What happened to our liberal elites?
Why is there so much polarization and resentment of them?
“Donald Trump’s drive to undermine American democracy has proved strikingly successful.
Take the most recent analysis by Varieties of Democracy, better known as V-Dem, an international organization founded in 2014 to track trends in democratization:
While the United States remains a liberal democracy, V-Dem data shows that it is only a fraction away from losing this status after substantial autocratization. The U.S. Liberal Democratic Index score dropped from 0.85 in 2015 to 0.72 in 2020, driven by weakening constraints on the executive under the Trump administration.
Of 179 countries surveyed, V-Dem found that the United States was one of 33 to have moved substantially toward “autocratization.” From 2016, when Trump won the presidency, to 2021, when he involuntarily left office, the United States fell from 17th to 29th in the global V-Dem democracy rankings:
Liberal democracy remains significantly lower than before Trump came to power. Government misinformation declined last year but did not return to previous levels. Toxic levels of polarization continue to increase. Democracy survives in the United States, but it remains under threat. Of all the forces undermining democratic traditions in elections and policymaking — Donald Trump’s big lie, the politicization of ballot counting by Republican state legislatures, the attempt to disenfranchise segments of the population — one that has devastating potential is operating under the radar: the growing cynicism of younger voters. …
Herbert Kitschelt, a political scientist at Duke, noted in an email that the United States stands apart from most other developed nations in ways that may make this country especially vulnerable in the universe of democratic states to authoritarian appeals and democratic backsliding:
There are two unique American afflictions on which Trump could thrive and that are not shared by any other advanced Western O.E.C.D. country: the legacy of slavery and racism, and the presence of fundamentalist Evangelicalism, magnifying racial and class divisions. There is no social organization in America that is as segregated as churches.
In this context, Kitschelt wrote, a critical element of Trumpist support is trying to establish in all of the United States a geographical generalization of what prevailed in the American South until the 1960s Civil Rights movement: a white Evangelical oligarchy with repression — jailtime, physical violence and death — inflicted on those who will not succumb to this oligarchy. It’s a form of clero-fascism. A declining minority — defined in economic and religious terms — is fighting tooth and nail to assert its supremacy. …”
I should get off my ass and write a book about this.
A century ago, the United States was liberal, but the culture war was nascent. By and large, Americans had a common identity, culture and morality which has been lost in our times. In those days, liberalism meant crusading for free-market economics or causes like women’s suffrage which expanded political rights. It wasn’t focused on cultural liberation from traditional values or cultural egalitarianism.
Even in the War Between the States, the fundamental identity of the country was not really being contested. The Union and Confederacy fought over the issues of slavery and secession. When those issues were settled, the country was able to move on because otherwise the two sections shared so much in common. There wasn’t a cultural divide the size of the Grand Canyon.
Up until World War I, the vast majority of Americans would have agreed that the United States is a White country, an Anglo-Saxon country (in culture), a Protestant country (Catholics were tolerated) and a country with liberal and republican principles. The WASP elite in our Eastern states still ran the country. There was a racial, ethnic and cultural floor under their version of liberalism that kept them tethered to the country. They also made an effort to heal the sectional divide that was left over from the Civil War.
The Great Wave happened.
The World Wars happened.
The Great Depression happened.
The mass media happened.
The old WASP elite lost power.
The elites who are in power today replaced the WASPs.
Most importantly, the -isms (antiracism, modernism and cosmopolitanism) were imported from Europe and were adopted by our rising liberal elites in the 1920s who were creating what we now call the “mainstream.” PMCs also began to grow in number from this moment forward.
The result of this was this emerging class of college graduates who are concentrated in our cities who were becoming 1.) secular in their religion, 2.) modernist in their sensibility (anti-traditional, emphasis on self-expression), 3.) cosmopolitan in their loyalties (oriented toward “humanity” instead of their fellow citizens) and 4.) antiracist in their attitudes (favoring non-Whites over Whites and having a negative sense of White identity). These people also began taking over all American institutions and using them as a means to impose various social revolutions on the rest of the country. They began to redefine American identity. The Supreme Court, for example, was used as their favorite battering ram for decades.
As I have explained, they ditched White identity in the 1960s and Anglo-Saxon culture in the 1970s. They ditched Christianity in the 1990s. They are ditching republicanism in the 2020s. They have created their own bizarre alternative calendar with PRIDE Month dedicated to the “LGBTQ community” and the rest of the year devoted to celebrating various non-White groups. They have taken this trinity of -isms – antiracism, modernism and cosmopolitanism, which are wedded to liberalism – to greater and greater extremes whether it is CRT in public schools and Wokeism in universities or open borders or the “trans” craze which is based on the idea that there is a “true self” that is distinct from your body. Those who haven’t embraced the worldview of progressive activists on “trans” are now rightwing extremists like earlier generations who didn’t embrace other fads like antiracism, feminism or multiculturalism.
Jews, of course, are at the core of this class of people who I am talking about, but it is a broader and more numerous group. They are defined more by their education, values and beliefs than ethnicity as well as their hostility and alienation from White Christian America. The definition of an “extremist” is an American with traditional values who hasn’t joined them on this voyage and hasn’t adopted all of their latest fads. It is “fascism” to believe what everyone believed twenty years ago that there are two genders.
If you believe in the republican ideal of self government, you are a “fascist” and an “authoritarian” now. It is “fascism” for the people of the states to make their own laws which reflect their values. It is “Christo-fascism” to want America to retain its Christian culture and to have Christian morality and values reflected in our laws. Libs on Twitter are heading down this track now even though Americans have always believed this and a majority of them still believe it in 2022.
It really isn’t surprising that we have ended up where we are now when our alienated urban liberal elites have dedicated so much of their time to dissolving our national identity and unraveling the social fabric in an effort to distinguish themselves from the masses. This is what it looks like when things come apart and nothing unites elites with the masses anymore. This is the day that they have been working toward for the better part of a century.