Friday, July 16, 2021

Looking Down From The Commanding Heights


Friends, it's time for the "big reveal": my latest article is ready for your perusal!  This time I expand on a theme I developed yesterday: the curious incongruity between the power and the powerlessness of the modern elite.  See if you don't find my analysis jaw-droppingly insightful...

For the Establishment, These Are the Best of Times, And These Are the Worst of Times

A few years back, leftists began calling the richest and most powerful among us the “One Percent”, to distinguish these arrogant neo-aristocrats from the downtrodden multitude, i.e everyone else. It didn't take long, however, for many of the most privileged “progressives” to realize that they were the “One Percent”, if indeed that term has any objective meaning. The terminology was quickly abandoned, therefore. Now liberals congratulate one another on being “woke” instead – a distinction that the well-heeled and well-connected can earn just as easily, if not more easily (thanks to the infinite avenues for virtue-signaling that wealth and power afford), than the huddled masses. Crisis averted!

However one chooses to define “the establishment” and the elite that towers over it, however, it is becoming more and more apparent that the ruling class has arrived at a crossroads. It has, since the outset of the pandemic, and especially since the enthronement of Joseph R. Biden as King-Emperor of Wokery, flexed its muscles and reveled in its mastery as never before. On the other hand, as the saying goes, “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown”. The establishment has seldom been more nervous and defensive – even downright scared of the hoi polloi that writhe beneath it – and for good reason.

Why would we say these are “the best of times” for the left-leaning establishment? Because, for one thing, it successfully defeated its nemesis, Donald Trump, in 2020 and reasserted its monopoly on governance at the federal level. It accomplished this feat by the flagrant coordination of almost every lever of institutional and cultural power available to it: it formed what Time magazine termed a “well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information”. All this was done to ensure a “legitimate” outcome to the 2020 election – and the establishment was never in any doubt about the result that such a contest would produce. Trump would lose.

Such institutional and cultural collusion would have been inconceivable were it not the case that, increasingly, the establishment viewpoint dominates every major institution and nexus of power there is in American society – which, of course, on one level, is no surprise at all. That's why it's called "the establishment", after all. What is rather shocking is the ease with which non-establishment voices are being silenced and deliberately excluded from the media, social media, our education system, Hollywood, and beyond. These are sectors that used to be open to a degree of pluralism. No more. Add to all that the fact that government has grown by leaps and bounds (it now consumes roughly 45% of GDP), and the authority of government over even the most private aspects of our lives has, thanks to the pandemic, grown too, and you'd be hard-pressed to think of a time in our history when the powers-that-be were more, well, powerful. Bully for them!

On the other hand, there is the sobering result of a recent Gallup poll on Americans' confidence in the major institutions that dominate our politics, culture, and economy. This poll illustrates the abject failure of the elite in building trust in, and legitimacy for, the very foundations of its power. From Congress, to the courts, to the presidency; from Hollywood, to higher ed, to social media; from corporations, to cable news, to the banking system – all these props of the established order enjoy less legitimacy and less confidence from the American people now than almost ever before. Yes, the establishment still tells us what to do and what to think, but the truth is that a very substantial fraction of the American people (based on the last election, you'd have to say...47%?) simply aren't obeying or even listening anymore. And even Democrats, who loathe all the people the elite tells them to loathe, and who trip over one another to be, or at least to sound, politically correct, don't repose great confidence in their "betters". Just 25% and 35% of Democrats express confidence in “television news” and “newspapers”, respectively, for instance. No wonder, then, that progressives are wringing their hands about past and future “insurrections”, and about the imminent collapse of “democracy”. To them, these words signify nothing more than the retention, or forfeiture, of their grip on power, which means also their grip on public opinion, which has never been shakier than it is today.

And in that strange incongruity – the seeming omnipotence of the modern establishment, versus its paper-thin legitimacy – we can perceive the outlines of our collective fate (or can we?). One is reminded of the totalitarian sway of the communist regimes of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc satellites, which seemed utterly unassailable, until one day it and they melted away before our eyes.

