A cultural revolution is intensifying. The stakes are high. In the balance is the very nature of right and wrong; what is normal, moral, and socially acceptable.
The right isn’t even playing checkers to the left’s three-dimensional chess.
The right is playing tiddlywinks. Is it game over for America the beautiful?
What's up? The late Antonio Gramsci devised the cultural revolution. Gramsci was a true antifascist. And he wrote the playbook now being appropriated by totalitarian cultural revolutionaries.
Gramsci, a victim of the Italian fascists, understood that the Communists of his day were too politically weak to take over most governments. But they could enter, then dominate, small civic associations — the Rotary, the PTA, church vestries — and use them as bases of operation. Who feels threatened by the local glee club?
The left then could use these groups to advance its agenda without provoking the blowback from branding themselves overtly as Marxists. Left wing martyr Rudi Dutschke called this “the long march through the institutions.”
Gramsci also devised the concept of “cultural hegemony.” America was founded as a classical liberal (as in, liberty) theistic, capitalist republic with ultimate power resting with the people. Most of the left aspires to replace that with a dictatorial, atheistic, socialist totalitarianism with all power vested in the government.
These two cultures are incompatible.
Only one can prevail.
What does this look like in practice?
In 2003, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano renamed Arizona’s Squaw Peak, a term the left considers derogatory to Native American women. She renamed it in honor of the first Native American woman to die in combat while serving in the U.S. military, Lori Piestawa.
In 2015, President Obama announced the renaming of the highest mountain in North America, Alaska’s Mount McKinley, to Denali. He replaced the name of the former president with a Native American one.
Now, Princeton University has dropped the name of its (and America’s) former President Woodrow Wilson from its school of public affairs and college due to Wilson’s virulent racism. Now, Washington and Lee University faculty have voted to drop Lee (as in Robert E.) from its name. Now, the U.S. Army is proposing to rename its bases bearing the name of Confederate generals.
Statues are falling like dominoes. Around 90 statues and markers commemorating the Confederacy have been or are being toppled since George Floyd was killed.
Now, left wing groups begin repudiating their founders. Planned Parenthood has condemned its founder, the progressive Margaret Sanger. The environmentalist Sierra Club disowns its progenitor, the iconic, albeit bigoted, John Muir.
HBO recently removed, and then restored with a disclaimer for denying the horrors of slavery, Gone With the Wind.
None of this is mere stray voltage.
It is purposeful. It is powerful.
The right should take the lead.
George Orwell described the hegemony sought by progressives. The left devises “thought crimes” enforced by the “thought police.” It asserts control over minds via “Newspeak,” described in the appendix to Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Principles of Newspeak: “Words which had been deliberately constructed for political purposes: words, that is to say, which not only had in every case a political implication, but were intended to impose a desirable mental attitude upon the person using them.”
This isn’t mere “political correctness.”
Not even mere “cancel culture.”
How to defeat it?
The best defense is a good offense. So long as America felt the best we could do was to “contain” the USSR, the Soviet Union kept expanding its sphere of influence. Then Ronald Reagan went on offense. The supposedly indomitable USSR promptly collapsed.
The domestic left is a paper tiger too. Confronted, it will fold. How?
Hit ‘em where they ain’t. As I once wrote at Forbes, “The labor and ethnic left (“Reagan Democrats”) trend as patriotic as the right…. It is the nomenklatura (totalitarian) left, which holds the megaphone over there, that calls America Evil.”
Split the labor left from the totalitarian left to create a powerful new populist coalition. And win. The labor and ethnic left, just like us, honors America despite its imperfections. They, unlike the totalitarians, do not seek to destroy the middle class per Marxist doctrinal class warfare. They seek to join.
Yet the elitist left relies on the lie that it represents the interests of the proletariat. This is the dictatorial left’s potentially fatal internal contradiction. The right can win by showing allegiance to, and winning the allegiance of, people of color and blue collar workers.
We are in a cultural revolution. The totalitarian left, not the ethnic left, is intent on imposing a dictatorship. If the right will come into solidarity with people of color — including taking the lead, “Heritage” notwithstanding, in felling statues to the Confederacy while promoting policies of equitable prosperity — we can generate, and win, the counter-revolution.