The Globalization of the American Cultural Wars

The Globalization of the American Cultural Wars


– My name is Kristina Stoeckl. I’m from the University
of Innsbruck in Austria. I’m here at the Berkley Center because this public panel discussion
is the closing event of a two day workshop
where we already discussed these questions of the role of Russia in the globalizing culture wars. Let me introduce the panel. I will start with Olivier Roy. He’s French and a professor from the European University
Institute in Florence. Then we have Professor Clifford Bob. He’s the chair in political
science at Duquesne University. We also have James Davison Hunter. He’s the LaBrosse-Levinson Professor of Religion, Culture, and Social Theory and the director for the
Institute for advanced studies in culture at Virginia University. And we have Jose Casanova who
most of you probably know. He is the Professor of Sociology and Theology and Religious Studies. He’s also our host here
and the co-convena at the Georgetown Berkley Center for
Religion and World Affairs where he’s a Senior Fellow. Let us start with a question
that first want to ask you Professor Hunter. In the title of this event, we have Russia in the
globalizing cultural wars. Culture wars, this is a term that you coined with your book back in 1991. Today some observers say
the conservatives in the US have lost the cultural wars. Others see them, see conservatives
reasserting themselves, just think about recent
nominations at the Supreme Court. So my question to you is what your view? How do you assess the
situation of the culture wars in the US Today. – So I have some prepared remarks. So the question, have
conservatives lost the culture war? Emphatically, yes, but not quite. Does that sound? – That makes sense. (laughing) – So conservatives have fought
the culture war politically rather than culturally. This is really important. The priority of conservatism
has been the White House, Supreme Court, Congress, especially over these issues of the body. It began in the 1970’s in
the debates over pornography, but moved very quickly to abortion, gay rights, LGBT rights, and the like. Cultural production
within moral conservatism and conservative movements, which is the sociology of all of this, operates primarily within the periphery of cultural production
more broadly within places like Wheaton, Colorado Springs, and so on. So conservatives have fought
the cultural war politically rather than culturally. Progressives were unsuccessful
in national politics for 24 years with Reagan,
two Bushes, and now Trump. And yet, progressives
have dominated the spheres of arts, entertainment, advertising, intellectual life, education. Again spheres of life
dominated by progressive ideas, values, and then reinforced
by the solvent of neo liberal individualism and consumerism. And here the most
prestigious institutions that are the carriers of a kind
of progressive moral ethos are located in the centers
of cultural production, New York City, LA, San
Francisco, Boston, Washington, and so on. And in it’s most prestigious institutions of cultural production. The New York Times, Yale,
Harvard, Georgetown, and so on. What this means is that the
very DNA of the conflict and how it’s been fought, conservatism it is and has always been at a long term disadvantage irrespective of what’s going on politically. The DNA meant that moral conservatism, the orthodox coalition,
was at a disadvantage, it was always likely to lose, because it was fighting
politically, not culturally. So yes, conservatism is losing. But here the not quite. And I’ll come to your second question, how would I assess the
evolution of the cultural war? Well very quickly, the
cultural wars have evolved into a class culture war. Animated more by class
resentment than by religious and theological ideologies and beliefs. Religious faith is still very
personally important to many, if not most conservatives, but it’s not the driving public rationale. Rather it is anger of
being looked down upon by the coastal elites
of resentment for being the losers in globalization. This anger and this resentment
long predates Trump, but it’s been capitalized by Trump. At this level, especially under Trump, conservatives haven’t lost. The culture wars as a
contest of symbolic politics is far from over. Trump for all of his corruption
is a master manipulator of the symbolic politics, of this side of the
cultural war is a mastery that almost rises to the level of genius, and to the backdrop of his own personal deprevity. But here’s the third point I would make. To address these questions, it’s important to draw a distinction. A distinction between
the politics of culture and the culture of politics. Most journalism and most
scholarship addresses the culture war at the level
of the politics of culture. So what’s the difference? The politics of culture
refers to the push and pull of the mechanisms of power
over cultural issues. The politics of culture
is mainly about politics, and the issues that different
factions can test politically. The goal is to mobilize
resources, money, popular opinion, media time, organizational
capital, and so on, all oriented toward
defining competing positions on those issues as the
only legitimate position. And again this is what most people mean when they talk about the cultural wars. It’s the most visible aspect
of normative conflict. But that also makes it the most defemeral and in some respects the least
important part of the story. The culture of politics is
primarily about the culture. The symbolic environment within which political institutions are embedded and political action occurs. This symbolic environment
is not only constituted by the frameworks of understanding
that legitimate regimes and their actions, but even more basic it
provides the basic frameworks of meaning that make
particular political regimes understandable or desirable
in the first place. Politics may protect
particular social order, but it doesn’t shape it,
lead it, or guide it. A political system
presupposes a civilization. It has a function to perform
in regard to that civilization, but it’s a function mainly of protection and to a minor degree of merely mechanical
interpretation and expression. Thus political activity may
have given us the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights, but it did not give us the
contents of those documents which came from a stratum of social thought far
too deep to be influenced by the actions of politicians. The same could be said for
Declaration of Independence, The Treaty of Versailles, the
UN Charter for Human Rights, and the Kyoto Accord. Political activity may have
produced these documents, but it did not provide their substance. These two came from a
framework of meaning, sensibility, and
understanding more implicit than the explicit
deliberations and decisions of the architects of those documents. Now why do I draw this distinction? As I say the culture way
plays out at both levels. The politics of culture and
the culture of politics. They relate to each other in
the same way that the weather and the climate are related to each other. At the level of the culture of politics, we see that the culture war contributes to an even more intensifies a long
standing legitimation crisis with an American democracy and in many respects western
democracies more broadly. The issue here is power and in particular the legitimation of power within states and their regimes. And the culture war, what is legitimate for
one side is illegitimate for the other and vice versa, and back and forth it goes. In America this leads to
the inability of government to accomplish much of anything. And again a reinforcement
of the legitimation crisis. The intensifying legitimation
crisis then challenges the very idea of liberalism
and liberal democracy. So on one hand at the
first level conservatives are absolutely losing. At the second level, in a second way, because of the evolution
into a class conflict, this culture war is far from over. And it’s far from where it will, we don’t know where it’s finally going, but in this deeper sense
of the culture of politics, it seems to me everyone loses. – Thank you. Professor Bob, you wrote a book in 2012
on the global right wing. It’s a book about the
globalization of the culture wars beyond the borders of the United States. In particular to Europe
and I want to ask you where do you see the
situation of this globalizing, exactly that’s the book, this globalizing culture
wars today and especially what has changed since 2012
when you wrote your book and today where we see that Russia has become one more player
in this global culture wars? – Thanks and I will also
just read my remarks which I prepared before. Well this book highlighted
the transnational activism by the right wing, both religious and
non-religious right wing. I examined in particular the rise of a transnational gun
rights network anchored by the National Rifle Association. I’m not gonna talk about that today, although I do think it
has a lot of parallels to the stuff that I also looked at namely the transnational network
of religious conservatives seeking to preserve what members often call traditional values. In other words defending
traditional concepts of the family and gender roles. And these days especially
more particularly, fighting abortion, gay rights,
and transgender identities. Now in answer to the three
questions that Kristina posed, she first asked about
how things have changed since I wrote that book in
2012 and I’d say that many of my findings at that
point continue to hold true, thank goodness. Both about the network and
the broader culture war in which it’s involved globally. So let me actually mention, I’m gonna give you like
eight points in answer to the three separate
questions that you asked that I think are still highly relevant for the global culture wars. First the global right
wing on which I focused in this book is a loose knit network of religious conservatives
crossing confessional lines and it’s united by a common
religiose political agenda. The network includes organizations
from a variety of faiths, Protestants, Mormons, Catholics, Orthodox, as we’ve mostly focused on
here, but also Jews, Muslims, and Hindus who are
religiously conservative. And now these three
groups certainly differ in their beliefs, but they generally agree that
religiously based morality should have a larger role in
society than it currently does. And they agree on particular policy issues that we’ve discussed
already, same sex marriage, gay rights, and gender
roles, and so forth. But they also disagree
on a host of other issues that they bracket for the
sake of working together on these common policy goals. In other words, it’s a tactical alliance, or an alliance of convenience. My shorthand for it is, those of you who were
here this morning know as the Baptist Burqa
Network to suggest you have very strange bed
fellows in with the Russians, the Baptists, Burqa Babushka Network, of religious conservatives. And as I say, I think it’s very much a tactical network. A network of convenience. But by the way when we’re
looking at culture wars, we have to look not just at the right, but also at the left. And I would say that the
progressive organizations and networks that fight
for abortion right, fight for same sex marriage
and gay rights more generally, have very similar loose knit networks that are largely networks of convenience or alliances of convenience
as they seek to promote their goals as well. A second point, transnational activism
by the religious right is not just a response to the left. Even if at least in my
field of political science and international relations, a lot of scholars were I
think a little very late that the right wing
was transnationalizing. Most of my fellow scholars
