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The New Reactionaries

Ivy League on Viagra

For the new regressives, universities are still hallowed centers of liberal instruction. There is no interest why professors have the reputation of used car dealers (with apologies to used car dealers), tuition soars faster than inflation, for-profit vocational schools siphon off students, and student loans mimic the 2008 housing bubble. In the regressive world, Barack Obama knows something about political science and the law, because Columbia and Harvard certified that he does. Indeed, we are all supposed to believe our children are educated because they have a BA certificate and took a cutting-edge Chicano Studies or Film Studies course at institutions who jack up prices faster than the rate of inflation and are subsidized by big government loans—and to question any of that earns the charge of being “anti-intellectual” or denying the children the right “to be all they can be.” We are supposed to make-believe that the overpriced campus of rock-climbing walls and "the poetics of low-riding" is every bit as rigorous as the 1950s Great Books courses at Chicago.

All the President’s Men—Again and Again

The new media is the most regressive of all. It too is back to the days of the early 1960s when it did not report the antics of the Kennedys in worry about endangering the New Frontier. At least the old reactionary press hid government lapses as well as liberal ones—but not the new regressives: for the L.A. Times, releasing photos of American soldiers with gruesome trophies in Afghanistan is necessary candor of the My Lai sort; yet suppressing Obama’s comments at a banquet for Rashid Khalidi is proper censorship for the cause, as if someone saw Jack Kennedy nude swimming in the White House pool with a co-ed and had to shut up about it. Apparently whether Obama was to be elected was for the media a matter of national security, but not so whether the war in Afghanistan was threatened. For the regressive journalist, Guantanamo and renditions were to be everyday news until January 20, 2009.


What is scary for the new regressive is present-day and future America. It is changing by the hour and making obsolete all the old big government, big union, big race, big university, and big media liberal assumptions of the past. And as the world leaves behind the progressive and as he turns regressive and bitter, give him some credit: he does not go down without the old fight against Rockefellers everywhere, Shell, the Alabama racists who insist on IDs to vote, union-busting scabs, tabloid journalists who threaten Cronkite-like Truth, and all the other old enemies of the people.