turks” (named after one of the genocidal groups responsible for the Armenian Genocide) for many years. He was very much on the Left and gave no credence or credibility to anyone of the other end of the political spectrum. It should also be noted he is a homosexual having relations currently with another male partner. However, David was starting to see inconsistencies with the commentary his network was giving with real events that happened. His revelation of what the network had become happened when a popular live streamed debate between Cenk Uygur, the head of TYT, and Sam Harris, Professor of Neuroscience, about Islam. David, along with thousands of others, pointed out the lies Uygur was spewing throughout the debate, and more so post-debate misrepresenting almost entirely what Dr. Harris was saying. Not long after, Rubin left TYT, but did not stop there – he left the current Left as well. He explained his stance on a video he did with the well-known Conservative think tank, PragerU, and this video garnered millions of views. Rubin now hosts his own show, the Rubin Report, with the goal of opening dialogues on all sides of the political and cultural spectrum. He is not afraid to bring on people he disagrees with and disagree with those he does or used to currently admire. He even brought on YouTube priest commentator Bishop Robert Barron, and he listened to the Bishop explain why the Church believes what they believe about abortion and homosexuality (and for anyone looking for fireworks sparking, you will be disappointed – it was a civil discussion and both ended the talk in smiles). David Rubin’s show is gaining momentum while his former network once considered new and rebellious has lost much in terms of quality and followers. He still considers himself as a liberal, but he points to Progressivism (which he calls “Regressivism” and is now a coined term by him) as the current threat in American politics.
Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker
Back in 2013, there was a tape secretly recording Hulk Hogan having relations with his friend’s wife and this video was later released by the gossip/tabloid website, Gawker. Mr. Hogan sued the magazine for $115 million based on invasion of privacy and emotional damages. Despite what one thinks of Hogan’s actions, clearly irreprehensible, there was a constant debate over this case throughout the duration of this court case. Hogan’s supporters were on the side of arguing the side of invasion of privacy, while Gawker’s supporters were claiming Hogan’s use of the courts to sue Gawker was infringing on free speech. Many plausible arguments were made on both sides, but not from Gawker themselves. While this debate raged online, they were out destroying their brand during this time. To give some examples, in New York City, they published a list of names and addresses of various gun-owners in the city as a sign of protest freeing up firearms ownership and legislation for it. Another incident was the claim by former writers not paid for the work they have done for the website.
Time for the real main event!”I AM” going to slam another Giant! Hogan vrs Gawker! Watcha Gonna Do Gawker? Only Justice Brother HH
— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) March 1, 2016
There are plenty more stories which point out double standards and libelous behavior among the staff, especially of the website’s CEO, Nicholas Denton, himself. These publications had no bearing on the court decision, but rather wore down the support and readership audience Gawker initially had. It was taking a strain on revenues and profitability and it was clear they were not receiving the message. The decision of the court on August 2016 was finalized and it took the side of Hulk Hogan, issuing him the rewards he sued for, along with an extra fine from Gawker for good measure. Almost immediately after, Gawker was filing for bankruptcy and the website operations were shut down. The CEO vowed a repeal of the court decision, but the case is unlikely by many viewers to go on his side. While many, particularly in the press, cautioned their readers of what this means for free speech, the general reaction to Gawker’s loss and the shutdown was rather a jubilation. Many people could no longer stand the pretentiousness and self-righteousness of the website and saw this as a victory against the established media, which shows in this court case that the media establishment is not as immune as they think they are.
Out of the 3 described here, this one is possibly the most overlooked and significant that occurred over the Internet. This is most probably because that it involves what seems to be an inconsequential and unimportant demographic to all groups – political, social, religious, whatever entity involved in daily life. Nevertheless, this happened and it awakened an overlooked yet large group/community.