wanted to focus on left wing transnational advocacy,
human rights groups, and gay rights and groups, and so forth. But in looking at the right wing, and particularly in looking
at their policy successes or policy failures
internationally or domestically, I think you have to look at
both sides in the culture wars, and I try to do that in
this book although the title to grab attention is
“The Global Right Wing”, it really looks at the conflict
between left and right, all these different issues
and I still think that that is something that
we need to do as we look at the culture wars that have
gone on already for decades or even centuries although focusing on a variety of different
issues over those time periods and in various geographic locations. A third point in fighting
over various policy issues the rival sides use tactics
that are almost mirror images of one another. Even though their ideologies
may differ very dramatically, I think the tactics they
use to fight these wars are parallel to each other. They use on one hand
affirmative tactics to advance their causes and negative
ones to undermine and attack and delegitimize their foes. Most obviously they spend
lots of time and resources building their own networks, but they also spend lots
of time trying to unbuild or deconstruct the foe network. They construct particular
issues as problems and they propose their own pet
solutions to those problems. And then at the same time,
on the negative side, they try to deconstruct
the other side’s issues portraying whatever their
foes solution as itself a horrific problem. So for instance on one
side in the culture wars the problem is unwanted pregnancy and a solution might be abortion. But for the other side,
abortion is itself the problem, and the solution is preserving life. Most broadly in terms of the tactics, the rival side seeks to
persuade key political audiences through various framing
and shaming tactics, but they also seek to
dissuade those audiences from supporting the other
side’s view by seeking to break the other side’s
framing of the issues. And most interesting,
and perhaps surprisingly, both sides use right’s arguments and especially human right’s arguments to advance themselves and
to try to delegitimize the other side. So and then I think this is an interesting and important finding that I
followed up in a later book called the “Rights as Weapons,” that the right wing has
relatively recently adopted the language of rights
and even human rights to advance it’s cause and
to sabotage the other side. So terms like the right to life, the rights of parents, the rights to homeschooling
which we talked about this morning, the
right to self defense, the right to bear arms. All those rights have been
adopted by the right wing and used in ways that the left long used human rights principles
and human rights tactics. And one of example of this
which again we briefly talked about today is the way in
which the Trump administration recently started a commission called the Unalienable
Rights Commission which is designed apparently to rethink what human rights really should be. And undoubtedly to promote
a conservative view about what human rights are, so the upshot of all this is that human rights are an
essentially contested concept. Battles among rights are endemic to any of these policy issues
we’re talking about, and in many cases these
battles are zero sum, or at least they’re perceived as zero sum by the two activist sides, even though ultimately
political institutions have to make decisions and
develop laws to end some of the conflict and at least temporarily. But the rival sides continue
to fight about them. Fourth point, the rival
transnational networks don’t engage only in lobbying in an
international institutions such as the UN and EU. Most importantly in my view, the sides and especially the
traditional values groups are rooted in national
societies and active in the domestic politics
of their home countries where they engage not only in lobbying, but also in electoral politics. And this is most obvious
perhaps in the US case which of course I know best, but I think it’s also true in
European countries as well. And I think it’s maybe obvious, but a lot of international
relation scholars, at least had overlooked this. The surest way to influence
international institutions on any number of culture
war issues is to influence domestic politics first
in your home country including through electoral
politics and getting your own politician into a position of power. One example of this I think is interesting and that is the Mexico City
policy which bans US support of international family
planning and abortion. Every time we see a
change from a democratic to a republican administration
in the United States, the very first day in
office of the new president, that policy changes. So this international
policy is very much hinging on what the two sides can
do with their own electoral politics domestically. To your second question Kristina, was whether the culture wars are still spreading or globalizing? Which I guess could mean whether they’re spreading geographically or they’re intensifying, and overall I would say “Yes.” As liberalizing tendencies begin to appear in increasing numbers of
traditional societies. And as efforts to achieve
culture war goals at home seem to intensify, but I’d add a few caveats. The fifth point I wanted to
make is I don’t see a widening or intensifying of culture
war issues as simply an American inspired implant
into other countries. I think instead that culture
wars arise often indigenously in countries around the world, and to the extent that
traditional cultures in various countries are
threatened by the diffusion through mass media, internet, and travel, of various non-traditional
values, or liberal values, however you wanna call it. To the extent that happens
indigenous traditional groups will reach out to the US and US groups who have maybe more experience, certainly more resources in most cases, and they’ll get aid and support. But I don’t view this as an
export or an implantation of culture wars overseas. And as a sixth point and relatedly, I’d say that there’s a
lot of mutual aid between the periphery if you will
in which culture war issues have newly arisen and
US or Western Europe, in which maybe they’ve been
around for a bit longer, the interactions between
these groups are very mutual. You get aid going both
ways even though we tend to think it’s much more of one way street and I can give some examples of that, in question and answer. And quickly for Kristina’s
third question about what’s new, wit focus on Russia. I’d make a seventh point and that’s to me the most important change since
2012 when I wrote the book, is the rise of populist
and nationalist governments in many countries worldwide. In some cases, I’d say this has been at least in part, because of the role of
cultural conservatives in supporting electoral candidates who supported their positions. So Trump’s victory in the United States, I think owes quite a bit to social conservative
support he got here, but whatever the source, nationalist governments
are far more prominent now than when I wrote my book. So what are the implications? I’d say the rise of nationalist
governments has generally helped the cause of the
traditional values network at least in societies where
nationalism goes hand in hand with social conservatism. Like I’d say the United
States at least under Trump. Probably you could say the same
for Brazil under Bolsonero, India under Modi. A number of prominent conservative
politicians have taken on at least some of the core issues of these activist agendas at least in certain of these countries, but it’s not a simple adoption process among all national politicians, I’d say it’s much more nuanced, because there are some at least Northern European
nationalist politicians who are very hostile
towards social conservatism at least in countries
like Denmark and Holland. And this at least in part has
a lot to do with the place of Islam as a threat
that these groups see. Coming to the Russian role, I’m not really an expert in Russia, I can’t be sure exactly
what the implications are, but one thing I think I can
see from the US standpoint at least is that what’s
changed is at least in the US, the perception of Russia
among key political groupings in Western Europe and the United States as being a threat increasingly since 2012. With I think the rise of what
we can pretty reasonably call a small scale new cold war. And I would say that to
some extent that stems from the Cremia annexation, to some extent from the alleged meddling in the 2016 election. But I do think that the
denigration of Russia in the West stems to a
significant degree as well from the frustrations of social liberals with electoral politics
at least in our country. The realization that some
of their primary victories on social policy issues could
be threatened from the right, and in particular through
the rise in power through the Trump Administration. So I think this has the potential to sharpen the culture war
here in the United States. Not because Russia is
particularly powerful, but because Russian
influence such as it is, and I don’t think it’s all that important in the United States, is portrayed now as sowing division, as lending huge amounts of
power to the Christian right. I personally don’t see
that that’s true in fact, but I think that perception
leads to the possibility of even more poisoned relations
between left and right on these culture wars issues with the left for instance denouncing people like Trump or some of the social
conservatives as puppets of Putin and Putin in
turn talking about enemies of the people on the left. So I think the culture
war is intensifying. I think Russia has an
interesting role in making that happen through maybe
misperception of it’s power in the United States. – Thank you. It’s important that you
gave also a list of what of culture war issues. I think maybe also to update the audience, there are three major
areas of culture war issues which the area of abortion, debates on same sex marriage
on the status of the family, and religious freedom where
we have seen interventions of Russian actors and
international institutions in transnational civil society networks, but also interventions of
the Russian Orthodox Church in ecumenical for where
Russia is really a defender of a very conservative view on all of these three issue areas. Defender that is a shortened
reference to this Russia is a defender of traditional values. And so now my next question goes to Jose, because these conflicts
of a culture war type are a relatively new phenomenon for many of the Western European countries, because these morally controversial issues in many of the European countries have been solved on a different level. They’ve been solved between
Christian democratic parties, and established churches. In a type of behind closed doors or this electoral negotiations
that have very little to do with the culture wars in the US. So what is changing in Europe today? Are we having more culture
wars in Europe today and is Russia sort of globalizing force for culture wars in Europe? Would you say that? – First a comment about the exceptionality of the Post War period. It’s a period in which basically
two fundamental aspects of European politics in 19th century had been radically transformed. Most of the cleavages that
have led to culture wars in the 19th century
disappeared from the 1950’s to the 1990’s. And the other of course was
that Europe was the place of the Westphalian international
constant national conflicts and the formation of the
European Union of course was an attempt to get over
the Westphalian system. And therefore these are two elements that make the period between World War II and the present unique and exceptional. Yes, let’s remind ourselves
