Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Progressives, Terror, and Gun Control

"Progressives tend to believe that government — if made to have sufficient size, scope, and proper management over the affairs of man — will fix or at least seriously mitigate the problem of evil in the world."

--Mollie Hemingway, “Federalist”

There is a coherent ideology behind the elite that runs the country today. They are activists, they are the “better people” guiding us to a brighter future, they rose by merit, they rule through government’s coercive power, and they are certain in their right to damage and destroy the less qualified who unjustly seek to take their power away.

In all this, they resemble every elite that has ever ruled.

Right now, the progressive elite’s hold on power is threatened by poor job performance. As Daniel Henninger of the conservative Wall Street Journal tells us (subscription):
Whatever Obama promised. . . any sense of a nation united and raised up is gone. This isn’t normal second-term blues. It’s a sense of bust. The . . . Pew Research poll[‘s] headline message is that trust in government is kaput. Forget the old joke about the government coming to “help.” There’s a darker version now: We’re the government, and we’re here to screw you.
Threatened, the elite’s mainstream media mouthpiece shouts into an echo chamber that reverberates with the same ideas. Repeated over. And over.

Reporters are frustrated progressive politicians. They are activists who -- in order to move their ideas forward -- must work closely with those who hold actual power. That’s a clue as to why the elite sings the same songs. Power holders and mouthpieces, crooning in harmony.  


Hierarchy is the key to elite rule. Begin with education, a culture of learning within which one advances by repeating correct thinking. The reward is movement up the intellectual ladder. You may not take joy at your (low) place on the ladder, but gain depends upon staying on and supporting the ladder. Forget democracy. It’s about serving those above. And that means singing the same song in harmony.

Hierarchies don’t work well. They suppress new ideas in the interest of conformity. Rewards are highly restricted with most human resources wasted. But hierarchies work in the short run to maintain top-down control.

The progressive elite echo chamber currently sings that Republicans -- unlike Democrats -- will lose because they fight among themselves. But as Noah Rothman writes in the conservative journal Commentary:
Republican disorganization. . . is a good problem to have. Unruliness is a feature of an ideologically diverse coalition of competing interests. The conversation inside the left’s closed circle is a self-reinforcing one; dissent is hard to come by and is punished by the movement’s most dogmatic enforcers when discovered.
Reality TV

Progressive certainty about victory rests heavily on Trump’s rise within the GOP and his simultaneous long and growing list of defeat-guaranteeing errors. Bill Murray (no, not him), in “RealClearPolitics,” joins us in wondering what’s the basis for Trump’s endurance in the face of withering fire:
Trump’s open antagonism toward political correctness and his disdain for the establishment media’s role as the American public’s chief intermediary has not disqualified him from office, but instead has enhanced his reputation with the Republican electorate. Why?
Murray believes we are at a turning point in how politicians reach voters that matches when radio replaced newspapers, and then TV replaced radio. Roosevelt nominating “The Happy Warrior” Al Smith, and in the process wowing his early, 1924 radio audience. Kennedy catching an unready Nixon on television in the 1960 first presidential debate. Reagan, polished by years on TV (“GE Theater,” “Death Valley Days”), rolling over Jimmy Carter in their 1980 debate.

Now Trump, comfortable with reality TV from running his show “The Apprentice,” is connecting with a mass, unwashed Republican base. The less educated identify with the real people they believe they know from reality TV programming such as “Jersey Shore.” It’s TV beyond elite control, and Trump understands it.  

Elite Fights Back

The legacy media may not be overpowering a new “reality,” but they know the old ways to search and destroy. Hillary Clinton’s great vulnerability is people don’t trust her. So as ex-CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson suggests, the “post truth media” is out to make sure that whoever becomes Hillary’s GOP opponent will also carry the label “dishonest,” thereby neutralizing the trust issue as much as possible.

And at present, progressive leaders and their media handmaidens are unfolding a coordinated push to elevate gun control as a national issue. The New York Times, leading voice of the liberal elite, has just published its first front-page editorial since June 13, 1920 (picture above). And it’s about gun control.

Gun control isn’t a popular issue, especially in the face of Islamist extremism, responsible recently for the worst terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11. So what’s going on?

Answer: progressives need to change the subject away from Islamic extremist terror, the issue that carried the GOP to victory in 2004, the last time a Republican won the White House. And as progressives, their response to terror must include launching the government into action.

Should the top issue remain Islamic extremism, the GOP will win. Gun control unites progressives against Republicans, whom the left see as prisoners of the National Rifle Association, even as the wider public doesn’t back stricter gun laws. And gun control baits the GOP into a fight much less costly to Democrats than the war on terror. "Let’s talk guns," not Islamic extremism.

The New York Times. Still orchestrating the progressive song.

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