Thursday, March 17, 2016

The most powerful weapon of liberalism

Is its ability to dismiss yesterday's truth.  We see it in censorship.  Anyone my age remembers that when a record store wouldn't carry a Madonna album, or a radio station refused to play The Rolling Stones, it was Fascism! all the way.  Cries of Big Brother and McCarthyism abounded.

Those same progressives now have no problem boycotting or pressuring television shows or entertainers who say what they don't like.  They have no problem threatening people or companies who don't share their values.  Heck, they even support elected officials who try to use the government to legally eradicate free speech.

How do they do that?  Easy.  They have the media and the popular culture to back them up.  For most of the history of educational institutions, popular and artistic culture, and journalism, those institutions were cutting edge.  They were there to critique the powers that be.  They were there to undercut, poke fun at, and even seriously challenge the status quo.  If you think about the history of Western Civilization, how many bold breakthroughs against the establishment do we attribute to movements that found common cause with the artists, the writers, the poets, the educators and intellectuals of bygone days?

But not today.  In a rare turn of events, and unheard of in the brief history of Democratic societies, those institutions are now almost fully behind and supportive of a particular philosophy and political establishment.  Therefore, when someone who they deem to be part of that movement or establishment does or says anything convenient, it becomes part of the cultural landscape.  And when it is no longer convenient, it is able to be dismissed out of hand.  That was yesterday's Truth. Or it doesn't count. Or there is some reason why it's different.  Or through the constant pounding of propaganda, we're convinced that there is a new absolute morality that should punish hate and evil as currently defined.  With the threefold cultural venues behind you, it's easy to redefine just what constitutes the hate and evil that is the exception to the tolerance and diversity rule.

So as the GOP struggles against Obama's well played hand, if anyone thought appealing to Joe Biden's previous statements was going to give them that ace in the hole, think again.  Already, the press is leaping ahead of most Democrats to explain why what the Democrats pondered in 1992 clearly doesn't apply today.  As it never does.  Just like the post-Bork progressives who, in 1993, asked why couldn't we set aside partisanship and just get along.  Or the progressives who blasted and assaulted the last two popes who now make it an egregious sin to do anything less than celebrate and fall behind the current pope.

You can't fight a movement that is always one step ahead of its own standards.  You certainly can't do it when the institutions that define a culture are prepared to play by the same non-rules.  Using principles and truth against a movement willing to flaunt its disdain for either gives you the handicap every time.  

As an aside, I can't help but think that is part of the reason for the frustration and anger from the non-Left.  It's one thing to be bested in a contest.  It's another to lose to cheaters.  And when you see the Democrats barely have to lift a finger because everything across the pop culture and media world will rush ahead to twist and turn the last principles in order to win the moment, that can be beyond frustrating.  Just as losing to any cheater always is frustrating.

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