It's fair to say that by the 1990s, that march was complete. The education system, Television, movies were safely bastions of leftist thought, with any few remaining islands of non-left thinking (say the College of Engineering) safely marginalized. At this point, the left were finally free to indoctrinate at will, to mold society in their image.
The election of 2008 is perhaps the greatest success of these institutions, where a combination of news media propaganda, University group-think spoon fed to students, and a glittering collection of Hollywood stars led to the election of Barack Obama, the most liberal president in history. The ground had been carefully prepared, and now the left could finally complete the transformation of the Country, as Gramsci had predicted.
It hasn't worked out that way. Certainly Obama has had some legislative victories, but at terrible cost. Maybe a million people have taken to the streets in protest, in the Tea Party movement. Even if a supine news media downplays or simply refuses to report these events, it's clear that the careful preparation of the Intellectual battlefield have not had at all the expected result. The Intellectual organs do not seem to be pushing the country in the desired direction. On the contrary.
The Long March Through The Institutions is complete, but the results are not what were expected:
- American's trust in the news media has been falling since 1976.
- Newspaper circulation has been falling since 1990.
- None of the top dozen highest grossing Hollywood films has been made in the last 25 years (counting in inflation-adjusted dollars).
- Previously respected initiatives like the Environmental Movement are no longer respected.
- Trust that the Government will do the right thing has been falling since the early 1960s, from a high around 80% to the mid 20% range.
At what should be the height of the Intellectual's power under the Obama Administration, they are being rejected by the country. And so they're cracking up, like Woody Allen and Tom Friedman dreaming about a Dictatorship. Roger L. Simon suggests why:
They sense — and Woody and Friedman sense with a different reaction — that the Culture Wars are turning. It’s partly the Tea Parties, but it’s more than that. It’s the zeitgeist. The times, they are definitely a-changin’. Liberalism, as we have known it for decades, is on the defensive. With the welfare state unsustainable, it has nowhere to turn and its adherents are turning tail in every direction. They are mad and they are, in many cases, unmoored. Lifetime ideologies are beginning to crumble. Personality constructs are at risk.Gramsci was wrong, at least for America. We don't care about Intellectualism, and never have. All the dreaming and wishing that America "becomes more like Europe" is empty. Not happening, at least on this side of the Atlantic.
The crackup isn't pretty. Bush wasn't supposed to win, and we saw Bush Derangement Syndrome. Obama did win, but we still see Palin Derangement Syndrome. Charges of "racist" and "sedition" are tossed around, to general derision. At what should be their moment of final victory, it's all turning to dust.
Will the last people to leave the Institutions please turn out the lights? We're trying to be Green and Save the Planet ...
UPDATE 3 June 2010 10:57: Welcome visitors from Tam's place, and she's quite correct: you should also read this and this and this. I've focused here on the Great Tyranny, the one on the national level. The petty tyranny of the local school board or zoning council is another post or ten. You should also read this follow-up post that was triggered by Wolfwalker's excellent comment here.