From Bill Whittle, whose work is always a must-read:
[I]n all of human history, there has been only one genuinely progressive, genuinely liberating idea: a lightning bolt across the pages of history – the why in 1776, the how in 1787 – the idea of limited government, god-given rights, personal liberty and rule by the vast collective wisdom and industry of the common man, and not by the bored, pampered and self-hating elites that have run everything before and since. This is a once-in-history idea. This is why we have to conserve it. We have to conserve this fundamentally liberal idea.
“Liberal”, of course, as in “favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom.”
Folks, this is what being a conservative is all about.
Whittle begins his essay by noting that the philosophical root of progressivism — that a cadre of elites can create a top-down centrally planned social and economic structure that distributes wealth and resources among its citizens more fairly than the people themselves can distribute them — is nearly as old as civilization itself, and can be traced at least as far back as the Roman Empire. It’s cyclical; like a bad penny it keeps coming back time and again, reasserting itself after the previous failed attempt has been largely forgotten.
But, as Whittle explains, the early 20th century saw a uniquely different approach to this age-old problem. A group of philosophers from the University of Frankfurt (known collectively today as the “Frankfurt School“) set out to establish a theoretical understanding of why the worldwide “people’s revolution” predicted by Marx and eagerly awaited by European intellectuals never fully came into fruition. Their lines of thinking formed the basis for the post-modern philosophies that sought to deconstruct and undermine the dominant culture of Western Civilization.
In other words, because the Marxist revolution failed, the members of the Frankfurt School felt it was their obligation to search for things that could be used as the basis for a new revolution. And undermining Western culture seemed to be what worked the best.
Whittle’s explanation of “critical theory” is a little squishy and he mistakenly includes Saul Alinsky as a disciple of the Frankfurt School (Alinsky was never formally associated with any rigid philosophical stance) but he is spot on in his explanation of how the post-modern application of critical theory led to the contemporary progressive “rich white male power structure” narrative and its enforcement via “political correctness.”
Whittle believes that we as “conservative “Americans are in a unique position to tackle the progressive narrative head-on and defeat it, because we have personally experienced the merits of a democratic society based on individual liberty and mostly driven by a relatively free market economy. To us, our way of life is worth conserving, and we ought to have enough resolve to push the elitist talking heads and celebutard neo-Marxists back into the hole where they belong.
I certainly hope he is right.