How to defeat the leftist institutions that control our society
idea: tax and price-control them into submission, pitting leftist consumers against leftist institutions.
Leonard D. writes:
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If by some miracle we did break the progressive institutions, then we might have something to fight about politically. But we will not break the progressive institutions without tremendous changes to the modern constitution of America and the West. (If they haven’t already, I urge your readers to check out Mencius Moldbug’s view of those institutions, which by his account include: (a) all of the government except the military, (b) the NGOs and the big foundations, (c) the press, and (d) the universities.)
I find this to be a defeatist and wrong attitude. It is not true that breaking progressive institutions requires enormous changes to the modern Constitution. This belief is, in my opinion, the single factor that allows the Left to run roughshod over the Right with barely an ounce of resistance.
The way to break progressive institutions is to deprive them and their beneficiaries of a way to make a living. All institutions, after all, depend on money for their survival. Without money, the leftist message may exist within the leftist skull, but it could not manifest its way into the public space.
Take universities. Right now, college costs are at their all time high. Students are graduating with anywhere from $40-80k in debt or higher with no prospect of a job to pay for an apartment, let alone service their debts. Students who as yet have to graduate are uncertain if they face the same threat. Enter a right-wing poltician who insists that not only should students be allowed to discharge their student loan debts, but that a new program to establish price controls on the “unconscionable greed of university professors and administrators” should be created. In other words, tuition caps, book cost caps, lab fee caps, and student housing caps. Since universities receive direct or indirect government funding for their activities, it makes sense for the government to regulate these costs because he who pays the piper calls the tune.
My hypothetical right-wing politician could thunder about the necessities of a healthy start for young people in a quest to form families affordably; he could wax poetic on the fraud and hypocrisy of a society that demands children indebt themselves to the hilt in useless educational fraud; he could reproach the greed of the universities for charging amounts that exceed the income of the average American while expecting the taxpayer to pay for it; he could speak in misty doe-eyed terms anout how he wants to make education accessible to everyone, while pounding the table.
This fight over money studiously side-steps the usual Republican talking points, like “balance” and “indoctrination.” It pits left-wing students/parents against left-wing teachers. It disarms the left’s defenses. What student would ever go against something so obviously against his interest? And there are many more students than teachers.
This policy can be repeated across every leftist institution. Want to get rid of NGO’s and foundations? Tax non-profits. Want to get rid of Hollywood ? Allow illegal file-sharing. The list is endless. With enough rhetoric and creativity you could demolish the entire Left.
Leonard D. writes:
I agree at with Mark P. at an abstract level, that you fight the left by defunding it. But that is only part of what is needed. In large part, you fight the left via actual fighting, or threat thereof. Otherwise, they vote the funds right back on. No fundamental change rightward will happen by democratic means. The left create popular opinion via the media, the press and universities. Why would they vote to defund themselves? They would not, unless under absolutely tremendous pressure. Pressure which Mark P. is not seriously contemplating.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 30, 2009 04:50 PM | Send
Mark P.’s specific idea is easily dealt with: the left would happily ally with his theoretical right-wing politician to get student loan forgiveness and caps on educational fees, cost of living, etc. The left will never forgo any chance to induce more people into their cathedrals of learning. But contra Mark, all those limits on student spending would, of course, require more state funding for schools—and you’re not against education, are you Senator Markarthy? Not against our young people? No, of course not. Oh you are? You’re an extremist!—probably racist, homophobic, and sexist, to boot! I don’t expect to see you around these parts after next November.
But let’s not speak of specifics. More generally, as I suggested with the moniker, right wing populism has been tried and it doesn’t work. McCarthy tried it and failed spectacularly. Reagan did it and at least did not fail, but neither did he roll back much of anything. And both of those men had many voters who actually remembered the time before 1932, and in the latter case, 1965. We have practically none of the former and increasingly few of the latter. The only modern right-wing success stories are military coups, and a handful of electoral successes in very extreme circumstances.