Anyone who doubts that a fundamental realignment in American politics is at least possible should come to California. With nearly 7 million of its 40 million residents living below the poverty line, and 150,000 homeless, the Golden State, for all its economic might and cultural clout, is becoming a failed state.
What Californians need is affordable energy, affordable housing, water that isn’t rationed, practical transportation options, law and order, a friendly business climate, and a quality system of public education. Californians get none of those things today. Instead they are subjected to a nonstop barrage of divisive political indoctrination on the topics of race, gender, and the imminent climate apocalypse.
It’s easy to give up, because there’s a reason Californians can’t afford to live in California, or run a small business, or get a decent education for their children in the public schools. California has reverted to a political economy that can best be described as feudal. There is an aristocracy of super rich tech billionaires, wealthy entertainment celebrities, and international investors. They are supported by a privileged elite consisting of unionized government workers, service professionals such as attorneys and CPAs, and those who are fortunate enough to manage or work for very large global corporations.
These privileged elites benefit from keeping things just the way they are. They control the media, academia, K-12 education, and the government bureaucracy. They’ve used their financial and administrative clout to buy nearly every elected official in the state. They exercise absolute control over California’s state legislature. And as goes California, so goes the nation.
Everyone else in California is essentially a serf, struggling to make ends meet. In that fact lies the foundation for a historical realignment. Nobody wants to be a serf. Californians accept their serfdom because they believe it is either the result of oppression or because it is necessary to save the planet. Both of these reasons are lies told by the aristocrats. But filled with engineered anger and fear, a supermajority of Californians consistently votes exactly the way the propagandists tell them to vote.
It isn’t enough to expose these lies. At the same time, the real source of serfdom—self-serving corruption, waste, and fraud—must be explained, and solutions must be offered that will provide a renewed path of upward mobility. Moreover, the solutions that would attract populist support are not terribly controversial. The reason they aren’t proposed, much less implemented, is because they constitute a deadly threat to the power of the aristocracy.
Solutions could include the following: School vouchers to make public education competitive. Right-to-work laws to force unions to compete on a level playing field. Declaring nuclear power to be renewable energy and keeping nuclear power plants open. Repealing laws that downgrade property and drug crimes, something that would eliminate 50 percent of the homeless problem overnight. Rolling back unreasonable excess in environmental laws, so new home construction can be profitable to the developer and affordable to the consumer.
The list goes on. Practical solutions exist. They have the potential to unite groups that currently are drifting further apart. Here, then, are the alliances necessary for the great realignment.
The Authentic Right and Conservatism, Inc.
The Authentic Right is not easily defined, but can probably be characterized as that cohort within America’s right-wing that prioritizes nationalism. That, and a willingness to engage, without reservations or disclaimers, in confrontational and controversial rhetoric, differentiates them from what has come to be called Conservatism, Inc. Before the growing rift becomes irreparable, both sides need to think about what’s at stake. The required compromises are difficult, but the cost of permanent discord between these core elements of America’s conservative movement is much higher.
Members of Conservatism, Inc. have to resist the temptation to preemptively silence or stigmatize more muscular voices on the Right. There are many of these commentators who may express opinions that aren’t constructive. They may explore subjects that are taboo, and on some issues, they may draw conclusions that are either dubious or pointless. But many of them are also uncovering facts that are suppressed, facts that are outrageous, and facts that nobody else wants to talk about; facts that are fundamental to our future as a nation. When Conservatism, Inc. denies the validity of everything these voices are saying because of the outrageous behavior of a few, it is Conservatism, Inc. that loses credibility.
Most of the people in the Authentic Right have no donor network, no organized pack of libertarian billionaires to tell them what to think. Conservatism, Inc., on the other hand, needs to stand up to their donors. They need to assert that the issues of trade and immigration are complex, and that America’s policies over the past several decades are causing epic disruptions and in ways that are not always good. They need to temper their torrent of libertarian dogma with authentic nationalist sentiment. They must dare to express versions of American nationalism that envision a peaceful community of nations, each looking out for its own national interest.
