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Conservatives As Revolutionaries: How To Fight When You’re An Alien In Your Own Land

The Washington Monument in storm clouds. M01229/Flickr.

Watch the video for a monologue on article, followed by an interview with David Azerrad, a professor of political theory and government at Hillsdale College’s campus in Washington, D.C., on what comes next.

The story of the past 100-plus years is the story of the rout of American conservatism — and the near complete and total takeover of the country and its Commanding Heights by a cadre of highly intelligent, determined, and ruthless individuals.

How did the century begin? The left started from a humble base: a few people here and there, but certainly not dominating the levers of society. They were scattered about entertainment and Congress, and only truly formidable in the union halls and universities.

One hundred years later, it’s all over. The old “rebels” now control Hollywood and Silicon Valley and sports and television and the American Medical Association and both houses of Congress and Wall Street and the White House and the Boy Scouts and your child’s elementary and the bathrooms therein. Oh, and they still have the big unions and nearly all the universities too.

So how did they do it? How did all their rage against the machine become the machine? How did they win the Second American Revolution? It’s worth understanding how they won the second if we’ll have any hope to win the third.

The first thing we need to do when figuring out the conservative revolution is to understand this: We may have been good at it once — when men like John Adams, James Madison, and John Jay strode the earth — but no longer.

Today, the left is better at revolutionary ideas, in part because they’re willing to be revolutionary in their thinking and in their governing. Notice: They don’t tinker around the edges quite the same way we do. Read a left-wing publication like Vox or Mother Jones or The Washington Post, and they’re bursting with a whole list of things they want done to ensure the left gets what it wants in the years to come.

To them, there’s no barrier too difficult to remove, no norm too sacred to violate. If the U.S. Senate stands in the way, just abolish the filibuster. Electoral College causing you heartburn? Come up with a clever go-around to negate it!

Conservatives actually believe in the Constitution and tradition so we aren’t willing to go these distances to get what we want. That’s fine — it’s what sets us apart from the lesser beasts. But conservatives also have to escape from their self-imposed paralysis.

“Too bad, we tried, time to go post a meme on Facebook owning the libs then feel sad when Facebook bans it.”

Seriously: How many times have you heard “it’s the law of the land” delivered as some unassailable reason that thousands of years of Western tradition rooted in God’s laws ought simply to be abandoned?

We can’t afford the political assumption that nothing that’s been done can be undone. We need to look around us — at the systems and institutions of the United States in 2021 — and realize that in our current state, precious little of this is worth conserving at all.

Large aspects of our power structures are cancerous, but from time to time and place to place we have the ability to change that; we live in a representative democracy, and when we hold the levers of power, we are able to act without being shackled by the mistakes of the generations that lost the Second American Revolution.

How to go about this is a broad and serious discussion, but here’s another idea: Take away the left’s privileges and their immunities — the different protections and power perches they’ve carved for themselves over the years.

These privileges and immunities are not self-evident rights by God, and they are not inalienable. They, like much of the rot in our society, are the product of policies from our executive, legislatures, and courts, extended at a time when we may have been feeling more generous, maybe more trusting — and certainly less rebellious.

For example: Why are we funneling more than $45 billion every year to colleges and universities in the form of federal student loans? Think about how the system works: We’ve given colleges a stranglehold on access to the upper tiers of the economy. There are people who succeed without a college diploma, but for far too many, it’s a functional necessity.

So colleges have been cashing in, raising tuition 5, 6, 8 percent a year — and the federal government dutifully ponies up every time. We pony up by automatically giving massive student loans to every student who asks for one.

Who benefits from those loans? In the short run, it’s not the students — it’s the schools. But the schools have no responsibility for that loan being paid back; that responsibility is the student’s alone. By the way, if a student drops out or his career doesn’t pan out, he can’t discharge those loans in bankruptcy.

Young people get crushed while colleges get a boom time that never ends: limitless federal dollars they can use to fund fat administrator salaries and tenured professors of anti-American studies. We don’t need to accept this. There’s nothing in the Constitution that says colleges need limitless federal support. Conservatives can — and should — demand a better system.

At a minimum, a good start would be making colleges co-sign every loan taken out for a student to attend. If a student doesn’t succeed enough to pay off his student loans, then the college should be on the hook; they sold the taxpayers a bill of goods and didn’t deliver.

But we can dream bigger: Our public colleges and our public K-12 systems have massive diversity, inclusion, and equity bureaucracies. We all know what those really are: sinecures for the woke; ransom that we pay to the barbarians hoping they will spare our village for another day.

As Rudyard Kipling wrote, however, paying tribute simply means more will be demanded in the future. The diversity tumor only grows — unless we tear it out.

There is no reason a single publicly funded school in a red state should have a diversity bureaucracy. Get rid of them; we have the power to act. The left won’t like it; I can already hear the howls of execration. But so what?

For a moment, think like you’re fighting for the survival of your country: Their disingenuous, shrieking street theater doesn’t matter in a state where citizens disagree with them, and have chosen their politicians accordingly.

So let’s look to the courts next. The right has been so fixated on overturning Roe v. Wade for so many decades it’s easy to forget how many other bad precedents are out there.

Why, for example, do we still have racial discrimination in school admissions and government hiring when it plainly violates the U.S. Constitution? Because of bad court rulings — rulings that could be overturned if we made it a priority to select judges who do that.

Or how about this: If the University of Texas Austin wants to discriminate, then break their board and reconstitute it. The governor of Texas can do that; he doesn’t even need to wait for Ron DeSantis to go first.

Here’s another ruling that deserves a second look: New York Times v. Sullivan. That was a banger of a case where the Times libeled the leaders of a local police department.

That wasn’t even in dispute: The Times printed damaging lies about them. But the Supreme Court ruled that because the police leaders were public figures, the standard for libeling them was almost impossibly high to meet.

You know what? That standard might have worked when we had a broadly bipartisan media that wanted to hold government accountable without being sued into oblivion for any mistake, but today we have hired creeps who lie with impunity to push the left’s agenda.

How about corporations? They haven’t had the best interests of the American people in mind in a very long time. In fact, nearly every single terrible move this country has made for the past 30 years has originated in a boardroom. So why are we protecting them?

Would our corporate executives act differently toward their colleagues, clients, and shareholders if they were responsible to more than just an ever-shifting stock market? Or if their own personal wealth and cars and car elevators were on the line?

Right now, top Wall Street bankers aren’t personally on the hook for massive losses (even when they receive a huge taxpayer bailout) because we’ve chosen to make the law that way. It used to be different, and we could go back to the old way at any time.

There are things worth conserving in this country: religion and the family, for example, even in their tattered states. But we need to think differently about the institutions that have been weaponized against us — and we need to break them.

Once we understand how we got here, we’ll realize this hypothesis isn’t so scandalous. What is scandalous is our leaders’ refusal to know what time it is.

In the early 1960s, as the radicals raged and the liberals watched, the late great M. Stanton Evans wrote an article for Young Americans for Freedom’s college-aged magazine, The New Guard. In it, he asked, “can conservatives be revolutionary?” Sixty years ago, he thought this was the correct way to think.

Today, it’s the only way.