Slouching Towards Washington
As nature anticipates intelligence, so liberalism anticipates tyranny. We can sense of natural order its necessary evolution in complexity, while of the other, its inevitable decline into corruption. The one gathers wisdom into its folds; the other spends its worth in promises and excuses, social theory and stratagems of power. The one keeps variety in all its forms, encouraging an infinite success; the other lays down its template, bending the world into enormities that fail and fall.
"The best lack all conviction," wrote W.B. Yeats in his poem "The Second Coming" as he and his generation were disturbed by the threat of socialism in Europe at the end of the First World War, "while the worst are full of passionate intensity." It is the concern of all enlightened societies when armies of unreason invade and occupy the centers of culture and government. The worst find identity and purpose in a shame culture environment, in tribal myths, in organized lawlessness and shows of violence. In our moment, the best, who believe wholeheartedly in America's goodness and who recognize in the nation's founding documents the summit of human intellectual achievement, are distracted by the viciousness of liberal opinion and passion hurled against them. Caught up in the vortex of leftist activism, and unaccustomed to its disgrace and violence, the best are too often weakened in spirit and made fearful of offending the worst.
The worst will level this world with a debased creed of centralized power and the self-righteous arrogance that attends it; and the best must answer in terms the worst will understand. The hour comes round for America, for her citizens, like the children of Old Europe, are now thrown into stasis and soul-annihilating contests of principle and ideology.
Where would progressives be without their consuming, systematized ignorance, their ideological prejudices and hatred? Their poisons inform the uninformed. History is irrelevant; ignorance is necessary, turning the worst elements of human nature into a hideous political strength. Government at all times must act as a stay against human nature. Governments may change, but the purpose of government cannot change. The modern left’s desire for universal participation in their contempt for long-established democratic values and institutions suggests a level of derangement undiscovered in American politics -- but there is no level of derangement unacceptable to the left.
We have not yet seen the worst of the worst. We can anticipate the end of democratic institutions should progressives ever acquire the statist powers they have pursued since the Wilson presidency, for the liberal caste, outraged by Trump's victory, are no longer willing to leave their fate to the electoral whims of the people. Their handbooks tell us that any means of acquiring power is legitimate if it succeeds. Their determined pursuit of power, their need to control the thought and behavior of targeted populations, and their persistent urge to bring harm to those who disagree combine in force as a statement about the terms of social justice they wish to impose upon the American people.
Americans and Europeans are straightforwardly reluctant to accept the dishonesty and the insults of progressive leadership but passive enough to follow its instructions even into the regions of hell. Under the fixed templates of ideological instruction, collapse is the foreseeable product of social justice engineering. The recognition of Sharia and foreign laws by leftist interests, their bureaucratic entrenchment, and their aggressive promotion of uncontrollable immigration from failing states threaten the entire foundation of Western law and culture. Their socialist delusions survive in the expectation of multiculturalism, in the establishment of a new world order of governing elites, in the promise of a massive redistribution of unearned wealth, and in creating difficulties that are insoluble by democratic institutions. All this, so that in the end, the great majority of people, silenced by political correctness and arbitrary liberal authority, and frustrated by their inability to correct them, will learn to tolerate, then to accept, and finally to embrace the depravities which they first so earnestly sought to avoid.
Democratic institutions are inherently conservative, sustained by public trust in their moral legitimacy and distinguished by principles of self-governance. Conservatism is a direct expression of the democratic process. Included in its tenets is a reverence for the equality of all persons under law, for their fundamental rights, and for their freedom from the coercive powers of the state. Liberalism, in its modern interpretation, divides the nation, rending the entire fabric of society, culture, and government, and at every opportunity seeks, for political reasons, to diminish the value of the citizen.
Those among the left who speak so highly of democracy are attracted only to the despotic powers that accrue to the majority. Consider that 51 percent of the vote equals 100 percent of the power in a strictly popular electoral process and you will understand why liberals are attempting, before the 2020 census, to divide the American people into reliable constituencies -- organized under the fraud of social justice programming -- that would in time establish a permanent majority in government under the "benevolent" control of leftist interests.
But to trust the First Amendment to the benevolence of liberals in government is to trust one’s wealth and property to the discretion of thieves. Leftists value diversity of opinion as long as you agree with them; but those who agree with the left’s distorted ideology render themselves stupid and incoherent in its defense. As a nation, we must respond effectively to those extremists on the left who recruit from populations made ignorant from propaganda, who incite and direct racial enmity for political reasons, who practice intolerance of free speech, and who promote a hostile and retaliatory environment throughout the culture -- even at the centers of education.
Knowledge is resistance: to the prejudices of ideology, to the dishonesty of liberal media, to political correctness, and to the despotic will of left-wing activism. We cannot fail to remember that liberalism is a myth, a modern intellectual invention, taking its instruction from social theorists of the 19th and 20th centuries. It owes nothing to the nation’s founding principles of government. Its doctrine is that of a statist command and control system free of constitutional restraints; and its votaries seek to acquire and hold power through propaganda, intimidation, and force, methods typical of a totalitarian structure.
The ignorant are never free. They are the plantation dwellers and slaves of ideology. The propagandists, the demagogues, and the race-baiters are above them -- teachers of the ignorant -- and they are the masters and whip-holders of the new liberal shame culture. The ignorant will always find someone to tell them what to believe and who to hate, and they will always find tribes and prophets prepared to receive them. Those who have found comfort in the left’s egalitarian dystopia have little appreciation for the quality of rights and freedoms that America guarantees to all persons standing on her soil, and they are quick to shake off the personal responsibilities that freedom requires of them. They have fallen into the trap of political identity that rewards total conformity of thought and behavior while punishing dissent, for they and their masters have tortured the soul of conscience and made of reason a medicine that cannot heal. The willfully ignorant -- those who have chosen ignorance -- represent the worst of America’s possibilities, for they are victims of a dangerous and misinforming ideology -- indoctrinated, radicalized, intolerant of opposition, and full of passionate intensity -- slouching towards Washington, like the "rough beast" of Yeats' terrible vision, to be born.
Philip Ahlrich can be reached for comment at email@example.com.