Briefly Noted: On The Cultural Front
I want to draw attention to several articles that illustrate that culture change and culture challenge is very much a two way street. For most conservatives it probably seems that culture change is driven by the Left and headed toward the Left. That the Left is pushing such change and succeeding in some areas is undoubted, and reporting on that in the MSM is biased to increase that perception. However, there are also signs of reaction.
One major sign is the trend for major corporations to move out of Blue states and relocate to Red states:
Amidst predictions of a political “red wave” in the upcoming mid-term elections, an economic wave has been building for years with no end in sight as companies flood out of blue states and into red states.
Caterpillar and Citadel, which in June announced their exit out of Illinois, are only the latest firms to leave high-tax, high-regulation states. Tesla, Hewlett Packard, Oracle, and Remington are also among the hundreds of companies flocking out of California, Illinois, New York, and New Jersey to business-friendly places like Texas, Florida, Arizona, and Tennessee. Relocating companies have spanned industries including tech, finance, media, heavy manufacturing, autos, and firearms.
“There is a great migration going on, and I expect it to accelerate,” Glen Hamer, president of the Texas Association of Business, told The Epoch Times. “When the Caterpillars and the Elon Musks relocate, it’s an advertisement to the entire country and the entire world that something positive is going on in that state. And there is a multiplier effect.”
According to a 2022 survey of 700 CEOs, the top states for business were Texas, Florida, Tennessee, Arizona, and North Carolina. The worst were California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, and Washington.
Even companies like Apple, which did not move its headquarters to Texas, chose to establish its second-largest campus for employees there. Amazon selected Houston as one of its prime hubs. Ford, Volkswagen, and Nissan chose Tennessee as the location for major new manufacturing facilities. And in some cases, entire industries like firearms, which are being targeted by legislation and lawsuits in blue states, are moving south.
These companies aren’t just leaving higher taxes and unreasonable regulations behind. They’re also leaving liberal culture behind. Of course it’s true that major corporations tend very much in the direction of liberal culture and take that cultural bias with them when they move, but they also tend to adapt to their new environment. At a certain point a critical mass is reached and corporations begin to adapt to their new surroundings. It’s unquestionably a positive development—with no end in sight.
Here’s story out of San Diego, but one which has been duplicated to some extent in other major Blue areas:
I know for a fact that this is happening in Chicago, too, and I’ve read of this phenomenon in other Blue areas as well—people are just saying, No. I have to suspect that LE people aren’t the only ones refusing to be injected—Fire fighters, nursing and other health care personnel, and so forth. These are highly trained people who can find jobs elsewhere, and they are being recruited by Red states. They’re also hard to replace and expensive to replace, due to the extensive training and relatively high level of qualifications required. What this leads to is exemplified in LE, but is sure to be reflected in other fields:
Meanwhile, the lack of officers has led to horrendous wait times for emergencies, according to anonymous SDPD officer the_disgruntled_po3.
As we noted the other day with regard to the same situation in Chicago, these are not horrendous wait times for routine matters—emergency situations, often involving actual or threatened bodily injury—are being put on hold for hours. The effect is a snowballing one, as quality of life in Blue cities declines precipitously.
Driving this are cultural attitudes, in a broad sense—attitudes about the proper role of government and the rights of individuals. And this recent SCOTUS term, by shoring up our federal system, returning decision making authority to state legislatures in a major moral and cultural area like abortion as well as to Congress (admin law), will likely have the same cultural effect: the voice of the people will regain its proper role.
Here’s an excellent article by a law professor , Stephen B. Presser, who expresses this new impetus:
There can be no order without law, no law without morality, and no morality without religion. The Supreme Court has brought us closer to implementing this maxim than we have been in two generations.
The entire article is uplifting and injects a very welcome note of optimism—after all, we’re already seeing results in Red states. Here are two excerpted passages that capture the thrust of the article:
For almost 50 years, conservatives have lamented Roe and its progeny, but even those of us who were convinced of its manifest error, recognizing its influential supporters in the media, the academy, and the federal bureaucracy, thought Roe would endure.
We were wrong. We were, it now appears, of insufficient faith.
There is much merit in the enthusiastic accolade of my former student, Michael Paulsen, who says of Dobbs that it “may be the most important, magnificent, rightly decided Supreme Court case of all time. It is restorative of constitutional principle. It upholds the values of representative, democratic self-government, and the rule of law, at the same time that it supports the protection of fundamental human rights.”
The most important fundamental human right Paulsen refers to, of course, is the fetus’ right to life, but he also recognizes that in supporting the right of the American people to have legislatures—not courts—decide law and policy, another fundamental human right has been affirmed. I’ve never been prouder of a pupil.
