Gary is an author, trial lawyer, Mequon-area resident and town of Cedarburg supervisor. He is a columnist for the News Graphic and writes for several Wisconsin area magazines and is a national columnist with The American Thinker and PJ Media. He lives with his wife, Lisa, and has three sons ages 18 to 28. Gary won Ozaukee County in his bid for the Wisconsin Assembly's 60th District in 2011, but came up just 58 votes short.
The triumvirate of media, academia, and Hollywood has been referred to as the Axis of Liberalism. The media with its liberal bias swooned over the election and re-electon of Barack Obama and has helped influence public discourse during significant watershed moments in our country's history. Academia, out of touch with most of America, still favors reparations for slavery and by a 13 to 1 margin votes overwhelming on the left, yet a majority of Americans ship their young, impressionable children off to these spider holes for liberal indoctrination, paying dearly for it in the process. Hollywood elitists with time on their hands spout liberal party lines and adopt leftist causes because it is a smart career choice, and the world appears to listen.
That the Axis of Liberalism is liberal isn't a surprise. But it does beg the question, "Why?" It isn't the case because of a cartel or mass collusion. Rather, the elite which comprise it live and work in social bubbles inbred with leftist self-adulation. The good news is that because the origins of this phenomenon can be explained and understood through simple concepts of social psychology and political science, the Axis of Liberalism can be defeated.
A recent NYU Dept. Of Psychology publication entitled Political Ideology: Its Structure, Functions, and Elective Affinities points out that the term "ideology" has been dubbed "the most elusive concept in the whole of social science." The article defines it as a “set of beliefs about the proper order of society and how it can be achieved.” It is the manner and extent to which political attitudes are cognitively organized according to one or more dimensions of preference or judgment, and the main influence on one's ideology (left or right) is the influences of heredity and childhood personality. In particular, the article quotes one long-term USC study which suggests that one's background and childhood up-bringing predict political attitudes decades later.
The political notion of "left" and "right" stems from the fact that late-18th century supporters of the status quo sat on the right side of the French Assembly hall and its opponents sat on the left. In America we have substituted “liberal” and “conservative” for “left” and “right,” respectively, a political difference concerning preferences for change versus stability – hence, to "conserve." Political elites in the arts, the media, and academia acquire their political ideologies the same way as everybody else does – one pant leg at a time.
The origins of the Axis of Liberalism can be traced back to the first 100 days of the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. FDR was elected at the height of the Great Depression at a time in the world when democracy itself was increasingly threatened. Stalin and the Bolshevik experiment in Russia, Hitler and Social Darwinism in Germany, Mussolini's Fascism in Italy, and the end of party government in Japan with the 1932 assassination of Prime Minister Tsuyoshi all threatened liberty. FDR increased the power of the federal government exponentially, creating an unprecedented array of "alphabet soup" agencies including the SEC, the FCC, the PWA, and the Works Progress Administration (WPA), to name a few. All of these programs consumed billions of dollars and committed the government to an ever-increasing reliance on "tax and spend" programs.
FDR's Republican opponents feared and loathed him, believing he was bent on bringing pure Socialism to America. Proponents of Communism openly grew. "I have seen the future and it works," Lincoln Steffens wrote of the Soviet Union in 1919. One feature of the WPA (renamed "Works Projects Administration" in 1939) which passed Congress in 1935 was captured in a single paragraph from historian Samuel Eliot Morison:
A feature of the WPA (Works Progress Administration) which caught the public eye and became nicknamed "boondoggling," was the setting up of projects to employ artists, musicians, writers and other "white collar" workers. Post offices and other public buildings were decorated with murals; regional and state guides were written; libraries in municipal and state buildings were catalogued by out-of-work librarians, and indigent graduate students were employed to inventory archives and copy old shipping lists, to the subsequent profit of American historians. The federal theater at its peak employed over 15,000 actors and other workers, at an average wage of $20 a week. Under the direction of John Houseman [of Paper Chase fame], Orson Wells, and others, new plays were written and produced, and the classics revived."
