Sunday, October 16, 2011

Eram recasts the family

An advertising campaign by a major shoe retailer in France has sparked controversy in that country. Tiberge at Gallia Watch (and Lawrence Auster at VFR) have covered the story.

In short, the shoe retailer, Eram, has attempted to push the liberal line on family in their ads. I've pointed out many times that there is a clash between liberal orthodoxy and the traditional family. Liberal autonomy theory claims that we are human to the extent that we self-determine our lives. Therefore, the aim must be to self-create our own unique living arrangements. But the traditional family doesn't allow for this: first, because it is traditional rather than self-chosen; second, because it is singular rather than diverse; third, because it has a clear and fixed definition.

Radical liberals respond to this problem by wanting to abolish the family altogether. But more moderate liberals want to "reform" the family, by making the definition of the family vaguer ("family...whatever that may be"), by making it more diverse, by making it less stable and by making its boundaries more "fluid" and "shifting". This makes it seem as if family can be whatever you yourself make it to be, i.e. your family becomes an act of autonomous will or choice.

Eram, the French shoe company, wants to have things both ways. It wants to be seen as both pro-family, but also as being trendily liberal. So they've come up with an advertising slogan "The family is sacred" and illustrated it with the following ads:


In the ad above, we have two heterosexual looking women pretending to be lesbians whilst raising an adopted African boy. The ad reads "As my two mummies say, the family is sacred".

The ad on the left reads "As my dad, my mum and my dad's third wife say, the family is sacred". On the right we have "As my mum and her boyfriend who could be my older brother say, the family is sacred".

So the family can be anything and yet it is also sacred.

What we're seeing here is the playing out of an ideology. It's an ideology that is deliberately set against the stability of family life and yet still wants to claim the positive mantle of "family" to garner emotional support. And all the while the most radical and consistent followers of the ideology, those who take the idea of autonomy and independence most seriously, won't want to be "restricted" by family at all.

Update: Laura Wood's take is that the ads are ambiguous and that the last two ads in particular could be seen as sending up the deconstructed family. That's possible. There might well be some tongue-in-cheek humour intended in a child saying that his dad's third wife believes that family is sacred. But on its Facebook page the company defends the ads by stating:

Each family is unique, that is why it is sacred! Unusual, creative, sporting or glamorous, it is part of your personality and your life.

And this:

At a time when there are more and more divorces in France, when homosexual marriage has just been legalized in New York, Eram is getting into the act and showing, both in billboards and in magazines, family portraits of a type never shown in the advertising world: unstructured, recomposed, shattered, deconstructed. Children who have two moms, others with one father, one mother, and three step mothers, still others where the step father has the same age as the older brother. Hey, this is "real" life. But if families explode, the spirit of the family remains. For, no matter what, the family is sacred."

Whatever its motives, the company is running with the idea of the "new" family in its advertising campaign. I think we'll see more of this kind of thing in the future.

33 comments:

  1. The latter two certainly sound like parody - "shattered", indeed.

    It's hard for us Anglos to tell, as we don't (can't?) understand French culture. But from my experience I'd say the French were far more socially conservative than Anglo (or Scandinavian) cultures, and this stuff is probably more about playing with trendiness than pushing hardcore cultural Marxism American, British or Swedish style.

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  2. Just as we don't/can't understand the French, IME they don't/can't understand how far gone into cultural Marxist degeneracy the Anglosphere (Britain, the USA, Australia etc) are. They don't really have any internal aspect on the kind of self-loathing necessary for real c-M; any more than we could understand Bushido, say.

