Taking Account of the Ideological Tide


Among the more straightforward dynamics in modern politics is that the population generally is relatively conservative while it feels as if the far left is surging.  As the polling firm Gallup finds, and Paul Bedard reports for the Washington Examiner, only six states have more people identifying as liberal than conservative.  That said:

Before conservatives start to cheer, Gallup said the gap (between states with more conservatives and states with more liberals) used to be 21 points and a handful of the state numbers fall in the margin of error.

But the survey still shows a large swath of red and pink states bookended by the whole West Coast, New England, and the mid-Atlantic, including the Washington, D.C. area.

Please consider a voluntary, tax-deductible subscription to keep the Current growing and free.

It isn’t difficult to see what’s happening.  Coastal elites are pushing progressivism relentlessly, and they’re making a difference.  That’s especially true now that whole generations are entering the adult world having been broadly indoctrinated to take liberal ideas as a default and without a foundational knowledge of and appreciation for our shared heritage as Americans.

Conservatives need a two pronged approach.  The first is a long-term intention to win back cultural institutions so we can conserve our American principles.  The second is a short term catalyst or magic pill that changes young people’s minds.

Progressivism is built on faulty and superficial ideas, while conservatism has the weight of reason and true compassion.  There must be some way to make people realize that short of seeing their civilization destroyed.


Featured image: Gallup results on states’ conservatism versus liberalism as posted by the Washington Examiner.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    The first is a long-term intention to win back cultural institutions so we can conserve our American principles. ?

    This is posted as a question. How do we do this. it seems that all attempts along this line are dismissed as white supremacy, or racism. It occurs to me that America was founded on what was long known as the “Protestant Work Ethic”, can we find a new name? In Europe, American History courses focus on the idea that we are the only country “founded on an idea”, can we recover this? Can we overcome demographics; can a Latino ever look at a statue of George Washington and feel a sense of identity? Can Blacks ever view Robert E. Lee as an honorable man who’s character was drawn from large measures of loyalty and duty?

  • ShannonEntropy

    Hate to break this to ya Justin but Conservatives in general and the white race in particular are demographically doomed, and the cradle-to-grave liberal indoctrination constantly shoved down our gullets is only accelerating the inevitable

    I’m an fossil Boomer so this won’t affect me… who I really feel bad for is my soon-to-turn-3-yr old grandson. Boy is that kid in for a hard life !!

    Some advice / recommended reading from one of my fave economist bloggers Aaron Clarey a/k/a Captain Capitalism: Enjoy the Decline !!


    • Mike678

      Perhaps. Though many of those fleeing South America..and those immigrating from former Soviet satellites…have seen the results of socialism/communism and aren’t anxious to live under it again. That said, they do have a higher tolerance, in general, for corruption… Few things can change how the young feel than their first job and comparing take home pay vrs taxes. :)

      IMHO, the liberal media are responsible for the perception that the left is on the rise. The one sided, constant negativity combined with a social-media obsessed and generally ignorant younger generation (though even Socrates was dismissive of his generations ability to think rationally) fuel this perception. Given the leftward lurch of the Dem party, the current President has a very good chance of being re elected.

  • Joe Smith

    The second is a short term catalyst or magic pill that changes young people’s minds.

    Well, first we should look cautiously at a survey using one question to capture an ideological description that spans a range of complex issues.

    Just look at UCLA’s work on National Freshmen Norms. The percentages describing their political leanings as liberal or conservative tend to be stable, but the attitude questions (gay marriage, death penalty, global warming, marijuana legalization) tend to increase more to perhaps “liberal” views.

    If one were to extrapolate, you’d think the country would be far more liberal by now. Folks yearning for more conservatism in youths – let the natural trend happen. You have debt, you go to work, you incur more debt, and then you realize some “aha moments” when you experience the grab for your money for substandard services and redistribution to the extremes (crony capitalism and the universal make your life easy from cradle to grave on the public’s dime).

    Trump made a mistake in lowering the tax withholdings after pushing through the tax cuts to get the sugar high of 3-4% GDP growth in a year that wasn’t going to help with the mid-terms anyway. Now, he has millions going ‘what tax cut’ and probably an economy that will settle back to normal cyclical behavior – but will look like a downturn by 2020 (great to compare the WSJ vs. NYT headlines on 2.6% GDP growth).

    Conservatives should let the “progressives” give the gift of mixing progressive ideas with identity politics.

    • ShannonEntropy

      You make some salient points, Joe

      IMHO, Trump’s only hope of getting re-elected is a third-party candidate like ‘Starbuck’ Schultz splitting the Dem vote… like the way Ross Perot sunk GHWB in ’92 or Ralph Nader torpedoed Gore in 2000

  • The Misfit

    Conservatives need to remember who they are. Since the conservative concept is all about preserving the past against the onslaught of change and time; change and time are always moving forward. The conservative’s fight to preserve men only social clubs from years ago may not seem all that relevant today. Its not that conservatism has changed; Its that the world has changed. You want to stay true to conservatism? Its a moving target. It defines all the new challenges out there. It is about presenting a conservative view on a new world. Give people a plan for going forward. Preserve the best from the past to offer to the people in this world right now.

