In March, Americans braced for the nationwide “March for Our Lives,” and what they witnessed was the latest battle in the culture war, with children paraded through the capital as nouveaux Jacobins. “This is the beginning of a revolution,” declared anti-Second Amendment activist David Hogg, a teenage peddler of leftist propaganda who has taken on the role of Little Robespierre for his puppeteers at MSNBC and the DNC.
The March for Our Lives movement was from the outset anything but organic or grassroots, and those $500,000 donations from our moral betters in Hollywood to the organizers of the march should be the most obvious red flag.
The children of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Flor- ida, were the victims of a heinous crime, one that progressives were quick to seize as a means to advance their long-held agenda. Corporate media curated the victims willing to sing along with the anti-Second Amendment chorus, while casting out survivors of the shooting who refused to stick to the script. Americans are much less familiar with Kyle Kashuv and Colton Haab—both pro-Second Amendment Parkland survivors, and the latter an ROTC student who protected dozens of his classmates during the Parkland shooting—than they are with the well-rehearsed antigun student activists. These well-publicized activists were the stars of the march, held on March 24 after a month of careful planning and media promotion. Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh announced that she would pro- vide 60 buses to ferry 3,000 students to the event. Teachers’ unions and school districts across the United States backed the movement, punishing dissident teachers and students for resisting the politics of the march during the national pre-march school walkout. An Ohio student was suspended for refusing to leave his classroom. All the while, legions of parents sheepishly went along with a campaign driven to undermine their own authority as well as the principles and laws of their country.
This movement has nothing to do with keeping our children safe. If it did, there would be due attention paid to the actions of the Broward Sheriff ’s Office (BSO), whose jurisdiction includes Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Besides ordering officers to stand down while children were being massacred—and then lying about it—the BSO allegedly partnered with the Broward County School District (BCSD) in an agreement that saw deputies deliberately refuse to arrest juveniles for an array of crimes, in order to deflate crime statistics artificially and “qualify for lucrative state and federal grants.” BSO responded to calls regarding the Florida shooter’s home 39 times over the last few years.
An exhaustively researched report by Sarah Rumpf at RedState finds that “it does, in fact, appear that the BSO, under the leadership of Sheriff Israel and in collaboration with the BCSD, were engaged in a deliberate effort to avoid arresting Bro- ward County students, even when they had committed crimes.” Incidentally, the BSO and BCSD are controlled by Democrats.
“We aren’t being taken seriously enough,” said Alfonso Calderon, a 16-year-old junior at Stoneman Douglas High, at the Florida State Capitol. Media coverage suggests otherwise. However, as any adolescent might do, Mr. Calderon has confused his own unconstitutional demands with student safety itself, equating the value of life with a political agenda. The left is all too eager to engender this confusion. Calderon and his handlers will not consider themselves “taken seriously enough” until they get what they want: an end to the Second Amendment. Retired leftist Supreme Court Justice Paul Stevens actually said as much, in a New York Times op-ed following the march, unambiguously titled “Repeal the Second Amendment.”
It matters little whether the student activists are aware that their words and actions are part of a larger effort to undermine traditional American society. Regarding the success of the “march through the institutions” and the operating philosophy of the 20th century’s most influential Marxist, Antonio Gramsci, the late Samuel Francis wrote in these pages (December 1993),
[Gramsci’s] idea of “cultural hegemony” has facilitated the cultural revolution that the enemies of American civilization have pulled off in the last half century. I do not claim that Gramsci’s ideas were consciously followed by those who seized cultural power in the United States—indeed, the beginnings of the cultural revolution of the left long predated Gramsci’s influence—but it is true that the process by which that revolution occurred resembled the strategic and tactical ideas that Gramsci later articulated.
Francis added that social-justice activists tend to “possess an instinctive understanding of [Gramsci’s] ideas and know how to apply them.” That includes using Marxist principles to judge and condemn Americans’ right to keep and bear arms.
“Let us chase after the dream, after the utopia,” Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro declared in announcing the disarmament of his people—in the name of “peace with love, justice and a will to work,” of course. Maduro concluded, eerily enough, “Disarmament must come from the conscience of the youth.”
