The Slow Death of the Leftist Establishment
The bizarre presidential campaign of 2016 has another story sometimes hard to see: the old Leftist Establishment is on its deathbed. This does not mean that leftism is defeated, of course, but rather that the props that kept the small minority of Americans who are on the left able to control the agenda and the rhetoric of politics in America.
The long hegemony of leftism in those conveyor belts of news, knowledge, and entertainment required, first of all, that no one dare speak what was happening. It required a conspiracy of silence by those afraid to speak the truth. Those who told the truth were demonized and ostracized.
It was not that there were no conservatives warning of the danger of totalitarian academia or ideologically monopolistic media or a Hollywood-New York entertainment axis that seemed to hate the rest of America. It was not that conservatives did not grasp that the true enemy was this phalanx and not the sock puppet politicians like our current presidential nebbish. It was rather that conservatives had almost no ways of countering the monolithic structure of the Leftist Establishment.
This began to change as conservatives, gradually, grasped that they, not the dull bureaucrats of leftism, were the true revolutionaries, the genuine outsiders, the actual voices of dissent and protest. The inventiveness of free and agile minds created tools to challenge the bosses of leftism.
Richard Viguerie, three decades ago, invented the mass mail order system of ideological fundraising and political awareness. It worked because it simply outflanked the normal institutions of leftist control. Rush Limbaugh, a decade later, took talk radio and turned it into an equivalent of Radio Free America. Both men not only were visionaries, but had mastered all the technical aspects of their systems.
Fox News, not a conservative medium, but a medium that grasped the desperate yearning of many millions of Americans for a non-leftist television news source, made the shrewd market to decision to give abused and mocked Americans a news provider who did not seem to hate them. Then internet news and opinion sources, of course, have democratized media in America and also created a speed of response to events which makes, today, old network news hopelessly out of date.
The utter uselessness and grotesque expense of those leftist pampered sloths who taught in colleges had been a source of simmering anger for years, but the Orwellian overreach – combined by these many new ways for conservatives to get unfiltered messages to America – has made college professors and administrators vulnerable to public scorn in ways that would have been unthinkable a decade or two earlier.
The "entertainment" cranked out by the organs of leftist orthodoxy had long become tired and repetitive, and men like Clint Eastwood and Sylvester Stallone several decades ago showed just how popular and good films which celebrated heroes fighting against leftist iconology could be to the American public. Today, the dwindling numbers of Americans who actually watch network entertainment or go to most movies turned out by Hollywood makes clear just how little most of us had like propaganda masquerading as amusement.
This election cycle, perhaps for the first time in broadcasting history, even leftist outlets hunger for interviews with conservative candidates, and these candidates no longer feel that they must watch what they say. Newt Gingrich, in a 2012 Republican debate, won great praise for directly attacking the bigotry of a debate moderator who asked about his ex-wife's comments. Donald Trump, repeatedly and directly, attacks the media, and it does not seem to hurt him at all. Indeed, today, anything that smacks of the "Establishment" (and there is, really, only one establishment – the entrenched left) is wildly unpopular with Americans.
Two Republican candidates this cycle, Scott Walker and Marco Rubio, have been willing to question the value of a college degree these days – which ought to open a general policy assault by conservatives against this wildly expensive fraud paid for by students, parents, and taxpayers. Public employee unions, once also sacrosanct, have been successfully challenged in legislatures and in elections. Soon, we ought to hope, government civil service systems, which give bonuses to senior bureaucrat presiding over the murder by neglect of veterans or the witch hunts of conservative groups seeking non-profit status, should be ended forever as well.
Winning this long campaign, and never stopping short of total victory, is the real answer to the problems our nation faces. It is, in a way, like Reagan's decision to win the Cold War. It is necessary, it is moral, and it can be done.