Culture

Hidden Conservatives and Banquo's Ghost

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In the beginning of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the witches predict greatness for the eponymous character. This leads, through a series of crimes to his actually being in power.

And then the trouble starts.

Because Macbeth acquired that power by treachery and murder, by deceit and betrayal, he knows it could be taken from it the same way, which leads to both paranoia and more crimes, and eventually to madness, long before the man “not born of woman” puts an end to Macbeth’s disastrous (for everyone else, as well as himself) career.

Now go read that again, and substitute “the left” for Macbeth.

Yeah, sure, it wasn’t witches that told them they’d be in charge, and not too far off. But Marx did. It’s part of the belief of the left that the future is theirs, that they will eventually win, that they are, as they say, “progressive” and “on the right side of history.”

Remove that certain, predestined belief they will win out, and none of those expressions make sense.

Heck, I’m old enough to remember when even the right – or if you prefer the anti-communists, since the left/right dichotomy of Europe doesn’t play very well on these our shores – took it as a baseline assumption that the left would win. It was built into William F. Buckley Jr. saying conservatives were “standing athwart history, yelling stop”. Why stand athwart unless you thought history was going somewhere in particular, and why yell stop unless you thought that it was going the way of the left.

Then the USSR fell, the Berlin wall came down, and the time between has been a long and painful (and not just for the left) time of finding out how wrong assumptions can be.

Which brings us to this post.

Lately what is going on in the left, including the defenestration of all the “progressives” who happen to be male and might or might not have taken advantage of their power to harass women (okay, several have, but then again several women were impressed enough with power not to complain till now. All honor to those who did, and there were a few, but the vast majority didn’t) resembles very much Macbeth’s obsession with Banquo’s ghost and the fear that someone will wrest from him his ill-gotten power.

It ties in with my — and my friends’ — various experiences in fields controlled by the left. For instance, every time I buck the establishment in publishing, I get a plethora of letters saying “I’m with you but I’d never dare admit it in public.” The same happens to friends who are professors or instructors in various institutions throughout the country.

Recently one of them – a secret conservative – was approached by students who complained about the pervasive left ideology in their classes, lectures and general thrust of the (STEM) discipline. He was shocked and is still disbelieving. He didn’t know there were more than two conservatives in the class, much less fully a quarter the class. And now he wonders how many more are keeping quiet. (If it mirrors my experience, most of them.)

The thing is that in every institution the left takes and controls, up to and including the various mechanisms of government, the first thing they suppress is speech.

Sure, they tell you that all speech is welcome and that they revere “diversity of thought.” But anyone who is more than twenty and not incurably naïve in this culture knows for a fact that this “openness” is lip service. In point of fact, any dissenting opinion is treated as treason, and the person holding a non-approved opinion as the de-facto evil person. People well to the left of me (not difficult, since I’m an “as small a government as humanly possible” libertarian) are called “evil right-wingers” at the slightest show of dissent. The dreaded “Racist, sexist, homophobic” is brought out to exclude you and your opinions from polite speech and polite society.

And everyone knows once you’re even suspected of having a dissenting opinion, your career options will be curtailed, your work found substandard, your entire life diminished.

Some of the more hearty and loud folk even manage to pretend to have opposing opinions when they have to, to keep bread on the table. (You know, I’m not a fundamentalist Christian or a Bible literalist, but I’ve long wondered if this “mark of the left” is the supposed mark of the beast upon yourself without which you cannot do business nor feed your family. As I said not a literalist so take it with a grain of salt, but perhaps – like MacBeth – it describes mechanisms of how human societies go wrong.)

It used to be that you knew this – by intuition if not explicitly – in the arts, journalism, publishing, movies, and a few other institutions. Now I hear – thanks to the magic of HR – that even STEM companies are ruled by this “if you’re a conservative, hide and dissemble, or you’re done.” Certainly, kerfuffles with Firefox and Google seem to indicate that’s right, as do my blog commenter roles, where people have elaborate personas to comment online (as I used to) because to come out as conservative is the end of their employment/career.

Of course, the left looks at this as solidifying control. They’re eliminating all possible dissent. They don’t see dissent, so they believe no one dissents.

The forest cannot move. There is no man not born of woman who can end their reign. There are no hidden conservatives. There can’t be. Not only has the left controlled schooling for four generations and preached the left gospel, but not believing that gospel has been made equivalent to being dumb. If you don’t regurgitate what you “learned” you’ll never get a college education.

So the left is morally sure there can’t be non-leftists in institutions of higher learning. And people like me who make their living from their intellect and are anti-leftists are considered “crazy.” The rest are just “stupid.” There can be no leaks in their wall.

Except — this worked pretty well when they controlled all means of communication, or at least all means of mass communication. You might know you and your aunt Elsie were conservatives and weren’t stupid or crazy, but you knew the conservatives shown in the papers, in the news, and in fiction were both stupid and crazy. So maybe you were exceptions, and therefore the liberals were the least of two evils.

That has changed. We know there are a lot more like us out there.

I’ve recently started to wonder if we’re in a situation like the last days of Nicolae Ceaușescu in Romania. I remember the suddenness of that change. In the morning, he was the beloved leader. In the evening, he and his wife were bloodied, bullet-ridden corpses against a wall.

This was because the people who opposed him were a majority. They just didn’t know it. Suddenly they found out.

I think since Donald Trump’s election – which you could say was the first salvo of this rebellion, the first time “I am not alone” was shown on a national political stage – a lot of us have been looking around and wondering how many more of us there are.

I know that during the Obama Administration, Occupy Wall Street was the left’s attempt to spark country-wide revolution. Their controlled sources of information told them there was a vast rebellion waiting to happen, vast support for socialism. It fizzled like a wet firecracker, while the despised and mocked Tea Party took off and persisted much longer than anyone could have expected.

But the left still believes their myths and their sources of information. They have to. They know they came in through treachery and criminal behavior. They know how many talented people they’ve kept out in every field they control because these people were insufficiently enthusiastic for the party line. So their being in control must be “right” in some greater sense. It must be predestined. Marx must have been right. They’re on the right side of history. All their moral lapses are for the greater good and not just personal enrichment and power. And the people love the left. They must love the left.

There are no men “not born of women” Macbeth would say. And there are no hidden conservatives, certainly not smart and competent ones, the left will say.

And yet I feel as though we’re balanced on a razor’s edge. The left feels it too, hence the more and more deranged acting out.

Alas, they’re going to find there is not enough water to wash their hands, and their crimes and corruption would turn the very sea incarnadine.

If we’re lucky the changeover is accomplished without violence. The chances of that diminish with every instance of acting out and insanity.

It’s not true that treason never prospers.  Treason often prospers for a while.  That’s the whole point of it.  You betray your friends, your fellow citizens, your employers, and you surround yourself with like minds, which in turn make you rich and “respected.”

But in the long run, treason can’t prevail.  Those who came up by knifing people in the back (even in the name of ideology) can never rest on their laurels.  (And are often not very good.)

And sooner or later the worm turns.