the long 19th century in France begins with
the French Revolution, continuing right at Napoleonic
wars, the 1830 Revolution, 1814 Revolution, 1871 Paris Commune, let’s remember the Dreyfus Affair, the culture war of the
Dreyfus Affair at the end of the 19th century. And this was you could
say constant culture war between Catholic monarchies
and like republicanism. I come from Spain. We have three real civil wars. In the 1830’s, in the
1870’s, and in the 1930’s. So let’s not forget that
all of European history in the 19th century was
you could say almost a constant civil war. I mean a permanent. Let’s think of the Culture Kampf, the name of the culture Kapmf in Germany, the culture Kapmf in Holland, so where you have biconfessionals aside, you have also basically hegemony group in a constant culture war. So what happened? Well what happened was
that the European Union, our two, the end of the
religious secular cleavage, because of the rapid desecularization
of repaired societies and because what had
been the Catholic church that had been the main anti-secular agent, and deliver agents through
the adjournamental now accepts the secular aid. So the religious secular comes to an end. Second the conflict
between the class war with the Neosocial democratic
parties, the welfare estate, is supported by both. By the Christian democratic parties and by the social democratic
parties everywhere. And finally the reconciliation
of Catholics and Protestants increased the democratic parties. Is this the less possible
deformation of the European Union? Is it transnational to put an
end to all the national wars? Let’s remember that France
and Germany had been at war for 70 years. At war or preparing for war
from the Franco-Prussian War through World War I, World War II. So it’s a radical transformation. So what has happened now? Well what happened now is
that this was possible, this reconciliation and this
weakening was made possible by the Cold War. The Cold War that made it
along Europe to transform and to overcome it’s policy of sovereignty and conflicts because it was under larger system of supported, protected by the United
States and of course in conflict with the Soviet Union. So now what you have is
the post-Soviet period. On the one hand, it’s a tremendous triumph
of the European model. Every European country from the East, wants to join the European Union. At first it looked like a
fantastic successive story and then the crisis begins. And obviously there are
three issues to the crisis. One is of course the innovation, nativism. What is new about the populist parties in Europe is nativism. Nativism of course has always been part of American politics, and
the immigrant politics. Let’s not forget that this
is the way from the 1830’s to World War I. You have of course nativist parties. Ultimately the nativists anti-immigrants is able to close the
immigration doors for 50 years in the United States. And now we have a reemergence of this anti-immigrant nativism. So this is new in Europe, because for the first time
now all European societies can become immigrant societies. And you have a nativism
which is not based percent on nationalism because
nationalism is always, nationalism against other nation, but I guess we are the native
Europeans and the others are not native Europeans. And who are we, Europeans? We are either Christian or secular. So and therefore those immigrants who are neither Christian or
secular are not fully European. And it’s this coalition of Christian tradition and secularism. If you look at the FN, the Alternative fur Deutschland, it’s a combination again of very conservative
Christian Identitarian and of course bureaucratical
secular German identity. So this is an element. The second one is of
course the revolution, the gender revolution. The gender revolution has been
a fundamental transformation. This is the most radical revolution and most rapid in human history. To put an end to three millennia, let’s say of history as
we know it of patriarchy. And to comes to the
notion of gender equality. And now a gender equality was expanded now because the principal of gender becomes. So this is a radical
revolution in human history. So it’s not surprising that this creates a fundamental moral conflict. But European society’s had
fantastically incorporated the gender revolution. They have accepted the
Guardianan Principle more than any other party in the world, so it’s not that this now
you have a come back class, but you had, it’s more minorities that have accepted being minorities and now in combination with this populous revival
are able to reassert. Let’s look at the French
Catholic minority. They had accepted the vulgar of minority. They were not reactive politically, but they’ve been mobilized, probably the most radical anti-LGBT and anti-same sex marriage
and all of Europe has been the French Catholic right. So again you have here
a situation which is not because they were there all the time, but the country has allowed
them to reassert themselves and of course here’s
where Russia comes in. Russia comes in as part of the
crisis of the European Union so what makes all this possible, because populism was also
directed against European Union. It is precisely an assertion
of reclaiming sovereignty, national sovereignty against sovereignty that we lost to Brussels. And this is linked to
the kind of class wars. The new knowledge class, those groups that feel
that they were left behind by transformation, anti-globalist, so you have a fusion of
population of the left that was always a little
anti-European, anti-capitalist, and pro Soviet. And now you have the populism of the right that precisely in the
name of Christian Europe. An argument which is made
not by religious Europeans, but precisely why cultural
(audio cutting out) but they now see (audio cutting out) is, I’m sorry. Is their defenders of traditional values against secular Europe. And here is where the
crust of European Union is crucial in the sense
that it’s not only a crisis produced from Russian interference, but already begun internally. Let’s look at the economic crisis. This is the moment, it is the economic crisis,
the financial crisis, that forever stand makes there that there is no solidarity in Europe. There is no notion of Europe Assads, they’re all transnational
mother was based either on Christian democracy. The original price of European
was Christian democracy. NATO is taken over by social democracy, but both are gone. Neither peace and democracy,
nor social democracy, can sustain anymore the European Union. There is no other movement in Europe. There is no other ideology. There is no other principle
who are real Europeans. And so under those context, then you have the real crisis
and so you have that first, For the first time, the populist party
parties, Nordic parties, let’s look at Finland, Denmark, Holland. Populists parties that had
been developed against Muslims, against Islam, now turn into, it’s the Southern Europeans. We are the hard working Europeans, so the Protestant ethic
all over the again now. We are the Protestants and
this profligate the peaks, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain, they basically are the problem. So you have here a fundamental breakdown of European solidarity
that has not recovered. After the European crisis, no single socialist party
was able to keep power and no socialist party in a
position was able to gain power. It shows social democracy
as a model is gone. The socialist parties had
become simply the carriers of identity politics. Let’s look at Spanish socialism. They are the ones that have promoted more than the other precisely identity rights, gender rights, et cetera. So we are, Spain is at the
forefront of all these rights. And so you have a fundament situation. And then you have here the
Russian basically trying to come back to bring back
the Westphalian system, Helsinki agreement that was
accepted by the Soviet Union precisely because it protected
them from their borders. And they accepted no
change of borders by force and they accepted in the
discourse of human rights basically Putin said
no, it’s the end of it. I annexed Cremia, I
begin war in the Donbass, in suddenly I’m interested
in going back to the old Westphalian system and let’s just start once again conflict upon European nations. So there is a fundamental
crisis of the idea of Europe and where to go and so this
is the context within reach Although this populism
would not have been perhaps as strong without the European crisis. The same goes for all the cultural war. This combination of issues has made it into an explosive new situation. – So you’re basically
saying that the culture wars as they globalize, they sort of cease to be on about controversially moral issues and they really become
conflict over sovereignty and over legitimacy of political orders. I think that’s an important
point in which to bear in mind as we proceed with the debate. And now I’d like to turn to Professor Roy. You have studied for many years questions on secularism and Islam. Your latest book is about Europe, the title is “Is Europe still Christian?” Now the greater conflictuality
of religion in Europe today Is often explained
as a result of immigration from predominantly Muslim countries that’s also the point of Jose, and I’m asking you whether
you would agree with that? So is the heightened
politization of religion a reaction to Islam, or is it a result of the
globalizing culture wars over moral issues, or is it actually a combination of the two as Jose just suggested? – Yeah it’s more a combination. But you have the local factors in Europe and then the global situation. Speaking here about Western Europe. The culture wars started in July ’68, with the pontifical
leader of Pope Paul VI, rejecting all of the norms and values coming from the sexual
revolution of the 60’s. So it was a brilliant
rejection of everything which was new about the body. But the big difference with the USA, is that the church was alone in that Agnostic Church. The Protestants most of them accepted or how you would say baptized
the sexual revolution. And we have seen a collapse of the traditional
Christian height in Europe. The Christian democracy
was that in the early 90’s. The right which came to power is not a conservative
Christian right at all, Berlusconi, Sarkozy, Johnson, they are not the only ones not to be known for the divert practices, but they just didn’t care. So the church was along in
constricting what Pope Benedict called the non negotiable principles, all about the body. And slowly the new values of
the 60’s were put into law, contraception, abortion,
marriage is just a contract, homosexual marriage, medically
assisted procreation, and so and so everywhere. And there was never back steps. In France, it’s the liberal right, which doctored the process, which is Kurdistan Another process is the socialist, but you never had a step
back when height came back to the power. So it’s a city process of
extension of liberal values. The church was alone
until the issue of Islam. So in the 90’s when it
was obvious that Islam is no more just a matter of immigration, but there is now a Muslim
population settled in Europe. What to do with Islam? So the debates usually are honed to on the issue of compatibility. Is Islam compatible with? And then you can put democracy five and design what you want. But the two main categories used where first is Islam compatible
with the European values? And in this case, it’s clear these values are
the liberal European values, feminism, gay rights,
freedom of expression, and so and so. The second kind of
principle which was opposed to the Muslims are Christian
identity of Europe. But the problem is what does it mean? Christian identity, the
popes were very clear. Is there is no Christian identity, without Christian values? No, so you cannot fight for a
