Book Reviews

Culture Warrior 

by Bill O'Reilly

Review by Richard Sheppard


In this pugnacious call-out of purveyors of radical liberalism and anti-religious/anti-Christianity run amok, Fox News Channel "Spin Factor" host Bill O'Reilly sounds the clarion vs. his perceived evil, "Secular Progressivism" ("S-P"). By O'Reilly's reckoning, the "Secular Progressives" and their movement are undermining traditional values and spirituality that have roots thousands of years deep, defining society and civil behavior. Though the Secular Progressives would deny their attacks, there's no question a battle is underway on many religious, legal, academic, and human relations fronts. As a culture warrior myself, it's fine to watch O'Reilly skewer the empty-souled radicals for whom no good is good enough; no bad, bad enough. 

O'Reilly, a knock-about Long Island native with a cantankerous streak, is a natural for S-P scorning. Those who don't like O'Reilly, and these would be especially his culture war enemies, really really don't like him. Which is okay by Bill. One of O'Reilly's appealing traits is that he isn't trying to impress or cozy-up with the amorphous "elite media" or the "taste"-makers in L.A. & New York. Though O'Reilly cut his journalism teeth at CBS and ABC, he has found his natural home on the Fox News Channel. His ratings and popularity demonstrate that many not only agree with his "us vs. them" cultural challenge, but side with him, too.

O'Reilly forthrightly states that the mainstream media gives the S-P movement a tremendous culture war advantage. What stories are covered and how much attention they're provided. Which stories are ignored. It's a proven pattern of left-leaning media bias which indirectly aids, abets and sympathizes with the S-P movement.

And what is the "S-P movement?" When her husband's philandering was burning white hot, Hillary Clinton deflected criticism by conjuring a "vast, right-wing conspiracy." As a right-winger, I'd deny any "conspiracy." But I understand why Hillary believes there's one. People of a same mind think alike, and reinforce and celebrate their strengths. When Bill Clinton hands conservatives an issue like oral sex in the Oval Office, how could they not coalesce in glee at his follies?

Liberals Have NY Times; Conservatives Have Talk Radio

Yet if conservatives sometimes "pile-on," it's an episodic rather than relentless pile-on. Conservatives don't sustain the same lock-minded ideological purity of the secular-progressive left. Unlike liberals, conservatives don't have a New York Times and electronic media slant as wind in our sails. Conservatives have talk radio, which mostly airs during work hours, and the Fox News channel, which offers conservatives a watchable alternative to anything on TV. Even Fox as a single station attracts vitriolic loathing from the S-P left who are used to having a media advantage even as they deny having it. 

According to O'Reilly, the writings of Berkeley academic George Lakoff, a latter-day sort of communist and atheist define the S-P movement. Lakoff is fully aware that his agenda is controversial and he understands the value of gradual, stealthy advances against tradition and spirituality. Along with Lakoff, the S-P gets their major financial boost from Euro-financier and "Mad Hungarian" George Soros, and American tycoon Peter Lewis, among other moneybags who, now that they've made their score, figure they're smart enough to run everyone's lives. Lewis is a sort of polar opposite of free marketer Steve Forbes, who advocates less government and a simplified tax code. Lakoff, Soros, and Lewis (and the usual batty Hollywood types) promote a world a moral relativism, where "anything goes," and standards are applicable only so far as the S-P vanguard applies them.

In Culture Warrior, O'Reilly offers a few of the battlegrounds on which the culture war rages. He describes the "war on Christmas," and Christians, attacks the S-P left deny. O'Reilly correctly identifies how the ACLU uses the guise of protecting religious freedom to undermine it. Traditional male/female marriage is another battle zone, as are the relentless attacks on any public expression of faith. 

The Left can't handle O'Reilly, a relentless foe with a huge bully pulpit and an incisive style. Ironically, in the S-P mantra "anything goes" mantra itself contains a logical flaw: when "anything goes," don't expect stability. No stability, no progress. So the Secular-Progressive Left often undermine their own agenda, not surprising given the disorganized thinking of many S-P adherents.