Culture and the Barbarians at the Gate

Jon N. Hall at American Thinker explains “culture”:

A lot of attention is being paid to culture. We read about clashes of culture and culture wars. Concerning the Atlanta scandal of 35 educators indicted for inflating the test scores of their students, former Reagan budget director David Stockman on ABC’s This Week said: “Cheating is symptomatic of a huge cultural problem we have. “Upon the death of Margaret Thatcher, Times columnist David Brooks wrote that she “was formed by her disgust with 1970s Britain,” which she saw as a “moral shift… away from the culture of rectitude and toward the culture of narcissism.”Something is wrong with the culture. But what exactly is culture?

The subtitle of David Mamet’s The Secret Knowledge (2011) is: “On the Dismantling of American Culture.” (Go to his website to read the first chapter or to order.) Mr. Mamet contends that “culture predates society.” In Chapter 3 he writes:

The Culture, of a country, a family, a religion, a region, is a compendium of these unwritten laws worked out over time through the preconscious adaptations of its members — through trial and error. It is, in its totality, “the way we do things here.” It is born of the necessity of humans getting along. It does not come into being because of the inspiration, nor because of the guidance, of any individual or group, but it evolves naturally: those things which work are adopted, those which do not, discarded.

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