A Little Politics with Christmas…

Well, Christmas is winding down. Hopefully you all had a blessed and wonderful day. Of course, for the parents out there, no doubt the relaxing is only now beginning (one doesn’t realize how hard one’s parents worked at the holidays until one is a parent!).

I started thinking about some political issues concerning Christmas (namely the whole “war on Christmas” thesis) and composed a lengthy post on the subject, which can be read here: Some Thoughts on the “War on Christmas”.

The writing put in the mind of a newspaper column I wrote two years ago (here) as well as a post on the subject of “Happy Holidays.”

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Tlaloc says:

    Your argument here is applicable far beyond the so called “war on christmas”.

    What is striking about the notion that there is a war on Christmas is that at its core is the thesis that attacks on Christmas are attacks on centuries old traditions and rituals. However, that really isn’t the case. In many ways Christmas, and our attitude towards it, are relatively new. Because despite the feeling that Christmas must have always been a key American holiday, as well as a key Christian one, that, in fact, this is not the case.

    (from your linked post)

    The same can be said of a great many social conservative freak outs. They are based on false and often historically illiterate notions of tradition.

    An obvious example is the, again, so called “war on marriage.” It is predicated on the ludicrous notion that modern marriage (as a partnership between a man and a woman) is some long venerated historical tradition. One hardly needs to go back to 1st century Rome to see that this isn’t the case, early 20th century America is far enough. The truth is that marriage as a partnership is an extremely new idea. Previously it was a simply property transaction. Women were property of men, first fathers and then husbands. Often this was a literal transaction accompanied by the exchange of a Dower, Dowery, or Bride Price (depending on which way the funds transfered and who ultimately retained them).

    Consequently in recent US history what we now consider abuse of a wife was tolerated if not expected. Wives were property bought to provide sexual gratification and children for a man.

    That’s traditional marriage.

    But we’ve changed it a great deal from that traditional view (and with good reason). Consequently arguments about the sanctity of marriage are ignorant in extremis.

  2. I think you make a valid point–certainly the institution of marriage has not always been as it is now.