The Problem with Liberal Activism Culture

Here’s Maggie Gallagher worrying about social conservatives losing the culture war because we don’t do activism. What do we do when

more than 100 corporations are attacking North Carolina over a bill protecting women from having to share bathrooms with transgender biological males[?]

Here’s James Delingpole worrying that we climate skeptics have nothing with which to counter the climate activists’ claim of saving the planet.

[T]he left has got its hands on the magic formula that enables it to do at both federal and local level all the things that lefties love to do… The formula is: “We’re saving the planet.”

What Gallagher and Delingpole want is for conservatives to develop our own activism culture so that we can throw the left’s taunts right back in their faces.

But conservatives will never learn to out-advocate the liberal activists. We must act instead to delegitimize the very liberal activism culture itself.

The central sacred ritual of the activism culture, the demonstration or the “peaceful protest,” is appropriate for a group that has been excluded from the councils of political power. That is the way it used to work, with mobs and bread riots, when the lower class was excluded from political citizenship.

But that is not the way demonstrations and protests work today. As practiced today, the activism culture is no longer the authentic voice of the excluded and the oppressed. Instead it is a cunning trick of the ruling class to subdue and exclude its opponents, to bully them into acquiescing in more government and prevent them from having a voice in the councils of state. As such, the activism culture should be struck down and its practitioners sentenced to advocate for global health in Outer Slobbovia.

I argue this from the findings of lefty sociologist Michael Mann in The Sources of Social Power Volume 2, The Rise of Classes and Nation-States, 1760-1914, which I have been reading so you don’t have to. In this study of the long 19th century, the centerpiece is a love-struck narration of the rise of the working class.

The central point that Mann makes about the working class is that, once the working class got the vote, it abandoned revolution as a political tactic. Of course it did -- because once it got the vote it was inside the tent and its agenda could be negotiated in the councils of political power. And the ruling class of the day came to accept the justice of the working class agenda.

You can see that on Mann’s view the Civil Rights movement was a legitimate use of street power. Until blacks got the right to vote in the South, then the March on Selma was the only course for African Americans to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” But once blacks got the vote and became regime supporters of the liberals and got to bury themselves in government money? I don’t think so.

Let’s see, what do you call a mob acting to further the regime’s agenda?

You can see the hypocrisy of the activism culture in the background of Oakland activist and Black Lives Matter founder Alicia Garza. This authentic voice of the people was born in San Rafael, Marin County, California, and then moved down the road to Tiburon, Tiburon, where her mother and stepfather were antiques dealers. She was radicalized by the white students in middle school assuming she lived in subsidized housing. I am not making this up. Today Garza is the compleat Marin County liberal, doing radical politics across the Bay in Oakland as a “queer” activist.

If I were an inner-city African American, I think I might take to the streets as the only way to express my outrage at the sense of entitlement in my Marin-County-born community-organizer leaders.

So liberals have turned upside down the whole business of petitioning the government for the redress of grievances. Instead of the protest being a cry from the dispossessed as the only way to make their voices heard, the activism game has become the way for the ruling class to deny non-liberals the right to have a voice and a seat in the councils of state.

Tactically, you can say, the concept is brilliant. But strategically, it is folly. The whole point of free speech and universal suffrage is that nobody is outside the tent, marinating their grievances in conspiratorial cells, and planning a desperate street action. But liberals use their activism culture to shut up everyone except their born-in-Marin-County cry-bullies. Because racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia.

Ruling-class liberals have adopted the last-resort street tactics of the oppressed, the marginalized, the exploited; they are using them as a first resort to oppress, to marginalize and silence the ordinary American middle class.

All I can say is: This is not going to end well, liberals.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.