It’s come to my attention that some people misunderstood what I was getting at in this post, so I want to make it crystal clear if I can—knowing, of course, that Karl Popper was correct when he said it is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood.
But I’ll try to do a little better.
No, I do not believe that the majority of Americans sat down prior to the 2012 election, studied socialism and/or the left, and made a rational, well-thought-out decision that it was the best approach possible, and that Obama was the one to implement it in the here and now.
…I can only conclude that, for an ever-growing segment of the population, it wasn’t that they had to ignore and/or make excuses for these things [leftist “tells” from Obama]. It’s that they approved of these things. The oft-repeated statement that this is a center-right country doesn’t seem to be the case any more, however many people may describe themselves as “conservative” on polls.
A fuller statement of what I was trying to say begins with the idea that American values and culture used to be conveyed by a host of institutions creating a certain atmosphere and ethos, especially that Big Three we’ve discussed many times before here: media, entertainment, education. I would add to that list families and churches. Included prominently in this cultural transmission were the ideas of assimilation for immigrants and of American exceptionalism, but others were personal initiative, distrust of the federal government versus state governments (“government is best that governs least“), private charity, and the importance of marriage for raising children.
Now those same Big Three convey a very different message, one that is far more amenable to the values of the left. That is no accident, of course.
We are now reaping the dubious rewards of that change, a possible tipping point where the majority of Americans do not hear alarm bells when leftist sentiments and goals are voiced. It has everything to do with cultural and media brainwashing, a sort of desensitization to the idea of those things, things which used to (and not so very long ago, either) make people very uneasy. They no longer do, at least for very many people (as we saw here).
I’m not at all sure that most people even recognize these things as being part of a leftist agenda (to them, they’re not “tells”), or are even aware of what that agenda might be. They know they sound pretty good though—and also have the side benefit of sticking it to the rich, those greedy bastards.
Leftism has triumphed in many places because its promoters count on its sounding good at a gut level to the people they used to call “the masses.” The right, on the other hand, has to work harder to counter that message and to explain why its policies would be better in the long run, even though they might sound harsh in the short run. When the right is supported by media, entertainment, schools, families, and churches, it has a more than fighting chance. When it isn’t, the road it must walk goes steeply uphill.
We’ve been sliding down that hill for a long time, and the public no longer recognizes the danger. In fact, it’s beginning to embrace it.