Friday Jukebox: What Cultural Pluralism Sounds Like

So much of modern pluralist politics in the USA boils down to a fight over what America means. That’s as good a cause as any to fight culture wars. As Pat Buchanan once put it, “Culture is the Ho Chi Minh trail of power; you surrender that province and you lose America.”

So culture warriors bang on about America-as-center-right and so on and so forth. To these folks, “REAL” Americans are those red-staters who listen to country music and want nothing more than to get the Government out  of their lives.

Truth is, though, American culture is more diverse than that. We’re a country of many ethical commitments. Sometimes American country-bluegrass music isn’t about negative liberty and Lost Cause nostalgia and complaining about bureaucrats/police/etc. Sometimes it’s about joining Lincoln’s Army (“Can You Run,” by the Steeldrivers):

Pro-Feds roots music! (FWIW, I narrowly chose this over Jerry Reed’s proto-environmentalist “Lord, Mr. Ford.” I also considered posting some vaguely libertarian hip hop—Kool Keith’s (performed as alter ego Dr. Dooom) “Leave Me Alone“—but didn’t want to risk offending with the lyrics.)

What does this mean for broader debates over American culture? I dunno. It’s a Jukebox post—not one of my poundcake-dense analyses. My America is a plural one, and I’m glad that the culture reflects it.

Have a nice weekend.

UPDATE: Several slight edits made at 2:15.

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8 thoughts on “Friday Jukebox: What Cultural Pluralism Sounds Like

  1. lordy. Pat B sure has a way of turning a phrase that truly narrows down a concept into a clear, well defined and viscous, nativist dichotomy.

    Gotta go find a link to a good version of This Land is Your Land with all the verses.

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  2. What about Steve Earle’s “Dixieland,” about joining Joshua Chamberlain’s 20th Maine? Can’t believe the Bowdoin man didn’t put that one first and foremost.

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