Dobbs repudiates the several decades’ old dominant legal academic theory of the Constitution which denies there is a discernable governing constitutional intent and claims that it is the job of justices to remake constitutional law to meet the needs of the times. In other words, Dobbs reaffirms that law is to be made by legislatures—not judges—and that the job of justices is simply to rein in errant legislative and executive actors (and lower courts) who fail to follow clear constitutional law dictates.
That applies to other cultural areas as well:
There were other wonderful decisions this term—for example, one strongly reaffirming the Second Amendment right to bear arms, and another strongly reining in an out-of-control EPA that sought to impose constitutionally suspect fossil fuel restrictions without proper congressional authorization. This last was an impressive blow against the federal Leviathan.
Need more cultural optimism? How refreshing to hear Clarence Thomas speaking up for We the People and our rightful voice in deciding what kind of country we will have:
Any conservatism worthy of the name must do more than preserve yesterday’s defeats.
In every single instance in which the substance of Obergefell has been put to the vote—even in California—it has been rejected. It was egregious overreach:
Obergefell, like Roe, was a particularly arbitrary, extreme, and unjust imposition on the people. Like Roe, it had no basis in the Constitution’s text or American custom. It was simply dreamed up by a group of unelected judges who decided the time had come for them to impose a radically new understanding of the most fundamental institution of human society.
Like Roe, Obergefell took away from the people the power to decide the most basic moral questions and daily life in their communities. As Justice Scalia put it at the time, the Court was violating “a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation.”
The seven years since Obergefell have proven that “marriage equality” is a chimeric novelty. ...
But healthy civilizations don’t treat marriage as just another option on the menu. For most people, even in today’s noncommittal climate, it is an essential milestone in life. The vanquished defenders of “traditional marriage” (a contrived term that signaled defeat the moment it arrived) argued that marriage is not about the desires of husband and wife, but the benefits to their children, honoring God, and preserving the species. By redefining marriage to include couplings that cannot, naturally, be burdened with the responsibilities of procreation that marriage is concerned with (and who disproportionately want nothing to do with marriage anyway), “marriage equality” necessarily destroyed whatever sanctity was left in marriage after decades of easy divorce.
Marriage is the moral foundation of society, and its place could not be disturbed without profound consequences. From exhibitionist Pride parades to “gender identity” lessons in kindergarten classrooms, the post-Obergefell America makes the world of 2015 look practically antediluvian. When Obergefell was decided, Justice Alito presciently predicted that the ruling would be “used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy.” Obergefell made the losers of the gay marriage “debate,” and by extension anyone who today dares to speak out against the LGBT agenda and its ever more audacious affronts to truth, common sense, and decency, into untouchables.
What’s interesting to see, as we noted yesterday (Abortion Politics Disconnect), is that the Left has been wrong footed by these developments—they find themselves in the position of having to justify themselves to We the People, rather than dictate their own preferences. Commenter Brad Crawford linked to an article that describes the new state of play—in itself a cultural shift of great importance going forward. Ordinary people will find that their views and their voice matter once again:
… the Democrats have no plan for a post-Roe world, an inconvenient truth that they dare not admit to a disheartened base. The base, after all, now increasingly sees a feckless aged majority and a president who seems out to lunch at all times.
However, the main problem for Democrats lies in their extreme position on abortion up to the moment of birth. Roe acted as a warm duvet over the operational procedures of abortion. It allowed Democrats to stand by a "pro-choice" talking point without having to defend it to a moderate electorate still not comfortable with a party willing to celebrate abortion. With Roe lifted, Democrats now have to go about the act of actually selling abortion by campaigning on it at state levels. For the first time in 50 years, national office seekers will have to specify their positions. Democrats will be forced either to stand firm on an unpopular extreme or moderate their positions and anger their base further. As of now, they cannot decide, and they are unprepared.
Making matters worse, the Roe loss was compiled with other administration losses, such as the Environmental Protection Agency's autocratic executive power and the striking down of New York's onerous gun control laws. These blows show Democrats the dangers of skirting their congressional duty and ruling by judicial fiat. But it appears that having done so for so long, they no longer have any idea how to move forward as a party.
Note that last paragraph. The dynamic change applies to far more than abortion. Even in the field of administrative regulations, candidates for office will need to be far more forthcoming on the issues. Hiding behind faceless bureaucrats in regulatory agencies won’t cut it. That’s a cultural issue too—no regulation without representation. The fight continues, but for the first time since 2016 we have solid grounds for optimism.