08/02/2024 lewrockwell.com  24 min 🇬🇧 #242409

What Is a Culture?

By Dr Naomi Wolf
 Outspoken with Dr Naomi Wolf

February 8, 2024

These days, I dread, under certain circumstances, getting into New York City taxis. Cultures around the world vary of course. (That should not be a taboo sentence.) And there are some cultures in this world which women have no voice at all, and are treated with complete disrespect. I don't wish to name that culture, as generalizations can indeed be racist or xenophobic.

I've lived for two decades in New York City, and usually my interactions with cab drivers are lovely.

But the new reality is inescapable: more often than not, when the driver of the taxi to which I am now doomed, is from a part of the world where these particular misogynist cultures exist, and if the driver is a recently arrived immigrant and male, I know that I will have a miserable argument before I can arrive at my destination.

"Sir, you are heading North - we are going to Brooklyn, which is South."

"Lady, I know what I am doing." Spat out between gritted teeth.

"I don't mean to offend you, but we need to turn left and go down Seventh Avenue - we have gone eight blocks North now, out of our way."

"Why are you telling me how to drive my cab?!?" (Voice rising.)

"I'd like you to turn left please at the next possible left turn, and head down Seventh."

"Do you think I am stupid? Do you think I don't know the best way to go? Do you want to keep telling me how to do my job?!" (Shouting angrily, waves of neon-red hostility filling the cab).

By the time I get to my destination, I am a wreck. No matter how calm and polite I have remained, I have infuriated my driver merely by being a woman giving him directions. The fact is that in this particular culture, women are not, apparently, supposed to direct men - under any circumstances at all. So in the cab, when I am, inevitably, forced to give some direction or else be stuck with, variously, heading literally the wrong way, getting stuck in horrible Midtown traffic, or taking a huge costly detour, this act on my part, as courteously as I can achieve it, seems to have the effect of a red rag on a bull.

Men from this culture, at least in these situations, seem to experience a woman directing them as being horribly offensive, outrageous and demeaning. And frankly, the way they then feel comfortable treating me - a stranger, to whom they are not married or related, whose lot in life they do not direct in any way - feels to me, as a Western woman with a completely different set of expectations about the customer/cab driver relationship, bullying, and a bit threatening, and certainly degrading, and, overall, emotionally exhausting.

I hate, hate, hate my half hour of being a second-class citizen trapped in these drivers' cabs. I hate being treated, for that short length of time, the way women are treated in the societies that produce the men who think these behaviors are fine. I can't wait to get out and be a Western woman again, who can take for granted that she can give and receive information, from and to everyone around her, including from and to men, and be treated as a peer or as an equal.

That expectation I have - that I am a free person too, and that we need to treat each other, men and women both, with equal rights and respect - is a very dear and costly expectation. We did not arrive at it effortlessly, dating from the birth of our nation. The fight for women's equality in the West has taken centuries; and it demanded wave upon wave of advocacy and activism, spanning generations.

It is an arduous achievement; a consensus, of a whole culture. It is a crown jewel of ours. Women in the past, in the West, could only dream about such a world, such a victory. Women around the world, who still live in nations like the ones that produce this situation I described, with cultures in which the men feel free to abuse any strange woman who is unlucky enough to get into their taxis, long for the rights and respect that they deserve - and that we Western women take for granted.

So - what is a culture? A culture is a set of complex agreements among millions of people, who are often united by national identity and set of moral beliefs.

Culture is fragile. It takes so much time, and agreement, and hard work.

A culture no trivial thing. Our culture - the culture of America, of North America, of the West - is no trivial thing.

The way we have been encouraged to think about culture - as always in need of "fixing" and updating; as chock-a-block with "micro-aggressions"; as if it is an old felt fedora moldering in the attic, in a moment when everyone is bareheaded and snapping selfies; as if it's no more than an inconvenient aggregate of boring required reading, and of music that no one can quite remember, all written or composed by dead white men who exploited their slaves - all this discourse is intended, I believe, to mask a deeper truth; to hide from us a knowledge of deeper powers we have, that we are being encouraged to forget.

Western culture contains some of the greatest accomplishments of human beings ever; the greatest treasures; and these are treasures for all.

The simple expectation I described above - that women and men have the same rights and freedoms as one another - is one crucial example. So this expectation - that in America, women are equal in rights and respect to men - is at the heart of my social contract as an American.

It is not at the heart of my driver's social contract.

