Why the United States Went ‘Communist’

22 mei 2024 | Stephen Baskerville

The original article was published on American Thinker and can be found here.

Some four years ago, the radical left staged what amounted to a coup d’état and took control of the United States government.  The events surrounding that coup — and the horrific policies that followed — have been described many times: the COVID “vaccine” hoax, rigged elections, imprisoning dissenters, weaponizing the Judiciary, open borders, the pointless killing in Ukraine.  Yet no one has explained why all this happened or how to stop it. 

The fact that no scholars or media have even attempted to explain this power-grab itself partly reveals the explanation.  If we ask why people on the left took power, then eventually someone will ask why people on the right allowed it to.  The next logical question then arises: why should we continue listening to them, following them, giving them money...?

Preaching to the converted and hurling anathemas at the left can accomplish only so much, and yet this is what we the politicians, pundits, and parlor intellectuals of the professional right mostly do.  If we want to extricate ourselves from this debacle, we must start examining what the right — and the rest of us — are doing wrong.

Failure of the Right
The conservatives’ defeat is so glaring that some are finally acknowledging what to everyone else is obvious.  “The establishment Right’s failures over the last generations have been manifold,” writes one, belatedly:

Since the end of the Cold War, what trajectory-altering successes or victories can the Right cite to demonstrate its worth? ... Despite spending billions of dollars supporting its infrastructure ... the establishment Right has registered no clear gains and many clear losses.

“You could even argue that it abetted most of it[s defeats],” another suggests.  “Where official conservatism’s opposition hasn’t been ineffectual, it’s been collaborationist.”[1]

So they admit to squandering our trust (and donations) as pointlessly as the government they criticize squanders our taxes.  Isn’t it time we start asking why?

None of this excuses the rest of us.  If the establishment right allowed the left to win, we all allowed the right to lose.  Excoriating “RINOs” and neocons can become as unconstructive as inveighing against leftists.  The only remedy lies in re-examining serious mistakes we would all rather just forget.

The Rise of the Politicos
The first stage in the coup was when Americans abdicated control over their civic life to paid professionals.  Instinctively, we blame elected “politicians” for our ills, but their puppet-masters in the larger political class may pose the greater danger. 

This innovation came from the left, with the invention of “public interest” lobbying firms (today’s almighty “NGOs”).  Corporate lobbyists have a bad name because their money buys politicians and legislation on behalf of wealthy interests, but in the long run, those who claim to speak for us and the “public interest” may do more to undermine our freedom. 

So effective were they at imposing elitist, leftist agendas on the population that they were quickly imitated by rightist versions.  Thus was born the Washington political class: professional surrogate citizens we pay to perform the duties of citizenship for us.

These firms do not “empower” citizens; citizenship is precisely what they eclipse and muzzle.  Like courtroom lawyers advising their clients, the message of the lawyer-lobbyists to the citizenry is, “Be quiet and let me do the talking,” as if we are accused criminals on trial.  Small wonder that that is precisely what we are becoming.

Nothing did more to decimate America’s civic culture; transfer power to a judicial priesthood; and entrench an ideological duopoly operated not simply by Democrat and Republican politicians, but by the larger political classes of left and right.  Media, universities, “think-tanks,” and other cultural institutions abandoned their detachment and joined the ranks of professional advocates and activists.

Eclipsing the Churches
The professional pressure groups also displaced the civic organizations that traditionally provided moral leadership and channeled citizens’ voices in opposition to governments’ abuses of power: churches.  Since long before the American Republic was even founded, churches served vital civic functions without which the United States as we know it would never have come to exist and for which no substitute is possible.

Professional conservatives complain endlessly that the left hates religion and seeks to have it “banished from the public square.”  But it is the professional conservatives themselves, with their lobbies and law firms (ostensibly “Christian” or not), that pushed the churches out of active public engagement — or gave them the excuse to run away. 

Unlike citizens and churches, whose interest lies in resolving public problems so they can return to the business of life (earning a living, spending time with the family, saving souls), professional operatives on both left and right have a vested interest in perpetuating the problems they are paid to solve.

This principle lies behind all our ills.

Blueprint for the “Deep State”
When explaining the tyranny closing in around us, we naturally blame centers of hidden and unaccountable power: rogue security services, health authorities spreading illness, plutocrats re-engineering the planet.

But these are not where it began.  Like many good intentions gone awry, it all began with how we addressed the most basic problem of modern industrial society: the problem of the poor.  If the “Deep State” is defined as powerful people using impersonal bureaucracies to forcibly control the private lives of millions of non-criminal citizens, the original “Deep State” is the welfare state

The 2020 coup began with George Floyd’s death in a Minneapolis ghetto — that is, within dysfunctional and violent welfare communities.  Welfare also provides the political base for groups like Black Lives Matter and elevates mediocrities like Kamala Harris to office, starting usually as prosecutors before becoming politicians.

Welfare accomplished what slavery and segregation could not: it destabilized the African-American family and created a permanent underclass of impoverished single mothers, fatherless children, and criminalized fathers.  Because every social pathology is directly attributable to fatherless homes, the result was a self-destructive horde of criminals, delinquents, truants, addicts, prostitutes, and derelicts that proceeded to tear down their own communities and quickly populated the world’s most massive prison system.  It also created armies of functionaries to administer their lives, with a self-interest in perpetuating their dependency and expanding the havoc.  It also bred an angry subculture of victimization, entitlement, and resentment. 

The Canary in the Mineshaft
But the welfare state’s pivotal achievement was the degradation of a figure whom everyone, left and right, now loves to hate: the young, low-income black male.  Conservatives cite wasteful social programs as proof that America is not racist and even expect gratitude, but none of the programs benefited black men in any way.  All served to marginalize and emasculate the black male: state officials usurping his provider role with numerous handouts to single mothers, along with the acquisition of quasi–police powers by social workers that not only usurped his protector role, but then targeted him as the foremost threat to his own women and children, with measures ostensibly against “child abuse” and “domestic violence” and enforcing “child support.”

The resulting tidal wave of both real criminality and concocted criminalization, parallelling similar trends elsewhere, rationalized the criminal justice system abolishing civil liberties and due process protections.  “Assembly-line” hearings (lasting a minute or two), eliminating jury trials, extortionate plea bargaining, fabricated evidence, framing defendants, “crimes” for which acquittal is not possible — all this was pioneered for young black men before being expanded to the rest of us.  It provided the rehearsal for today’s weaponized “lawfare” operations against Donald Trump, the January 6 defendants, and anyone else who resists the leftist takeover.

The military was likewise transformed into a gargantuan welfare state, catering to single mothers and expelling servicemen for “sexual harassment.”  Welfare policies even became part of military operations themselves.  Universities followed, abandoning both education and scholarship in favor of activism, reinforced with similarly trumped up accusations of sexual something-or-other.  Most devastating of all, the welfare machinery and the underclass it bred expanded throughout middle-class society, using “no-fault” divorce, accompanied by more sexual accusations, producing more dysfunctional fatherless adolescents and “empowered” functionaries. 

So successful was this mass feminization that #MeToo expanded operations still more by targeting celebrities and political opponents.  The contempt for black men was extended to all men.  This furnished the radical left with the weapons and machinery to stage its coup.

As all this overwhelms us, the professional right-wing establishment averts its eyes, holds its tongue, buries its head, and looks for excuses to do nothing or even to abet the left.  Its foolish, too-often-repeated insistence that this is all simply “cultural Marxism” serves as an excuse to avoid these issues, ignore the dynamics that brought the left to power, preserve its own privileges and fiefdoms, and run away from danger.  We defeated communism, after all, so if we just continue fighting the Cold War and extolling the virtues of private ownership and free markets, we will stop the left from mutilating children, starting wars, and imprisoning its opponents, and it will relinquish power.

In short, professional conservatism tries to extricate us from the fiasco it permitted by continuing more of the foolishness that permitted the fiasco in the first place.

Waking, Not Woking, the Few
Today’s best commentators on these horrors speak and write from frustration.  Because they do not see where this came from, they cannot offer a way out.

Our habitual assumption, as we call on Americans to “wake up,” is that once awakened (awoken?), they will vote for the right candidates, support the right parties, and donate to the right “nonprofit” groups, who will do battle for the right solutions.  In short, they will build a new political class and hope it is somehow better than the previous one.  But it does not work that way. 

The only way to loosen the politicos’ grip is to restore the sovereignty of the unpaid citizen.  This is feasible.  Enough citizens will spontaneously rise to the occasion (and are already doing so).  The trick is to ensure that they are not obstructed and sabotaged by a political class that postures as their friends, stabs them in the back, and imposes a tyranny that is less physical than mental.  That means bypassing the political class of the right more than the left.  It is they whose fecklessness enables the tyranny.  As long as we defer to them, rather than seizing the initiative, we enable it, too.

[1] Arthur Milikh, ed., Up from Conservatism: Revitalizing the Right after a Generation of Decay (Encounter, 2023), Introduction, vii; Michael Anton, “The Pessimistic Case for the Future” (in the same volume), 14.  See my  review in Chronicles magazine, “A Conservative Self-Critique,” January 2024.


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