Then the targets were non-traditional family structures, promiscuity and teen pregnancy, drug use, and heavy metal music -- all ultimately sharing the same cause of Satanic influence, for which a vigorous Christian fundamentalism was the only antidote.
Today's crusaders are not religious, but are no less paranoid and zealous in their witch hunts. The deviant behaviors are everywhere: voting for a closed border and deportation of illegals, flying the American flag non-ironically, living in ethnically homogeneous neighborhoods, and sending your daughters to schools with no Muslim rape-fugee population. Underneath such pervasive social ills, the dark occult forces of racism, bigotry, xenophobia, etc. are working their evil magic -- and only multicultural globalism can reverse their spell over the hoi polloi.
Both phenomena are cases of moral panic, although sociologists would get fired if they studied the moral panics of the left. It's a shame that they don't do the sociologist thing and emphasize the class dimension of moral panics, since the culture war is fundamentally a battle between rival factions within the elite, over control of the masses. The only question is whether elitist conservatives or elitist liberals will wield that control. Their material needs are beyond being met, so they have plenty of time and energy to devote to airy-fairy concerns like whose ideology ought to prevail in government.
However, these panics rise and fall in cycles, and we're clearly near the end of the witch hunt against any normal decent person who wants to live in a cohesive and prosperous society, which cannot sustain itself under the constant influx of immigrants, who mix up our sense of shared norms and customs, and who form the reserve army of the unemployed that lowers American incomes. The victory of Trump in the Republican primaries, and soon in the general election, is the most visible sign of the turning of the moral panic wheel.
But you can feel it everywhere -- ordinary people, especially among the rebellious youth, are sick and tired of elite busybodies wagging their finger and scolding them for committing some supposedly sinful behavior that seems rather natural and common-sense. The Hillary Clintons of today, sermonizing about the alt-right, could not look and sound more like the Tipper Gores of the 1980s, who convened Congressional hearings on the corrupting influence of pop music (under the Parents Music Resource Center).
It doesn't matter that the Moral Majority is now secular rather than religious -- normal people are tired of their sanctimonious hectoring, and have begun to simply tune them out as yet another annoying political lobby, not the moral arbiters that they style themselves to be.
It's ironic that Hillary Clinton should be the one to finally run the "everybody's a racist" witch hunt into the ground, given her husband's role in putting the last nail in the coffin of the previous cycle. Back in 1992, the Cultural Right had just about run its course as a mainstream movement, and in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, Bill Clinton hammered away at both its hypocrisy and its divisiveness -- sadly not without a grain of truth by 1992.
Here is the video, and here is the transcript. At 2h 41m, he says:
Frankly, I am fed up with politicians in Washington lecturing the rest of us about family values. Our families have values. But our government doesn't.
I want an America where family values live in our actions, not just in our speeches. An America that includes every family. Every traditional family and every extended family. Every two parent family. Every single-parent family. And every foster family. Every family.
Frankly, we are fed up with politicians lecturing the rest of us about cultural values. Our American culture has value.
Every traditional America and every free-spirited America. Every rural America. Every suburban America. And every urban transplant America. Every America.
Then at 3h 11m:
Tonight every one of you knows deep in your heart that we are too divided. It is time to heal America.
And so we must say to every American: Look beyond the stereotypes that blind us. We need each other - all of us - we need each other. We don't have a person to waste, and yet for too long politicians have told the most of us that are doing all right that what's really wrong with America is the rest of us- them.
Them, the minorities. Them, the liberals. Them, the poor. Them, the homeless. Them, the people with disabilities. Them, the gays.
We've gotten to where we've nearly them'ed ourselves to death. Them, and them, and them.
But this is America. There is no them. There is only us.
Them, the white guys. Them, the conservatives. Them, the coal people. Them, the hometown loyals. Them, the downsized. Them, the flag-wavers.
It's disturbing how full-circle we've come in them'ing ourselves to death, and with Clinton's wife now acting as Them'er-in-Chief.
With the "everybody's a racist" witch hunt now effectively dead, we can celebrate for a little while -- but we ought to guard against spawning yet another cycle of leftist moral panic. I actually think keeping our targets as foreigners will keep things common-sense and survival-based. A moral panic only arises when it seems like one element of the society is turning on another. That's unusual and calls for an unusual explanation (witchcraft), whereas preserving the in-group against the out-group is basic human nature and requires no bizarre hidden forces to account for it.
From the Progressive era, which focused on ending immigration, through the New Deal era, which focused on curbing Communist subversion, there were no major sustained counter-movements to open the floodgates of immigration again, or to allow Communists to come and go as they please in positions of power. The only time it triggered a bit of resistance was when the anti-Communists targeted their fellow Americans more so than foreigners.
Within 10 to 20 years, nobody will be weeping crocodile tears over illegal immigrants who were sent back home under the Trump administration. The only measure that would overstep the bounds would be deporting blacks to Africa, or the Ellis Island descendants back to Europe. As long as we preserve Americans, and keep the focus external, we won't get too carried away and cause a backlash.