Reading Kathryn Lopez’s interview of Byron York this morning on the occasion of the publication of York’s new book (The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy) I was struck by what a strange world we are now living in. When I was a kid, the left was run by socialists of various stripes. (I am just now writing about my early attendance at meetings of the Trotskyite dominated Student Peace Union for my own book.) The left is now led by mega-capitalists like George Soros and relatively smalltime capitalists like Al Franken. Socialism is the new homosexuality in that its name is not spoken. But in this case I don’t think that’s because many of its adherents are actually secretly practicing socialists. There may be a handful of Marranos of the left, but Soros et al seem to be flat-out practicing capitalists with no intention of going back to Marx in any of his iterations. Socialism has disappeared as a rallying point, replaced by a kind of know-nothing pacifism (I guess that’s what it is, but it’s hard to make it out.)
So politics today is a battle between capitalist forces with the moveon.orgs of the world acting as cannon fodder for one side. Sure they will be paid off to some extent (e. g. academic tenure) if this quasi-left is victorious, but I doubt to any significant degree. We are in an era when capitalism (the market) has won and the spoils are being divided. Our job, as much as possible, is to make sure this is done fairly.