A Florida reader of Intellectual Takeout sent me a thoughtful email asking a question about my article from several weeks ago. It ran as follows:
Yesterday, I read The Long March: Are Its Days Numbered? That essay is what prompted me to write to you. In your conclusion you wrote “That era is coming to a close. Its rollback began in 2016.”
While I too hope that the days of the “long march” are coming to an end, I am not as optimistic as you. I wish that you would have provided more detail.
I recently read Samuel Gregg's essay "The Most Dangerous Socialist in History". In this essay, Gregg argues that the ideas of Antonio Gramsci help to "explain why so many of the West’s cultural institutions today are rotten with leftist ideas and rhetoric." Near his conclusion Greg laments that:
The worst part of Gramsci’s legacy is that it has effectively transcended its Marxist origins. His outlook is now blankly taken for granted by millions of teachers, writers, even churchmen, who have no idea that they are committed to cultural Marxism. So while the socialist paradises constructed by Lenin, Stalin and like-minded people imploded over 25 years ago, the Gramscian mindset is alive and flourishing at your local university and in more than a few liberal churches and synagogues.
Like me, Samuel Gregg is less optimistic than you.
An excellent inquiry: Given our present mess, why should anyone feel optimistic about the future of politics and culture?
Let me start by saying I agree with my Florida correspondent and with Samuel Gregg about Gramsci. His vision of bringing about Cultural Marxism by “the long march through the institutions” has borne fruit. American Cultural Marxists control many of our universities, much of the mainstream media, and, increasingly, the Democratic Party.
Nevertheless, I believe Gramscian cultural hegemony will collapse. Why?
Fissures. I detect cracks in its walls and foundations.
First, the far left is famous for eating its own. As far back as the French Revolution, and subsequently in nations like Russia and China, the ruling party eradicates its opponents, even other socialists. We are witnessing that phenomenon as I write. In Congress, the old guard wages war against the new. Feminists who speak out against transgenderism are dragged through the dirt. The Democratic presidential candidates for 2020 march in lockstep, knowing that if they fail to toe the latest Cultural Marxist line, they will commit political suicide.
Another reason for hope is the existence of publications like Intellectual Takeout. This site and scores of others together draw millions of readers who believe in “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Add talk radio, books and even certain movies, and you have an antidote to the poison of Gramsci.
In addition, more and more people are walking away from the radicals, voting with their feet. The #WalkAway movement continues to grow. Many African-American voters, who are even more opposed to open borders and illegal immigration than whites, are waking up to the fact that the far left uses their votes and then forgets about them.
The radicals are not only losing voters, but they have also lost their ability to see themselves as others see them. A party that applauds late-term abortions, throws up head-scratching schemes like the Green New Deal, and spends its time digging for dirt on Donald Trump instead of focusing on the crucial issues of our time is not a party destined to win hearts and minds.
There is more reason for optimism. The number of private schools and home schools grows every year. Progressives dominate many university liberal arts programs, but each year fewer young people major in those programs. As for mainstream television and newspapers, battalions of subscribers have stopped watching and subscribing.
But the most significant reason for my optimism is the American people. They know the difference between baloney and steak. The auto mechanic who fixes your car, the plumber, the nurse who works full-time and is a single mom, the cashier at the bank: they know. They see the flaws in the Cultural Marxist agenda, the hatred of American principles, and the ugly duplicity. It is these Americans who give me hope.
The fight against Gramsci’s heirs will be long and hard. But it is a fight we must win. For the sake of our children and grandchildren, it’s a fight we cannot afford to lose. Let stout hearts, a strong will and a sense of humor be our weapons, and let Invictus be our watchword.
Call me a cock-eyed optimist. But there it is.
[Image Credit: Pexels]
Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.