So, on Election Night, I was watching NPR literally color in the states as the election results came in. I was doing this on the I-phone of the guy who owns the bouldering club my teenager spends all of his time at these days.
This guy isn’t yet 30 and I’m sure we would disagree on a lot, but we both voted for Gary Johnson out of protest for this awful, awful election, so we were trying to find something to make us hopeful. And here are our silver linings with some analysis I worked up from our comments.
The Media Lost Control of the Narrative
I used to be a journalist and I’m doing a happy dance about this. How is that for irony?
Technology really has allowed us to override the media gatekeepers, challenge the official narrative, consume real news and real facts, and threaten the political establishment’s grip on public opinion. The information genie has escaped its bottle and I don’t see it being forced back in. In the digital world, people abandoning the 3×5 index card of allowable opinion and having real debates, without any media filter.
It’s possible to get “news” from social media feeds tailored to one’s own viewpoint. CNN can show poll results that suggest a certain trend. When I was Aemon’s age, we were all supposed to accept this as gospel truth. Today, if CNN never shows up in your social media feed, and you don’t watch CNN, it’s as though the poll never happened … at least for you. More and more people are turning off and going around the gatekeepers, meaning that the the media and the parties they support have lost control of the approved narrative.
Today, our challenge is not getting information. Instead, we struggle to sift through the avalanche of 24-hour news, websites, and social media that creates so much white noise that the political class actually hides its criminality in plain view, hoping it will be drowned out by all the rest of flashing lights. In the Watergate era, one simple story about a burglary gone wrong held the country in thrall for months. Today, every WikiLeaks dump seems to contain the seeds of a thousand Watergates. The information is there for anyone who wants to find it. We know what the politicians are up to. In fact, we know so much that a kind of fatigue sets in that entices us to shrug and accept it … as so many of Clinton’s followers did with her emails. (At least, that’s going to be the reason I give for my otherwise intelligent and moral friends voting for her).
Progressives Have Been Exposed
Progressives, both of the Republican and Democratic ilk, have been fully exposed as the illiberal authoritarians they’ve always been. This is especially true of the Democrats in this election cycle. Regardless of their stated policies or objectives, this election has made their real character clear by revealing their reactionary tactics to institute their agenda. Conservatives enrage them and they seek to deny them participation in elections. Average people saw this on parade in the 2016 election as it was clearly visible in the open hatred and contempt for Trump supporters. Whatever you think of Trump, this public unmasking of the Left is something new.
Followers of this blog should already know what real liberalism is, but the people who stole that word (today’s progressives) do not. They are not building a blue-collar working class movement. These are not my father’s liberals, organizing union halls. They are not my brother’s liberals, telling us to make love, not war. They care nothing about civil liberties, and — well, peace — just look at the neoconservatives who endorsed Hillary Clinton.
We’re not talking about silly, misinformed college kids who will grow out of being silly and misinformed or a handful of Marxist radicals. Mainstream Democrats, as exemplified by Clinton and Obama, are directly responsible for using identity politics to further themselves by inflaming hatred and distrust.
I hope you weren’t sold on the Left’s sacred love for democracy because they now openly discuss abandoning democratic outcomes when the retrograde “deplorables” have the audacity to vote the wrong way. In the UK, they are talking about setting aside the Brexit vote in the UK and some media pundits have openly discussed how to nullify votes from unwanted segments of the electorate.
Twenty years ago we would have considered it morally reprehensible for company owners to be forced out of business for refusing to do something against their own morality. Today, people argue that is perfectly moral and that adhering to a moral code that’s been around for millennia is morally reprehensible. Progressives today are religious enforcers of an approved worldview based on an always shifted code of political correctness. Although I have increasingly become skeptical of the Right, I believe the overwhelming threat to liberty today is from the Left. Yeah, there are idiot skinheads running around in the woods somewhere wearing bedsheets, but they are not the existential threat that millions of progressive authoritarians in all walks of life are. They don’t teach your kid’s civics class.
Thankfully, they’ve overplayed their hand in the 2016 election and awakened millions of Americans to their existence and threat as a result.
The Right has Self-Destructed
Conversely, the Right has self-destructed too. It’s been incredible to watch the Republic Party commit suicide, but it has indeed become a reality. As I explained to Aemon the other night … I didn’t really leave the Republican Party. I was never a GOP member (except for 1 day every four years), but I voted with them fairly often through the 1990s and 2000s. But the GOP left me. I suspect Ronald Reagan wouldn’t still be a Republican because today’s “conservatives” don’t conserve much beyond political jobs.
The modern GOP member is globalist, militarist, corporatist, and anti-populist. The Right chose neoconservatism over non-interventionism, Wall Street over Main Street, city over the country, and the managerial state in DC over federalism and state’s rights. They chose the Fed over gold, Lockheed Martin over Woolworth, and Goldman Sachs over your hometown savings and loan. They rejoiced in the rise of the 20th-century imperial presidency. They chose supply-side over laissez-faire, Milton Friedman over Mises, tax credits over constitutionalism. They embraced the welfare and regulatory states instead of making the optimistic case for capitalism, ownership and opportunity.
Worst, they’ve allowed the Left to cast GOP rank and file as racists and reactionaries. They blessed entitlements just to keep their cushy seats in Congress and their political perks. They chose to nationalize social issues and cede huge amounts of illegal power to the Supreme Court. If you want a stunning comparison — they chose John McCain and Mitt Romney over Ron Paul.
The Republican Party has lost any claim to the mantle of private property and personal liberty. They exist solely to be “less progressive” than progressives while accepting the underlying principle that the state runs our lives while they argue over the degrees, methods and ultimate goals.
Good riddance to bad rubbish. We stand at a crossroads where we can choose to kick of the dust of both forms of tyranny. But what will we become?