JUST WHAT IS THIS ‘MAINSTREAM’ ?
Reading a statement on a website yesterday, I came across an accusation leveled at the Governor of a northern U.S. state. The accusation was not only pointed at him, but at his entire legislature. I must point out that the website I was on belonged to a neo-liberal organization (neo-lib, another new word) and the name of it is not important. It seems that some recent legislative decisions have been made with which the neo-libs vehemently disagree. Their reaction? To accuse the parties involved of being outside the mainstream. Just what is this mainstream and who gets to define who is within its jurisdiction?
Apparently one has to sign on to the manifesto of the neo-lib establishment. This includes removing any reference to God, any patriotism you may feel for your ‘evil, self-serving’ country or its leaders, and you must never, ever attempt to assert that there is anything remotely similar to ‘right and wrong’. Roll your eyes if you would like to, but a closer examination of the use of this term in an accusatory context will support my claim.
With so many buzzwords catching on, it is hard to pick them all out or to even stay abreast of them. The phobia’s are by far the most popular. In addition to homophobia, we now have transphobia and islamaphobia. I kid you not. What is next, bestialphobia or pedophobia? It seems that the neo-libs consider any resistance to their affront on traditional values as a fear. How quaint.
Labeling your opponents is always a good tactic. It forces them to defend themselves and takes them off of the offensive. Conservatives are finally figuring this out, so instead of defending our ‘phobias’ we are now taking offensive action at the intentional degradation of our society. The result is the neo-lib establishment being taken off balance and having to quickly come up with new labels to throw at us. In my opinion, the phobia angle is getting old, but now at least it is becoming an easy source of humour for us on the right.
Although hardly new, by far the most effective name calling tactic currently being employed is to accuse anyone with a value system of being outside of the mainstream. Personally, I consider this not an assault on my character, but an affirmation of it. Many great people have been ‘outside the mainstream’.
A couple of millennium ago, a man named Christ walked this earth. He was outside of the mainstream, too. In fact, he was so outside of it that he was considered a dire threat to those who were in the mainstream. That fact eventually cost him his life, but only his earthly one. He stood out though. Not only did he stand out because of his birthright, but because he went against the world, the mainstream, and sought to do what was right, even though it was unpopular.
Martin Luther King. Today’s neo-libs would have told Mr. King to shut up and get to the back of the bus. I base this on the simple fact that Mr. King was outside of the mainstream. While most good blacks were simply obeying the laws of the nation, this man had the audacity to stand up and try to change things. Most of mainstream America was against desegregation and equal rights, but not Martin. God bless him.
Abolitionists. How far out of the mainstream can someone be? This group wanted to go against an American standard. Black workers, also called slaves, are the right of every American, at least they used to be. Up until a group of people stood up and demanded that all men be treated as equals, the mainstream of America considered slavery a right granted unto white people. That small group of self-righteous abolitionists, who by today’s journalistic standard would be accused of also being outside mainstream contemporary mind think, grew into a legion. They changed the face of their nation, even while being accused of perdition and of partaking in treasonous acts.
Let us not forget Winston Churchill, one of England’s greatest patriots and statesmen. While Hitler clobbered Europe, most of England and especially Prime Minister Chamberlain had their collective heads buried in the sand. The mainstream insisted that bowing to Hitler in an appeasement dance that resembled worship was the best defence. One voice of reason cried out that England must arm itself and quickly prepare for the inevitable Nazi assault that was but weeks away. Winston Churchill was publicly derided and humiliated. He was called a war monger among many other unfavourable epithets. He was, after all, far out of the mainstream of British political thought. He was also perfectly correct.
Christopher Columbus, the man that many history books accredit with rediscovering America, was indeed far outside of the mainstream. Using his faith, he could not believe that the world was flat. Quoting scripture, such as Isaiah 40:22 which begins “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth”, he was assured that the world did not abruptly end. He traveled farther than most would have dared or cared to do. He was definitely not your mainstream sailor.
I suppose I could continue this story for a good while, but I think that the point is made. The mainstream is fine, if you are happy with the direction you are headed in, if you are happy being stationary in life, or if you simply subscribe to the status-quo or mediocrity. But to find greatness, one often has to travel outside of the box of contemporary thinking. Just ask Galileo, Da Vinci, or Einstein. The mainstream produces many works, but the masterpieces are the rare one’s, and they always, without exception, come from outside of that newest of liberal idols, the ‘mainstream’.