Christian identity of Europe if you don’t go back to
the values of the church. And the values of the church are of course the non-negotiable principles. But it’s also love your neighbor, don’t let immigrants die in the sea, and so and so. It’s a complex set of values. But the people in Europe will refer to the Christian identity don’t
refer to Christian values, because they are the populists. And the populists in Europe are secular. They are more secular in
the north than in the south, but in the south they are not
conservative in the south. There are no more Christians. If works that we see of
Salvini are homophobic, it’s not because, the church is opposed
to same sex marriage, it is just because they are homophobic. That’s all. (audience laughing) Same for the Jesuit that went swimming. Nothing to do with the
teaching of the church. And so we have a growing discrepancy between a race and
expectation identity which is just to stop to close
the borders and still, and then Europe which is very liberal in terms of values and everyday life. We have no return to the
conservative traditional, conservative values of the past. And it’s why the global populists, Benin for instance, they’re hung about Europe When they think that they can
build a Christian tradition on conservative Christian
values, opposition to immigrants, return to national sovereignty, and so they are totally hung, They don’t understand that
the populist in Europe are not Christian. And the people wonders to not well, it took some years, but people will destroy
that well at the end. The populist are not
Christians of the bishops, because they’re in a
good position to see who is a good Christian or not? And we had a very interesting
recent things in Italy. The populists came to power. They were in power. Did they restore of the
traditional Christian values? Did they fight the Russians? No, they just, first they don’t care. And second they know they
will never be elected, on the conservative
Christian program, never, no. The only way for them to
be elected is immigration and Islam as an identity. So very openly, there was a gap between
Salvini and the bishops. Salvini started his spiritual
career as his political began The Lega Nord is a party belonged to, was a party who claimed
he turn to the roots to the pre-Christian roots of Europe, like many populist in
the north of Scandinavia. Which is not very good
news for the church. They did not like that too much. Then Salvini to achieve
the power and I agree, it’s a matter of power, suddenly decided to become
a born again Christian. And it goes back to the church. And well his personal life
is not really Christian. He’s not the only one, okay. But when he’s on the beaches
with lightly clad women and with a cross, kissing the cross, the bishops are upset, really upset. But it doesn’t mean,
so we are triangle now, it’s not bipolarization The triangle is on one hand, the liberal values of Europe extended to political liberalism which is not Islam affiliate necessarily. The idea here is Muslims
can become Europeans If they add up European
values so that the big story of creating a moderate
Islam, a liberal Islam, a French Islam, a European Islam. I don’t know what does it mean. That’s another story. But the idea is we welcome
immigrants if they turn Islam into some of sort of
well Christianized Islam or more secular is an Islam. That’s exactly the debate
that under way in France now. So the populist is not enough. Or more exactly for the populists, the Muslims will never become European and not just because they
don’t like the European values, but also it’s not the same, it’s also culture, so you have all here culturalist
and racists background for rejecting the immigrants. And for the church, the church is Europe
is not more Christian. Europe is still Pagan,
not because of the Muslim, but because of the Europeans who are no more going to church. So the church now is under
missionary, I would say, owed. Yet it showed what Islam amongst the church is ambivalent. On the one hand, they
share the same values, a conservative values about the family, so many people of the
demonstration in Paris who are strong Christian Identitarians, sometimes they say but “Why
didn’t the Muslim join us “against same sex marriage?” And the answer of the
Muslim is very simple, “We didn’t join you not because we don’t “share the values about family, “but just because you hate us, “so it’s a good reason not to join you.” And now the church is should
we defend Christian identity of Europe against a
universal Christianity? If an immigrant is Christian,
a black Christian for us, what we do? Does it mean to defend a
Christian identity of job? Normally we should accept
him as a Christian. And what to do with amnesty? Why you not going back to the
old good time of the Barbars? The 6th century while we the Christians, we converted the Barbars, so we should not be
afraid of another culture. On the contrary, it’s a good opportunity. So the church is very divided. There is a gap between the bishops and the ordinary Christians. I can say that. The hard line Christians
are not political people. They are lay people or
politized along this side just that we should go back
to the traditional values and so and so. So it’s a complex landscape. – Oh yes it definitely
is a complex landscape and I mean one point that is striking observing how Russia is
starting to play a role in conflict like the ones we
are talking about in Europe. I’ll just give you two examples. So when the big protests
in France happened. The so called Manif pour
tous against the legalization of same sex marriage, the organizers of that
conference were later on received by the patriarch of Moscow. And a second snapshot that
I want to give you is that representatives of
American Christian rights, so promoters of traditional family values, they’ve started to look
to Russia as a defender of their goals, much more than than they
relied on the Vatican. So during the 1990’s, it was really the Catholic
church and especially the Vatican that was associated with a
very strong pro family stance. And now we see the
American Christian right, that is maybe more looking
to the most compatriarch as a defender and as a
supporter of that position. And we have the European
populists like Salvini, yes who’s running around with his cross. He’s challenging the
authority of the Pope. And when he says, “I don’t
agree with him on what he says “about the refugee boats
in the Mediterranean.” But he’s also receiving very
happily Russian delegations and organizing conferences
for the family together with his Russian partners. So in a way I’d like to get
maybe Olivier and Jose Casanova into a conversation about
what is really the challenge also to the Catholic Church
in this new constellation where we really have a new
player that is offering itself as a poll of orientation or a
beacon for groups to follow? Jose. – Well the Catholic Church is
a complex global institution, and became global, consciously global, after Vatican II. It was always global, but the experience of Vatican II, was we are really a global church. Bishops from all over the world. And this is what made
the Vatican II documents radically new in the 60’s, the Popes began to
address their encyclicals to global humanity not to Catholics. So they see themselves really as kind of, they already saw what we
now call globalization as a sign of times in the 60’s. So this is one issue. Second, yes, mane Vitae is crucial, but so here you have a contradiction. And the theological dogmatic level, you have a historicity. The notion of reading the
sign of the times in history of the revelation continues in history, that somehow the history
of salvation is linked to the history of humanity. So we have a historization
of theology, of dogma, at the very same moment,
you have a essentialization ontological of moral sexuality. So you have now, well you have a much more open ended dogmatic position in theology. You have now a closing of moral sexuality. And so you have a momentum contradiction of an opening theological
in this direction, of opening to practically
everything possible and radical closing on
base of natural law. And now the fusion of the
old concept of natural law, that was a middle, theoretical, transcendent concept of
what the good platonic ought to be with of course
natural in the biological sense. And it is this confusion that has led to, because again even
abortion now is a defended on biological principles. I mean the right to life, life begins at conception. Theologically when person begins, when ensoulment begins was
a very complex question. Theologians began, I mean, we’re discussing those things forever. It’s only now argued now science tell us, so there’s a fundamentalism
on these issues while you have a completely opening
on other theological issues. At the moment, and this is where now
the church has retreated, then comes the crisis of the sexual abuse. You cannot anymore present
yourself in public life as defenders of sexual morality when you are being accused all
the time of being really, really the perpetrators of
sexual scandals and abuse. So this has led the
Catholic Church to realize they cannot really maintain
the high ground on this level. There’s been attempt on
the part of the Russia, to precisely form a holy
alliance with the Catholic church already for 20 years. They couldn’t do it. They couldn’t do it first
because it was linked to an anti-European,
anti-Protestant position, liberals, secular, protestant, but the Catholic church has
been the greatest defenders of the European Union of
transnational structure, international structure. The Pope precisely was the great
loser of Westphalian system and wants to get over
the Westphalian system and that’s why has defended every international principle and rule. And so in this moment, the attempt of the Russian Orthodox Church to form a holy alliance, the same one that they
already had in 1815. After the revolution, we have holy alliance of
martyry and the papacy and the Czars. So this attempt is a conservative alliance is not possible now partly
because of Pope Francis. Pope Francis that symbolizes it says which is not any more European church, it’s a global church and therefore cannot be also ruled simply by those European western principles. And of course he says,
“I’m not going to change “those moral issues, “but this is not what
the gospel is all about.” So the hierarchy of truths and these truths of moral sexuality are not so relevant as the
other truths of the gospel. So for me defending immigration is really a true Christian principle of defending and the preferential option for the poor, and social justice, those are really fundamental principles. The others are more
principles than sayings. So he has in this respect
opened up all circle, which of course leads then
all the conservative Catholics to go against the church, against the bishops, so you have now a collision
of the Catholic right linking with evangelical Christian right and with the Orthodox. But not at the level of the church. So while in the case of the
Orthodox Church it’s both. From civil society and from the hierarchy in the case of the Catholic
who gave the Catholic right joining those coalitions, but not the hierarchy joining them. – The Catholic church
system as far as I know, because I am not at the
core of the Vatican. The Catholic church is not
afraid of this kind of version of Russian Orthodox offensive, because clearly it’s a
purely political offensive. The people who are going to
meet the people in Russia are not the believers, no. They are the populists leaders like Marine Le Pen for instance. You have no really religious influence of the version of the
Greeks among the population in Western Europe. We have Orthodox, in Christian Orthodox, but precisely most of
