There has been an interesting “culture war” that has been playing itself out in the United States for quite some time. Despite the fact that Conservatism has always enjoyed a respectable intellectual space in America, Liberalism and Social Justice has virtually occupied every single cultural space and relegated mainstream conservative thought to the fringe. The 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, is both, a product of the culture war that is currently raging in the country and an unpredictable particle that has accelerated the churning of the waters immensely. As the New York Times reported, “In private, the president and his top aides freely admit that he is engaged in a culture war on behalf of his white, working-class base, against ‘politically correct’ coastal elites. He believes the war was foisted upon him by former President Barack Obama and other Democrats — and he is determined to win.”
The Culture War has never been more evident in the Intellectual Space than it was in Jordan Peterson’s interview by Cathy Newman of Channel 4. Until very recently, conservatives* have always been ridiculed and mocked in liberal strongholds for their opinions and their arguments greeted with derision by their counterparts. But on this occasion, Cathy Newman was visibly disturbed and at one point and was left speechless by the clinical psychologist from Canada. This is a remarkable change from only a few years back when liberals could easily get away with painting conservative intellectuals as dinosaurs from a bygone era who have no business participating in intellectual discussion in <the current year>.
A similar change is also underway in India and a similar culture war is being fought across cultural spaces across the country. The situation in India is different in a number of ways from the States, the most prominent has to be the fact that although conservatism has always occupied a strong intellectual space in America, they have lost every cultural and political battle to the Left every single time as their culture by and large has adopted liberal and postmodern values. While in India, although the Left has won the intellectual battle without even a fight, mainstream Indian society, apart from a few urban centers, continues to be predominantly conservative. However, Conservative thought has finally discovered a method of countering the Left in the Intellectual Space, and a lot of it which involves turning in the methods of the Left on the Left itself.
Because India already is a conservative society, conservative intellectuals in the country have achieved a great many victories in a very short period of time. Conservatives are often prone to pessimism, the long series of defeats that conservatism has suffered is undoubtedly a part of the reason, however they do have plenty to smile about at the moment. Nationalism is suddenly at the forefront of political debate, the atrocities committed on Hindus are receiving a lot more attention, Hindu causes are gaining a lot more traction, ‘Bhagwa’ is in fashion again and indeed if you are skeptical of the success of conservative thought in recent years, one need only look at the support the Karni Sena has been receiving for its staunch opposition to Bhansali’s Padmaavat. Yes, one could concede that most Conservatives have not taken kindly to Karni Sena’s threats of violence, as they shouldn’t, however, the overwhelming majority of them do sympathize with their cause.
Again, the ‘Culture War’ is being reflected in the Political arena. Rahul Gandhi, the Vice President of the Congress, has suddenly discovered a newfound appreciation for the Hindu school of thought. Yogi Adityanath, a saffron clad priest, is the Chief Minister of the most populous state of the country. Politicians across the spectrum are forced to affirm their Hindu identity to secure their success at polls. And the resulting attempts at division of the Hindu society along caste and linguistic lines by liberal parties are all a consequence of the series of victories the conservatives have achieved in the past 3 or 4 years.
A neutral observer would have noticed that Liberal Intellectuals have begun to engage in activities that contradict values they have themselves previously affirmed in public with alarming frequency. Their voices have become shriller and they often come across as individuals who are not quite in their right frame of mind. The staunch march of conservatism has left them clutching at straws. At the fundamental level, liberals want to live in a Western society and want India to transform into one because it gives them and their children the best opportunity to live in one and that Western values are universally good. They are confronted by conservatives who neither believe Western values are universally good nor are they desirable and want to live in a society dominated by Indic values. And that is the primary source of conflict between the two camps.
That Western values and virtues are not universally good is perhaps reflected best on occasions when liberals have acted contrarily to their affirmed beliefs. For instance, liberals want women to be believed every time one of them makes an allegation of sexual harassment and the man to suffer the consequences of the allegation. However, when Raya Sarkar published a list of sexual predators in Indian Universities, the very same intellectuals came to their defense and in fact, DailyO of the India Today Group continues to provide a platform to one of the people who have been accused of sexual harassment in the list.
For the Liberal Intellectual Elite that dominates Indian intellectual space, the ‘Culture War’ that is raging today is a matter of existential concern. Their legacy, reputation, their entire life’s work hinges on it. They are confronted by an opposition that does not consider their dispute a difference of opinion but who truly believe, as they have every right to, that they, and their ancestors and their legacy, have been morally wronged by the current intellectual elite. Therefore, what the liberals mortally fear, is when retribution knocks at the door, it won’t be sweet. And that future generations will not cherish their memories of them as they wish to be the case.
For years, Liberals have propagated their ideology, not by engaging in honest debate but by hijacking social institutions and remodeling the Constitution in accordance with their belief system. And it is intriguing how religiously they have acted during the whole process in spite of their vicious refutation of religion. They indoctrinate children into adopting their ideology by propagating it in schools and colleges, they have a clergy in the form of intellectuals who debate and formulate the core tenets of their ideology, they have pulpits in the form of the mainstream media whence they preach their sermons and are quite rabid in their persecution of ‘heretics’. Reactionary thinkers of the 21st century have identified, correctly in my opinion, the religious nature of liberalism and its ideological offspring, Progressivism.
Conservatives now have a strong presence in the blogosphere, and even have mainstream news channels which support conservatives on issues such as nationalism. Even Bollywood, after the Padmaavat controversy, will think twice before hurting Hindu sentiment. The next space that is expected to be invaded is the education system, and that has been a major concern for the conservatives in India as they believe the ruling conservative party hasn’t done enough to rid the education curriculum of liberal propaganda. And as conservatives penetrate the education system, expect shrill cries of ‘saffronization of education’ to only grow louder. Because both parties realize that the education curriculum is the most important arena of battle and whoever wins over the youth, wins the War.
One must be careful here, however, to remember that although the Left universally shares almost the same beliefs and can be assumed to endorse the same ideas, varying only in the extent of their adherence to the said ideas, the same cannot be said of conservatism. Conservatism and Reactionary philosophy vary in their fundamental principles in accordance with the cultures they are rooted in. And usually, they are irreconcilable with each other because of fundamental reasons and often in conflict. For instance, Conservatism in India is fundamentally different from that in America as one is a manifestation of Dharmic philosophy while the other of Christianity. Every sect within a religion represents its own distinct form of conservatism. And there liberals have a critical advantage over conservatives. While liberals across the world coordinate with each other and provide their minions a global platform, it is impossible for conservatives to coordinate with each other in such a fashion due to the fundamental nature of conservatism.
All sorts of ideas are being debated seriously on Social Media today, politically aware members of the youth are adopting various labels to describe themselves, Traditionalist, Monarchist, Radical Feminists, Gender Nonbinary, Gender Nonconforming and the like, and for the first time in a very long time, it’s the ‘conservative’ and ‘reactionary’ labels that inspire intrigue from neutral observers today while even mainstream Left labels such as ‘Feminist’ invite ridicule and mockery. We are living in an age of chaos. At the end of the next few decades, we shall either emerge on a greater plane of existence or be relegated to the cesspits of abyss. As Jordan Peterson says, we must choose our words extremely carefully because these are precarious times and the smallest of actions can lead to the greatest of consequences.
Black Coffee Enthusiast. Post Graduate in Psychology. Bengali.