Leftists Hope Recession Will Move America Leftward

Left-wingers are hoping bad economic times will lead to a whole-scale shift in American culture, Russ Smith argues on Splice Today:

There’s presently a school of thought, mostly among the liberal intelligentsia, that the devastating recession has morphed from sheer panic to sour resignation throughout the nation. As a result, we’re now seeing the first wave of magazine and newspaper articles that assess the wreckage and grandly speculate upon the future of American society. This “first draft of history” is premature—in fact, the Las Vegas-tinged economy, where the rules are constantly changing, remains enveloped in gut-wrenching uncertainty—but I’m not an armchair sociologist with a sinecure at a prestigious university or think tank, or insulated by the downturn from inherited wealth or celebrity.

These pundits, left-leaning economists, and other designated “experts,” differ on the precise ramifications of the vanished “American Dream,” but the crux is similar: we’re entering a long, long era of reduced expectations and simpler way of life. Considering the sources—and academia is the epicenter—it’s not surprising that “Reaganism” is now a filthy word, Wall Street money-grubbers are and will be considered pariahs on the order of pornographers and ambulance-chasing lawyers, and high taxes are both necessary and desirable. An element of this commentary is the lingering resentment of the Bush years—the “stolen” election of 2000, Kerry’s loss in ’04, and the supposed philistinism of the former president—but the larger theme is, hey, we’re now in charge! Most of the writing expresses hostility to entrepreneurship and the commercial world, the belief that business, large and small, is somehow dirty, anti-intellectual, and brings out the worst in people. The underclass must be protected because it’s too fragile to be trusted to the greedy, corrupt upper class; a huge, benign government needs to steer such unfortunates in their private and professional lives. […]  

Smith’s essay is definitely worth reading.

(Hat tip to Nick Gillespie of Reason’s Hit & Run blog)

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