the Christian Orthodox in Western Europe are
these all descendants of white Christians, of Greek
immigrants, of familiar, and so and so, of converts. And we wave of conversion to Orthodoxy, but precisely what now
the Russian government is trying to do is the
Westphalian perspective is to claim to be the patrons, the leader of all Orthodox in Europe, so the Russian consulate for instance, choose, in courts, to
be given back the same, the property of Russian Orthodox
Churches in Western Europe. The Russian government is paying to build new Russian churches. And the European Orthodoxcations, they don’t like that. They think that they are hijacked
by the Russian government. So the time to have the Russians with the Patriarchy of
Franco Constantinople, and to have better relationship
the Catholic church. In a sense to be, I would
say in a sense protected against this fine Coup d’etat
inside the Orthodox in Europe. So the Russian policy has
nothing to do with playing of the spiritual
teachings and spirituality to make new converts to state Orthodoxy. – Okay so in a way to summarize, the Europeans situation
is such that it is really populist leaders that are
defending the Christian identity against Muslim immigrants
that look favorably to Russia, but it’s not on the ground Catholics. It’s not the Catholic hierarchies. And it’s also not Orthodox
Christians in Europe that look to Russia for leadership. Now let’s turn to the situation in the US, because this morning we have
been speaking a lot about conversions to the Orthodox
Church in the United States. We’ve also heard some
findings on fascination with Russian President
Putin as a leader in terms of traditional values. Fascinations on the side of the old right, with Russian and Russian Orthodox Church. So now that’s a question
and then afterwards I’ll open up to questions
from the audience to you Professor Hunter and to you Professor Bob. So this Russian situation, I mean the American
fascination on the side of the American Christian
right with Russia, what has that changed in
the culture war situation in your view? – Well I don’t have much to say about it. It seems I’m learning even today about some of these developments. My sense is that within the conservative movement more broadly, but within religious
conservatism, more particularly, there’s a deep ambivalence about Russia. I think there is a certain
kind of attractiveness due to the kind of sympathies of values that they’re hearing out of
the Russian Orthodox Church, it’s defense of those values and so on. And yet, it’s the bible belt
that fights most of the wars for the United States. And they still have a
memory of the Cold War. And intergenerationally,
maybe not this generation, but their grandparents generation
fought the first second wars, Vietnam, so on, and
Russia was implicated. And so I see kind of ambivalence about it. (breathes deeply) I’ll just leave it there. – Yeah I’m not sure I have that much to add either on this although, I mean, I do think that the Christian
right in the United States like many political movements that feel like maybe they’ve lost
culturally, as you suggested, are going to look to promote
themselves to get support even just moral support
if not monetary support from other institutions
that they can dominate or from other organizations, other countries that are sympathetic to their goals. And so I don’t see
Russia as a major player in American culture wars, but I definitely could see why groups like Focus on the Family, World
Congress of Families, would find alliances, more
or less tactile alliances, with the Russian Orthodox
Church to be helpful. They’re looking for I
think some groups anywhere in the world that share their
views about moral issues to the extent that they feel
oppressed in our own country unable to achieve their
goals in our own country. They will look for places
in which traditional values are more respected. So Russia is one, but as many of you know, I’m sure a lot of conservative Christians have looked to Africa and
various African countries as places where traditional
values are much more respected than here as well. So I think it’s part of
this much broader conflict in which both left and
right are involved in which at least in the moment, some parts of the right feel
that they can get some support, at least moral support from afar. To the extent that President
Trump for better or for worse, does help achieve more of
their agenda here at home. Maybe they will be less
interested in looking abroad. But and one other factor
related to this is that the other side in the
culture wars, progressives, are using these kind of
connections to Russia to try to tar the agendas of the
Christian right here at home. And I think given the general
animist towards Russia that we’ve had especially
since 2016 in our country, that kind of tactic is fairly effective, so to the extent that Christian right is thinking strategically about this, they might also wanna reduce
connections with Russia if only to avoid being again
portrayed as a Putin tool or something like that. Even though clearly they
are indigenously developed here in the United States. – So before I open up to the audience, do you on the podium want
to react to each other? Or are you ready for questions? So at this point we are
ready for questions. – [Cynthia] Hi thank you very much. My name is Cynthia Butler. I’m an attorney and I
follow election politics, and read the Mueller
report and found that there were clear indictments
of GRU Russian actors that were manipulating
our elections according to our Justice Department, and my question is were
you able to ascertain any, in particularly to the Duquesne Professor here I’m looking at. Were you able to ascertain
any motivation or connection between these religious organizations, these operators, in
connection with the GRU, or any of the Orthodox
players that had connections with the GRU? In other words did they invite it? – Well I certainly didn’t. I don’t have any more information than the Mueller report has there. I think that might have come
out if there was anything like that there. I would think there were not invitations like you’re suggesting. I would think that people in Russia whether it’s the intelligence agencies or just private individual Russians or Russian Orthodox church
related organizations understand some of the
tropes of the culture wars here in the United States. So they could potentially put out some of these Facebook posts or tweets that could potentially influence
people in the United States who are sympathetic to
social conservatism. I mean my own view of the
Mueller Report is that it was very much a dud in
terms of whether there was any influence whatsoever on the election. Clearly there were a small
number of Facebook posts and tweets and so forth, tiny in relationship to the total amount of media internet activity
about the election. The amount of money
spent was tiny compared to the millions spent by the campaigns. The influence of unknown
posters on Facebook compared to the influence
of Donald Trump himself saying terrible things and
getting the Christian right or others to vote for him nonetheless, I think totally dwarfed
anything that the GRU or private actors in Russia did. So I’m very skeptical. I mean I think the fact that
the Mueller Report ended after the best prosecutors
in the United States worked for two years and found
no collusion, no conspiracy, even if there were small amounts of internet related activity, suggests that this really
wasn’t a very important factor if any factor at all in the election. – Hi thanks, my name is Brian Craft. I’m a recent graduate from
Georgetown and my question is so Pope Francis on
recent trips to both Morocco and the United Arab Emirates
has made ecumentical overtures to the Muslim world and I
believe while in the UAE, he signs some sort of agreement
with a Muslim leader there. Could you talk a little bit
about how you potentially see the Vatican especially
Pope Francis’s Vatican working with the Muslim
world and kind of countering what they see as encroaching secularism? So sort of similar issues that they see is important, thanks. – Yeah, it was the Abu Dhabi Meeting, but that’s amongst the leaders. Clearly Pope Francis play on the subject of solidarity of religions
in the sacred world. So it’s not the interfaith dialogue. It’s not a theology
called dialogue about God, or Muhammad, et cetera. It’s a dialogue between
believers who are under pressure of secularism and who have responsibility because people are using
version to commentary section of violent action. So double lever. We have to react throughout
the growing secularism and we have take responsibility of the use of religion in violence. That’s how the part of this issue. So it’s not the dialogue of
civilization, of religion, and so and so. And it has been I think
misinterpreted like that as a continuation of interfaith dialogue. And the campaign, it’s working, because more and more Muslim
leaders joined the process. The Sheik of Al-Azhar
clearly said that Christians should not be seen as a
minority in the Middle East, but as citizens. So it mean all the mystery,
and so and so didn’t exist, or should not exist anymore, and there’s a clear
condemnation of terrorism also. And also, but it’s not said explicitly, the idea that religion
should not be taken not only by radicals but also by the government. This inter-religious
dialogue is done outside the inference of the
different Arab governments. General Marshal Sisi is not happy about seeing the Sheik of Al-Azhar speaking directly with the Pope. And of course the Emirate something more. But the Emirates are not a big player of the church strategical scene, so you have this endeavor
to disconnect religion from the states in France and to have this dialogue in
counter at this, this site. – If I may add, we must understand that Pope
Francis is not the first one who does it. Basically this is a continuation
of a project that begun with Vatican II, Nostra
aetate, the document, our aids, precisely recognized
this religious pluralism as a sign of the times. That was a ecumenism
with Christian churches. But Nostra aetate originally
was going to be in a ecumenism with the Jews and then
was expanded to ecumenism to all other religions not only monotheistic
religions like Mohammed, but with all world religions. And obviously there was a
weakening of it with Benedict. Benedict was dominant Jesuit, wanted the dialogue with
Islam is part of culture, not religious dialogue. But they’ll bring strong organizations all over the Catholic Church. I mean we have the first center for Christian Muslim
understanding in the United States which obviously here in Georgetown. You have very strong
movements the Vatican working for dialogue with Islam and and so on. So this is a much more widespread
than whatever the policy of the Pope is. But this Pope took the name of Francis, because he wanted to be
the Francis of peace, Francis went to the Kalif,
I mean to the Sultan, the Francis of the poor and the Francis of ecological nature. And those three issues of
inter-religious dialogue of preferential option
for the poor and obviously the ecological are central
issues of this Pope. – So part of what’s confusing
about this entire discussion is what’s at stake? What’s involved? And it seems to me that there are, that perhaps one of the
singular issues that is evolved across trans-nationally,
then nation states, within groups, is the
question of identity itself. It is the fundamental issue. And part of the story of identity is that it is almost always defined negatively, not just affirmatively. We define ourselves through negation. So in understanding
these kinds of dynamics. Who’s on the right side, the wrong side? This is part of the
reason why the Cold War, the end of the Cold War
