June 14, 2024

Source: Bigstock

If our time is defined by anything, it is the primacy of ideas over reality. Whether the issue is trangenderism, and its rejection of nature, or the assumption that “human rights” and democracy are universal values to be imposed at gunpoint on other societies, we value abstractions more than truths—feelings more than results. Almost nothing is decided on the merits of whether it will produce a net gain for the greatest number of people, or even if it will work. What matters now for our elites, and for those who seek to boost their social credit score in the hopes of one day joining that august class, is adherence to the orthodoxy of the moment, not real-world outcomes.

If we accept that, for our elites, ideology matters more than human prosperity and well-being, policies that once seemed irrational suddenly make sense. Third World immigration—despite being economically burdensome, undermining social trust, and being of no discernible benefit for the average citizen—can be understood for what it is—i.e., a leftist passion project infused with civilizational self-loathing. That the right has been unable to stop, or even meaningfully disrupt, this project shows not only its relative weakness, but that it is a slave to its own delusions.

Of course, rational people always want to square the circle when confronted with something that seems as patently absurd as replacing your native-born population with foreigners. Such people seek to render the irrational rational by imputing motives that make sense to non-imbeciles.

“When will the fever break? When will ideational concerns give way to common sense?”

We’re told that the left’s support for the importation of millions of uneducated people from the failed states of the Global South reflects that movement’s cynical nature. In the American context, that translates into a desire to forever dominate elections by supercharging their client base. At the same time, we’re told that conservatives and free marketeers favoring a slightly more controlled version of the same thing do so because of the supposed “economic benefits” that come from maintaining an industrial reserve army of drywall installers.

To be sure, there is some value in asking the qui bono question, but that answer only takes you so far. It doesn’t explain why and how the left, as the supposed champion of the economically downtrodden, utterly abandoned the working class. It doesn’t explain how the pre-Trump establishment right, despite its supposed preoccupation with law and order, could ignore the injurious social effects of mass immigration from the slums of the developing world for decades.

In his essay “Unprecedented,” Michael Anton notes that “the serial humiliations inflicted on our people by its ruling class” are part of a long list of bizarre and historically anomalous developments that defy explanation. That is, if one is looking for the sort of recognizably sane motivations associated with rulers of the past, such as a desire for wealth or to secure the obedience of subjects.

If you’ve ever challenged a doctrinaire leftist, free-market conservative, or even any establishment Republican before Trump remade that party, you might understand what I’m driving at. They’ll cite study after study in defense of their position—chanting statistics, as if we still lived in a time in which unbiased research on hot-button issues like immigration and climate change can still happen, let alone be published. Across the board, even in the natural sciences, a “replication crisis” casts doubt on the reliability of “the science.” And yet, the left will pretend their studies carry more weight than the lived experience of Americans who have seen their communities and schools transformed for the worse by waves of illegal aliens. This is because reality is irrelevant when you have statistics to back up your arguments.

For the leftist, it is an unspoken but essential truth that in opening our gates to the globe’s favelas we are atoning for the past evils of colonialism. This is because only through the sacrament of self-annihilation can we reach what BAP has called “the eschaton of the global latrine.” To appease those who still have one foot in the real world, and hence are at least somewhat concerned with things like costs and benefits, the acolytes of the left cheerfully remind us that immigration enhances our cultural life through the importation of foreign culinary delights. You know…tacos and such. The occasional robbery or murder is thus a small price to pay for good cuisine.

For the free-market conservative and old-school Republican, it’s supposedly all about economic prosperity, although they might also sprinkle in heartwarming references to America as a “nation of immigrants.” We’re told how foreigners fill jobs no one would want and that a servant class is a good thing. To this way of thinking, South and Central American migrants are the new helots, freeing Americans to pursue awesome jobs in our new gig economy. As if the practical economic benefits weren’t enough, they sweeten the pot further, noting that “based” migrants are our natural allies in the fight against leftist social perversions.

Unfortunately, neither of the above is prepared to reckon with the hard realities that come from the Third Worldification of America. In other words, the true effects—depressed wages, balkanization, and crime—are waved off as imagined, even as the supposed “benefits” are hyped beyond all reason and sense. The obvious transformation of America from a relatively homogenous and cohesive society to an ever more tribalized mess is to be ignored.

This tendency toward pharisaical idiocy carries over to other issues, which, at least theoretically, should be free of ideological considerations. That foreign policy should require a cold assessment of benefits and costs based on a narrow definition of interests would seem axiomatic. And yet, American foreign policy bears no resemblance to a strategy intended to maximize gains for the American people. Indeed, U.S. “interests” are at best defined abstractly, if at all. Hegemony for its own sake is the goal, and in place of logical arguments for or against a policy, we’re treated to ideological slogans. Slava Ukraini!

Recent hysteria from our foreign policy elites over events in Gaza is a case in point. Why any American would care deeply about the fate of Palestinian refugees on the other side of the world at a time when our southern border is in crisis and our society seems poised for violent civil conflict is beyond me. And the reality is that most Americans do not care. The only people who seem fired up about events in Gaza are those in the ruling elite, who, as members of a broader transnational class, are largely detached from the rest of the polity and can afford to live in a world of abstractions. Indeed, they must live in such a fantasy world, lest they be labeled a heretic and ostracized from polite society.

