Siege Mentality: Not Just for Conservatives Anymore
For years, the American right has been on the defensive. Among the native-born working and middle classes, a growing sense of disenfranchisement has been confirmed by a loss of legislative representation, civil liberties, and even the way of life that has come to define American culture. When these concerns have been voiced, however, they have been met with sneers and condescension from the liberal establishment; some even celebrate this decline, claiming that chipping away at Constitutional freedom, shunning a meritocratic economic order, and rejecting objective morality will lead to a better, more “progressive” America.
The conservatives were losing ground; not just ideological ground, but physical turf. Bastions of conservatism such as Texas and the southwest had become battlegrounds, and Small Town USA was placed under increasing pressure to become more cosmopolitan, more urban, more globalized, more liberal. It was the post-Civil War South’s fate all over again, on a national scale: leftists in power squeezed the little people economically, with “convert or die” the silent implication behind every smilingly delivered promise of hope and change.
For a while, this caused an acute siege mentality among the right. They were a beleaguered minority, holding the line against extinction but only just. Militias formed. Preppers prepped. Conservatives abandoned the blue states and moved to new strongholds like Idaho, and traditional Catholics and Orthodox Christians began mapping out “Benedict Option” communities where they could live their faith and raise their families in relative peace. The tone among conservative thinkers became nigh apocalyptic: the zombies have overrun the cities, so now we run for the hills and woods.
Thankfully, the right snapped out of their funk, realizing that flight was just a bandaid to their problems and not the cure. And now, as a new (current) year begins, the legislative branch turns red once more, and Trump prepares to take office, liberals are feeling decidedly more pinched; their policy power fading fast, they find themselves in the same situation that conservatives were in for so many years before: embattled and losing ground. Or more accurately, discovering the ground they had wasn’t nearly as expansive as they once thought.
However, folks on the right who are cheering the death of “ivory tower” leftism from academia, entertainers, and the coastal urbanites should perhaps pack up the bottle rockets and party hats for a few more years; the mentality that led the left to such disastrous defeat will only intensify as time wears on. Liberals will retreat further into their isolated progressive bubbles, places like New York and Boulder and Portland, concentrating their demographic even further. As America moves away from their image of what it ought to be, they will wall themselves up in their safe spaces and imagine themselves as the last flickering beacons of hope in a nation gone mad.
The nation, meanwhile, will be getting on just fine without them.
- Sean Callaghan