Peak Leftism? Don't Bet on It.

As the 20th Century amply demonstrated, Peak Leftism is reached with robust pogroms and the wholesale crushing of liberty. When enough people have been ground up in reeducation camps, gulags, and dumped in mass graves, exhausting the economy and society, then the vitality is sapped from leftist ambitions. What remains is Russia

Leftism won’t reach that peak on these shores; Armageddon would ensue. Yet we can’t say that American leftists, unrestrained, wouldn’t be willing to try. Leftism placed in its proper historical context is synonymous with brute force. Even today in the U.S., the left practices “demi-force” -- bullying -- that is, intimidation designed to silence, punish, and ostracize those deemed threats. When you can’t win the argument, destroy.

Which leads us to Robert Tracinski’s supposition in his article at The Federalist (“Have We Already reached Peak Leftism?”)? Tracinski argues that the left has maxed out in critical institutions in the U.S. Saturation levels can’t be maintained. A “reversion to mean” is going to happen. Check that.  It may happen. While Tracinski flirts with determinism throughout the article, he closes with a caveat: “What I mean to suggest is not that reversion to the mean is inevitable, but that it is an opportunity.” [Italics in the original]

Perhaps there was a better thesis for Tracinski. His article could have been titled “Peak Subversion.” When will the left run out of opportunities to subvert?  America remains a target- rich environment for leftist subversion and infiltration. One is hard pressed to believe that the left has depleted its store of motives and ideas for achieving its ends. 

There are two major flaws in Tracinski’s assessment. One is that he fails to account for the leftist nature. Second, though the left may have peaked in terms of numbers -- occupancy -- in key institutions, Tracinski overstates saturation, when it’s merely a single factor. 

Regarding leftist nature… the left lives to do exactly what it’s accomplishing now: demean and then invest the institutions of a free society, particularly foundational institutions. Marx reviled marriage and family, seeing both as obstacles to new men and new society consistent with his worldview. Is it any surprise that the left has toiled for decades to “expand” the definition of marriage and family? What have we seen in the aftermath of the watershed 1960s “free love” movement regarding both institutions? Degradation, fracturing, dysfunction. Not everywhere or among all, but sufficiently to open fissures in the society. That’s no small feat. Even if the left does no more harm to marriage and family, the damage done will have adverse consequences for decades to come.

For leftists, ideology is religion. It’s their purpose for being. Leftists are godless, if true to their tenets. Generation to generation, we see leftists act out their beliefs with fervency and relentlessness. They bounce back from setbacks. They seek alternative routes when faced with obstacles. They accept small victories as progress. They keep their eye on the prize, and recognize that they may not live to tally final victories. The left fights tenaciously to keep the ground its won. And on the right, there are those who concede defeat easily. 

To the second point. In terms of institutional occupancy, the left has nowhere else to go. They’ve arrived. The left is using the institutions it occupies to great effect. They work now assiduously to indoctrinate a new generation of Americans to assume their roles. Why would we think that generational change brings to academia, the media, and the arts anything other than new leftists? All three are key legacies. Where’s the countervailing force? 

If Tracinski’s point is conceded, how long would it take for attrition to work its magic in critical institutions?  How long before the media, the arts, and academia revert to mean? More importantly, how much more damage will have been done to the society in that time? How deeply the damage? How long the repair, if possible? How great the cost to the innocent? 

Does anyone honestly think that the left leaves the field following its victory on homosexual marriage? Bigamy, polygamy, and group marriage, among other twists, await. Lines now are arbitrary between good and bad, right and wrong. We live in the Age of Subjectivism, after all.

Further corruptions of marriage are implausible? Why? Much less than a generation ago it would have seemed incredible that the U.S. Supreme Court, influenced by fickle and facile public opinion, would force homosexual marriage on society. The left will make more attempts to degrade marriage. It can’t be underscored enough: the left’s aim is to undercut critical institutions. It intends to lay low any institution that prevents its supremacy.        

Family? The left seeks more involvement by the state in family. Remember Hillary Clinton’s “village” screed? If the left wants to remake and control society, it needs very much to intervene in family life. One imagines if the left gets its way, parents should be quite careful what they teach their children at home. Parents whose teachings run crosswise leftist doctrine -- the public classroom version -- might find themselves lawbreakers, reported for “hate thought” crimes or similar. (Tell me a decade from now that that notion is ludicrous.) 

Marx had a special contempt for religion. The modern left shares that contempt no less. Religion is a leftist rival, yet another foundational institution to be suppressed. Perhaps the better word in the American context is “marginalized.” 

For decades, the left has nibbled at the edges in constraining religion. It began with the issue of prayer in the public square. No prayer in public schools. No religious holiday displays on government grounds. With Obama’s Affordable Care Act, we’re witnessing attempts by the administration to compel religious-affiliated institutions to provide insurance coverage for contraception and abortion. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) attempted but failed to impose employment discrimination laws in the hiring and firing of religious leaders. The Hobby Lobby owners won a narrow Supreme Court decision upholding their right of faith and conscience to deny employee insurance for contraception.

Current failures to circumscribe or compel religious institutions to fall in line with leftist orthodoxy won’t daunt the left. The high court’s green-lighting of homosexual marriage will embolden the left to use the ruling to attack religious institutions from various angles, over time. 

As American Thinker contributor Daniel John Sobieski pointed out:

In a telling exchange between the Obama administration’s Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. and Justice Samuel Alito, detailed by Tom Blumer at, in which Verrilli admitted that churches could lose their tax exemptions if they refuse to perform gay weddings […]

And what about child adoptive services provided by churches and synagogues? Sobieski cites the case of Illinois Catholic Charities. It had its state contracts for foster and adoption services terminated because of its faith-based policy of refusing said services to homosexual couples. 

The overarching point is that the left has yet to reach “peak subversion.” The U.S. bestrides a continent and is peopled by 319 million (legal) souls. The left’s targets and opportunities are abundant. It won’t spend itself anytime soon. There’s the future, of course, and with it comes many unforeseen events, which could injure the left’s fortunes – or not. But we can’t predict the future. Instead, we best put ourselves to the task of defeating the left, with U.S. Grant’s dictum appended: “Unconditional surrender.”