The ''Second Superpower' in the US' is conservative...

posted Nov 19, 2003

It was obvious that the democratization of the media would bring new voices into the field, but who knew that so many of those voices would be conservative, libertarian, or just cantankerously opposed to entrenched liberal doctrine? The conservative side is far from winning the culture wars, but the debate is broader and fairer now. The near monopoly is over.

This article re-affirms why I think the whole Second Superpower meme is true, but backwards. Consider the quotes from that essay:

As the United States government becomes more belligerent in using its power in the world, many people are longing for a “second superpower” that can keep the US in check.... it is a new form of international player, constituted by the “will of the people” in a global social movement. For example, the political activist group Moveon.org, which specializes in rapid response campaigns, has an email list of more than two million members.... Which brings us to the most important point: the vital role of the individual.

Even though my reading of the essay shows it was at least partially intended as a "big organization" vs. "individual" contrast (the last phrase I pulled), the "Second Superpower" essay and subsequent meme is heavily steeped in leftist terminology and rhetorical style, referencing Moveon.org, "global social movement", "keep the US in check", all very leftist ways of thinking about things.

But as I've commented before, it is not the left that is emerging. The left already controlled the media, and it still failed to conquer the US. The "Second Superpower" is indeed waking up, but it is not following James Moore's vision. Instead, it is standing behind the US, it is re-spinning the news in the right's favor, it's opening new non-left media channels, and generally making hash out of the left.

I don't really see this as a true "surge" of the right, though; it's equally a surge for every other ideology that was unrepresented by the old-style media. The only people who shouldn't be celebrating over the emergence of the "Second Superpower" are leftists, like Moore seems to be; the landscape that has been tilted in their favor for years is finally swinging back to level. (Whether it stays level is anybody's guess, but I will say that if it does, it will be a first so I'm not counting on it.) It may seem briefly empowering as the left gets things like Moveon.org, but that's a mere minor improvement for them; with these tools equally in the hands of every other ideology, the left is in for a slaughtering on the ideological battlegrounds. In fact it's already starting to happen, I don't anticipate it's going to change direction anytime soon, and the game is only beginning, as the left remains overwhelmingly domainant in the media.

(Yes, the left can point at Fox News, talk radio, and blogging as evidence the media is not totally left-dominated, but right now that's more-or-less a complete listing of where the media is not left-dominated. The left still owns journalism, movies, most television programming, newspapers, university education, and pretty much everything else you can think of.)

The abstract ideals expressed in the Second Superpower essay, about empowering democracy, enhancing individual, "the will of the people", etc. still hold. But the Second Superpower's actual actions are showing the rest of the essay is bunk. The Second Superpower in the US is conservative.

The real question is how this will play out in the rest of the world. That I don't feel qualified to answer. But I will observe that strictly speaking, the left has merely dominated this country's media for the past 30+ years; in other countries, it has outright monopolized it. The entire world is going to be in ideological turmoil over the next 20 years unheard of in the entire history of mankind, and there's nowhere for the "progressive left" to go but down.

 

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