By J. Matt Barber
We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. – C.S. Lewis
Comedian Jim Wiegand – aka “Jim Wiggins, the last hippie in America” – is a throwback to a bygone era. The hilarious 70-year-old wisecracker is known for, among other things, a quite liberal worldview. He’s also known for raising Joe Wiegand, his rebellious, good-for-nothing son. Apart from sharing both a sharp sense of humor and mutual love and admiration, father and son see eye to eye on little else.
Joe, a good friend of mine, isn’t a rebellious good-for-nothing in the conventional sense. He’s a 40-something Illinois-based GOP strategist, a Teddy Roosevelt impersonator without equal and a buttoned-up evangelical Christian.
The elder Mr. Wiegand can’t figure out where he went wrong. He jokes that when Joe was a youngster, he once discovered magazines hidden under the boy’s mattress. He was shocked to find his son looking at such smut: National Review.
Hippies once were the counterculture. Liberals were the nonconformist rebels, boldly wearing unwashed anarchy on tattered sleeve. They loudly and proudly raged against the establishment machine.
Today, they are the establishment machine.
All of our ruling-class institutions – academia, courts, government, media and entertainment industries – are teeming with closed-minded, hard-left ideologues who seek to “fundamentally transform America.”
Consider that, according to the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, self-identified liberals outweigh their conservative counterparts in the mainstream media by a 5-1 margin.
Likewise, a 1999 North American Academic Study Survey (NAASS) of students, faculty and administrators in colleges and universities throughout the United States determined that five times as many college faculty members vote Democratic as Republican. In fact, 72 percent described themselves as “to the left of center,” while a mere 15 percent identified themselves as “right of center.”
One can only imagine that in the ensuing decade, the ideological disparity has increased. Ask any kid in the halls of academia, and he’ll tell you, with few exceptions, that professor so-and-so is a liberal so-and-so.
Still, liberals – or “progressives,” as they prefer to be called – persist in laboring under an embarrassing misconception: They honestly believe they remain the nonconformists. It’s precious.
In fact, today’s liberals are nothing of the sort. They compliantly conform – like little windup, patchouli-daubed lemmings – to a carnival-prize caricature of what they imagine nonconformity to look like. You know, the usual stuff: neo-Marxism, environmentalist activism, sexual relativism, big-government nanny statism, an actions-without-consequences rendering of reproductive rights, and other such populist nonsense. Simply put, today’s progressive nonconformist conforms.
Indeed, the “Stepford Wives” have become the “Stepford Lesbians.” The prudish, judgmental church lady has swapped spots with the easy – yet somehow self-righteous – birth-bashing feminist.
So what is a young person – brimming over with that instinctive, defiant impulse to rebel against “the man” – to do?
Well, in this up-is-down, spend-money-to-save-money world, conservatives have become the contemporary nonconformists. Today’s rebellious youth are telling the progressive establishment to put its moral-relativist, redistributionist party-line pig swill in its well-used chamber pipe and smoke it.
Kids: Really want to get under your obnoxiously “tolerant,” Volvo-driving, MSNBC-watching folks’ skin? Try this: Go to church, abstain from premarital sex, join the Young America’s Foundation, attend a Tea Party rally, enroll at Liberty University, listen to Rush Limbaugh and vote Republican.
You’ll have them writhing in their Birkenstocks.
I’ve often said that President Obama could either be the best thing to happen to America or the worst. The best insofar as this man’s policies are so radical, so extreme that, in keeping with Newton’s third law of motion, the “opposite reaction” might well trigger Republican rule in perpetuity.
First, the bad news: So far, Mr. Obama is the worst. Now, the good news: I believe he has awakened a sleeping giant in the millennial generation (ages 18 to 29). Today’s counterculture is rejecting the tired progressive policies pushed by this president and his secular-socialist sycophants.
For instance, a 2010 Marist Institute for Public Opinion poll determined that nearly 60 percent of millennials believe abortion is “morally wrong,” a nearly 10-point increase over the more progressive baby-boomer generation. The tide is turning.
Similarly, a recent survey from Harvard University’s Institute of Politics found that millennials are worried sick about their futures. Yet President Hopey Changey and Democrats in Congress continue to play back-alley dice with their lives via incomprehensible deficit spending and a national debt that swells annually by the trillions.
Do you think these kids won’t rebel as the clouds quickly darken?
Winston Churchill once observed,
“If you’re not a liberal at 20, you have no heart; if you’re not a conservative at 40, you have no brain.”
Liberalism is emotion-based and rooted in soaring, knee-jerk notions of “social justice.” Conservatism is logic-based and rooted in reality.
Today’s rebellious youth have the heart part down. I’m glad to see they’re developing some brains.
Matt Barber is an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. He serves as Vice President of Liberty Counsel Action.