was so important it defined an enemy outside of the western alliance, that was clear, it was
godless, it was aesthetist, et cetera, et cetera. And pretty much everyone could oppose it. The memory of what
happened in Cuba and so on. It’s own expansionist powers. This was something that could be a part, when the Cold War came to an end, how so you define yourself? Well negationally, you turn inward. And that’s what happened
in the United States. So much of the culture wars
intensified in the wake of the end of the Cold War. One other point I wanna make
about the different actors. It seems to me that again
partly because I think this conversation can be very confusing, there are sincere actors,
there are cynical actors, these are sincere actors
who act (audio cutting out). I’m learning a lot about
Russia and this is part of the reason why I think
this project is so important, so interesting and just
inherently as we understand the expansion of the
culture wars globally. In my own work, most of the actors in the United States at least at the origins of
all this were very sincere. These are people for
whom their own nations of what is sacred, what is
right and good, the truth, and beautiful and how we order our lives individually and collectively . These actors are
operating out on very deep and sincere convictions. They really mean it. Part of this story. Lets just do a fast forward
to your project Kristina and Demitry and others is
that Russia particularly as a state actor is operating
in a way that’s very cynical. At least it appears to be. Though there are actors within Russia, Russian Orthodox Church, and so on, that are also I think, I would assume fairly sincere even though they may be sincere,
they’re acting cynically. Anyway I do think it is important to make these kinds of distinctions, so that we’re not simply
instrumentalizing what is in fact being instrumentalized
by so many of these actors. – Thank you I think that
was a very important point to make on these different actors. I had another question from the audience. – [Mikhail] My name is Mikhail Kulokov, I represent Washington
Adventist University. And my question is are there
any noteworthy significant initiatives at choose
instead of culture wars that choose bridge building,
that choose consensus building, or building of mutual understanding whether in secular spheres
here in the United States or in Russia or within
religious communities? And how would you
characterize the effectiveness of those initiatives? And also how would you evaluate the value of the initiative that was known as the Chautaugua
Conference people diplomacy? And are there other
factors local, national, as well as global factors
that positively contribute to mitigation of cultural
wars and stimulate rather the development of mutual
understanding, build bridges, and increase a desire
for consensus building? – I’ll say a few things and pass the mic. I think that just as a matter
of theoretical principle, I would argue that where there is culture, there is conflict. So let’s not pretend that there is this, we can speak historically and
sociologically and politically about the current culture war. But culture by it’s very
definition is contested. Culture is also by it’s
very nature normative and that’s part of the
reason why it is contested and why it’s always linked to issues of identity and authority, and so on. The question is how deep
do these conflicts go. And as people Alister Mcintyre have argued and I think that the work
of the panelists up here, certainly my own empirical
work shows that these conflicts go all the way down. They go down to some of
the fundamental issues of how we know not just
what is the good, the true, and the beautiful, but also how do we apprehend these things? How do we know these things? So issues of what is real? What is knowledge? What are worthy moral ends? These are really fundamental
issues that right now don’t seem to find much
middle ground here. I think if you, one other
things I would say about this, and I think particularly in
a town like Washington DC, you see the tribal nature of culture. And so any bridge building effort, simply won’t work. If you are viewed as a moderate, then you’re either viewed as a traitor, or you’re viewed as weak,
you’re just not relevant. So I have seen a number
of these initiatives and so I first published
“Culture Wars” in 1991 and almost all of them have failed. Where they don’t fail tends
to be in smaller localities in very particular communities
over particular issues. So here there’s I think a
very significant difference between local politics
or cultural politics and the national politics. The national political
environment is driven much more by kind of heightened, deeply fraught symbolic politics that simply will brook no compromise, that takes no prisoners. And local environments where
real problems need to be solved and can be solved, I think there is the possibility
of some bridge building. – I would just add, I agree with everything
that James just said. I guess a question maybe sort
of implicit in what you ask is whether this then creates
a huge danger for our society and I mean as he just said culture, implicit in culture is conflict. I would say the same thing
is true of democracy. Implicit in democracy is a
diversity of views in a country of 300 plus million people, you’re gonna have a
huge diversity of views. I think we are fortunate at
least despite the huge conflict that goes on in our country and especially in the national
institutions and of course, we’re witnessing the
worst of it right now. But we’re fortunate that
we have institutions that have survived the test of time and even violent conflict. So I don’t like a huge amount of conflict that we see constantly. I don’t worry about it as being
the basis of the destruction of our society however. I think what you would see
is just perennial conflict over a somewhat shifting array of issues. With conflict ultimately
going down to the very roots as you just said. But with institutions that
do at least in the short term come to some kind of resolution, a new law that as soon as it’s passed and signed is immediately
attacked by those who don’t like it ’cause
it didn’t go far enough, and those who don’t like
it ’cause it went too far. So it’s just this
perpetual conflict machine which is I think what
democracy is all about. The culture war issues
particularly are difficult, because they got this moral aspect to them which seems particularly
difficult to resolve permanently, but I think just about every
issue you can think of, in our society, can potentially be put into moral terms and therefore has this aspect to it. Ultimately I think the kind
of initiatives you’re talking about are really
worthwhile, they do happen, but to the extent they don’t
work and we will discontinue this sort of conflictive situation, but not I think a breakdown. – I think you are referring
more to transnational countries other than national one. There are a lot of initiatives. Obviously the Pope constantly
talks of the culture of the encounter, building bridges rather than wars, building bridges was of
course itself an initiative of inter-religious dialogue. There is the common war. There are many, many (audio cutting out). There’s a world council
of Religions for Peace. There’s of course the World
Parliament of Religion. We have here somebody in
front Katherine Marshall who has dedicated her life in
precisely this kind of work at the grass roots level
throughout the world. You have precisely where
you have religious conflict. You also have peace makers of mutual. The role of women in this
building bridges is crucial, so we could go on. There are many, many transnational
ingenious organizations dedicated precisely to at
least try to ameliorate what otherwise would be the cynical work of people interested in
producing mischief. (giggling) – [Ann] Hello my name is Ann Augilar. I am as a student, as a college student, that recently got here
from Mexico a year ago. This cultural war concept
and conflict is new for me. Not because of the words, mostly about the culture now I live in and it’s been really interesting, because in Mexico we have a saying that we are so far away from God, but so close to United States. And so we’re always
expecting what is going on with United States. It’s really interesting for
me now that I’m here getting the culture or this culture
war being part of it and more like in the way, like
here being in Washington DC, my question here is what is the role? I really like the idea of identity, but what is the role or
diversity in the identity game ’cause even though you choose a side, how do you accept the
identity of United States? ‘Cause the US right now has
an identity of being diverse, but at the same time, it’s right now pushing away
or rejecting some ideas like new stuff. And so watching right
now the Brexit situation, what is, I don’t know, what is England and at the
same time they were like winning and the empire
and different stuff, so now United States is
it far away from that or what is the role the role
that is playing in that game? Also is there any bullet points that says, oh we’re going towards that direction, right direction or towards left direction? Is there any special
points that help us to see oh left is winning or
right is winning ’cause there’s a lot of articles
saying the left already won, but they are know or the
right side is always winning because it’s progress, so there’s a lot of conflict. I don’t know, I’m trying to
discover new stuff right here. – Thank you who wants to answer that? – Can I just make a brief
comment about diversity. I think that’s part of what is contested. What are the boundaries
of legitimate difference? So again within our national politics, you would find conservatives
as well as progressives embracing the national
motto, e pluribus unum, it would embrace this notion of diversity, of pluralism, of tolerance, but every social order has boundaries. It defines it’s friends, it’s enemies, of what’s legitimate, of
what’s not legitimate, so conservatives tend to
define a pluralism religiously. And so there is a diversity
of Catholics and Protestants, of Jews, and over a
period of two centuries, it wasn’t always that way,
but by mid 20th century, by the third quarter of the 20th century, essentially people had come
to terms with this notion of religious diversity. At the time of the founding, diversity was about
different denominations, all Protestant. So I think that part of the contest of the culture war itself, is over what constitutes
legitimate diversity. Tolerable diversity, so
it’s contested ground. – Well this really was a tiny speck to the question of sovereignty, because I think one reason why we speak about that drive to more sovereignty is because the populists
groups in Europe basically say we want to be the ones
that decide the borders and how much diversity do we want. And we don’t want anybody
else to tell us that. So this is tied in with the
question of sovereignty. – That’s right. (Jose mumbling) That’s right. – We have two more questions over here, so to you first then
it’s you, and then you. – [Brandon] Thank you,
I’m Brandon Vaidyanathan, Sociologist at Catholic University. I have a question that
actually follows up on that in which you all just said. So the Psychologist
Eric Erikson talks about is very sort of stages a
personality development and the adolescent phase is really marked by this sort of identity
crisis and in many ways the phenomenon your describing
in this sort of tuning inward with the populism around the world, seems like a kind of
global identity crisis. And then so one of the questions is what might lead to generativity, which is sort of the
sort of end game for him, or the possibility of moving,
almost forgetting oneself, moving beyond oneself, being able to care for not
