Daniel McCarthy, the editor of The American Conservative, has a post up on the current “liberal” (Leftist) misreadings of how politics actually works:
Politics is just magic to [Leftists]. (Some of this comes of drawing the wrong lessons from Alinsky and Gramsci—wrong lessons the activist right is now busy committing to memory.)
The “lessons from Alinksy and Gramsci” that the Right is currently incorporating into its political program are none other than the tactics Leftists used during the heyday of communism to gain political power in the West.
Unfortunately, I think the Right is making a big mistake by copying a program that has failed the Left. Has it failed the Left? Or is communism an inevitable failure and tactics had nothing to do with it?
Governance is affected by movements. Does the Right want to be the new authoritarians? They’ve always been less authoritarian than the Left, but I see this changing especially if the Right continues to borrow tactics and ideas from the communist Left.
What is interesting is to watch how this all plays out. The Left’s playbook consists of delegitimizing people rather ideas or institutions. This leads to misdirected anger and makes it easier for opposition movements to seize the levers of power. It worked in the Anglo-American world, to a large extent (look at our educational systems, for example; they’re run by Marxists), but never more than superficially. Everybody knows, for example, which institutions have been captured by the Left. They know which institutions are Left-wing and which ones are not.
Why Rightists would want to copy this failed tactic is beyond me. The strength of classical liberalism has always been the resounding truth within its creed. It is truth that we march into battle with, not cheap tricks or ploys from the gutter.
It seems to me that the Right’s embrace of communist tactics comes mostly from one influential group of people in the US: conservative intellectuals with cultural ties to the Catholic or Mormon churches. To me I find this very weird, and while weirdness is definitely something I appreciate in my personal life I truly hope these tactics don’t trickle into the intellectual wing of the libertarian quadrant.
The spectacle of conservative intellectuals mimicking their Cold War adversaries two decades after winning – outright – the war of ideas is pathetic. You know where the ‘comments’ section is!