Non-elites can, and often do, run with the elite’s message. Their motivations for this vary. In some cases, it is as simple as a desire to bask in the reflected glory of their betters, or to show that they know what ideological time it is. In signaling their adherence to ruling-class norms, such people are also highlighting their eligibility for promotion to higher status. This is true of both the left and the establishment right. The Overton window, although different for each side, is narrow for both groups as they remain stuck in their respective ideological straitjackets. However, for some non-elites, particularly on the left, there is often a less rational driver behind the embrace of elite messaging and the cause du jour—i.e., filling the spiritual void left from the delegitimization of traditional institutions such as the Church, the nation, and the family. Whether the issue is COVID lockdowns, vaccines, racial justice, abortion, or opposition to Russia, engaging in performative political acts, such as street protests and low-level political violence, satisfies the need of such people to engage in meaningful action while also signaling their aggressive conformity to the ideas and norms of the moment.

Witness the idiotic protests opposing Israeli military action in Gaza. Gender-fluid, blue-haired protesters straight out of central casting seem unconcerned that their Hamas heroes would label them as deviants and gladly throw them off the roof of the nearest building if given the chance to do so. Feminist protesters decry “the patriarchy” while ignoring the reality that Palestinians regard gang rape as an acceptable tactic in war. For such people, it makes total sense that the Republic will rise or fall based on the fortunes of Ukraine and that we should be more involved in the never-ending Israel-Palestine blood feud. They know these things because they were told them by their masters and because it just feels so right.

This is the fountain from which populism flows. Trump has figured out something most other politicians have been incapable of seeing—i.e., that people actually care about results. While Politico writers fret about the fate of “democracy,” ordinary people worry about whether their daughter will be raped in a bathroom stall by a transexual weirdo and whether they will be able to afford groceries in the face of multiyear inflation. In other words, they worry about things that matter, not nebulous liberal principles or strangers on the other side of the planet.

As a J’accuse writer recently pointed out, the success of Trump isn’t fueled by white rage and class resentment, it’s propelled by people who are tied to reality and who want to see policies enacted that further their interests. In some ways, Trump is a throwback to an earlier time when political leaders were expected to pursue policies that contributed to the well-being of the people they led.

When we think about the great leaders of the past, it is difficult to imagine them embracing with zeal the self-destructive lunacy of the present. Despite his mistakes, Pericles cared deeply about the success of Athens and the welfare of its people. Every policy was aimed at enhancing the power, prestige, and wealth of his city. Augustus cared nothing for ideology, but he did care about the people he led and the legacy he would leave behind. In assessing his own rule, he noted proudly that he had “found Rome a city of brick and left it a city of marble.” Such leaders would not have wasted $320 million on an ill-conceived plan to bring aid to people who despised them and would be ashamed that once great cities had fallen into decline on their watch.

The leaders of the West have forgotten what it means to advocate for their people. Seized by liberal abstractions, they don’t even seem to accept that they have “a people” to advocate for. True democracy is an annoyance for them, because the plebs worry too much about bread, and not enough about girls’ schools in Nigeria.

So disconnected are they from the reality of living in their own societies; so consumed are they with maintaining respectability through dogged adherence to ideas that long ago showed themselves to be bankrupt, that they will burn down their own house with their family inside even as they seek to oppress anyone with the temerity to complain about it. How else can one explain the German leadership’s suicidal quest to transfer the entire male population of Syria to their country? How else can we explain the decision of U.S. presidents to squander trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives in the name of “democracy” and “freedom” in Third World dumps like Afghanistan and Iraq?

Looking beyond the realm of politics to culture and business, we can see the same forces at work, which makes sense given that there is no meaningful separation between “private” and “government” elites—they’re all products of the same universities, consumers of the same entertainment, and driven by the same social-striver tendencies. As in the case of government elites, those in the private sector increasingly care little for practical outcomes. We can see this because only through the warped lens of late-stage liberal ideology do the money-losing decisions of corporations like Disney and Anheuser-Busch make sense. But after all, what is money when the cause of advancing sodomite rights is on the line?! As Mao’s wife once noted, “Better a socialist train that is late, than a capitalist train that is on time.”

When will the fever break? When will ideational concerns give way to common sense? The good news is that periods of ideological insanity—while often destructive and long-lasting—do end, eventually. Whether we’re talking about 19th-century France’s rejection of Jacobinism, or the reemergence of reality-based politics in Russia after generations of Marxist dogmatism, reality has a way of reasserting itself. In politics, populism has often been the corrective to the excesses of out-of-touch elites. That throughout the West populist movements are on the march would seem to support this thesis. But even as the strength of populist movements grows, defiant elites double down on ideological insanity—setting aside soft authoritarian tactics in favor of more aggressive methods. Where this goes is a topic for another time, but we can be confident it’s going nowhere pleasant.


Sign Up to Receive Our Latest Updates!