just others around you, but for future generations. I mean historically I mean
it seems like we’ve sort of taken a step back from that direction and I guess there may be
analogs to identity crisis at the individual level
where for some reason people have to shut down for a while and that’s what I think
some sort of groups are arguing that. And I think of people like
Rod Dreher who say that you need to sort of have this
benedict option and retreat to sort of remember who you are. And it seems like what’s going
on in places like Hungary is little bit like that. There’s (audio cutting out) recollect to get shot down for a while. I don’t know if that makes
sense at the social level, but I’m curious to know what
do you think are the moral sources for moving forward? Is the culture of politics
changing such that we’ve lost that ability to be generative? Are we losing that? Are we losing those moral sources? Or are there some that we can
build and what would those be? – Do you wanna go Jose yes? – I mean this is why I talk
about the European Union as precisely a very
successful attempt to overcome worldwide crisis of identity. I mean Catholics and
Protestants have been fighting for three centuries or four centuries. Nations have been fighting for centuries, so they attempt to overcome this, and it was successful. It was successful, but now of course, Europe itself overcame the
Westphalian system within itself, but after having it globalize
it through colonialism. And now it’s embedded in a
world that can’t have control. I mean part of the crisis
today is precisely, we’ve gone from a Western
hegemonic global system controlled by the West, it was the center, to a new really globalism which nobody can control the world,
neither the US nor Russia, nor China, nor anybody. We have to come to terms with this type of new global context and what
does it mean at every level. And all the problems are
increasingly more global, and they can have only global solutions. I mean going to the severativity but our system of sovereignty
and our whole structure of identities that we’ve
inherited from the West. From the European model of
how to organize the world, obviously don’t work very well today. So we have to come to terms
with another global counters which we can come to
terms with those things. In this respect, yes, we have to go beyond the
identity of national states. – So they cynical interpretation
of what Jose just said is that after centuries and
literally millions of people dying, and conflict between
Protestants and Catholics, and after millions upon
millions of people dying in the European Wars, we just got tired of killing each other. And so out of the fatigue
came Locke’s letter concerning toleration and
Jefferson following Locke deliberately the Virginia
Statute of Religious Freedom. Which came the first amendment
of the Bill of Rights. And then out of the
conflict of European states and all of that promiscuous bloodshed, came the European Union. We’re just tired, we don’t, we have to find a different
way and a different kind of identity that transcends. The hope here for something
generative is that it doesn’t require that long season of violence and conflict. – Can you pass this there? – [Michelle] Hi my name is Michelle Nada. I’m currently a student at
Washington Adventist University and I was also a student at
Villa Aurora in Florence, Italy. Being there, I got to travel
throughout the country and see the different
cities, explore the culture, and at the end integrate
into Italian society. My question is what is your doing about the different mafias, different criminal organizations
coming and extending. Of course there’s always
a Sicillian mafia, but after that, the Nigerian
mafia has also infestated, and the Chinese mafia including
the Lombardo case in 2017, so has is the Vatican addressing that? How is the government addressing that? – You are the Italian specialty. (panel laughing) – Well he says I’m the Italian
because I live in Italy, but I mean the question of organized crime that’s
transnationalizing, that’s definitely very relevant question. It’s not a question that
I would ever address in the context of something
like the culture wars, where we really think about
different types of aactors. So the actors that we address in the cultural war framework are states, civil society factors, and
religious groups, so churches. – Some of the Russian oligarchs. – And well, and yes, among
business you can take business as being part of civil society. Then you have the blurry border, maybe very often to organized crime. So I’m actually, I can’t
really answer your question, and maybe one– – [Michelle] Because we have
to consider how the Mafia always connects with the
Catholic church at the end. That is (giggling) – Okay well that’s in– – (mic drowns out conversation)
of cleaning out the Vatican in terms of course they don’t. There’s trying but every time the new revelations cannot fit. – Great, thank you. – There was a question, yes, the back. – [Peter] Hi my name is Peter Montgomery. I’m a fellow at People
for the American way and I’m curious to what you
all think about the kind of increasingly adoption
by Trump and his members of his administration of
the almost overt Christian nationalist rhetoric
that we have seen coming from the religious right
with Trump also adopting this attack on secularism
with sort of secular Americans replacing maybe the Russians
as the Cold War enemy, as the domestic other? And that seems to be a
parallel in the way Russia has identified itself against
the sort of the degenerate secularism of the EU. I’d be interested in hearing
your thoughts on that. – Well I would only say
the height of cynicism for Trump to be saying that sort of thing. I mean he seems to lash
out obviously at any group or individual who opposes his policies whether on the left or
the right for that matter. A lot of republicans have
felt his anger as well, but I do think that the
idea that secular liberalism is like the foe, I’m not sure how much
he’s put that out there, but certainly the Christian
right puts that out there all the time. And he has become a vehicle for them. If only because he has political power. I mean his past is certainly
something that would not, one would think, lend itself to alliance
with the Christian right except if we take their
moral views seriously. Except as a vehicle for achieving some of their key policy goals
like reducing abortion rights, or cutting back on gay
rights and so forth. So I mean to me that kind of language is, at least coming from him, is a purely cynical set of statements. – If I just also wanna comment about what you said about Europe. I think you’re right. So it’s really that the
especially in the context of EU enlargement to central and eastern Europe, something very unexpected happened. So that you got a reaction in
several of these countries, think about Poland, think about Hungary, but you also had it in Romania
and Bulgaria that Brussels, so the West, the EU got associated
with secular liberalism, individual human rights,
and became a threat. And I think this is really
something that very few people in the EU and most certainly
in Brussels expected. And it has been an unexpected
and undesired consequence of EU enlargement, and it’s not over obviously and the fact that there are several
of these court cases now, the European court vis a vis Poland, vis a vis Hungary, shows that there are
real conflicts at stake. Also in institutional terms. – [Woman] I so appreciate
the chronological depth and geographic breadth and
the nuance of this panel, so I almost loathe to bring it back to such a parochial issue, but since his name came up, the Trump frame and Dr.
Hunter when you give us a term like culture wars and we frame
this conversation in terms of globalizing an American redeployment of the culture Kampf from ’91 and ’92, it invites this analysis. My question is when you framed
it for us at the opening you talked about about class
resentment a sense of being on the losing end of being looked down on. We’ve heard terms like
nationalism, tribalism, nativism, I fear that we’re leaving on
the table this misapprehension that Trump in fact was
elected by the disinherited. He lost the vote among
everyone among $50,000, 50,000 annual salary. When we talk about identity
politics and assign them to social democrats, we’re ignoring our own data that in fact what the single thing, not Christianity, not
evangelicalism itself, but being white and male and
earning more than $50,000 a year is what qualifies you
as an average Trump voter. And so when we say culture
wars in symbolic politics and talk about the politics of bodies in terms of symbolism, I feel like we’re losing the
actual historical context of identity politics in this
country and internationally now with right wing populism which
is an investment in whiteness and masculine precedence. And I’m curious how we
classify culture wars without defining the racial
and sexual investments that the winners in the
culture wars themselves say are so important. If Trump loses among
African Americans, Latinos, women, poor people, young
people, and yet somehow we don’t identify the
whiteness and masculinity as the categories voters are investing in, I feel like it’s a hole in
the middle of this analysis. To what extent is
globalizing the culture wars a deracialized frame for
dealing with outcomes of decolonization and the revolution against white supremecy, that black bodies were the
bodies that were initially shaking loose the
consensus before the right got excited about abortion. They were excited about desegregation and then interracial marriage. – Well I think you’re asking
really important questions and I would simply
affirm Jose’s observation during his remarks that
the gender revolution is really one of the truly original revolutionary actions for centuries. And this is a world, these are cultures that
are coming to terms with these kinds of changes, and in the case of conservatives and the case of the
Orthodox in particularly those of religious faith
not coming to terms with it very well. Coming to terms with it
politically and so on. So on the gender side, I think
that Jose is exactly right. And you’re exactly right
to call attention to it. The data that I’ve seen and
I’m not as close to it as I was even a couple of years ago. The class dimensions here
are not so much about income as they are about education. Again if we think about
education of class status and power, party. It is, or education and
occupation, and income. Education I mean there’s
a very clear dividing line between those who
had a college degree and more and those that may
have had some college education or no college education and below. – [Woman] But only if they’re white. That only holds within whiteness. You can be a dropout as a
non white and your not– – No, I understand, but here I’m trying to disaggregate issues of social class and race. I think they all come together, but the education element has
long been a dividing point within the culture war itself. So and even on race, again I think this is something that is I haven’t completely
gotten my head around, because even within the black community and certainly among women, there are divisions. I mean especially within gender. There are a lot of women
who voted for Trump. So and we can’t ignore that. So there are these dynamics. – [Jose] The gender
gap scrunch the gender. – No question about it, but I’m still getting my
arms around these things. Race was not an issue in
the same way it is today as it was back in 1991 when
I published “Culture Wars.” It was simply not as salient an issue in our public discourse as it is now. So not that it wasn’t relevant. Not that it wasn’t important, but it was not understood
certainly in the same way as it is today and it
