Vox and the Government wish you a happy culture war

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Twitter lives in a permanent state of political hysteria. The last? Vox and the parental pin. Each day is more histrionic and scandalous than the last. Everything is historical days. An insatiable present is always a good horizon for a network that also does entertainment business, a monster that feeds on news , but if you want to understand the present, make a clean sweep, it is not always a good idea … Vox is now complaining about workshops on sexual education, equality and gender identity. They are indoctrinating our children! Right to veto!they roar. And the left closes ranks before the new extreme right … not so novel. Indeed, the shadow of the past is long: or when the right stirred up moral scandals to wear down the government (of ZP) and dispute the cultural hegemony of the left.

The president of Murcia – the region where the Vox initiative came from – has said in the SER that he has no parental complaint for indoctrination in the workshops . The Minister of Education of Madrid, of the PP, added: with 1.24 million students, 53,000 teachers and 1,200 centers, “we have evidence of a written complaint and two on Twitter. It was the inspection and it verified that nothing had happened” . NOTHING. The SER reportedthat in an educational system with 8.2 million students, more than 700,000 teachers and 28,500 schools, there was one complaint, two legal proceedings and three complaints about the workshops. “A measure is implemented that hinders activity in the centers, questions and puts under suspicion the work in schools, and it is done without anyone having complained and without there being any problem”, summarized the journalist Adela Molina on Twitter.

The enthusiasm with which the most conservative sector of Vox ‘directs’ the office for the re-election of Pedro Sánchez is worthy of praise

Basically, it is as if Vox denounced tomorrow that the biggest problem in education in Spain is the chewing gum stuck under the desks … and we all spent a month discussing hysterically in networks and media.

The parental veto, therefore, is an urgent need… in the head of Santiago Abascal and Rocío Monasterio . Which does not mean that it does not have an effect on reality (schools now feel more pressured when dealing with some content due to Vox’s moral commissioning) or that the entire legislature will not be like this. And not just because the hormonal right is interested.

A moral problem

Not by chance, the progressive government stormed out against the parental veto, suspiciously fast and at the highest level, as if the PSOE / Podemos coalition was comfortable in the field of culture warfare and predicted political gain without much (budgetary) effort . If Vox attacks are so annoying, why not increase spending on these types of workshops? Or even better: why not propose more curricular content on sexuality education? But the government’s response has been rather to feed back the moral debate on the relationship between parents, children and schools. “Children do not belong to parents,” said Isabel Celaá , Minister of Education, at the press conference of the Council of Ministers.

What is the problem with turning education into a moral problem? Which is a debate with very short legs.

During the term of Esperanza Aguirre at the head of the Community of Madrid, public spending per student became the lowest in the State and school failure reached 30%. Was there a cause-and-effect relationship between the two data? No, according to Aguirre: the cause of school failure was not economic (cuts) but moral, of undisciplined students who did not obey their teachers, the typical sixties challenge to authority . Aguirre and her counselors staunchly repeated the argument of the lack of faculty authority while cutting spending per student.

The parental veto is an urgent need … that only exists in the heads of Abascal and Rocío Monasterio

Another example of the golden age of Aguirrismo in Madrid: the star health issue was not the semi-privatization of public hospitals, but the quarrel over whether or not Dr. Montes killed patients with palliative measures – accusations of Aguirrismo that would later dismantle the Justice… when it was late and the psychodrama was already profitable.

That is to say, non-existent or minority moral scandals that monopolize the public debate while other things happen below. The left spent so much energy entering the moral rags that Aguirre threw at it, that, when he wanted to realize it, the PP in Madrid had already diverted a gigantic amount of public resources in education and health to the private sector.

Aguirre was then at the forefront of the culture war, the battles between conservatives and progressives over customs, tastes, morals, and lifestyles. Where did the leader get those ideas from? From the USA.

The mother of all battles

The American conservatives were slow to recover from the cultural drubbing suffered in ’68 , with the emergence of alternative left, feminism, civil rights and new customs. The counterculture of the sixties, according to neoconservative theorists, nullified the moral aspects of politics with their crazy lifestyles. The great problem of society was no longer political or economic, according to them, but moral. Lack of morals.

The neoconservative counterattack in the early 1990s was brilliant: okay, we accept culture as a battlefield, but in our own way . The neocons turned the culture war into a class struggle in reverse: not between rich and poor, but between ‘rednecks’ from the interior of the country and urban liberals who ate vegan, watched European movies and laughed at anti-marriage ‘rednecks’ gay and abortion. The right-wing embraced the ‘anti-establishment’ discourse , only that the ‘establishment’ was no longer the business oligopolies, but the progressives. The elites were no longer the bankers, but the cultural snobs of ’68. The important thing was no longer the economy, but the lifestyles.

The new rights did not do badly like that, see the rise of Trump and Brexit, but two do not play the culture war if one does not want to, and the winner of the First Spanish Cultural War was José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero , who endured great moral onslaught during his tenure … with a big smile.

The former president of the Government José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.  (EFE) 

The former president of the Government José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. (EFE)

ZP, the king of the mambo

A right-wing agitation front promoted by media such as ‘Libertad Digital’ and ultra-Catholic organizations such as HazteOir (where Rocío Monasterio was a member and where the parental pin scandal is now being agitated ) mounted a deafening quilombo during the first ZP term, but not only did it not succeed prevent his reelection but in a way it promoted it.

With the new ‘civil rights’ attacked without quarter, the left-wing voter turned to the polls in 2008. The PSOE used to obtain its highest proportion of the vote in the ideological sector located in positions 3 and 4 of the scale (in the that 10 is the extreme right and 1 the extreme left). In 1982, it received 68% of the votes of that sector; in 1996, in the heat of the felipista collapse, 53%, and in 2000, with the absolute majority of Aznar, 48%. Well, ZP got 66% in 2004 and 71% in 2008, more than Felipe González at his best, even more than after 11-M . The culture war went round to Zapatero.

They may now uncork champagne bottles in Moncloa every time Vox launches a new hyperbolic moral front

Therefore … Moncloa may now uncork champagne bottles every time that Vox launches a new hyperbolic moral front, since there is no greater glue from the left, and government cohesion will be key in the duration of a precarious legislature (due to the coalition and for not having a clear parliamentary majority).

Does this mean that the PSOE is moving towards a new social majority? No. It is not easy to make sharp predictions, because the situation is fragmentary (multiparty and territorial tensions) and volatile (a new economic recession would bury the culture wars for a good season, the material about the manners, as both ZP and Alberto Ruiz well know -Gallardón , liquidated by Marianism when he tried to resuscitate abortion while the Government tried to rescue the economy and appease the social volcano). But one thing does seem clear: Vox is going to (unintentionally) provide the necessary oxygen to the Government to ascend an uphill legislature.

If sex education in the classroom was the only topic of debate in the next election, which side would you take? With those who say that children are born after sexual intercourse or with those who say that children come from Paris on storks? Think about it.

Let’s exaggerate the situation to finish off: the enthusiasm with which the most conservative sector of Vox ‘directs’ the office for the re-election of Pedro Sánchez is worthy of praise ( so that they later accuse Abascal’s party of sectarian ). The involuntary perroflautism of the right wing.

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