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  3. Before the age of homosexual "marriage" leftism was unanimous in its rejection and opposition to the family. Marriage was deemed oppresive and regressive. I believe that liberals have changed their tactic because if they left the family alone then without a doubt it would be restored. And leftists would fly into great outrage if this happened. Indeed since the family has been broken and shattered to pieces then logically all that would be left would be putting the family back together. But leftists would squirm and cannot have that. So they choose to add more perversions. In scenario one the family has been broken and after some generations it goes back to normalcy (e.g. from feminism, sexual liberation to patriarchy, chastity). In scenarion two the family has been broken and has been replaced by even more abominations to stop the "regressive, oppressive, theocratic" family from returning (e.g. from feminism, sexual liberation to single parenting, homosexual parenting, in-vitro fertilization). It's a way of liberals making sure that nothing non-liberal has even a chance of springing up because the script has been changed and replaced (e.g. traditional nuclear family standard replaced by modern 'family' standard). It's also a way of "progression" for leftists.

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  4. In another way the constant uplifting of the modern 'family' can be seen as a perverted form of the "unprincipled exception" (hat tip to Lawrence Auster). The purest liberals as you Mark Richardson have written don't want anything to do with the family. The less devoted liberals have a hunch that a family is needed for society and civilization to function but since they are liberals they can't hunger for the traditional family and so try to have it both ways.

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  5. "They don't really have any internal aspect on the kind of self-loathing necessary for real c-M"

    The Frogs pracically invented cultural Marxism - Althusser, Baudrillard, Camus, de Beauvoir, Derrida, Foucault, Sartre, all those villains. The American version was transplanted from France to American campuses starting in the 1960s, and from there the rot spread into the rest of American society. The American version is more humorless and extreme than the French version, but when Americans do something, they do it big.

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  6. anon:
    "The Frogs pracically invented cultural Marxism - Althusser, Baudrillard, Camus, de Beauvoir, Derrida, Foucault, Sartre, all those villains"

    They invented postmodernism. 'They' being Left-bank leftist intellectuals, often Jewish. The French hold intellectuals in high regard, but they seem to treat philosophy as a game, belonging to the world of ideas, not something to be applied in the real world of daily life.

    De Toqueville in "The Ancien Regime and the French Revolution" talks about this aspect of the French psyche - the need to build castles in the air, beautiful edifices entirely detached from reality. He was talking specifically about Law.

    The Anglo-Protestant curse is to make those airy castles "real", with all the horrors that can entail. So the British government & lawyers take EU Directives and European Human Rights Laws and actually *enforce* them - madness, from the perspective of the French who created those Directives and those laws!

    Only Anglo-Protestant religious Fundamentalists would seriously engage in debate about the scientific reality of the Bible; scientific arguments for Creationism, etc. Most of the world, and certainly the French, can happily accept that different things can live in different spheres.

    So I think that's what we see here, with these ads - a few conservative French catholics may find them annoying, but the vast majority of French people will see these as completely unrelated to their own daily lives, and it won't affect them at all.

    The same sort of material in the Anglosphere has a very different effect. The extreme case is the USA, where everything is a manichean battle whose norms order the entirety of existence. When the US government recently de-banned gays in the military, it became an existential statement on the Moral Rightness of Homosexuality/Gayness of the Military. Suddenly the US military goes from "No Gay No Time" to "All Gay All the Time" - in the view of both supporters and opponents of the change. And this somehow impacts on the whole of US society.

    Non-Anglo cultures simply don't work like that.

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  7. Non-Anglo cultures simply don't work like that.

    Not caring may sometimes mean surrender because while one party may not care the other sure does. Not caring can go both ways. On one hand it means not caring about morality at all and not caring about events affecting society. On the other hand it means "disengagement" as Bruce Charlton has written recently. This not caring type means that since society is so amock in decadence and liberalism that to protect oneself people detach themselves from the corrupt civil institutions of modern society.

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  8. Simon,

    Very interesting comment. If you're correct, I think you would have to add Sweden to the list of countries which try to apply abstract ideas to society.

