I once had a bizarre college professor named Cater Chambly — a biker and a proud descendent of either the Hatfields or the McCoys; can’t remember which. Chambly bequeathed to his students a simple yet inclusive definition of the word “culture.” He said that a culture was just one group’s way of getting to the waterhole. He never took it any further, but I could look on ahead to see where that went: Western, Christian, capitalist cultures have been hugely successful at providing encouraging methods of survival, prosperity, and freedom. As a result, they have built amazing civilizations. Other cultures, not so much.

But we can no longer call failing cultures to account — not since the advent of political correctness and multiculturalism. Some cultures suck — but we’re not to say that. We’re not even to flinch when we hear about the Eskimos who set their elderly out on ice flows to drift off into frozen oblivion. We’re supposed to be okay with the practice of digging out the permanent teeth of young people in many African tribes. We are not to point out the failures of socialist societies or mention the atrocities of communist regimes. Instead, the influence of Christianity is being erased.  Howard Zinn has succeeded in rewriting our history and Antifa is busy painting over murals and tearing down monuments.

Meanwhile, it’s apparently just fine to call individuals derogatory names – Racist! Homophobe! Islamophobe! But all cultures must be accepted. The only exceptions are those who value individuals – western, Christian, free enterprise countries.

What so many don’t stop to realize is that it’s a very different thing to denounce a philosophy, a religious tradition, a culture than to attack a person. Sometimes we must make distinctions and do so according to rational standards. It is wrong to lambast someone for the color of his skin, the shape of her eyes, the bend of his nose. Those are things totally beyond the control of the individual. But it is necessary to point out where a culture goes wrong. We have control over our culture and we are responsible for its viability.

The left claims our culture is filled with racism, but I don’t know a single Christian conservative who is anti-black. Why would anyone ever assume that skin color was a factor in determining the worth of a person’s soul? Race isn’t something God invented; we’re all cut from the same pattern, all descended from the same ancestors. Skin means nothing.

What can and should be properly denigrated is the inner-city gang culture. The street shootings, the territorial wars, the drugs and prostitution that go with that culture are horrifying and need to be dealt with. At the heart of this culture is the absence of the fathers — a situation caused largely by the presence of a government eager to subsidize fatherless families, and the lack of education and opportunity caused largely by government schools. So behind the failure of the inner-city culture is a failure in our bureaucratic/governmental culture — a decision to keep one whole group of people from getting to the waterhole by themselves, a decision to keep some folk powerless.  None of this has anything to do with race, but with politics.

None of the conservative concern about illegal immigration has anything to do with racism, either. In fact, Hispanic/Latino people groups aren’t of a different race, just of a slightly different culture, a different ethnic group. Much of the south-of-the-border method of getting to the waterhole is totally acceptable, even laudable — hard work, large families, church affiliation, to say nothing of fabulous food, and the older I get, the more I can appreciate the concept of the siesta — what a lovely, gentle tradition. But our illegal immigration concern has nothing to do with that; it has to do with the MS13 gang/drug culture that is coming across the border, bringing with it violence, death, and the sexual trafficking of our children. It doesn’t make a person a racist to want to put a stop to that.

Fueling illegal immigration is another flaw in the power-players’ way of doing things. While we still mourn the practice of black slavery 150 years ago, today many advocate for the importation of labor willing to work for slave wages. Note that there seems to be little effort to legalize these immigrants — just to bring them in. If they remain outside of our society, out on the dangerous edges, they are trapped. They can’t afford to go home, can’t afford to complain; they’re just as stuck as the blacks were on the plantations. And yet, it is those of us who are against this slave trade that are labeled “racist.”

We are also tired of being called “homophobes.” No one is afraid of gay people. But we know that the gay lifestyle, the gay culture isn’t a culture that works well. Venereal disease is rampant in the gay community. Suicide rates are much higher (between 3 and 14 times higher) in LBGTQ society, which raises serious questions about the fitness of gay couples to be responsible for raising children. The recent push toward the acceptance of pedophilia raises even more concerns.

We are also called “Islamophobes.” We are accused of being anti-Muslim, but that, too, is unthinking and inaccurate. Individual Muslims may or may not be attached to an Islamic ideology to the extent that they would fly a plane into a high-rise. Most, I’m sure, are decent folk, however, since lying is encouraged if it helps jihad, who knows?  We are reasonably fearful of a culture that doesn’t approve of assimilating into our western democratic society, but rather wants to take it over. We are horrified with a culture that approves of mutilating young girls, of arranged child marriage, of the acceptance of wife-beating, and the rape of young boys. We are concerned about a culture that allows first-cousin marriage and the inbreeding problems connected to that practice. And since we are a society that champions religious freedom, we object to a culture that declares it has the right to rape and murder anyone who doesn’t see things their way. People can’t help the society they’re born into, so we want to be understanding, but that charity cannot come at the expense of our nation.

Not only has the left been in error claiming that we conservatives are all bigots, but they aren’t even using words accurately. A phobia is defined as an unreasonable fear. There is nothing unreasonable about fearing a society growing like a cancer inside our culture and threatening to destroy our values and beliefs. There’s nothing nutty or evil about wanting to protect our children. We aren’t phobic about anything; we are concerned about the damage that could be done to our western way of life. We are not resisting the warping of our culture out of rigidity, but from a knowledge of the historical disasters human society can produce.

Our forefathers created a system of living that far surpasses anything any other society has managed. Our poorest live better than the people of most other nations. We do not welcome the idea of destroying that, of diluting it with systems that have proven themselves over and over to be dysfunctional and catastrophic. That does not mean we suffer from some made-up phobia. It does not make us racists. It makes us practical and principled and knowledgeable. We know how to get us all to the waterhole and how to make sure that it’s always full.

Deana Chadwell blogs at She is also an adjunct professor and department head at Pacific Bible College in southern Oregon. She teaches writing and public speaking.