No sooner do I note yesterday that GQ magazine has consistently disgraced itself with its choice of cover honorees (culminating in naming Colin Kaepernick its “Citizen of the Year”) than Marie Claire decided to say “Hold my beer” and offer up this tweet:
Now, I do not follow Taylor Swift at all, and couldn’t pick one of her tunes out of a police lineup. But I know that she is phenomenally successful, and as such the Cult of Liberalism is demanding that she throw in with the rest of the celebrity mob on behalf of liberalism, or “explain” why she didn’t. I think conformity with liberalism is in all of their union contracts. I guess the left thinks if Swift had come out forcefully against Trump (which would give a whole new meaning to Swift-boating), it would have swayed some of those dumb white voters in Wisconsin or something.
Needless to say, this ham-handedness unleashed a torrent of sarcastic abuse directed at Marie Claire and the Cult of the Left:
Beyond this well-deserved mockery is a deeper and more serious lesson, only hinted at by calling liberalism a secular cult. The very first book I ever bought from Liberty Fund, way back as an undergraduate, was a reader entitled The Politicization of Society, edited by Kenneth Templeton. (Still in print, and highly recommended.) The introduction to the volume by Max Hartwell (whom I later had the chance to meet over dinner at a Mont Pelerin Society conference) lays out the problem with admirable clarity:
[A]lmost all social phenomena have become politicized, and almost all social problems are assumed to have only political solutions. . . Where once individuals saw their problems as private and sought private solutions for them, now they seek political solutions. Where once private initiative dominated, for example, in areas like cultural entertainment, now political initiatives dominate. Where once the private investigation of social problems was important, public inquiry now dominates, and with public inquiry there is almost inevitably public solution (remedial legislation and the establishment of a bureaucracy of enforcement and control.
Politicization thus takes the manifest form of increasing the power of the state, of increasing political power as against all other forms of power in society, of increasing the power of the politicians and the bureaucrats as against the power of individuals, private institutions, and voluntary associations. For the individual this has meant increasing political dependence and awareness, along with increasing political ineffectiveness and frustration.
This last sentence goes a long way toward explaining the appeal of Trump and populism more generally in the western democracies right now.
To be continued. . .
Meanwhile: Stop Swift-boating Taylor!