wasn’t nearly as politicized with the presence of white supremacist who are just boldly out there. I think that was much more suffused. Not that it wasn’t present,
but I think buried in a way, in our public discourse
in a way it’s not today and these represent changes
and part again of the issue of the ways in which class,
gender, and race come together to make the culture wars
different today than it was in the early 1990’s when I wrote. – [Benjamin] Thank you very much. I’m Benjamin Toure, a retired diplomat. Following up on the last question, in a sense President Trump
was an accidental President. As was pointed out he
lost the popular vote by three million, and because of our unusual
system of the electoral college, through a fluke, he became President. And being a great manipulator, he sensed these frustrations,
these resentments, and he’s obviously playing to them. Now if we’re talking
about the globalization of the American culture wars, assuming President Trump
does not get reelected, or is removed from office, I think that this, the fact that we are still a world leader, will come out and the fact
that many of these tenions around the world will diminish. It’s not that they will
have peace suddenly. They will be these conflicts and so on, but by setting a different example, that will have a profound
effect on the dialogue in places like Hungary,
and Poland, and even Russia which unfortunately Democrats are demonizing beyond disproportionately. Thank you. – Well I’d like to answer in way on that, because I’m not sure I share, I would really share that view. because if you look at
Russia as being implicated in the globalizing culture wars, then this goes back much further obviously than the Trump Presidency. So I mean you wrote your book in 2012, I started to look at these
issues starting in 2014 and yes with the Trump Presidency and this heightened
stress in the US on Russia in a way the subject
became even more difficult to do research on, because suddenly it was
politicized and sensationalized. But the fact that the
American Christian right has gone elsewhere for support and has gone to Russia for support, and has met in Europe with
European Populist parties, I think that’s actually a
dynamic that quite independent from whoever is the President
in the United States. So I’m not sure whether really
that will change so much. – And I may add. Obviously the actors,
international actors, have changed. I mean in Cairo and Bejing, it was a coalition Catholic Church, and Muslims. The thing’s stuck, anyway, it was a Catholic, the collision of the
Catholic Church and Muslims, in Islam that was basically
for against gender rights, and feminism, and so on. This has changed and the issue
of race that was not an issue internally solved within Europe, but now is a crucial issue. I mean the immigration nativism
is basically about rights. So Europe of course has been
the right colonial power, but now has to come to
terms with the fact that, and of course they went all over the world without asking for
permission to go anywhere. But now when the other people
want to come back to Europe, they don’t want to. And don’t want to accept them, so there are fundamental global issues. And this is only the beginning. We’re only at the beginning
of what the US was in terms of an open immigrant country. I mean Europe is going to be more and more and even demographically
they need to meet us anyhow. So these things are not
going to get better. And the global liberal are
probably going to get worse, because the global hegemony
of the West is gone, and the West cannot
anymore order the world the way it did. So we have to come to terms with the fact that we are in a transitional global order and we don’t know how we
are going to come to terms with the disorders that we are, we cannot face most of the
crucial global challenges we’re having right now. And we don’t have really a
good system to deal with them. So things probably would not get. I usually am an optimist, but I think that things
will get much worse before they get better. – [Benjamin] That’s pessimistic,. I’m somewhat more optimistic. – I honestly, usually I
tend to be very optimist, but on a global level. I mean I preach optimism, but I can be realism when it comes. – I would only just add one thing. I totally agree with you. I think Russia has been
totally over demonized in recent years. Really since the Trump election. Not to say that there
aren’t many problems there and that they don’t have various policies which I totally disagree with, but in terms of the Trump role
in the global culture wars, like Kristina already alluded to, my research was done
basically in the 2008-2012 or thereabouts and what
I call the culture wars not only religious issues but also as I said several chapters
about the gun issue. That was going strong with the
National Rifle Association. Having consultive status at the UN and there being a transnational coalition of right winged pro-gun
groups there and very active in places like Brazil, Russia, of course, now as
well we know about as well. So I do think that these kind of issues predated Trump for sure. They will last much longer
than Trump is in office whether however he leaves,
whenever he leaves. But there’s no question
also that at least a number of these conservative interests
and conservative goals are getting a real shot
in the arm from Trump’s presence in the White House. And I mean he’s checked to some
extent in the United States simply because we have a
system of three branches, but he can do quite a lot of damage at the international
level at least in terms of his promoting a US policy
directly into UN debates or blocking policies say on gender. And such issues, so I’m not terribly
pessimistic in the long run. I think we have these
sort of cycles on a lot of these issues, but as long as he’s in power, I think that we, the global right, is going to get a huge boost. – So we’ll take the last question. – [Johnathan] Hi I’m Johnathan
BBM political studies, and the United States in the (audio cutting out)
first century has been described (audio cutting out) like
the Chompsky and Hedges as an empire in decline. This is partially due to
things like stagnating wages, failed micro military actions, et cetera, et cetera. But do you guys think
that America’s decline as a world power is a direct
cause for the escalation of the culture war and the rise of these populists nationals movements in the United States? – Response James? (audience laughing) – I was just gonna say why
don’t you just answer that. – So I think that this
unique moment that Jose described earlier between
the end of World War II and the present, was a liberal internationalist order. And it was largely designed and
sustained by American power. And that power at some level and the liberal internationalist design was only reinforced by
the end of the Cold War, the decline of the Soviet,
the end of the Soviet Union. Yeah I think that the culture
war has been in existence for a very long time. I actually traced the roots
to the enlightenment itself. If you read Peter Gazes, beautiful history of the enlightenment, you can see the arguments
that we hear today in the arguments between the
clerics and the philosophs of the late 18th century. It’s really quite interesting, but they obviously
broadened, they built out, and they certainly proceeded. But the liberal internationalist order has it seems to me being fundamentally
challenged right now. And it may be at an end. And in part that has to do with, if not the decline of American, I mean American military power is very, very strong obviously, but it’s economic power and
it’s international authority it seems to me is in decline
and those things spell I think real challenges for what follows. – I’d have to say, I disagree with a lot
of what you just said. I personally really don’t
think the liberal international order any part of those three
phrases really ever existed and I am much more
sympathetic with the view that American dominance since
certainly well World War II, but especially post Cold-War
is a kind of empire. And I think the US when it come
to the issue of liberalism, we had no problem whatsoever
violating international law whenever it did not serve our interest. And therefore call us the
defender of liberal orders is just not historically accurate. The idea of order, I mean I think, a number of cases, well known, we attack
countries around the world, who have not attacked us. I don’t think there was any
real order there order either. There was instead a
country with huge power which exerted that power
in many different parts of the world sometimes in
the name of humanitarianism, but usually I think with very
cynical or self interested reasons for doing that. I do think we are in decline. I mean if only because China
is so much bigger than us, three times bigger than the United States. So necessarily there’s going
to be some relative decline in power economically, but we’re still gonna be by
far the dominant military and economic power world
wide even if we start to go into decline. One I think very ironic
aspect of the Trump Presidency is that he is one of the few
voices that seems to want to reduce our empire. I would say what he just did in Syria, and wanted to do even more
is an example of trying to move back from an imperial situation for whatever reasons he has. – 200 Soviets from Syrian
put 2,000 in Saudi Arabia. – Okay that’s true. Yeah he has, that doesn’t make any sense, you’re right. But he hasn’t started a new
war and he’s tried to end a number of wars,
including in the northern, our continuing war with North Korea. So how that all plays
out in the culture wars, I’m not, I mean I think, I would kind of keep
those separate I think. I mean he’s clearly
someone who’s gonna promote a lot of the values of
the Christian right, internationally and domestically, whether he truly believes it or not. I don’t think he does necessarily, but he’s gonna be promoting those. So our slow decline as an
empire or as a powerful, as the me powerful country, even though we’ll still be
the most powerful country even though we will still be the most powerful one for decades. I don’t that necessarily
implicates the culture wars, at least not directly. – I mean we are extremely
worse than centric. Look 2/3 of the global human
population are in Asia today. Their voices are becoming
demographically smaller and it’s also changing it’s
demographic population. For up to 1,500 not a single
invention move from Europe East every single invention
moved from Asia to Europe. Europe was a very peripheral
problem solving for Asia for 2000 years, for
three, four hundred years, because we’re in the
hegemonic center of the world, the US took over, but this is at the end. It’s true that this becomes more powerful than any other country, but it cannot control the globe. Nobody can control the globe today. We are living in a
polycentric, multi-cultural, multi-civilizational world
and nobody can organize it. So in this respect yes, we still have the
international institutions that were established by
the winners of World War II. Again the post the colonial situation, but we are really entering
to a completely new era of global history and
whoever and whoever thinks that we know where we are going, don’t believe it, because nobody knows. (audience laughing) – Jose that’s an excellent last word. We’ve run out of time
and I’ll actually leave it at that. So you’ve seen it’s a complex story. And it’s our discussion
has spent a long stretch historical time and large
stretch of geographical space from Russia to Europe to the US. And thank you very much for
my guests on the podium. Thank you for coming and let
me invite you to the reception to continue the discussion. Thank you. (audience clapping)

1 Comment on "The Globalization of the American Cultural Wars"


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