People divide up in two different ways. One way is when they differ on the substance of the debate—shall we go to war or shall we not? Shall we raise the minimum wage or shall we not? Shall we pursue an aggressive campaign against climate change or shall we not? Shall we appropriate big-time federal money to a new start-up climate-aware company, started by the president’s cousin, a company that is working on technology that can extract sunbeams from cucumbers, with a small royalty payment to Swift’s estate, or shall we not? This is the kind of division that is measured by political party platforms. Now policy obviously matters, but policy is not the whole game.
The other way people divide up is a function of which group has all the perks and which group is out in the wilderness. Which group is soft and pampered and which group is hard and tough? Now with this said, there are anomalies in the set up. The soft group is soft because it does have the hardness of power protecting it, and the tough group is tough because it is too weak to defend itself against the depredations of the soft group. It can get complicated. But judge this by the video, not the snapshot.
So there are obvious left/right differences, but there are also—just as obvious—inside/outside differences.
Durable institutions are built by tough men, and those who inherit the institutions are a little less tough, and those inheriting from them a little less tough than that. Eventually you get to the impressive walls of great Babylon, encasing the effete Belshazzar. And “in that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain” (Dan. 5:30).
Now the original Bolsheviks were evil—a biblical Christian’s differences with them on policy matters would be foundational moral differences. But they were still formidable outsiders—they were not the bolshie buttercups. However, their descendants and heirs—found at your nearest state university—are every bit as vicious as their progenitors, but they are not tough at all. They fall to whimpering whenever they encounter an alien opinion, and they spiral down into bolshie bathos crying out for safe spaces, coloring books, Play Doh, plush animal toys, and for the university administrators to make the bad man go away.
I have no doubt that some of these antics began simply as an Alinskyite tactic, designed to make the establishment obey their own rules. But a bunch of people on the left bought into it for reals—not having been provided with the kind of education that would enable their arguments to pass a Breathalyzer test. As a consequence they started actually to believe and feel their own emotive ramblings. And here we are.
Throughout the course of my lifetime, on the policy front we have been playing the hokey-pokey. You put your right foot in, you take your right foot out. The control of the federal government has alternated back and forth between the Republicans and Democrats. Sometimes this party platform was pursued, and sometimes that one was, and at times one reasonably suspected that there was not that great a difference between them. There were times when a reasonable man thought that the Democrats wanted to drive off the cliff at 80 mph and the Republicans countered with a proposal that we go 50. Be that as it may, there were policy differences—sometimes bigger, as in the time of Reagan, and other times smaller, as with Nixon.
But surrounding the whole thing, there has always been a mysterious bipartisan consensus, one dictated by an imperious zeitgeist, promulgated by the entertainment complex and media, and studiously obeyed by all the politicians. This zeitgeist was enthusiastically pushed by the left and sullenly obeyed by the right, and the whole culture steadily followed after it. When it has made enough of an appearance to be given a name, it has been called political-correctness.
If you want to know what powers this zeitgeist has, look no further than the immediately honored demand—driven by hidden chthonic powers—that a hapless congressman from East Toad Flats (R-AR) be found guilty of a career-ending gaffeous blunder because someone at the state fair barbecue recorded him telling a blonde joke. The cry goes up in the village and into the volcano he goes.
So this brings us to the recent presidential election. A mistake that many are making with regard to all of this is that they are trying to interpret everything in terms of policy. Now as I said at the top, policy matters and the new president will have to institute particular policies. He will have to govern, in other words. And in the appointments that have been made thus far, I know that I have serious policy differences with some of what is going on (e.g. Pompeo and bulk surveillance).
But don’t let that distract you from what is really going on. What is really going on is a gigantic collision between the insiders and the outsiders. Nothing is more obvious than that the decree went forth from the zeitgeist that Trump was to be thrown into the volcano, as so many before him had been, and the villagers refused.
“But he was guilty of a career-ending gaffe!” Don’t you understand yet? He was guilty of a thousand career-ending gaffes, with a good third of them on tape. And he took Wisconsin and Michigan and Pennsylvania.
The aftermath of this particular bloodbath has been a sight to behold. I am not here talking about the aftermath inside Clintonville—that is simply the downfall of a corrupt, mendacious and vain politician. Her story overlaps somewhat with this one, but she at least knows that she was rejected. The zeitgeist-mongers who are still running around loose in what used to be the power-centers of Manhattan do not yet have any idea what just happened.
And so the cast of Hamilton actually came out to the edge of the stage and graciously explained to the vice-president elect (and to the rest of us as well) that the volcano gods were very unhappy and unsettled, and that if we did not agree to go back to the old way of being inclusive to everyone except blue collar Midwesterners, they might even rumble a bit.