Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Failing Liberal Agenda

The Twentieth Century was marked by the rise, fall and struggle of three ideologies, Fascism, Communism and its cousin Liberalism.  In the wake of WWI, the old order of princes and kings was thrust asunder, fundamentally changing the system in place since the Peace of Westphalia.  Woodrow Wilson, that great meddler, used the newfound power of the United States to not only usher in the precursor to the United Nations but to play a significant role in dismantling empires and fostering republican and democratic governments across Europe.  The result was the equivalent of a European Spring in the following two decades where democracies failed and gave way to authoritarian communist and fascist governments.  Of course, another war followed and after that almost 40 years of a cold war where the remaining two ideologies, liberalism and Communism faced off. 

What does that have to do with the present you ask?   Consider, America spent the entire Cold War abroad “making the world safe for democracy”.  At home, since the introduction of the New Deal through the Great Society and onwards, liberal policies have been on the rise.  Certainly, there have been occasions and periods where conservatives got a say, the 1980’s to be sure, but on balance, liberalism has been waxing and conservatism waning. 

Yet, despite almost 100 years of continuous victories, liberals seem more desperate now than at any previous point. The social justice movement is simply unhinged, fringe groups throughout the left are – they seem to sense the end.   Ideologies always fail, history has proven this, and modern liberalism is just that, an ideology.  

The simple and inarguable fact is liberalism has exacted a great toll on humanity.  It has destroyed community, man’s connection with his God, the family.   In foreign lands, once noble-sounding ideas have translated into poverty and disease.   Africa is certainly not much better off today than in the age of imperialism.  The wave of liberal democratization that swept the middle-east, with much US encouragement and backing, destroyed lives – many people living in Libya probably wish to return to the predictability of Gadhafi over the uncertainty of a democratic mob. In the United States, statistics prior to 2016 show the middle class shrinking, a trend that progressed for years. Lastly, liberalism, by its nature, requires identity politics to thrive.  Identity politics ultimately divide, rather than unite.

Liberalism is failing, liberals know this – thus their desperation. More than any other explanation this is likely the very reason Donald Trump was elected president rather than some more center-leaning Republican choice.   Trump tapped into the horse-sense of the nation, regular people with common sense realized the foolishness that liberalism has wrought at home and abroad.   To paraphrase Gallagher, they were mad and were not going to take it anymore. Donald Trump, the swaggering guy that did not play nice with politicians, was the answer.

Is the election of Donald Trump the absolute death keel of liberalism?   No.   He does, however, represent a significant change in the American political landscape. He is very likely to serve as a clarion call to liberals to up their game.   His election will likely give birth to a much more bellicose and dangerous form of liberalism.   His election should do the same for conservatives.   We can make America Great Again but only if we actively fight the Cultural War at home, in our communities and at the ballot box.

 Why has Liberalism Failed and What Were the Costs?

The first casualty of liberalism since the election of Trump was the fourth estate, the media.  Conservatives have always suspected liberal bias in the media but it was subtle.  This has become so pronounced, even the liberal media openly write about their “war on trump” and why it is failing.  There is something significant in this.  The egalitarian liberal society that the left envisions cannot exist without a legitimate press.   It is difficult to imagine how or if this ever gets repaired within the current bipolar system.  The election of Donald Trump, by ordinary decent people, scared the liberal elite so greatly that the media could not help but openly prostrate themselves in an attempt to “rectify the situation”.   This is not a point that will be easily corrected, and it bodes poorly for liberalism in general.  If Providence has a sense of humor then it is just that Trump should be the man to face this frontal assault by the media, he is simply unflappable and unfazed by their smears.

Liberals will likely pull out more, if not all stops in the mid-terms and thereafter to undermine and then undo anything and everything “Trump”.  This too will be their failing, just like they used the silver bullet of the media with little effect, desperate actions in the future will only suffice to cement the demise of liberalism, highlight their desperation and demonstrate just how vile and hateful the ideology of “equality and diversity” is.

But why, why should it fail?   On the very face of it, in theory, it has always sounded so “nice”.  

Liberalism is failing in the United States and the West for the same reason it never took hold in Africa and why the Arab Spring ended in such carnage and devastation.  As Alexis de Tocqueville stated in the 17th century, a point reiterated in Patrick Deneen’s book ‘Why Liberalism Failed”, the ideology relies upon certain preexisting and vibrant societal and cultural norms - communities and family, moralism and religion, and philosophy and art.  Liberalism in the West has sought to systematically destroy each of those norms and replace them.

The idea of equality has been replaced by plutocracy, as liberal economic policies have destroyed large swaths of the middle class.   It has supplanted religious and intellectual freedom for conformity.  Art and craftsmanship have been replaced by consumer products. It has destroyed the family, the foundation of all good cultures.

 Liberalism is dying by its own foolish hands.  It is no longer a viable polite, political alternative as we once envisioned our two-party system. Stripped of the requisite underlying foundations of Tocqueville’s norms it will likely emerge as the sort of oppressive, controlling, tyrannical beast that the other two failed ideologies of the 20th century became.  The kinder, gentler, compromising version of liberalism we have grown accustomed to has failed, the monster that follows its death remains to be seen.

For conservatives, it is important to understand that we live in a moment of great change.  The election of Donald Trump signaled this, it did not begin it.   Politics in America have likely been transformed forever. The future is in question, what will follow the old political order?  Despite the fact that liberalism has failed utterly, the desperation of its adherents in undiminished, it is in fact greatly accelerated – perhaps to potentially dangerous levels. 


In the wake of the liberalism’s failure, we must remain engaged and redouble our efforts to conserve and protect the foundations of an orderly society – family, Christianity, and individuality within a community.