Thursday, July 28, 2016

The 2016 Election is a Test

One of my recurrent themes is that the Obama "fundamental change" strategy is not just wrong from a conservative point of view, because it re-feudalizes the American people and a lot more besides.

No, my argument is that, from the point of view of liberals themselves, you don't want to push the liberal agenda Obama-style, by a partisan vote on Obamacare and Dodd-Frank, by executive actions, by Dear Colleague letters on campus rape and transgender bathrooms, by Supreme Court ukases on gay marriage.

Why? Because government is injustice, at least to the people on the receiving end of government force.

Now when you are on the receiving end of force you have the options of Hegel's Master/Slave Fight to the Death. You can fight or you can surrender. But when you surrender you are not entering into consensus with the victor; you are just bowing to his superior force, for now.

That is why Daniel Patrick Moynihan said that to pass a program like Medicare you needed a 70-30 bipartisan vote in the Senate. The point is that to make a program part of America rather than just the Democrat agenda you needed the opposition, or at least a part of the opposition, to sign off on the bill. You needed the appearance of consensus.

When you pass transformative bills like Obamacare without a single Republican vote and you push your agenda with unilateral executive or regulatory actions, and you use your cultural hegemony to pass your agenda on abortion or gay marriage through the aristocratic branch of government, the US Supreme Court, you are pursuing a strategic policy of force. You are saying, whether you know it or not, that your power play is irreversible, that the peasants better shut up and tug their forelocks or else.

My theory is that all government action, particularly action that does not have the penumbra of "consensus," provokes a head of rebellion. Because government is force, because government is injustice. We certainly saw how liberals experienced government as injustice when the Bush administration was in power. It inspired them to rise up and elect the First Black President and the most Democratic Congress since 1964.

But now we have the most Republican Congress since 1928. Could that be because the Obama administration made no effort to cobble together bipartisan "consensus" for its marquee legislation? Could that be because the Obama administration weaponized the IRS against the Tea Party groups?

We conservatives have made much of the cultural Marxist strategy of the Frankfurt School, featuring Antonio Gramsci's march through the institutions and Herbert Marcuse's intolerant tolerance. We like to characterize them as unstoppable and inevitable. But the problem with them is that they are pure power plays. They can only work in the long term if the people just lie down and surrender in the Hegelian Master/Slave Fight to the Death. In the long term, though, it is also possible that the people will rise up against the Masters and rebel, or through the knowledge they have acquired through their Work demand that the Masters accord them recognition.

That is why I say that the 2016 election is a test. It is a test to see whether Donald Trump's social media savvy can upend thirty years of the cultural hegemony inspired by Marcuse. Up to now, if you disagreed with liberals on anything you were branded a racist, sexist homophobe. If you disagree with gays you are a hater. If you worry about immigration, you are a xenophobe. But Trump has turned the tables on the liberals, as no conservative has been able to do since Ronald Reagan. As Newt Gingrich keeps saying: he has never seen anything like it.

Because the basic question is: will the March Through the Institutions and Political Correctness fundamentally transform our western society, or will the people rise up and destroy it?

I was out and about yesterday in Seattle as my daughter and husband and grandchildren were in town. I looked around at all the ordinary white people and thought: did all these ordinary people deserve this abuse from their educated and evolved betters?

I don't think so. But I don't know if those ordinary people will stand up rebel against their Masters and Make America Great Again.

But that's why we have elections.

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