Thus, there is an existential incompatibility there. If it is just one obnoxious cab driver, that incompatibility is not very ominous or meaningful. The role of legal immigration of the past - the kind of limited legal immigration that welcomed my Russian grandmother and grandfather; my Rumanian grandmother and grandfather; my Rumanian-born father; my German-born former father-in-law; my husband Brian's Irish-born paternal grandmother and grandfather, his Czech-born maternal grandmother, his Ivory Coast-born maternal grandfather, and so on - was designed to absorb immigrants, with all of their cultural differences, and acclimate them - in ways that our nation could manage (and from which it could even benefit) - into our social contract and into our robust culture as Americans.

That is what used to be meant by the beautiful phrase, "We are a nation of immigrants." We, legal immigrants, all came here to become Americans together - meaning, to participate in this best of all social contracts, that involved equality of opportunity, freedom, a certain history, a rule of law, and a certain set of governance processes and founding documents.

But a culture requires some consensus and shared language, values, and beliefs, in order to hold together.

That is why we have naturalization processes, that teach legal immigrants about our culture and democratic systems, and that is why we used to have Civics classes.

We were teaching students from all over, what America was and meant.

That acculturation is why in Israel, new immigrants are given free intensive Hebrew lessons called ulpanim. That is why in Norway, as I was told by my hosts when I was there on a speaking tour, that new immigrants from cultures that torture or imprison male homosexuals, have to be taught in classes, that in Norway, the cultural contract is that male homosexuality is legal.

Here is another example of a Western cultural expectation: that one is quiet when sharing the experience of the wilderness, or libraries, or public transportation. There are a lot of interesting reasons that, when you go to a national or state park or beach or hiking trail, a wilderness area, or get on a bus or train, the US social norm (sometimes protected by signs) is that we try to maintain a certain level of quiet. This tradition probably goes back to the values of the Transcendentalist movement of the 1840's (this movement manifested in Britain as well, a bit earlier, under the name of Romanticism, or in the pursuit of "the Sublime").

In this influential movement, ordinary British or American men and women were understood be able to encounter a greater sense of connection to the Creator, to their own higher selves, and to existential truths, in the presence of unspoiled wilderness, or books, or art.

Transcendentalism, and the pursuit of the Sublime, are also predicated upon another critical Western value - that of individual "sensibility" or private consciousness. From these influences, we probably derive the practice of not bothering other people too much who are gazing at a sunset or having a quiet picnic in a wilderness area, or reading a book on a train.

We have been taught that we have individual private thoughts, and that they are important, so we don't want to intrude on others' important private thoughts.

Well, not every culture shares this set of values. There are people who have poured into this country in the last few months — and the immigration over the Southern border now amounts to an estimated 16.8 million illegal migrants in the  United States — whose cultural expectation is much more collectivist, and less individualistic, than is ours. This cultural consensus is much louder in expression than are the norms in the West, where until recently teachers and librarians told our kids to "shush" in museums and on field trips and in libraries.

For these incoming cultures, portable radios surrounded by crowds, play at top levels in public places, especially in city or suburban parks. Cellphones ring as loudly as possible, and whole video programs are watched at full volume on trains and buses, and even in gyms and libraries. Everyone hears the music, the conversations, the ringtones. There is no escape from the collectivist noise level, for one's private thoughts.

One might think that this cultural change is trivial. But is it? Only if you expect to have no say in your own cultural norms. One could argue that these high-decibel cultures are less repressed or more exciting cultures than ours. But whether you like the difference in decibel levels in shared public spaces, or you don't, the approach to quiet versus noise in shared public spaces — is a major cultural difference, predicated on the incredibly important idea in the West that the individual and not the collective is the building block of society.

When just a few people from societies with much louder social contracts, join a culture in which the social contract is to leave others alone with their thoughts in parks or on trains, the newcomer is eventually absorbed; and each, the newcomer and the host nation, learns from the other. The host culture adjusts, and the wonders that are America as a true melting pot, are the result. Certainly America has gotten richer, stronger, livelier, with better music and fashion and food and fresher ideas, as each wave of legal immigration has been absorbed into the existing social contract and as consensus — "What do we believe now, how do we act, as Americans?" — is arrived at in every generation always anew.

But that is not the situation we have right now.

The UN, as my last essay on the border pointed out, is actively staging an invasion of the Southern border of the United States, weaponizing cynically the bodies of millions of people. There is, believe it or not, $372 million from the UN, funding a "voucher system" to support illegal  migration into the US.

Readers must understand that this is an act of war, since the UN has, by doing this, gone from being (or at least claiming to be) a neutral global arbiter, to being a supranational body that is using its immense power and resources to wage war on the laws and policies and national sovereignty of a specific member state.