    • Mike678

      Your concept of conservatives is extremely limited. So many recent examples…was Walmart’s founder “preserving the past”? Weren’t many of those that prey on and put women down liberals? No, such sweeping generalities and cherry-picked examples are false narratives.

      Conservatives, in general, are about freedom…freedom to succeed..or fail. Personal responsibility. Accountability. These, as you say, are things that helped make this country great and should be preserved.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    I consider that the tide may be running a little stronger than we think. I do not frequent what I would regard as “far right” websites, but I notice that even moderate sites (American Thinker, Unz Report) have more frequent articles about the prospects of a Civil War.

    • Christopher C. Reed

      Overheated rhetoric.
      Considering the actual Civil War (1860-1865), understand what the stakes were then. The abolition of slavery was an existential threat to the southern aristocrats’ way of life (and the southern hoi polloi would play along.)The John Brown massacre made it clear to Southerners what the stakes were. In response, militias formed all over the South. Wars are expensive, whence the funding? Lincoln made it clear that while slavery was the business of the respective states, the tariffs of Charleston and New Orleans were federal revenue, and would remain so, by force if necessary. South Carolina’s legislature disagreed, and opened fire on Ft. Sumter, (where the tariffs were collected).
      Of current federal expenditures, about 50% is welfare and about that American voters are unanimous — it’s untouchable. 15% is DOD, and that’s on autopilot. Only about 16% is discretionary and that’s being nibbled down 1% per year by year to feed the inexorable growth of entitlements. The rest is interest and other mandatory payments, which are only going up. Soon enough there will be nothing left to fight over, fiscally speaking. The political showdown will be between Granny getting her SSI check, or the Admirals getting their shiny new aircraft carrier. (I’m betting on Granny.) Hardly the stuff of bloody sectarian conflict, Shiite/Sunni style. People would pledge “their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor” for what…transgender bathrooms?

      • Christopher C. Reed

        Besides, the Anglosphere has (almost) always eschewed violent revolution, preferring ‘revolution within the form’. (Violent revolution being more of a Continental taste.) Our basic political unit is the county. Succession, when it comes, will creep in quietly, county by county. When DC runs out of money, county after county will quietly secede from DC’s now-unfunded mandates, quietly going their own way based on local consensus. Now would be the right time to build that consensus, but few who identify as conservatives will devote the time, money and attention required. It’s much more fun to bash the antifagoons.
        There will be no general urban insurrection. How could there be, when both sides are government funded? Rather, the authorities will fall back on a longstanding policy of ‘wall it off, let it burn out’. The ‘revolution’ WILL be televised, but from a safe distance.
        Historical footnote: The Southrons understood that the election of Lincoln meant their goose was cooked, but they were screwed either way: Lincoln or Douglas, a lawyer for the Illinois Central would be in charge. Just one of those things, folks, one of those craaazy coincidences…

      • Rhett Hardwick

        Our “Civil War” is a poor example of a civil war. The North and South were not fighting for control of the country. The south had withdrawn and was no longer a “part of the country”, it was “another country”. It never expressed any interest in controlling the “North”. Since the Constitution protected slavery, the Emancipation Proclamation was only “legal” under the War Powers provision. That is why it did not effect areas still governed by the Constitution, that would have been “unconstitutional”.

      • Rhett Hardwick

        ” The abolition of slavery was an existential threat to the southern aristocrats’ way of life (and the southern hoi polloi would play along.)”

        Since only about 10% of southerners owned slaves, one wonders why the other 90$ chose to fight. Sort of like you and I going to war to protect a neighbor’s right to own a new car. I am not denying slavery as a major factor in the war. As I recall most states seceded after Lincoln’s call for volunteers to invade the South. I suspect that had much to do with bringing out the volunteers. They were being invaded.

  • ShannonEntropy

    You guys all seem to believe that The Decline I predicted will take the form of armed insurrection. Not likely

    I admit The Left is increasingly violent — if you were to wear a MAGA hat on Brown’s campus today there is at least a 50% chance you will be physically assaulted. But the most damage to come will be in the takeover of all social institutions. What good is “Free Speech” if offering a right-wing opinion costs you your job and career ??

    The fastest growing minority today ?? The Muslims. They are already being elected to Congress. By the time my 3 yr old grandson is my age they will no doubt have taken over all three branches of gum-mint and will be hunting down the last whites in an effort that will make The Holocaust look like a Sunday church picnic

    • Rhett Hardwick

      I am certainly not a proponent of civil war, but should it happen, I see it being regarded as defensive. There are a variety of factors, such as children being taught “history” and values which you do not approve of. A national government which seems to be writhing in befuddlement, and not providing governance. Muslims gathering in ghettos and demanding immunity from laws. Withdrawal of police protection. Atlanta has recently withdrawn police protection in Buckhead, and other white sections, as regards minor crimes. The city suggests hiring private security (is this so far from militia?) New Jersey denying shopkeepers the right to erect bullet proof barriers because it is offensive to minorities. I recall that one California riot was the result of Korean clerks “refusing” to touch black customers and dropping change into their hands, (In my lifetime, I have noticed a movement away from placing change in my hand, and simply dropping the coins, so I don’t think it is about minorities). I expect at some point in the assault on “traditional values”, there is a flashpoint. If you don’t think “private security” could become a “militia”, consider the present capacity of Blackwater Corp. And relatively few Americans are familiar with them.