Confronting the C-Word

Editorial By Wendy McElroy
at The Daily Bell

The first rule of the politics of fear is that if you want to make something sound scarier than it actually is, you add the word ‘culture’ at the end of it. – Brendan O’Neill, Editor of Spiked

It is the c-word*: culture. Depending on the political agenda of the alarmist du jour, we live in a rape culture, a gun culture, an abortion culture, a culture of racism. A standard definition of culture is “the totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.” When a specific adjective is used to define a society, it means the adjective captures a dominant attitude and behavior that characterize the society.

But a culture does not rape, buy guns, have abortions or express racism. Individuals do. In some cases, like rape, the individuals engaging in the activity are a small percentage of the population. This is especially true today when incidents of rape have fallen dramatically. According to both the U.S. Department of Justice National Crime Victim Survey 2008-2012 and the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN) – the largest anti-sexual assault organization in America – sexual assault has decreased by more than 50% in recent years. Why, then, are we hearing so much more about a rape culture?

(Please click here to see the rest of this article. Well worth the read.)

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2 Responses to Confronting the C-Word

  1. I saw your remarks on Wendy’s great article on culture. I have not been writing. First American Daily editors had health problems then our family had also. So I had to prioritize. Good to see you commenting and wanted to wish you a belated Happy Thanksgiving.

    A small piece of libertarian early trivia: My husband , roger Bloxham (long before I knew him) lived in Orange County California and was hanging out with libertarians and getting involved in the various libertarian activities. that were just bubbling to the surface. Several of the libertarians wanted to start a libertarian toastmasters. Roger and Wendy were two of the original members of the group.

    So he had the pleasure of knowing Wendy back in the day when in his words, “she was just a young kid, but a smart kid. ” His daughters were about her age and he admired her for her early grasp of the issues and most of all her strong interest. Ironically, meanwhile I was in Missouri and reading some articles she wrote even then with Samuel Konkin and others. Just a fun bit of history.


    • MamaLiberty says:

      Thanks so much for your comment! I grew up in Southern California, and spent many years working with the original Libertarian group 50 years ago, and then about 15 years more when the LP became a political party. I don’t participate at all in electoral politics now, but remember knowing an awful lot of good people who thought they could make a difference for liberty and justice that way.

      Never had the opportunity to meet Wendy, but would very much like to. I’ve retired to a log cabin in Wyoming and welcome all visitors.


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