This is unprecedented.

The UN is not supposed to be an activist destroying a nation's borders. It is not supposed to carve up countries, or depopulate and repopulate, against national laws, whole regions.

Unbelievably, the UN, along with aligned puppet NGOs, is coordinating with the White House to manage this extraordinary flow of humanity into the United States. These documents can be hard to follow, as they cover up rhetorically who is going where, and why; but the UN, with the collaboration of the White House, is managing the movements of millions of people: via aid to Honduras, and via complex and highly funded staging areas in Guatemala, with a stated goal of getting millions, especially children with tenuous connections to sponsors,  into the United States.

From FAIR:

"Replacement Theory" was supposed to be a right-wing conspiracy theory. And yet, here is the UN Secretariat White Paper from 2000: "Replacement Migration: Is it A Solution to Declining and Ageing Populations?"

Read excerpts from the whole astonishing document about this overall effort to stage the arrival of millions of illegal aliens into our country, that is currently on the White House website:

"Expand Access to International Protection

  • Build and Improve National Asylum Systems:  In Guatemala, the State Department funded the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to continue supporting the Government of Guatemala to build its asylum capacity in line with its national action plan commitments under the Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework (MIRPS). Guatemala received more than 1,000 asylum claims in 2021, which is over double the number received in any prior year. In Mexico, the Commission for Refugee Assistance (COMAR) accepted more than 131,000 applications for asylum in 2021, becoming the third highest receiver of claims in the world. With State Department support through UNHCR, COMAR granted asylum to 37,806 individuals in 2021.
  • Establish Migration Resource Centers (MRCs): With State Department funding, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), UNHCR, and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) collaborated with the Government of Guatemala to establish three MRCs (referred to locally as Centros de Atención a Personas Migrantes y Refugiadas, or CAPMIRs) in Guatemala City, Tecun Uman, and Quetzaltenango. In addition, seven mobile units operate as part of the MRC network, covering six departments of Guatemala. The MRCs are located to benefit communities at risk of displacement, with high levels of emigration, and also along transit routes. They are designed to evaluate individuals' protection, humanitarian, and economic needs in order to provide appropriate services and referrals, and have reached more than 32,000 individuals."

Asylum — where? "Displacement" to — where? "Emigration" to — where? "transit routes" to - -where?

"In Honduras, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funded psychosocial support, gender-based violence prevention activities, migration awareness, and children's rights protection information to approximately 5,100 Honduran youth and to over 1,375 returned migrants and IDPs impacted by the 2020 hurricanes." What is "migration awareness"? Where are those impacted by the 2020 hurricanes, being encouraged to go? Why the focus on youth and children?

Then you get to it.

Yep — the White House is encouraging, funding with our tax dollars, and physically facilitating, the movements of these millions of humans into America:

"Expand Third Country Labor Migration Programs While Improving Workers Protections

  • Institutional Capacity Building:  USAID supported the Guatemalan Ministry of Labor, the Honduran Ministry of Labor, and the Salvadoran Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the design and implementation of new processes to increase access to seasonal work opportunities abroad, resulting in a record number of H-2B visas issued to nationals of these countries in FY 2021 with further growth expected in FY 2022. In Costa Rica, State Department funding for IOM supported the processing of 18,000 migrant requests in the agricultural temporary labor migration category." [...]
  • "Expand Support for Migrant Worker Protections:  In El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, USAID funded pre-departure training for seasonal workers on their rights under the H-2 visa program. In El Salvador, State Department funding for IOM supported the participation of officials from the Ministries of Labor and External Affairs in a specialized course on best practices in labor migration management. The Salvadoran Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare also hosted an event to share best practices on ethical recruitment, involving participants from El Salvador, Honduras, and Panama."

Yes, the White House and the UN are recruiting and supporting humans from El Salvador, Honduras and Panama, along with those from a total of 114 countries, unlawfully to migrate — with USAID and State Department and UN funding — here:

"In El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, USAID funded pre-departure training for seasonal workers on their rights under the  H-2 visa program."

That is what this inflow is being called — "seasonal workers." But these folks are being recruited, trained, made "aware" of migration and "transit routes", staged, dressed and housed, given, per my earlier essay on the UN program, loaded ATM cards, envelopes of cash, free meals en route in staging centers, and direct bank transfers, and they are relatively hugely empowered; not at the mercy, as in the past, of "jackals" and the hideous elements, but with the whole prestige and the massive apparatus of the US government and the UN behind them and supporting them. Then they are "transited" to be deposited at the US Southern border, to walk across without stay or hindrance, and to be transported after that via plane and bus to — everywhere in our nation.