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  9. Those who ignore sociological phenomena saying to themselves "it doesn't have any bearing on me" show themselves to be either completely amoral, or if they do desire to live in a half-way decent society, to be utter fools. It would be like someone in a besieged city in earlier times watching their enemies building an earthen ramp toward their walls & saying "how does it concern me, they can't reach us from there". Indeed they can't now, but if they're not stopped, then one day they will come pouring over the walls to pillage & kill. Not that any such warning would do the slightest good as regards the modern west. It has been spiritually dead for some time. We are watching the carcass being consumed by maggots now. Things like sodomite so-called marriage mean that the rate of putrefaction has increased. The west is doomed. God's justice demands that it be destroyed utterly. Perhaps a new civilization can arise from the ruins. Elizabeth Smith is right about "disengagement". It's the best thing that the tiny remnant that belongs to Christ can do. Have nothing to do with this diabolical society. The ancient Christians never attended the idolatrous festivals of the ancient pagans. Those of us who are in earnest about attaining eternal salvation ought to do likewise. Come out & be separate. Live lives of prayer & penance & above all pray for the great grace to die well. May the Most Holy Mother of God obtain a good death for all of those who are Her Son's.

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  10. These adds are so... out there... they actually read like jokes. Are we sure that the French company wasn't having a laugh and the comments in the adds aren't just puns?

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  11. The last time I was in a French-speaking land (two French-speaking lands actually) was in 2009. Coming as I had done from London, I was amazed at the comparative lack, among the French and Belgians, of the overt cultural filth omnipresent in English advertisements etc. Simon in London is, I believe, right.

    Somewhat off topic, but perhaps relevant: the allegedly non-treacherous Cardinal Pell is now yapping in praise of ... more Third World immigration:

    http://www.catholicweekly.com.au/article.php?classID=1&subclassID=2&articleID=9064&class=Latest%20News&subclass=CW%20National

    Of course, if young men being shovelled into Australian seminaries hardly know how to speak intelligible English, then by definition they'll hardly know how to make intelligible complaints when the nearest pervert battens onto them, as batten he will. Whether the Cardinal actually wants to ensure a steady supply of terrified foreign catamites or simply isn't intelligent enough to have realized the ramifications of his own policy, others must judge.

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  12. The west is doomed. God's justice demands that it be destroyed utterly. Perhaps a new civilization can arise from the ruins. Elizabeth Smith is right about "disengagement".

    We need to emphasise that we cannot just be spectators of decline, but must as far as possible be leaders of a movement of our own.

    What we want to happen we have to work to make happen through our own patient and persevering efforts.

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  13. "What we want to happen we have to work to make happen through our own patient and persevering efforts."

    Well, Mr. Richardson, I suppose that in your own case "persevering efforts" mean (if I have interpreted your previous threads aright) being employed by one of the government sectors most obviously involved in producing and spreading cultural Marxism in the first place. I hardly know whether to laugh or to barf at such hypocrisy.

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  14. Keith:
    "employed by one of the government sectors most obviously involved in producing and spreading cultural Marxism in the first place..."

    You're a fool. Taking their money and using it against them is an excellent tactic. Don't you know anything about insurgency?

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  15. "employed by one of the government sectors most obviously involved in producing and spreading cultural Marxism in the first place..."

    Two of the most right wing blokes I have ever known just moved up from trade work to get union jobs, neither of them have ever voted ALP.

    I also know several conservatives and right-libs who are teachers in the public and independent education systems doing the best they can to stick the finger in the dyke.

    Is it a hopeless task? Almost certainly. Is it good to get paid to try and do right? Sure thing it is.

    All those lefty academics who worked their way up the Oxbridge university system to replace the crusty old Dons with insane slightly younger baby boomers had no qualms about living off the system they sought to conquer. Neither should anyone else.

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  16. All those lefty academics who worked their way up the Oxbridge university system to replace the crusty old Dons with insane slightly younger baby boomers had no qualms about living off the system they sought to conquer. Neither should anyone else.

    Good Point.

