Required Reading

Over at The Federalist, Robert Tracinski asks if we’ve reached “peak leftism.” Read:

When you think about, its very dominance of cultural institutions means that the Left is up against a couple of big unfavorable factors. First, there is the law of diminishing returns. The more gains they make, the harder it gets to go any farther. When you’re going from a 50-50 split to an 80-20 majority, as many of these [academic] fields did up to the 1960s, that’s a really big change. You’re throwing the balance of the whole profession behind the Left’s agenda and creating a presumption that the next generation will follow in your footsteps. Likewise, when you go from an 80-20 majority to 95-5 dominance, as many of those fields have done from the 1960s to today, you are creating a rigid orthodoxy, in which dissenting views are marginalized and silenced.

But now you’re at the point where all that remains is to hound out the last few holdouts, demanding conformity from that final 5 percent. And that’s likely to be very difficult, because anyone who rises up today as an openly declared conservative or free marketer in academia, in Hollywood, in the mainstream media, or in the arts, is likely to be a pretty tough bird. He knows he’s in a hostile environment, he has accepted that, and he’s learned to cope with it.

So this is a classic case of diminishing returns: those who are easy to chase out of these fields have already gone, and the Left has already experienced the big rewards of capturing the cultural high ground.

Read the whole thing.

Tracinski asks rhetorically, “What happens if our culture reverts to the mean?” And then argues that “even a small change in that direction would be experienced as a massive cultural swing to the Right.” But the whole point of the neo-Marxist “long march march through the institutions” of America and the West was to make such a swing impossible — to lock in the ratchet effect at the level of language, not just at mere politics and policy. Orwell’s Newspeak isn’t necessary in a culture where the lively free-for-all of free speech becomes self-limited by political correctness and permissible thought. 1984‘s “Junior Anti-Sex League” is already well-represented on America’s college campuses, although it goes by the name of “modern feminism.”

Can the culture revert to the mean in the current atmosphere? Or will the Right have to undertake its own Long March just as subversive as the Left’s?