They are shipped then to where, locally, as in New York City, free housing in hotels, free electronic tablets, free scooters, free medical care, await them.

New York City plans to spend one billion dollars to house unlawful immigrants for free, in hotels, for  three more years. Why is New York City expecting that for the next three years, these illegal immigrants won't be able to house themselves? Why incentivize their journeys in this way?

Did your immigrant grandparents get free housing in a hotel for three years? Did mine? If you are a recent legal immigrant to the US, did you get three years of free collective housing?

No —- in the past immigrants to this nation were let into this country and, whether poor or rich, Anglophones or not able to speak a word of English, they were expected to do their best; in the Lower East Side, in Queens, in Brooklyn's Little Caribbean, in Chinatown, in New Jersey, in Detroit, in Cleveland. And through this expectation, were born great innovation, entrepreneurship and contributions to the national wealth of ideas and resources; children were educated; the American Dream was strengthened, and it persisted.

For these unlawful immigrants' future care, in contrast, the New York State Governor wishes to earmark $2.4 billion out of her state's budget, for  just one year.

In Salem, Massachusetts, a storefront with delectable fresh fruit, meat and seafood, is not open to those elderly or veteran or disabled Americans nearby who are not enrolled in certain USDA benefit programs that the facility requires for shoppers to enter its nicely designed doors.

But if you can get past the application process to shop there, this facility offers, incredibly enough, subsidized Doordash delivery of the free or subsidized food, to a largely illegally-immigrated population, most of them a few blocks away.

This cute storefront offering is in something of a food desert, in the sense that there are few supermarkets or shops otherwise selling produce in the area, and none within walking distance. This means that elderly and disabled Americans, and veterans, who live close by this elegant little shop, which is off-limits to them, are not being treated as well as are our illegal-alien new neighbors.

What the heck is going on?

Among other things, this weird pampering is and will prove to be, a dangerous disruption in another key element of our American culture: work ethic and meritocracy. Immigrants to our shores in the past — your grandparents and mine, or perhaps you yourself — were far from entitled. The legal immigrants expected very little from the State. They were the opposite of entitled. This nation gave them a fair chance to work incredibly hard, and hard work and meritocracy, as a result, are parts of the treasure-trove legacy of our nation.

But what will these newcomers, treated in this weirdly codependent way by the State, learn about themselves in relation to America? They will learn that it is a nation with gross class divides, with they themselves in a privileged class; and that nothing is expected of immigrants — not even the expectation of obeying the laws.

And that legacy too will be a disruption to our work-ethic, meritocratic American culture — an aspect of our culture that is also so awesome, in fact, though it too has taken such a reputational beating.

This overall situation, of course, also disrupts Americans' security and safety. Columnist Howie Carr, in the Feb 4 2024 Boston Herald, shares a verbatim interview with a security guard who works at one of the repurposed hotels housing illegal aliens, this one in Marlborough, MA.

The guard discusses the fact that illegal aliens are purchasing and operating motor vehicles without having licenses; he describes the constant need for police at the facility, and the danger that the situation poses to  nearby schools. The source also describes the entitled attitude of the new arrivals, and their sense of impunity when it comes to the laws of our nation.

But how could it all be otherwise?

This treatment of these newcomers in these strangely pampering ways, is one reason that the image of a gang of illegal aliens savagely beating two  New York City Police Officers in Times Square, both of whom had fallen to the ground in the course of being attacked, enduring kicks to the head and body — and the later image of one of the alleged predators, flipping off the nation — was so resonant.

We intuit that this is what we, and these policies, are creating.

Is this chaos, perhaps, what these policies are designed to create?

It is impossible to dismiss a growing awareness that the White House and the UN are not just helping migrants in other countries (though why is that our priority?) — who are already displaced; they are facilitating and instigating, ruinous and dangerously empowered mass illegal migration to our country. A report by WOLA, "Halfway to the U.S.: A Report from Honduras on Migration", by a nonprofit that advocates for migrants to America, reveals far more than the  authors may realize.

This report shows that there are now complex and well-established UN, White House and USAID-funded "respite," "restivo" or rest, centers, in Honduras, and all along a mapped-out migration trail that leads to our Southern border.

The maps in this report show a giant three-country infrastructure funded by the UN, the White House and allied NGOs, of "border crossings and jurisdictions", designed to care for, inform and support these "migrants" any every stage of their journeys.