If the billionaire libertarian donors can’t accept this, they will show their true colors, and the foot soldiers of Conservatism, Inc. will then need to make a choice: either get a real job, and fight with integrity in your spare time, or continue to serve up paid-for ideas.
On the other hand, the Authentic Right, especially those who might be considered “alt-Right,” has an even bigger challenge. In the face of an establishment doing everything they can to prevent it, they have to hope that a multi-ethnic nation can nonetheless have a unified culture. They have to be willing to uphold the most fundamental of Western values, respect for individual agency, and reach out to everyone, regardless of their color, as individuals who may choose to join their cause. They have to ignore voting patterns and cultural obstacles, and dare to hope they can attract a critical mass of multiethnic allies. They have to have the courage to be optimistic, even now.
What might defuse the frustration and extremism so palpably felt by members of the Alt Right is the prospect that victory is achievable. It is not too late to work within the system to save America from corporate socialism. It is not too late to restore a color-blind meritocracy to our institutions. They have to visualize and believe in a future where a multi-ethnic America retains its cultural traditions and political essence, because despite the crowing of the liberal New York Times, or the logic of the pessimists within the alt-Right, demographics is not destiny. Nobody wants to be a serf. If the price of freedom and prosperity is embracing this nation’s values and adopting its culture—because it was this culture and these values that created freedom and prosperity to begin with—that’s a price worth paying and a concept we can make people understand given the right conditions.
Boomers and Zoomers
In the recent Harvard versus Yale football game, when an older announcer asked activists to vacate the field they’d occupied to protest climate change, they began to chant, along with sympathizers in the stands, “OK, Boomer.” The message was clear. Zoomers believe they are inheriting a world that’s about to come to an end, because Baby Boomers burned too much fossil fuel. The New York Times, of course, is delighted, as exemplified by their recent article subtitled “Now it’s war: Gen Z has finally snapped over climate change and financial inequality.”
True to form, the Left is encouraging Zoomers to blame Boomers for everything from climate change to unaffordable tuition and homes to “endemic” racism and sexism along with the usual smorgasbord of toxic phobias. This is unfair. Zoomers were SUV passengers to and from grade school, Boomers rode their bikes. Zoomers spend virtually all their time on energy consuming electronic entertainment, Boomers are slightly less addicted. But the more important point is that this phony divide is being curated by design to deflect the true cause of Zoomer anxiety—a global aristocracy that is turning the vast majority of Americans into serfs.
For decades, Boomers who weren’t on board with the plan watched helplessly as corporate socialism marched through America’s institutions, crippling their own upward mobility. They watched jobs go overseas at the same time as the nation imported workers who drove down the wages of the jobs that remained.
Skyrocketing rates of suicide, either overtly or through drug addiction, now afflict Boomers more than any other age group. Tens of thousands of Boomers are dying every year, before their time, in the hollow shells of what were once vibrant towns across the heartland.
Zoomers may have inherited a nation with diminished opportunities, useless degrees, crippling tuition debt, bad jobs and unaffordable homes. But Boomers lived through this confiscation, and suffer in equal proportions.
Instead of claiming that age has some sort of political relevance, Boomers and Zoomers need to recognize that the politics of feudalism have victimized all Americans regardless of age. They need to work together to take America back from the aristocracy.
The White Right and Blacks, Latinos and Asians
It’s true that Blexit and Lexit haven’t yielded seismic results. But this change won’t happen overnight. More importantly, it’s not enough for conservatives and nationalists to say “we have to reach out to people of color because their voting patterns combined with their rapid population growth threaten to turn America into California.” It would be nice to have a small fraction of the fees that top-tier political consultants have collected to conduct massive polling operations and prepare overwrought reports that boil down to that single obvious fact, and offered nothing more.
Reaching out isn’t enough, anyway. When you reach out, you need to have something to say. And the good news is that there is a message; one that will be more compelling with every upward gyration of America’s record high Gini index.
The message is powerful: You’ve been conned.
We need roads and freeways, not “diversity and inclusion” bureaucracies. We need practical environmental laws, not crippling edicts that drive home prices sky high. We need public schools that educate the next generation, not courses in “ethnic studies.” And we need to decide what kind of nation we want to give our children—a feudal state where most everyone lives like a serf, or a prosperous democracy. And this message can be spread without apology, by anyone, to communities that have been destroyed by the socialist aristocracy.
