The great Kevin Williamson wrote another must-read article in National Review about “The World’s Worst Idea.” Here’s a hint: it’s maniacal little tentacles have reached so far into our culture that we’re dealing with the fallout in places like Seattle and Portland. That’s right, the U.S. is once again grappling with her old nemesis, socialism. And Williamson tries to unravel why it won’t just die and leave the world in peace.
And what he comes to is that it lives thanks to a vacuum left by those who have, in the past, been protectors of Western values but who seem to have abdicated those responsibilities in favor of acceptance or popularity or “being on the right side of history,” to use a tired phrase. He disagrees with writer Iain Murray that socialism has taken hold and swells again because of a lack of communication about how awful it is, what with the body count, twisting of freedoms, and nonsensical selling of a non-existent utopia.
Where I disagree with Murray — or rather where I would offer a slightly different emphasis — is that I am not entirely convinced of his claim (made here in National Review) that countering socialism is a “communications challenge.” The defects of socialism have been very thoroughly communicated — the photographs of the Holodomor are available online, the records of mass murder and spoliation are quite easily accessed, the stories of Cuban refugees are at our fingertips, The Gulag Archipelago is only a click away.
It is not a communication problem but a spiritual problem.
If socialism is a kind of cult, then there is a market for it — a wide-open market, in fact. And if the ancient competitors have effectively ceded the field, that is not the doing of the young radicals, wrongheaded as they are. The moral vacuum is a creation of the bishops and the university administrators and the chairmen of the boards, who in the main long ago stopped believing in their own dogma, and who believed that they could muddle through without another dogma’s taking its place.
It’s an interesting take, removing some of the blame from the kids who’ve embraced it and placing it where it probably belongs: on the people selling it or failing to fight against it. Interestingly, if current circumstances are to be believed, it would appear the primary targets of the socialism fire sale are upper middle class women, the birthplace of the dreaded “Karen.”
Teen Vogue gives us an insight into how these ideas begin to take root among that segment of the population:
— Teen Vogue (@TeenVogue) July 31, 2020
If we’ve become a society afraid to intellectually defeat the Alyssa Milanos of the world, then perhaps we could have expected what’s happening to us. But the bright side is that it’s happening in time for us to right the ship.
I talk about all that on the podcast today, as well as offer a review of a fantastic little distraction, “Palm Springs” (trailer below), and some thoughts on a thought-provoking article about whether or not we can ever again trust Hollywood to represent the American system of values. Give me a few minutes of your time. I think you’ll like it.