Battling the Establishment in the 21st Century
Fifty years ago, the angry brats of campus leftism waged called the cry of cultural jihad against "The Establishment." Our schools and colleges, our television networks and Hollywood, big corporations and large organizations, our churches, even our government and all other parts of organized America were the enemy of our happy future. "The Establishment" was to blame for everything.
Even then, all this sounded silly to conservatives. Colleges had long been the hothouse of every form of totalitarianism, and even fifty years ago, conservative professors and students were hounded and mocked. Public schools were descending along the same predictable path. Public teachers' unions, firmly attached to the public teat, were losing competence as lazy teachers indulged the debilitating narcotic of leftist cant.
Television networks, especially the news departments, marched in lockstep with every twist and turn of the leftist party line. Contrary to the perceptions of younger conservatives today, the news media is much better than it was in 1965, if only because there is a modicum of ideological competition when once there was none.
Hollywood was not much better. Recall that Hollywood has yet to make a film about the Gulag or about the Holodomor or about the slavish support American communists gave to Adolph Hitler from September 1939 to June 1941. Then, as now, there was less uniformity in Hollywood than in networks or on campuses, but only slightly less.
Much of the rest of America – corporations, youth groups like Girl Scouts of America, church organizations, and the like – tried to listen to leftist whining but still maintain traditional values. Even Big Labor, a partisan slave to Democrats, was robustly anti-Communist. The relentless burrowing of leftist cadres has changed all that.
Any organization that maintains independent values, like the Boy Scouts of America, is demonized and hounded from schools and public life. Every corporation has an "Affirmative Action Office" and bureaucrats whose only job is to make the corporation appear to have "social responsibility," which means, of course, mindless echoing of every favorite gripe of leftism.
Much of government – not just federal government, either – has no purpose any longer except to support the bloated body of leftist belief systems. Leftism, a small minority of America in every poll, exists exclusively through its control of nearly every institution, private as well as public, in our nation. These drones, none of whom do any productive work at all, parallel the Communist Party in the old Soviet Union or the Inner Party in Orwell's 1984.
Orwell described in 1984 the sort of professions who would coalesce into the Inner Party, whose sole purpose was perpetual power, and, indeed, Orwell called them by name: lawyers, professors, bureaucrats, journalists, labor leaders, politicians, and similar types. He saw as well that these folks, this coalescence of the Inner Party, would cease to think critically or independently.
This explains why facts, logic, and honesty affect the leftist Establishment so little. The mantra of the movement is all. No exposed deception by "scientists" can ever unravel the fable of man-made global warming. No reversal of position by Obama, a sock puppet for the Establishment, can ever make him wrong. No narrow-minded bigotry by Establishment pseudo-academicians can ever make them seem less than brilliant and wise.
Moreover, because leftists live only in the lightless womb of establishment organizations and because the group-think of organizations is the only cognition that these cadres can grasp, they have, over time, infected almost every organization in society. Washington, for example, is simply one sprawling stinking swamp of the leftist Establishment. On campuses, the wildest and most perverse ideas can flourish, provided that they fit into the dull mind of the Establishment.
There is a caution for conservatives in all this. Our true goal cannot be to prevail in guiding the Establishment toward normal, moral, healthy purposes. Our true goal must be the devolution of institutional power of every type back to the lowest possible level. There is, for example, no true "reform" of education any longer. We must, instead, place the right and the duty to learn back on the individual or to the parish or to a single local school controlled by the parents. We must not try to make federal power beneficent. We must dismantle every bureau and agency that is not constitutionally indispensable.
Most of all, we must do what the shaggy, smelly hippies of fifty years ago did: we must make the Establishment our named enemy and force the left to defend the way things are today. Everyone knows that our nation and our world are a mess. We must make it clear to all who will hear us why things are so bad.