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  17. Mr. Richardson, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to make a thoughtful reply to most of the comments made herein. I wrote the anonymous comment at 7.48 am, I suppose you're right concerning continuing resistance. Even if such a campaign is hopeless, it would bring greater graces to the souls of those who took part in it. I was actually half-way thinking on the same lines when I began writing the bit I did at 7.48, but when one realizes that one lives in a society wherein one may be punished for not wearing a seat-belt, while in a nearby city helpless children are slaughtered whilst yet in the womb, it strikes one that such a society really doesn't deserve to survive. What can be done with people like this? Everything that has happened was predicted by Our Lady of Fatima. We can only hope that the Almighty God will mercifully put an end to it all soon, that is that the final prediction of Our Lady of Fatima will also come to pass during the years that yet remain to us. May God & His Most Holy Mother bless & keep you & your family Mr. Richardson.

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  18. being employed by one of the government sectors most obviously involved in producing and spreading cultural Marxism in the first place.

    Keith, I don't disagree that the school system indoctrinates students into a radically left-wing politics.

    But don't you want teachers in the system who don't follow along with this, but who set a different example?

    It's not enough for us to have a better politics. What use is that if we don't show up to things?

    Year after year we allow the little Marxist groups on campus to set the conversation amongst politically-minded students.

    And when new political movements arise, such as the men's movement, we don't get involved, but leave them to those who are hostile to us.

    Keith, I am not being hypocritical when I write of the need for patient and persevering efforts. I have over the past 20 years run a conservative uni club, produced a magazine for it and distributed it to many hundreds of students, pasted hundreds of posters around several campuses, established a website with a readershp which doubles each year, visited many other websites to leave comments, distributed thousands of articles around my own local neighbourhood - as well as holding down a job and raising a family.

    Obviously, one person doing this is not enough. We're only going to make progress if we evolve into a movement of people. That's when we get the chance to either push back politically or to create some solid alternative of our own.

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  19. Even if such a campaign is hopeless, it would bring greater graces to the souls of those who took part in it.

    Anon, that's eloquently put. Thank you for your comment.

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  20. Keith Walters (the Keith above)Tuesday, 18 October 2011 14:06:00 GMT+11

    It is Simon of London, not I, who is being the fool here, when he writes: " Taking their money and using it against them is an excellent tactic. Don't you know anything about insurgency?"

    Yeah, right, sure, sure, Simon. So by your "reasoning", Solzhenitsyn should've joined / taken bribes from the Soviet Politburo; Franco should've joined / taken bribes from Largo Caballero's cabinet; Mindszenty should've joined / taken bribes from Janos Kadar's cabinet; and Mihajlovic should've joined / taken bribes from Tito's.

    Verbal masturbation on the Internet is no more morally legitimate than is the physical kind.

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  21. One to comment on as a humble anonymous poster.
    One the idea that Anglos are more nihilistic and self destructive than French. This doesn't logically make sense.
    France was experiencing widespread carbeques and widespread immigrant riots before the anglosphere.
    If you use the analogy of terraforming to multiculturalism France is the first state to have had its identity erased.
    Young people i've talked to today when asked to describe the average french person will describe basically a North African.
    When I reply with many famous 'blonde' french people like Bridgette bardot , Gérard Depardieu etc. They don't know who these people are and then cite examples of 'french' french people who are all of North African descent.
    An interesting story I was told by Scandanavian friends was of a Nordic girl who did foreign exchange in France. She was told she would be with a 'french' family. She then had to be literally evac'd out of the country because the 'french' family wasn't infact french but a racist black family and her life was in real danger all because she declined the advances of the males of the family to which she was a 'racist'.
    This is why I consider France to be a defeated third world colony within Europe.

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  22. anon:
    "One the idea that Anglos are more nihilistic and self destructive than French. This doesn't logically make sense."

    There are two Frances - city and country, ideas and reality. In the world of ideas, they're a Proposition Nation. In reality, they're ethno-nationalist.

    I don't claim to understand them, but I do know that we Anglos don't understand them, and it's stupid to project our cultures' self-loathing onto them.

