Saturday, August 13, 2022
Are we on the cusp, then, of an anti-elite cultural revolution? I still wouldn’t bet on it. For obscure reasons of psychology, creative minds incline to radical politics. A kulturkampf directed from Tallahassee, Florida, or even Washington, D.C., won’t budge that reality much. The group portrait of American culture will continue to tilt left indefinitely.
But that’s not the question at hand. What terrifies elites is the loss of their cultural monopoly in the face of a foretold political disaster. They fear diversity of any kind, with good cause: to the extent that the public enjoys a variety of choices in cultural products, elite control will be proportionately diluted.
Our cultural monolith, never popular, is today pounded by crosscurrents that undermine its solidity. Alongside the vast progressive choir, quieter voices—conservative, libertarian, religious, none-of-the-above—could soon arise, leaving our culture more fractured, more divided, and more representative of the nation as a whole. If that were to occur, sullen elites will point to 2022’s springtime of discontent, and remark, with typical vehemence, that their panic was fully justified.
Martin Gurri is a former CIA analyst and the author of The Revolt of the Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium.