In Our Time

The Long Retreat Through the Institutions

Twenty-sixteen was the year when American liberals confidently expected to consolidate the quiet political and cultural revolution they had been conducting for decades in the coming national elections.  When the Republican Party nominated Donald J. Trump as its presidential candidate, the apparent miracle was enough (nearly) to cause the Democracy to reconsider the possibility of a Supreme Being, especially since, in the case of His Existence, He was obviously not simply a fellow liberal but a Democrat besides.  But instead of victory, Election Year delivered them and their Gramscian agenda dating from the 1960’s a setback at the polls as considerable as it was shocking.  God seemed suddenly to revert to myth again, a myth at once childish and sinister, a trick on religiously minded people who then employed it as a cynical means to rally the credulous opiated masses.

The “long march through the institutions” advocated by Antonio Gramsci after World War I, when the proletariat had vitiated Marx’s prophecy that international catastrophe would provoke the working class to rise up as a man against their capitalist-bourgeois exploiters by enthusiastically enlisting in the capitalists’ armies to fight on behalf of their native patriae instead, seemed to have been arrested by a contrary force the liberals immediately fingered as “populist.”  Gramsci had argued that the...

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