Yuri Bezmenov, a defector from the Soviet KGB during the Civil Rights Era, spent the better part of the 1980’s as an anti-Marxist journalist, lecturer, writer, and pro-American advocate. Bezmenov warned Americans that all it takes is “one false idea from the ideology of a communist or totalitarian government,” such as the false notion that this generation will be the one to see “the last mass shooting,” if only we surrender the keys to the kingdom. Under the nom de plume of “Tomas D. Schuman,” Bezmenov wrote a Love Letter to America, in which he argued that the left always seeks to advance its ideology in the culture war by appealing to the concerns of the moment:
The driving force of this war has very little to do with natural aspirations of people for better lives and greater freedoms. If at all, these aspirations are being used and taken advantage of by the manipulators and progenitors of the war. The real driving force of this war of aggression is IDEOLOGY—something you can- not eat, wear or store for a “rainy day.” An integral part of this war of ideology is IDEOLOGICAL SUBVERSION—the process of changing the perception of reality in the minds of millions of peoples all over the world.
Capitalizing on authentic social and cultural problems, activists and their handlers play on the fears and vulnerabilities of society as a means to achieving their ideological ends. This is how perception is changed in the minds of Americans in an effort to undermine, subvert, and destroy the existing cultural hegemony. But where is this hegemony lodged? Middle America, of course—the blue-collar, gun-owning, God-fearing heart of this nation.
Middle Americans have historically embodied the resistance against the ever-looming Washington leviathan in league with the elites—a conglomerate of corporatists, politicians, activists, unionists, bureaucrats, scholars, and media personalities—who are embedded and arrayed within the state. The middle class has consistently worked to challenge the power of the elites, while Middle Americans have been the keepers of social institutions from which a culture characterized by civic virtue and individual responsibility emanates—essential elements of a society fit for self-government and capable of resisting subversion. Amy Wax and Larry Alexander, professors at the law schools of the Universities of Pennsylvania and San Diego, respectively, wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer on the loss of basic societal norms of Middle America—what they and others refer to as “bourgeois culture”:
That culture laid out the script we all were supposed to follow: Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Get the edu- cation you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness. Go the extra mile for your employer or client. Be a patriot, ready to serve the country. Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable. Avoid coarse language in public. Be respectful of authority. Eschew substance abuse and crime. . . .
If the bourgeois cultural script—which the upper-middle class still largely observes but now hesitates to preach—cannot be widely reinstated, things are likely to get worse for us all.
Middle America is the cultural and social center, without which things fall apart. Under the pretense of concern for real and exaggerated social issues, the elites exploit social troubles in order to increase (or recover) their power, devising state-administered remedies to social and cultural problems. These problems, which should and could only be reasonably addressed by communities, are framed as technical issues that can be resolved only through state-administered expertise. While the activists march, the state offers to redress their grievances, at the expense of liberty and individual rights.
To achieve their political goals, it is necessary for the elites to portray Middle American institutions as hindrances to “progress,” and Middle Americans themselves as dangerous reactionaries concerned with nothing more than their own wealth and power, both of which are waning. This is why they mount vicious attacks against the National Rifle Association and, by extension, every law-abiding gun owner.
If Middle America is characterized by respect for the Constitution and the traditional family—in which parents still have the right to tell their children no—then it is the task of the progressive political project to undermine the family, and thereby undermine Middle American influence over American society as a whole. Only through social erosion can the leftist ideologues usher in a new order, wherein citizens happily surrender their constitutional rights and their insistence on limited government in exchange for state-controlled meliorism. And one sure way to diminish the family as a bulwark of liberty is to disarm it.
The incessant psychological warfare waged against Middle Americans and other dissidents by corporate media takes many forms, often that of deliberately misinforming the public through legions of so-called experts. Incidents of violence are propagandized, cast not as aberrant or pathological acts, but as structural by-products of American “gun culture,” which is supposedly responsible for normalizing and even abetting such heinous crimes as school shootings. Most Americans don’t want more gun control, so the media hammers away at them every day, hoping to break down nonconformists or make them feel isolated. Leftist-dominated public schools guarantee that, when it comes to ignorance of the original meaning of our Constitution and Bill of Rights, no child will be left behind. Yet, “No part of the Constitution—neither the structural portions nor the individual guarantees [of rights]—can be preserved for the people by the Supreme Court alone,” the late Justice Antonin Scalia warned. “A Supreme Court fiercely dedicated to preserving that document cannot exist in the midst of a society that does not understand it.”
The March for Our Lives is the latest phase in the long battle to disarm Americans, an essential part of the culture war. If Americans were disarmed by judicial fiat tomorrow, there would be an uprising. But if their hearts and minds could be swayed to abandon their constitutional rights in the name of protecting innocent children, the battle would be over with no shots fired. An armed and vigilant populace is one that will not easily fall into tyranny. Middle Americans must remain vigilant and refuse to be cowed into silence by activists and politicians eager to take their guns and move on to the left’s next target.