To summarize this event, now called #GamerGate, it started with an expose of the video game industry showing how the video game journalists and game companies colluded together to make sure positive reviews were published to good customers into buying a product which was not up to par in how it was advertised. This was a well-known collusion among the gaming community as the journalistic standards in gaming were never established and still evolving. The face of this controversy was a female game developer who was revealed to have sexual relations with certain journalists for positive reviews on her products. Her boyfriend at the time broke up with her and made a post about his break up going into details which arguably he should not have. I will spare the names and details of the story as it is not important in the long run but just point out the origin “spark” if you will. After this news about this breakup, many gamers started to finally demand more journalistic integrity over gaming products released. However, this was not how the media interpreted. They saw this movement as a harassment of women, treatment of women online and in gaming in general, and that the gaming community for the whole was almost “evil”. Even the writers of the above-mentioned Gawker also joined in this fight against the gaming community, one writer calling for “bullying” of video game hobbyists. It started online but then started to branch into the outside media.
Media outlets such as CNN, MSNBC, ABC, and others started to bring on activists for interviews, one in particular named Anita Sarkeesian, a popular Feminist activist. She became a star overnight trying to portray the gaming community as an entire group of people who hate women and are violent and it needs to be forced to change.
Unfortunately for her and the media itself, the gaming community was not happy with their representation in the public eye. They have been upset with this perception, even before this controversy. They are used to this characterization from outsiders, particularly the Religious Right in the 1990s who, in many cases wrongly, started a campaign against video games that the industry refuted easily. As a hobbyist artist myself practicing in animation and having knowledge on technology, including game tech, I do have sympathies of the Religious Right for having worries about video games and the industry itself. However, the actions they took and the angles they looked at the issues of gaming were obviously flawed and more self-righteousness than moral conviction. There are certainly many serious problems with the gaming industry, as well as any artistic medium today, but they shall not be highlighted here. Video game hobbyists and industrialists were able to fend off unjustified attacks made towards them from outsiders, so having to fight again to preserve their identity is nothing new. However, the controversy that erupted in this sphere was this was almost a civil ideological battle within the gaming realm itself. The results are more than surprising; gamers came out of anonymity exposing the lies made about the gaming industry as a monolithic group, but rather a diverse widespread international group of many backgrounds – it was more than successful. A charity was established (which was created even before the controversy was sparked) to promote women in gaming research and technology. Gaming media corruption was now in the spotlight and was never let off the hook. What gamers had requested (allegedly) since the beginning was a reform of journalistic ethics in gaming and stuck with that mission.
The ideological encroachment of the Left was not tolerated and completely backfired. The nightmares for the Left were only just beginning after the issues subsided. Many commentators and thinkers came from this controversy, now who are incredibly popular online talking about many different issues today. Carl Benjamin, known as “Sargon of Akkad”, is one of these said thinkers. His YouTube channel started off merely as a gaming channel, but now is a political and social commentary ranging from feminist antics to the civil war in Syria (which I might add, he does a beautiful job compared to most media outlets). These online thinkers have gotten many on the Left to change their views and even build an intolerance to the constantly evolving ideologies that originated from Marxist-Leninism. It changed the ideological landscape on the Internet more in favor of anti-Progressivism after it was exposed for what it was.
AN IMPORTANT NOTE: All these events are not as black and white to describe as shown here. There were many egregious errors made on both sides of the argument, none of which I will condone.
The secular nature of the issues listed makes it genuinely difficult to defend any side morally. However, the threat today has come from the Leftist movements and the events mentioned are just a few of many showing a gradual change in the political demographics in the country and in the West in general. It used to be a clear support of Leftist activism and organizations were the norm. However, it is clear that is no longer the case thanks to a rapid dissemination of the Internet and much of this established order is crumbling. It may be a possible reason why the world is seeing a rather violent outburst from the Left that intelligence agencies in both Europe and the United States have come out indicating they are investigating more closely into Leftist tied organizations. New Jersey recently declared “Antifa”, one of the more militant groups, as a domestic terrorist organization.
This rightful defamation of the Left is not entirely as a result of the current Conservative apparatus (in some cases, it may be in spite of), but rather average individuals who spoke out not from an ideological or religious conviction. It came from a basic understanding of the human person, one all human beings know in their hearts by the grace of God. It is important to note as Christians events such as these and many others occurring, especially in the digital realm, that we may be more prepared and more effective in evangelizing the West of today, which so desperately needs Jesus Christ.