One should not underestimate the immense resources that the establishment can bring to bear to buttress its power and moral suasion, nor its determination to do so. Nonetheless, if I were a pillar of the establishment, I'd be pretty nervous right now!

Dr. Nicholas L. Waddy is an Associate Professor of History at SUNY Alfred and blogs at: He appears on the Newsmaker Show on WLEA 1480/106.9.


And here it is at WND: 




When you're done oo-ing and ahh-ing over my latest article, consider these three BONUS articles.


The first deals with a theme near and dear to my heart: nuclear energy.  As many of you know, I'm radioactive...and PROUD OF IT!  I jest.  Actually, we're all a bit radioactive.  Just a smidge.  The point is that we derive enormous benefits from nuclear power, and yet attitudes towards it remain depressingly small-minded and cringing, despite the fact that, in an age when supposedly "climate change" poses an "existential threat" to mankind, we ought to be cranking up our use of nuclear energy.  Oh well.  Human beings are reliably dim.  What can you do, eh? 


The second article comes to us from the fertile mind of Pat Buchanan.  His analysis is spot on, as far as it goes.  "President" Biden's apocalyptic rhetoric, painting Republicans as segregationists and traitors, is politically risky, if the goal is to serve the legislative agenda of the Democrats and burnish the personal popularity of Joe Biden.  There's an alternative explanation, though: Democrats are talking about Republicans as monsters, as "insurrectionists", as white supremacists, because they believe that's exactly what we are -- and the survival of our Republic requires our...political elimination?  I mean, listen to what Biden says.  He surely couldn't countenance sharing the political stage in a democracy with the likes of you and me! 

Lastly, this one is good for a chuckle.  Shark advocates are trying to rebrand "shark attacks" as "incidents" and "interactions" and "negative encounters".  We shouldn't see sharks as adversaries, after all.  Or, to put it another way, HAVE YOU HUGGED A SHARK TODAY?  Give it a shot.  Remember, a shark is just a fish...that identifies as a man-eating lion.  Try to be accepting (you big jerk).


  1. Dr. Nick

    Please STOP referring to The Left as Democrats. Put quotation marks around that word. The current "Democrats" are an assortment of Socialists and Communists posing as "Democrats". That party is "Gone With The Wind", beginning (in my opinion) with the Clintons in the 1990s. It certainly has nothing to do with JFK or LBJ who were, by today's standards, conservatives. Even FDR might be turning over in his grave. In addition, most of the people (although not all) in power now have reached their highest levels of incompetence. So once again, make that the "Democrats" if you would.

  2. You make a good point, as always, Ray. Or should I say "Ray", if that is in fact your real name. Ha ha. The Dems are an assortment of neo-Marxist wackos and fellow travelers who would, I quite agree, mortify many of their partisan progenitors by their sheer extremism. Nevertheless, there's only one "Democratic Party" around in the good ole USA, and they own it -- more's the pity.

  3. Dr. Waddy from Jack:For one thing I think that use of nuclear weapons in WW II against the exceedingly cruel Japanese was ignorantly and presumptuously and yes, purposefully used to discredit U.S. power, by always incipiently totalitarian leftists since the war. And so they tiresomely persist to this day:"Nuclear power = Hiroshima!" Uh would they have liked to be among the bamboo pike wielding resistance to the modern world the Japanese invaded in the 1930s, , with unspeakable malice, in 1945?


  4. Dr. Waddy and Ray from Jack: MEGADITTOS on your comments above! The disgraceful degradation of the Dem party, yes confirmed by its provision of our White House to the Clintons and much affirmed since would have inconceivable 50 years ago!

  5. There's a common thread in your two comments, Jack: yes, the Dems have undergone a sea change since the early 60s, and, yes, the current Dems loathe nuclear power while the Dems of old warmly embraced it!