Panic at the Top
If the absurd raid on Mar-a-Largo has not persuaded you yet that the Deep State and their cohorts are terrified of their loss of political and cultural dominance, I urge you to read this thoughtful piece by former CIA analyst Martin Gurri. He traces how with the panic over the Wuhan virus, the elites managed a level of control over both the population and the information about the disease and how to treat it.
It’s a wonderful, thoughtful essay and a summary cannot do it full justice, but if you are afraid that we cannot get out of the elite chokehold on our culture and political life, it may give you some comfort. He is optimistic as few are that the elites are rightfully panicked that their cultural supremacy is in its last stages:
Since conservatives and Republicans are politically strong but culturally nonexistent, they will flex their political muscle to try to right the imbalance. Virginia and Florida have banned the teaching of certain progressive doctrines in public schools. When Disney, Florida’s largest employer, vocally condemned these laws, the company was punished with the removal of local privileges. Should Republicans win Congress and the White House, I would expect American politics to experience a cultural Armageddon. [snip][R]aw political power can make the cost of cultural monopoly -- and of idle posturing, Disney-style -- unpleasantly high.
A second threat to elite culture is the defection of the victim class. The cult of identity generates an insatiable demand for victim groups, which, by necessity, must become ever smaller and more marginal not only to the mainstream but also to traditional minorities. Even as the elites solidified their grip on culture, the focus of their performative outrage was drifting from civil rights and pocketbook issues to more esoteric questions of sexuality and climate justice. The new causes simply don’t resonate with Hispanics or blacks, whose socioeconomic interests lie in other directions. [snip] Progressivism is essentially a protection racket. If the elites ever lose the undisputed right to shout “Racism!” at the producers of culture, the latter will begin to fracture like the rest of the country and to look to the marketplace, rather than ideology, for inspiration.
The last countercurrent may be the most potent of all: the internal churning and dispersal of populations spurred by the pandemic and the availability of remote work. [snip] Such sweeping tides of humanity have always exemplified the central tenet of the American creed: that we are not captives to fate. Each wave of immigrants will begin a strange new story. To tell it, the culture, too, must be reborn and reinvented -- and the mold of progressive dogmatism will be shattered in the process.
To give one example Gurri has not, look to Florida’s legislation respecting state-financed higher education. It has incensed the predictably left-wing Miami Herald but it demonstrates the powers of local governments under our federal system.
Florida House Bill 233 prevents universities from shielding students from “ideas and opinions that they may find uncomfortable, unwelcome, disagreeable, or offensive.” The paper finds this outrageous, but if you have paid attention at all to the work of F.I.R.E. you know this legislation is essential. Almost all our colleges and universities have become monocultural left-wing indoctrination centers where nary a message outside the narrow band of “progressive” thought is permitted. And then there’s the bill Gov. Ron DeSantis dubs “The Stop Woke Act,” which the paper warns, “will regulate classroom instructions on race and gender. Universities risk losing funding, for example, over lessons that may be construed as telling college students they bear responsibility and 'must feel guilt, anguish or other forms of psychological distress because of actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, sex or national origin.'”
Looks to me like a great way to end the balkanization of students by the academic establishment, a balkanization promoted by distorted, often fake, history, and which serves no good social or political purpose. Should white males in Florida pay taxes to state colleges to indoctrinate students with lies blaming them for all the troubles in the world? (Should they in your state? If not, follow Florida’s lead.)
And if that isn’t enough to curl the Miami Herald’s toes, the Florida legislature passed a third bill, Senate Bill 7044. That bill requires tenured professors at state-financed colleges and universities to undergo reviews every five years. Tenure will no longer be a lifetime sinecure.
The Florida example is not the only one which, in my view, buttresses Gurri’s views. There is the CDC major backtrack this week, which seems most certainly a reflection not of a change in scientific analysis, but a recognition that the majority of the public has come to believe the CDC is a partisan outfit which locked us down, causing immense damage for no sound reason. They came to see they had shot their credibility to pieces. (Just as the FBI in Mar-a-Lago did this week.)
Of course, as you may recall, none of the rules applied if you were marching and rioting for BLM, but at last the CDC has adopted guidelines more in line with traditional disease management, a model Sweden followed, but doctors Fauci and Birx did not.
If you were fooled by this CDC foolishness, it may be because not only did the media megaphone them, but they and social media censored other views about the best way to deal with the virus. Thus, for example, Alex Berenson, a former New York Times reporter who consistently questioned the disease-control mandates, was blocked from Twitter, and brought suit in the course of which Twitter was forced to concede that White House officials played a role in censoring him. He’s now back on, conveniently just as the CDC has flipped and ended its idiotic recommendations.
Twitter’s censors and Biden Administration officials who have sought to silence public discussion about Covid vaccines and masks. Last July President Biden publicly blamed social media companies for “killing people” by not removing content that encouraged vaccine hesitancy.
Hours after Mr. Biden’s comment, Twitter locked Mr. Berenson’s account. The next month Twitter permanently banned Mr. Berenson after he tweeted that mRNA vaccines don’t “stop infection. Or transmission. Don’t think of it as a vaccine. Think of it -- at best -- as a therapeutic with a limited window of efficacy and terrible side effect profile that must be dosed IN ADVANCE OF ILLNESS. And we want to mandate it? Insanity.”
Robust debate would have done much to prevent the worst consequences of the CDC’s overreach, but the White House muscled one side. The Berenson case may, as the Wall Street Journal suggests, indicate that social media outfits in the future buckle under such pressure only at the risk of being sued as “state actors” for unconstitutionally limiting free speech.
Those of us on Facebook saw the same consistent banning, punishing and censoring of debate on the CDC’s actions and the efficacy of COVID vaccines. Is it likely that they, too, were muscled by the White House?
I think they should be panicking.