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Who Killed the Left?

David Gerlenter writing in the Wall Street Journal says something self-evidently true. The Left seems to have won every single culture battle fought.

Although the right reads the left, the left rarely reads the right. Why should it, when the left owns American culture? Nearly every university, newspaper, TV network, Hollywood studio, publisher, education school and museum in the nation. The left wrapped up the culture war two generations ago. Throughout my own adult lifetime, the right has never made one significant move against the liberal culture machine.

The late Andrew Breitbart noticed the same thing.  Observing that "politics is downstream from culture," he argued the Left has made us the villains of our own stories.

Our lives — indeed, our very species — has storytelling wound into our DNA. ... Popular culture is delivered to us in the form of story via books, TV, film, music, video games, and new media. ...

Thus we come to politics ... the vast majority of those with the power of content creation are Liberals. ... Liberals control story.  ...What is some of that messaging? Think about movies and TV. Corporations are evil — using unwitting poor Africans for pharmaceutical testing (Constant Gardener) or dumping toxic chemicals into nature (Erin Brockovich, A Civil Action) or responsible for the end of mankind (Rise of the Planet of the Apes). American soldiers are bloodthirsty lawbreaking maniacs (Any military film). The CIA conducts illegal, secret operations that have nothing to do with protecting America. Radical Muslim terrorists are never villains. Trial lawyers are crusading do-gooders. David Letterman and Saturday Night Live ridicule the Right 95% of the time. Jon Stewart pretends to be centrist, but in fact jumps all over the Right far more often than the Left.

Liberal political candidates are the embodiments of those Liberal tenets. The goal is to associate them in voter minds via the vehicle of popular culture.

Even before Breitbart's warning there was Orwell, who understood that the Left's ultimate ability was to uproot the past and plant their chosen seed for the future. His famous dictum "he who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past" is an unsurpassed indictment of groupthink totalitarianism. There seemed no doubt they would succeed. Within its bubble, the Left's control of culture is so absolute they can watch 1984 without realizing it's about them.

Yet the real mystery -- one which even Orwell himself did not anticipate -- is why,

Look around you. Every single country that adopted socialism as an economic system went bankrupt. The Soviet Union collapsed. Now the Western Gramscian project is self-immolating in the fires of its own absurdity. The current political crisis is the collective shudder of mortality passing through "every university, newspaper, TV network, Hollywood studio, publisher, education school and museum in the nation." The left may have "wrapped up the culture war two generations ago," but it is rotting inside the wrapping.

The search is on for the regicide.

The only thing one can be sure of is that the Republican Party didn't cause it; nor did their tame and feeble publications. In fact, not even publications like Breitbart, valiant though their efforts were, can claim credit. Trump couldn't have done it either, since the proud tower that Gerlenter describes would have been impervious to the mere touch of the orange-hued real estate mogul without some other factor in play.

Yet most of us know who did it, though we hesitate to name the obvious suspect. The Left, even in its downfall, has stilled our tongues. The word comes to the edge of our lips before we choke it back, fearful even now of the ridicule and abuse we will get should we blurt it. That word is God. God killed the Left. Of course one could legitimately use some other term. "Reality," "consequences," the "laws of nature," "economics," even "truth" will do. Through some process of increasing entropy, failed memory management, or unanticipated side effects, the status quo -- the one dominated by the Left -- is collapsing.

But whatever name one chooses for the cause, it is functionally the same thing. God is the simpler and more transgressive term. The Left is losing because it failed, it lost the Mandate of Heaven, as the Chinese would say; went the way of the buggy whip and the slide rule; missed the boat in the paradigm shift.

Orwell's metaphorical boot on the human face rotted away as it has done so many times before because time moves on and every dog has its day. Politics may be downstream of culture but history is downstream of them all, the river which bears away the all-conquering creeds. 1984 has come and gone many times before. The annals of humanity are littered with the tales of kings and politicians who thought they could control destiny, always won the culture wars -- yet ultimately failed before the mysterious complexity of reality. They perished and never knew why. Only ordinary men survive the kings, wondering in their simplicity what Saturday Night Live ever was.

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For a list of books most frequently purchased by readers, visit my homepage.


Support the Belmont Club by purchasing from Amazon through the links below.

Books:

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, by Joshua Foer. This book recounts Foer's year-long quest to improve his memory under the tutelage of top "mental athletes." He draws on cutting-edge research, a surprising cultural history of remembering, and venerable tricks of the mentalist's trade to transform our understanding of human memory. From the United States Memory Championship to deep within the author's own mind, his journey reminds us that, in every way that matters, we are the sum of our memories.

Magnum! The Wild Weasels in Desert Storm: The Elimination of Iraq's Air Defence, by Brick Eisel and James Schreiner. This book is based upon a journal Schreiner kept during his deployment to the Persian Gulf region for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Building on that record and the recollections of other F-4G Wild Weasel aircrew, the authors show a slice of what life and war was like during that time.

Rediscovering Americanism: And the Tyranny of Progressivism, Author Mark Levin revisits the founders’ warnings about the perils of overreach by the federal government and makes an impassioned plea for a return to America's most sacred values. He analyzes the troubling question of America's future, and reminds readers what they must restore for the sake of their children and their children's children.

For a list of books most frequently purchased by readers, visit my homepage.


Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with your friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.

The War of the Words, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres

Rebranding Christianity, or why the truth shall make you free

The Three Conjectures, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age

Storming the Castle, why government should get small

No Way In at Amazon Kindle. Fiction. A flight into peril, flashbacks to underground action.

Storm Over the South China Sea, how China is restarting history in the Pacific

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