The temporary victory of the New Left
Many Americans have been shocked and dismayed by the lawless behavior of students on several campus protesting the Trump election. What is going on?
There are two keys to understanding these demonstrations: first, these student protests are flourishing in an environment fostered by the faculties at these institutions; and second, the faculty preaches dogmas which mark a generational shift in values. The fundamental analysis therefore must begin with the faculty. Student behavior is primarily an acting out of faculty indoctrination. Administrators, while generally sympathetic to the students, are caught between angry students and their Boards and other supporters demanding a stop to these outrageous demonstrations.
So, what are today’s professors teaching and why? America’s academic institutions are dominated by people who grew up in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The overarching issues of those days were opposition to the Vietnam War, which started in the universities of the time, and the civil rights movement whose champion was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Both causes were anti-establishment, and both were based on a sense of moral superiority. It did not take long for the believers in the two causes to join forces. They filled mutual needs: the anti-Vietnam movement was based initially on the objections of college students (mostly white) to being required to fight in a war which was neither understood nor supported by most Americans.
The issue quickly became whether the federal government had the right to draft youngsters at all. Middle America stood firmly with the government on that issue, thus spawning widespread opposition to the anti-war movement and solidifying support for the War beyond what is had been in the first place. The champion of the Middle American view was Alabama Governor George Wallace, who also had a reputation as a segregationist.
What the anti-war movement needed was a cause larger than the discomfort of some white college boys. They needed a transcendent cause which they found in the civil rights movement. That cause was social justice. Specifically social justice , as interpreted to mean equality of all Americans — legally, socially, economically and morally. The civil rights movement needed white support; the leaders were aware that without it, they would never achieve their goals. It was a marriage made in heaven.
The common theme of both causes was opposition to the same government which had gotten us into the War in Vietnam, which was allowing discrimination against African Americans, but which was supported by the American public. The champion of this synthesis of the two rebel causes was Bobby Kennedy.
The Roosevelt Democrats (the “Old Left”) meanwhile were enacting Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society legislation, which was aimed especially at using federal tax money to assist the poor. However, Johnson also supported the Vietnam War, and thus became the target of the anti-war movement. That support spelled his doom as president. He took himself out of the presidential race in March, 1968, In April, Dr. King was assassinated. The combined support of the advocates of the Great Society, the civil rights movement, and the anti-war movement then fell to Democrat Senator Robert Francis Kennedy, who embodied the melding of the three strands of anti-establishment support. Then, in June, 1968, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. Thus was born the New American Left, the heirs of Bobby Kennedy. In forty years, they had only one candidate for President before Barack Obama, Democrat George McGovern, who lost to Richard Nixon in a landslide in 1972.
But many of those hippies and disillusioned youngsters went to graduate school and became the professors of the next generation. They did not give up their beliefs in social equality, the primary responsibility of the federal government for social justice, their disdain for American institutions including religion, business, nationalism, and the traditional family. The New Left ideology began to penetrate American society more the older and more powerful yesterday’s hippies became. In the protected enclaves of the universities and the media, their orthodoxy became more extreme and more absolute.
This ideology benefited through the years from the tacit approval of many of cohorts who grew up to positions of power in other fields and who allowed their children to be taught this new orthodoxy. As the years passed, more and more of these children were persuaded by this new view of American society.
In 2008, forty years after the fateful summer of 1968, they finally won their long battle for control of the American government. They elected Barack Hussein Obama as president and a Democrat Congress to back him up. It took the Great Recession to do it. But the New Left — spawned by the crisis of 1968, hardened by 40 years in the wilderness, and preaching an expanded view of human equality, anti-war idealism, anti-business bias, an anti-family and anti-religion world-view – the New Left now finally controlled the federal government of the United States of America.
The dedication to this ideology on the part of its true believers cannot be overestimated. It is based on a series of high moral convictions
- the absolute equality of ALL human beings, no matter their age, race, gender, physical capacities, religion or social position; a central reality of this dogma is the existence of a universal racism in the America;
- the absolute obligation to oppose All limitations on human behavior whether religious, civil law, or cultural prejudice which do not do physical harm to another;
- to protect and foster government control of all institutions (unless government is wrong, of course!);
- to pursue the ideal of a peaceful world even in the face of violent opposition and conflict, believing that all people really yearn for peace above all.
These high moral goals motivate the feeling of superiority which is characteristic of the New Left, as well as the ferocity with which they attack their opponents. In the most dedicated adherents of the New Left, there is a religious fervor not unlike that which motivates the radical Islamists. Those who disagree must be defeated at any cost, even at the cost of their destruction. The New Left are not as violent as the Islamic extremists, but there are similarities.
The reason for the extreme reaction of the New Left to the election of Donald Trump is that they were convinced they had finally won their generational battle with the silent majority. They were so intoxicated by the victories of Barack Obama – especially after he defeated businessman Mitt Romney in 2012 – that LOSING was unthinkable! They were confident that they now controlled the future of America.
The New Left values dominated, they believed, the new American culture, never again to be denied. The Democrat Party, one of only two major political parties in the United States, had become the vessel of the New Left, and was considered by all the New Left press and pundits to be firmly enthroned as the majority party for the foreseeable future. Their agenda had already skipped over the 2016 election and concentrated on what their next priority, climate change, meant to the world.
Then the deplorable Donald Trump won the presidency! His Republicans won both Houses of Congress, and most of the governorships and state legislatures! The man who has threatened to undue most of what Obama did was now in the position to do it!
How could this happen? The New Left had allowed the Old Left to control the Democratic nomination until it was too late. Throughout the campaign that followed, they were continually referred to as “the status quo”, and most gallingly as “the establishment”! That critical mistake opened the door to the silent majority – who finally spoke.
Does it mean, they asked, that we are now destined to return to the shadows, that we never really won the hearts and minds of the American people? That America is condemned to live forever in free market capitalism, restricted immigration, a monetary economy, a war-like world? Must we now accept the possibility that all our beliefs about the society and the nature of human beings have been false?
In New Left enclaves such as the universities and the big cities and the media, the outcome of the election just cannot be accepted without a fight. “Send out the students, the activists, the camp followers – TV will cover. Somewhere someone will figure out a way to destroy the opposition, reverse the election, and return the nation to sanity.”
This is what we are up against in the universities and in American society. The only way to regain control of the hearts and minds of our youth is to withdraw support for the faculties who proselytize the doctrines of the New Left in our schools. This begins with local school boards, with student-centered financing of education, with sharpened protections of free speech on our campuses, especially publicly funded institutions, and by protection of students who are in effect whistle-blowers on extremist teachers and professors.
All such activities must be conducted with a careful view toward protecting the freedom of speech even of the extremists. That can only be done with a liberal use of freedom of choices by individual students (careful selection of schools and colleges and scrutiny of required courses) and of parents (school choice). Persecution of violators, however defined, would simply desecrate the mandates in the American Constitution guaranteeing freedom of speech and assembly. So, I am not advocating any witch hunts. We can only fight excesses of freedom by providing more options of freedom.
But fight it we must – or we will lose another generation of young Americans!