The Zman remembers how the promise of Morning in America went badly awry:
That’s the first bit of advice I offer to the alt-right. Trust no one. In the Reagan Revolution, it was impossible to tell the grifters from the committed. Lots of people attached themselves to conservatism, as writers, thinkers and commentators, simply because there was money in it. The term “Conservative Inc.” did not exist in the 80’s, but the idea of it sure did. Just ask Charles Krauthammer. He was a liberal speech writer for Walter Mondale and then he changed teams, because there was more money in being a right-winger.
Related to this is the recent Milo flap, where he was cut down by previous statements he made in one of his “look at me I’m outrageous” performances. He was ever so close to finally getting onto the big stage, making it to the show, but now he has been sent down to the minors and his career is in doubt. The people in charge of the stage have strict rules about who gets on and what they say while on the stage. You either submit to these rules or they toss you from the stage.
Conservatives in the 80’s made this blunder. They truly thought they would be accepted into the club if the public embraced them. The people in charge don’t give a damn about the public’s opinion. They care about controlling the message and the media stage is the platform from which the message is broadcast. If you want onto the stage, it means signing a blood oath to promote the message and there is no room for compromise. There are two sides in this, pick one and live with the choice.
That’s why it is important to no-platform the people in charge. It would glorious if all Trump voters dropped their cable sub this month, but that’s not happening. People like their entertainments. What you can do is build your own media platforms by relentlessly supporting the new ones coming on-line now…. Supporting the media that supports you means looking for a friendly source before going to the mainstream source. It also means the leaders and big shots of the movement need to stay the hell off the mainstream platforms. Milo doing Maher did everything for Maher and nothing for Milo. Anyone who tries to get onto the big stage and mix it up with the mainstream media should be suspect. It is the Golden Rule, the man with the gold makes the rules and in media, it is the man who owns the stage who makes the rules.
The big lesson from the Reagan Revolution is that optimism is easily used as a weapon against the optimistic. All the “Morning in America” bullshit in the 80’s fooled a lot of people into thinking the fight was over and the results were a foregone conclusion. Young people were convinced they had been born into the springtime of a cultural revolution, when in fact they had been born into the early winter of a declining civilization.
We saw this with the Tea Party too. It had no sooner begun to build momentum when all of the Richard Armitrages and Dana Loesches began leaping to the front of the parade and leading it into oblivion. Fortunately, the “Alt-Right is Hitler” tends to prevent most of the grifters from jumping on board the train, although CPAC’s embrace of Bannon, Trump, and near-embrace of Milo may signify that they are going to begin trying to coopt the Alt-Right since demonizing it failed.