Martin Gurri discusses the possibility for the development of a right/populist agenda in the most recent issue of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal. Great stuff. Read the whole thing.
Martin Gurri is a very smart fellow and a keen observer of the modern political scene. In Gurri’s view, American politics today is a conflict between the elites who control all the major institutions and the rest of us that are seeking change.
The elites know what they want: control. The problem for those of us challenging the elite establishment in Gurri’s mind is that the populist movement on the right has a varied agenda. Thus, Gurri casts the conflict as between the “politics of control” (i.e., the elites) and the “politics of incoherence”.
If you’ll allow me to skip ahead, there is a right populist agenda out there. It’s the one that we offer here at GOUSA. But first, back to Gurri.
Gurri’s view is that the establishment and leftwing populists have an alliance, albeit an uneasy one.
“A vast apparatus of control—an octopus-like conglomerate of institutions that includes the federal bureaucracy, the news media, and the digital platforms—has been deployed to stop the populist wolf from crashing through the door. The panic evoked by Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter betrays an unhappy suspicion that the beast will break in anyway. The system is as nakedly rank-based as Marie Antoinette’s France. Having assumed guardianship over the complexities of twenty-first-century life, the elites must govern because they are who they are.
Ostensibly, the center seeks power to preserve the establishment. Left populists seek power to destroy it. The Left views current social structures as the end product of a history of subjugation and annihilation. Except for a small band of heroic rebels, only two classes remain: oppressors and victims. Oppressors must be hounded without mercy. Most belong in prison. To ensure perfect equity, the state must intervene in every outcome. To protect victims from harm, hatred must be interpreted as broadly as possible and criminalized. To save the earth, capitalism and industry must be suffocated.
The politics of control unite the extreme center and left populism: at present, the two factions share an uneasy alliance. This is only partly a contradiction. The center is ideologically exhausted and requires justification for control. In identity and environmentalism, the Left supplies that justification. The center is also aware that institutional power has decayed and verges on collapse. By its ability to summon the digital mob, the Left can offer social control over a restless public. At any rate, left populism today is not revolutionary but performative: it needs the media to build a proper stage on which to strut. The young rebels are often the children of the elites, getting credentialed in moral drama before they ascend to leadership.“
It’s hard to argue with his conclusion. The left-wing crazies are clearly in control of the Biden Administration including agencies and department that ostensibly should be neutral like the FBI and the Defense Department. As Sarah Huckabee Sanders put it in her rebuttal to the Biden State of the Union Address, “the dividing line in America is no longer between right or left. The choice is between normal or crazy.” Agreed.
So where is a right populist agenda that opposes the establishment and seek to empowers the American people? It’s right here.
Gurri argues that a right populist agenda should be formed around the concepts of Sovereignty, Equality and Obligation to each other. That’s not much different from the GIUSA agenda of Unity, Liberty and Opportunity.
Moreover, GOUSA has been working on our pro-unity, pro-liberty, pro-opportunity agenda for years. We even have a rating system in place to determine which politicians are pursuing the politics of control (as Gurri put it) and which politicians are pursuing the politics of individual empowerment and opportunity.