To become part of a winning political alliance, the compromises asked of blacks, Latinos and Asians are not too much to ask. Recognize that opportunities are more abundant for everyone when competition is restored to education, a meritocracy is reestablished to regulate participation in all our institutions, and realistic limits are placed on immigration. Recognize that America’s virtues are far greater than its flaws. Accept and embrace the traditions and values of Western Civilization, individual rights, private property, the work ethic, equality before the law. Understand that these values and traditions are the reason that so many people have made this nation their home.
Before anyone on the Right gives up on creating this alliance with America’s left-leaning ethnic communities, they must ask themselves: Have we really tried? And when we tried, what was our message?
Was it merely a bunch of vapid sound bites curated by political consultants who got rich convening focus groups and conducting polls, passed through ad agencies who collected lucrative commissions, broadcast a few times during campaign season, and forgotten? Because engagement is more than a biannual ad budget. And a political agenda compelling enough to trigger a massive realignment takes more than sound bites. That agenda exists, and serfs of all colors are ready to listen.
Choose Your Battles—America’s Socialist Aristocracy is the Enemy
The more Americans are forced to live like Californians, the more they will realize that lowering the cost-of-living and raising wages depends on practical reforms to environmental and energy policies, and major changes to immigration and trade policies.
But the unifying principle that will forge these alliances is not only a great new political agenda that restores competition, protects private property, encourages merit, abandons quotas, reforms environmentalist overreach, invests in practical infrastructure, and saves public education. The unifying principle is ideological. Americans will recognize, regardless of their age or ethnicity, that corporate socialism, promoted by a globalist aristocracy, is the enemy.
This point is crucial. Leftism does not originate from within ethnic communities. The pandering Chicano Marxists who run California’s state legislature in a joint venture with public-sector unions do not represent the communities they claim to champion. Nor did they invent the leftist drivel that defines them; they are merely vessels for it. The reason they get elected and purport to speak for those communities is because they have been bought and paid for by corporate socialists. These aristocrats find it useful to have puppets in positions of power who spew identity politics and environmentalist extremism as a distraction. Never mind that you can’t afford to live here, we’re saving you from the racists and the climate deniers.
Socialism is seductive because it allows people to blame someone else for many of the challenges they face. In America it finds fertile soil in the minds of anyone who can be convinced that something about them, their ethnicity, their religion, their culture, their gender, has caused them to be oppressed. But socialism is based on a fundamental lie; that equality of outcome is achievable without the twin evils of economic decline, overseen by a tyrannical and privileged elite. The feudalism that ensues, most advanced to-date in California, is the best that any socialist can hope for. It is a miserable choice.
It is easy enough to give up and splinter into factions. Authentic Right versus Conservatism, Inc. Zoomer versus Boomer. Whites versus nonwhites. But that’s the strategic mistake our new aristocracy is counting on us making that will guarantee America’s descent into feudalism and their ongoing mastery over us.
To give up means that the Right will have succumbed to the same negativity that defines the Left. To give up on entire sectors of the American population is also to deny personal friendships that cross the boundaries of ideology, age, and ethnicity. It denies the part of us that feels empathy, and validates the part of us that does not. It violates our confidence and faith in the universal truths we cherish.
There are three choices facing Americans who recognize and resist the drift towards feudalism. Surrender. War. Persuasion. The time for persuasion is not over. In our quest to form alliances, the probability of success is greater when logic is expressed with love, when fear is countered with calm, resentment with friendship. The truths we fight for are timeless and inviolable. The manner in which we deliver them is completely up to us, and will make all the difference in the world.
In the long arc of human history, the good guys always win. A great realignment is possible.
This article originally appeared on the website American Greatness.
Edward Ring is a contributing editor and senior fellow with the California Policy Center, which he co-founded in 2013 and served as its first president. He is also a senior fellow with the Center for American Greatness, and a regular contributor to the California Globe. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, Forbes, and other media outlets.
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