August 3, 2023


The New Right's Theory of Power is Insane (NICHOLAS GROSSMAN, JUL 17, 2023, Arc Digital)

In a sharp New York Times column, David French argues that Elon Musk's problems at Twitter show how the "new right's theory of power" has failed. The new right--culture war focused, often very online, rejects small government conservatism as weak--thought Musk buying Twitter would force their cultural preferences onto America, as they believe the old owners did for the left. But American culture is too much of a bottom-up process. Individual preferences and the market are bigger forces, which we're seeing now as advertisers flee, and companies launch Twitter competitors that attract some interest, such as Threads.

It's a good point, but I'm going to take it further: This theory of power is not just wrong, it's insane. Nuts. A distortion of reality. More conspiracy theory than empirical assessment, based on a false premise that stokes feelings of victimization.

Here's how French explains the theory:

"In the new right's telling, the story of contemporary American culture is the story of progressive elite capture of the nation's most important institutions -- from the academy to big business to pop culture to the "deep state" -- followed by its remorseless use of that institutional power to warp and distort American values."

French argues that the new right's counter-strategy of "domination and imposition" isn't working and won't, but he doesn't really interrogate the premise.

The idea that leftists executed a hostile takeover of all major institutions and now use them to persecute conservatives is a foundational truism for the new right. Feeling like a victim of that persecution, and justified in taking drastic action in response, might be the main thing holding the movement together.

As with the Left, increasing public exposure to their ideas increases hostility to the Right.

Posted by at August 3, 2023 6:35 AM