    Obviously the French don't give a damn that some Scandinavian girl might be raped by black 'French'. That's not *self* destruction! If you asked them about it, they'd just shrug and say "bouef" - which I think would translate as "It was her own damn fault for not realising what she was getting into". The Scandinavian high-trust culture does get them into a lot of trouble, including in the UK. Not long ago a Norwegian girl student was murdered by an Arab student just across from where I work. And every few years we get the story of the Danish/Norwegian/Swedish tourist attacked by a gang of feral 'British' youth when they exposed themselves to danger in a way that to our eyes seems incredibly naive. You *never* hear of a French girl being attacked like that.

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  23. Simon.
    I agree I don't really know that much about the French. They are hard to understand as an Anglo I agree on that.
    All nations have a country and metropolitan side. This is a redundant statement.
    I don't agree about the self projection of self loathing.
    The French world is mirroring the Anglo world and is far ahead of the Anglo world. Many of the shocking new events in the Anglo world have been going on in France for years.
    What I was trying to say when people can not even describe a French person accurately anymore then you have a completely destroyed identity. You are Destroyed as a people.
    Anglos can still self identify but I can see people the western Anglosphere is starting to lose this just like the french when you compare it with Eastern European and Russian accute sense of identifying ethnicity.

    The point of the Scandanavian story was the girl was not told they were African. She was not shown pictures. She was told she would be staying with a "French" family. The family was not French at all not even culturally French. They were also quite aware of what she was before she even got there. Thats why it went off so poorly.
    You have to ask the question why was the black family identity concealed from the girl especially considering they were very hostile to 'white' people.
    This all adds to the idea that French no longer have an ethnicity. Frenchness is an ideal. They talk about this stuff all the time. So their in the cloud ideals are very real and dangerous.

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  24. anon:
    "This all adds to the idea that French no longer have an ethnicity. Frenchness is an ideal. They talk about this stuff all the time. So their in the cloud ideals are very real and dangerous."

    I agree that their ideas are certainly dangerous. The Scandinavian girl had the misfortune to interact with their 'world of ideas' - she would have been safer on a countryside touring holiday in the 'real France', although not as safe as if she was doing that in Scandinavia, or even the English countryside I think.

    Outside the world of ideology, my impression is that the French are very aware of who the 'real' French are. They're white, and they're Catholic. They've only just started accepting the Bretons of Brittany as real French, and black Africans certainly don't count! Unlike in the UK - from what I can tell, regular Brits accept Jamaicans as real British, though they don't accept Pakistani Muslims as such because the Muslims are often overtly hostile. Non-whites in France really do face a form of 'racism' - doors are routinely shut to them - in a way that doesn't happen in Britain or Australia, and is rare in America. Of course that is massively in conflict with France's official ideology, but as I said earlier, and as de Toqueville noted, the French don't care about that gulf.

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  25. Yeah, right, sure, sure, Simon. So by your "reasoning", Solzhenitsyn should've joined / taken bribes from the Soviet Politburo""

    Was the politburo offering cash?

    The situation is ever so slightly different.

    A totalitarian political system then versus a totalitarian cultural movement today.

    While many of the cultural restraints faced today were not faced in the USSR the political restraints of that monstrous state of pain and misery are not [yet] in place here.

    ""Franco should've joined / taken bribes from Largo Caballero's cabinet""

    Good to see a fellow Spanish Civil war buff.

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  26. "Yeah, right, sure, sure, Simon. So by your "reasoning", Solzhenitsyn should've joined... ...the Soviet Politburo"

    Well, yes. I expect he could have done more good for the Russian people inside the Politburo than as a dissident.

    As for Franco, he had the power to overthrow the Republican government (justified or not, I don't actually know) so that's a different situation.

    I do think us educators, working in a cultural-Marxist controlled system, need to have certain bright red lines we won't cross, and keep them always in mind, if we are to retain our integrity. For instance I will not teach a face-veiled student, I have told our 'disability rights coordinator' that; I am willing to be suspended or fired if necessary. My wife supports me on that.

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  27. "Was the politburo offering cash?"

    Better than that. Joining the Soviet system offered the insiders things that no amount of money could buy.