The origins of many of today's political alignments can be seen vividly in this paragraph. Tens of thousands of people employed in Hollywood, academia, the press, libraries, and universities can trace the existence of their jobs or their very institutions to the implementation of a federal program began by FDR. Once again, we see the strong correlations between government programs, federal largesse, entitlements, and voting patterns. Human nature is for self-preservation and those who benefitted from big federal programs back in the 1930's and 1940's no doubt imbued their children with similar political leanings. FDR assured the allegiance of the "knowledge class" to the Democratic Party for decades much the same as our president today is purchasing political allegiance from entire demographics such as African-Americans, illegal immigrants, and young, single women. It is politics at its purest. If you take from Peter to pay Paul, you can be sure Paul will vote for you.
Where someone comes from has a profound impact on their ideology. Members of today's Axis of Liberalism come mainly from large, urban centers. After all, that is where the major centers of theater, education, and media are found. One look at the 2012 county-by-county election map reveals a sea of red littered with the occasional blue dot, reaffirming that presidents like Barack Obama are elected almost exclusively by urban voters. Perhaps it's because living in city's means being daily bombarded by traffic, crime, homelessness, pollution, overpopulation, ubiquitous government and the self-perpetuating message from the liberal media that more government and less liberty is the answer. Rural conservatives, on the other hand, are more self-sufficient and independent by nature. They live in communities which hunt, fish, join the NRA, and attend church in greater numbers than urban areas.
The prevailing political ideology in the Axis of Liberalism provides the path of least resistance, especially for high profile Hollywood elites and atheist scientists in academia. Liberalism begets liberalism, and the bubbles in which these exclusive conclaves exist border on incestuous and further steep its members in the ideology they were trained in. The great irony of today is that the professions which are supposed to be comprised of free-thinkers and the open-minded and devoted to intellectual diversity and rigorous academics, do neither. Our universities have become intellectual monocultures obsessed with race, class, gender and sexuality, and dedicated above all to identity politics. They have become decidedly anti-American. Most schools have no curricular requirements that center on the American founding or the history of the nation. Quite often, even history majors aren’t required to take a single course in American history.
The good news is that life is cyclical, and the liberal bias which has dominated the mainstream media for the past three decades is on the wane. Conservatives—and even iconoclasts who don’t consider themselves conservative—are overthrowing the liberal media and political correctness. Conservatives and Christians are beginning to come out of the closet in academia and large universities.
Hollywood liberals are also on the decline. Hollywood produces culture, but it also takes marching orders from it. During the Bush years anti-conservative documentaries and cinema bias was rampant, and sometimes despicable. Movies such as "Avatar" and "The Day After Tomorrow" preached the science fiction of anthropogenic global warming as fact and film documentaries stumped for gun control and universal health care. Today, we are beginning to see conservative push-back in Hollywood, and documentaries such as "2016: Obama's America" are becoming big box office draws. Americans are becoming increasingly aware of the difference between art and propaganda.
Universities are also slowing beginning to veer right. Conservative students are made, not born, and new books being published document the conservative movement among young students on today's campuses. Americans today are more likely to identify as conservative than as liberal. College students are suing liberal professors who try to force feed socialist ideas and threaten to fail them if they don't play along. The Center for the Study of Popular Culture is raising public awareness of the dangers of the "Peace Studies" indoctrination programs that are now being taught in almost every college. An academic Bill of Rights has been proposed in 20 states and "academic freedom" guidelines once used to protect gay rights, abortion issues and protesting against the government are now being used to protect conservative students.
Little things matter. Conservatives are beginning to speak out rather than except and conform to the Axis of Liberalism. Slowly, they are beginning to make a difference. As Steven Covey once said, "Private victories precede public victories. You can't invert that process any more than you can harvest a crop before you plant it."