It mentions that 300 people a day are processed via these US-funded "rest centers", though the need, WOLA argues, is to process 800 a day. In the report, migrants complain that the food they get on the journey is not good enough. There appears to be an app that the migrants are given, with information on it about how to make the entire journey, along with details about support and funding and food along the way.

In the past, America could absorb every legal newcomer, and the cultural contract was renewed and reinforced. Those legal newcomers — your grandparents and mine — longed to be Americans — culturally. "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free," wrote poet Emma Lazarus about our grandparents' generations of legal immigrants, in a poem that is engraved on the Statue of Liberty.

But... this cynical bomb dropped on the US, in the form of bodies, is not that.

Incomers of fighting age — with few or no elders among them, few or no one disabled, most of them in the 20s, walking like an army — come from Afghanistan, Yemen and Turkey; from Angola and Saudi Arabia and China; from Belize and Haiti and Honduras and Colombia.

Why are migrants arriving, per WOLA, from Uzbekistan? From Angola? From Cuba? Why on earth would thousand of migrants from India come via this arduous overland journey through Central America? And who are those from the mystery countries? The category "other countries" in the WOLA map, shows thousands of recent migrants of unspecified national origins.

Many of those nations above, are decades-long sources for cruel private mercenaries.

Indeed, this report from Sean McFate, via National Defense University Press, "Understanding Private Armies Today", is a must-read, as it details the rise of "soldiers of fortune," private armies or mercenaries (all of these terms mean the same thing) — soldiers for hire by anyone, that are cheaper than government-funded Western  militaries. Where is the global source, the base of the main companies, providing manpower for some of these  armies for hire?


What nation has a long history, dating back to the 1970s, of being the chaotic meeting-point for mercenaries from the then-Soviet Union, from Cyprus, and even from Western powers?


Many other of these source countries, such as Colombia, are run  by violent cartels.

One — China — sent increasing numbers of human beings in 2023, and it is a nation that unleashed perhaps two bioweapons on us — the virus and the vaccine — and that wants us simply gone.

I often say, that as a political consultant for the top levels of leadership, I learned to read events backward: pay attention not to the story, which is usually concocted to cover the outcome, but to the outcome. Migrants are being shipped to inside our key cities; to sensitive areas such as Chicago O'Hare airport.

The outcome of this migration pattern is: if you wanted to hire private mercenaries to invade the United States, then put them in positions in which they could terrorize or subdue the US population, this is exactly how you would do it.

Leaving that possibility aside for a moment, say this is all an organic movement of peoples and not intended, as it clearly appears to me to be, as a military-type offensive tactic.

Many of these nations do not see women as we do, or homosexual rights as we do, or even racial equality as we do.

America is not, as it turns out, kind of bad compared to the rest of the world, the insane message to our young of the recent past. America is actually kind of fantastic, compared to much of the rest of the world, no matter who you are. You want anti-Black racism? Try  China. You want sexism? Try  Afghanistan, in which 54 of 80 edicts of the Taliban target women and girls, including restricting their freedom of movement, and education. You want homophobia? Egypt's security forces torture gay  men.

What if those who don't see women as equal — and those who expect to torture or imprison homosexuals - or those who have no experience of the rule of law, but who understand cartels — or those who are encouraged by the State to stop paying attention to work or to personal effort — arrive in a culture — our culture — by the tens of millions?

That is what is happening now.

There won't be time, or will, or energy, for us successfully to absorb such a mass of newcomers into our American culture.

Rather, the newcomers' values will absorb America.

It's hard enough for me when the guy who does not think women should have a voice, is responsible for my taxi ride.

What will America be like when he is making our laws?

Our culture itself will break. The consensus will break. The human rights accomplishments, the accomplishments of gender equality, of inclusion, will all fall apart.

There is nothing racist about noticing this danger — that our cultural norms, our achievements as a society, our consensus for human rights and the rule of law, may fall apart.

Moroccans would and should worry about their national culture and heritage, if the UN underwrote ten million Germans, to enter their nation unlawfully. Ghanaians would rightly object if ten million Swedes were funded by international bodies, to push their non-Ghanaian morals and beliefs into the heart of their nation, and to stake out and overwhelm the resources intended for Ghanaian elderly and Ghanaian children.

There must be a reason behind this seemingly insane, unbelievably complex, multi-national superstructure facilitating illegal migration into our America, funded by our own tax dollars and by the UN's mighty coffers.

Is the breaking apart of our culture — our beautiful culture of freedom and the rule of law, and of equality of rights —

That thorn in the side of tyrants since 1776 -
Via the unprecedented methodology, of a mass assault using human bodies —

The reason for this structured invasion?