The Twilight of the Liberal Gods
We are living in amazing times, astonishing times, times I wouldn’t have believed possible as little as a year ago.
There is this Jorge Luis Borges story, where the old gods are returning to Earth, but upon their arrival, it is found that they have lost the ability to speak. Instead, when they open their mouths, they caw or roar, or make other bestial sounds. The populace, disgusted, turns away from them and refuses to worship them. I don’t remember precisely (it’s been years since I read them), but I think in the end the “gods” get utterly destroyed.
That’s what’s been happening to the left this last year.
Look, I’m a writer, which, for a long time, my husband said was an excuse to spend more than I made on history books. This is not precisely true, more sort of what I do for fun. Because I write in many times and places, I like to have an idea of what I call “the great movements of history,” i.e. what things led to other things.
Part of what led to the dominance of the left in all the “gatekeeping” places, including publishing, the arts, education, and to a large extent government, was two things: their ability to project intelligence and calm; and the ruthlessness to not only not hire anyone who wasn’t a fellow-traveler, but also to kick out everyone who disagreed with them as soon as they could.
The second led to, by a ruthless and slow process, getting rid of everyone who wasn’t first at least social-democrat, then socialist, and finally outright communist from most of the fields the left captured. (And if one is to believe Robert A. Heinlein, the process was completed with the Democratic Party back in the forties.)
The first led to their holding that power, because not only did they have control of the mass media, and really, all forms of cultural communication, but they could project the calm and gentle impression of being the sane ones.
And this started with the publishing industry, for instance, back in the twenties. It might have started with news and art before that.
When I came to the States my mother-in-law recommended I read Ann Landers to get a feel for what middle America thought and how middle America acted. I did. And I must confess that I don’t remember any specific instances, but I often found myself thinking her answers were somewhere north of preposterous. I have a vague idea that answers on how to run a marriage were particularly insane, amounting to “a woman should never cede power over anything.”
But she sounded so reasonable, so clean cut. My mother in law was right about that. Her answers on etiquette and how to handle everyday conundrums were exactly how middle America thought such things should be handled. And into this, she slid the completely preposterous, and readers would go: “Well, she researched. She must be right.”