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Who’s to Blame for the Elite Extreme Left?

Who’s to Blame for the Elite Extreme Left?

This essay first appeared in the Feb. 9, 2024 Epoch Times.

Many writers decry the American political scene as “too divisive.”  But I don’t think this goes to the root of our political problems. A much more serious concern is that a very powerful minority of Americans reject the core principles upon which our Constitution and our society rest: principles of Western Civilization, republican government, and the Judeo-Christian heritage.

In the view of this minority, the American Founding was a crime, people should be judged largely on race and gender, elections should be manipulated (to protect “our democracy”), the traditional family structure should be abandoned, sexual mores should be perverted, and government should be nearly omnipotent.

These ideas resemble a variant of fascism in which everyone serves the state and individual rights—economic and political—are exercised only by the elite’s permission. This minority not only believe these things themselves, but they want to force you to accept them also. They are authoritarian, even totalitarian.

When the rest of us push back against their agenda, it is not “divisiveness.” It is self-defense.

The Power of the Elite

Despite our efforts of self-defense, this group has been remarkably successful in setting the national agenda. One example: From 1998 to 2014, there were 30 state referenda on the definition of civil marriage. The advocates of traditional marriage—that is, between a man and a woman—won all these referenda, and most of them by decisive supermajorities.

But the agenda-setters wanted same-sex civil marriage; therefore, now it is imposed on every state, no matter what the voters might think. So much for “our democracy.”

Once same-sex civil marriage was secured, the agenda-setters proceeded to implement even more outré policies: critical race theory, “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” and, at least in some states, infanticide and the mutilation of children.

And despite the fact that most Americans think we have too much government and not enough freedom, under the guidance of the agenda-setters, government continues to grow.

Who Are They?

Scott Rasmussen, the national pollster, set out to learn who these agenda-setters are. His polling results—some of which were publicized in the Epoch Times by Newt Gingrich—provides some answers. Mr. Rasmussen’s results also point toward the culprits who created this dangerous class of people.

When conducting general surveys, Mr. Rasmussen noticed that most people expressing extreme leftist views share three characteristics: (1) They are very urban, (2) they hold postgraduate university degrees, and (3) they are relatively wealthy. People meeting all these criteria make up about one percent of the general population.

I would have guessed our agenda-setters comprise more than one percent, but as it turns out, they amount to even less than that.

Anyway, Mr. Rasmussen decided to poll a national sample of these people: urbanites with post-grad degrees who had income of more than $150,000 per year.

He found that their economic situations and political views are remote from those of most Americans. While most Americans have been suffering hardship during the Biden years, the one percent has been prospering. While most Americans are concerned about inflation, illegal immigration, and border security, the one percent couldn’t care less.

Mr. Rasmussen also uncovered just how unsympathetic to American ideals this group is and how authoritarian it is:

  • Nearly half of the elite group say Americans have too much freedom.
  • Over seventy percent trust government to do the right thing most of the time. (What planet are they living on?)
  • Over three quarters want to restrict your right to eat meat and use electricity.
  • Nearly three-quarters want to abolish your right to have a gasoline-powered car.
  • Nearly 70% would deprive you of your right to choose a gas stove.
  • More than two-thirds favor letting teachers (who usually are government employees) dictate to parents what children should be taught.
  • Decisive majorities would take away our SUVs, air conditioning, and any air travel they deem “non-essential.”

Nearly a third of these people are focused on politics—and the views of that third are even more alarming. For example, 69 percent of them said they would rather cheat on an election than lose one! (The comparable figure among all citizens is only 7 percent.)

This is the faction that has been setting the national agenda. The Left sometimes tries to raise resentment against the wealthiest one percent, but the Rasmussen poll shows that the real danger lies with a different one percent.

Who’s To Blame?

In several Epoch Times columns, I’ve commented on the leftist extremism prevailing on many of our university campuses. The Rasmussen survey suggests the establishment media bear some of the blame for the elite’s attitudes. (Seventy-one percent of them have a “very favorable” opinion of journalists.) But the survey also suggests that the prestige universities bear much of the blame as well.

Seventy-six percent of the elite have a “very favorable” opinion of professors, and roughly half attended at least one of twelve prestigious universities: Berkeley, Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, M.I.T., Northwestern, Penn, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale.

In a prior Epoch Times column, I contended that university “affirmative action” policies were less about race and gender than about gerrymandering student admissions and faculty hiring to benefit leftists and exclude conservatives (especially Trump voters). Rasmussen reports that 65 percent of Harvard’s entering class describe themselves as “progressive,” while only eight percent describe themselves as “conservative.”

Even more astonishing, he reports that Protestant Christians—who make up nearly half the American population—comprise only six percent of Harvard’s entering class. Perhaps some at Harvard rationalize this situation by telling themselves that conservatives and Protestants are just too stupid to get into their school.

If the universities were performing their duty of transmitting the culture, conveying knowledge, and promoting free thought, the political and cultural imbalances in entering classes would even out somewhat as those classes progressed through college. But the Rasmussen numbers suggest prestige universities also are indoctrinating young people they are supposed to be educating.

This shows up in the polling data: The views of members of the elite who attended a university recently were far more extreme than the views of older members.

Thus, among those 55 years of age or older, only ten percent believe there is too much individual freedom. This is below the number for the general population (16 percent).

But among members of the elite under 35—and therefore most recently out of college—54 percent think Americans have too much freedom.

The Rasmussen poll supports the view that America is under attack from what French author Julien Bender called La Trahison des Clercs—The Treason of the Intellectuals. For some proposed cures, see my Epoch Times series, “What’s Wrong With the Universities and How to Fix It.”

Rob Natelson