    "There are two Frances - city and country, ideas and reality. In the world of ideas, they're a Proposition Nation. In reality, they're ethno-nationalist."

    That is obviously false, or they wouldn't be admitting so many non-whites to their nation.

    "Taking their money and using it against them is an excellent tactic. Don't you know anything about insurgency?"

    Insurgency only works when a strong outside force assists it. That is not the case when conservatives take a job with the school system.

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  28. I have to say I'm a bit surprised by those arguing that conservatives shouldn't be school teachers.

    I have the opposite view, that ideally there would be many more conservative school teachers to counteract the surplus of lefty ones.

    Although the government does set the broad curriculum, it's the classroom teacher who designs the lesson plans. So a lefty teacher will focus obsessively on white crimes against humanity, whereas a more conservative teacher might focus on presenting great literature.

    There are teachers who do brainwash their students into a radically lefty-liberal politics, but it's not because they are forced to by the government but because they themselves hold to such values like a personal religion.

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  29. Simon in London says that he doesn't know whether General Franco was justified in overthrowing the communists. How can anyone doubt whether or not General Franco was justified in overthrowing the bloodthirsty red beasts? Every last one of those murdering maggots should've been stood up against a wall & shot. It would've been an easier death than that which they so often inflicted on helpless priests, monks, nuns & faithful laymen for the "crime" of holding fast to the Holy Faith. General Franco was a hero for Christ, may the remnant of the Faithful keep his memory evergreen. No man still with us in this vale of tears can know, but I wouldn't be in the least surprised if el Caudillo went straight to Heaven without being detained in Purgatory, in a manner similar to that portrayed in El Greco's famous painting, The Burial Of Count Orgaz. The world would not be such a pile of vile rotting dung if there had been more men like him. Caballero & the others in the murder gang should've been broken on the wheel as was done to worthless scum of their ilk in the Middle Ages. This may seem over the top, it isn't to anyone who knows what they did. They often gouged their victims eyes out & slowly tortured them to death for being Catholics. Getting back to the original topic, the French have been of two minds so to speak since the 16th century when the protestant sects were introduced into the Kingdom. The areas that fell to the prots were later areas that fervently supported the French Revolution. After all the French Revolution was no more than the political application of the pernicious doctrines disseminated by the various heresiarchs during the protestant revolt. Almost everything that we see being made actual in the world today was potential in the errors of protestantism. It was well known during the 16th century that most of those who became protestants did so in order to gratify themselves in one way or another. Luther told his followers to sin all they wanted, it was fine so long as they believed in God. The Calvinists weren't sensual but rather given to avarice & to the more subtle gratifications of pride. What do we see today other than men desiring nothing more than to live vile bestial lives from which the spiritual & higher nature has been altogether excluded? It will all come to an end soon enough.

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  30. "I have the opposite view, that ideally there would be many more conservative school teachers to counteract the surplus of lefty ones."

    I suspect there are a lot of conservative teachers who keep their heads down and don't do anything concrete to counteract the liberal agenda. Such people are just worthless time-servers.

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  31. ""I suspect there are a lot of conservative teachers who keep their heads down and don't do anything concrete to counteract the liberal agenda.""

    Then they need to be convinced.

    When peoplez careers get on the line they get scared. Currently there is no conservative cultural space outside the net where they could meet like minded people and feel their views reinforced.

    Just getting some conservatives together over a beer for a semi regular meet-up would be a start.

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  32. Just getting some conservatives together over a beer for a semi regular meet-up would be a start.

    I agree that would be a good starting point. It wouldn't involve any formal commitments or memberships. But it would help to establish an informal network.

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  33. "Currently there is no conservative cultural space outside the net where they could meet like minded people and feel their views reinforced."

    There's an enormous amount of grass-roots opposition to the current leftist/PC hegemony but it's entirely unfocused so people end up giving in to despair. They don't for example see any viable alternative political party they can vote for. Give them a focus and I think you'd be surprised by the results.

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