The Left and Incrementalism

News: Commentary
by David Gordon  •  •  June 29, 2020   

The march towards Marxism is a journey of a thousand steps

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The West is lurching leftward one crisis at a time, but our leaders are too obtuse to recognize it (and too yellow to interdict it regardless). Marxist progressives are cunning — they know their political and religious agenda, perverse as it is, would prove repugnant to most people if it were unveiled in one fell swoop. So instead of forthrightly declaring their intentions, their ultimate goals for society, leftists roll back the curtain on their policy initiatives slowly, methodically, sporadically, with recurring periods of status quo giving way to frenzied sprints toward Bolshevism, like bouts of tranquility between waves of retching.

This method of advancement through punctuated equilibrium is indispensable for the Left. It is called "incrementalism." But incrementalism is itself dependent on current events — the news cycle — to serve as a catalyst for its employment. As the saying goes, "necessity is the mother of invention." If progressives are to reinvent (read: destroy) Western society, they must provide a defensible reason for their desire to do so. After all, it's idiomatic that one ought not "fix" what isn't broken. And so, leftists bide their time, lying in wait for a current event (preferably a tragic one that will stir our emotions) that can be marketed as an emergency to present itself so they can pounce, rolling out extremist policy initiatives, one after the next, supposedly aimed at curtailing the "crisis." Then they go on offense, accusing everyone who objects to their Marxist proposals as "racist," "sexist," "racist," "homophobic," "racist," "heartless," "racist," and generally retrograde. And don't forget "racist." All dissenters are labeled "enemies of the people."

President Obama with Rahm Emanuel

By piggybacking their proposals on national tragedies, leftists make it seem as if the old system is an abject failure — that it needs to be radically changed if we're to live in a truly just and fully functional society. This is why Rahm Emanuel (who served as White House chief of staff under President Obama) infamously exhorted radicals to "never let a crisis go to waste." The long march towards Marxism is an aggregation of thousands of steps. Each step must be "justified" to garner public approval. And each step takes the Left a little bit closer to their endgame.

Incrementalism has heretofore been a resoundingly successful strategy for the Left because in order to combat it, conservatives need to fight and win thousands of little battles — battles which, when considered in isolation, seem trivial and inconsequential — battles that there is no political will on the Right to fight. Indeed, you'll often hear moderate conservatives chiding their brethren with the asinine conventional wisdom of our era, virtue-signaling with false counsels like, "You've got to pick your battles," and "Discretion is the better part of valor." There's nothing virtuous about being non-combative in the face of the machinations of wicked men though. Aquinas teaches, "If one is angry in accordance with right reason, one's anger is deserving of praise" and that "lack of the passion of anger is ... a vice."

While men of the West are capable of engaging with peerless ferocity and bravery when our hearts are truly in a fight, the Left knows that our Achilles' heel is our decisiveness and perseverance. Our lack of the latter is how we were stymied in the Vietnam War: The communists knew that if they could not defeat us through force of arms — they couldn't — then they could outlast us and break our will, if only they could sufficiently endure and make it a war of attrition. And they succeeded because they had a meta-strategy and we didn't.

There's nothing virtuous about being non-combative in the face of the machinations of wicked men.

It's just the same in the culture wars being fought today. The Left knows what it needs to do. It just needs to march the ball slowly down the gridiron, and it will eventually achieve total victory. A long series of unglamorous run-plays with minimal gains will suffice. (In fact, marginal pickups are best, since they attract the least negative attention). Mathematically speaking, given a long-enough span of time, everything that is possible to happen will happen. So given the fact that only the Left is on offense imposing its political agenda — while the Right is relegated to playing defense (and poorly, I might add) — progressivism is destined to prevail.


So, I propose the new, anti-incrementalism meta-strategy for the Right: Fight every political and cultural battle with pep and vinegar, vigor and dispatch, as if the survival of the nation depended upon the fortunes of that very clash. Indeed, the survival of the nation does depend on the outcome of a thousand small battles. Don't listen to the faux-wisdom of the cowardly talking heads, who, seeking approbation in the eyes of the world and God simultaneously (an exercise in futility), poison our minds with their saccharin moderation. If we are to stifle the Left's incrementalism, we will need to hold every single inch of our ground. Our motto must be ni shagu nazad — not one step backward.

Indeed, the survival of the nation does depend on the outcome of a thousand small battles.

The West's tendency to crumble in the face of incremental attacks is as rampant as it is pathetic. Only two short years ago, when Colin Kaepernick began his adolescent dog and pony show of kneeling during the national anthem to protest alleged racism in law enforcement, American men were almost universally enraged by the prima donna's quasi-treasonous symbolic speech. Everyone intuited the obvious: Kneeling during the national anthem shows contempt and disdain, not just for the flag or for the military (as spineless members of the Right have long claimed), but for America herself. And yet, after the death of George Floyd (which is devoid of evidence of a racial motive, incidentally) and in the face of renewed pressure from Black Lives Matter (BLM) to condone football players kneeling, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has "evolved" (flip-flopped) on kneeling, now conceding that he understands Kaepernick's position and intimating that he no longer disapproves of the gesture. So, after a two-year campaign, the Left has changed the rules — American citizens can publicly denigrate America with impunity, at least if the disrespect is nominally tied to the sacred cow of racism.

Colin Kapernick (center) kneeling
during the national anthem

Previous slayings of black men at the hands of the police (deaths that some deemed "unjustifiable," with varying degrees of accuracy) spawned waves of iconoclasm — vandalism and destruction of statues of renowned historical figures (including many Founding Fathers, generals and saints) deemed by leftists to be not "woke" enough due to the archaic vices and opinions that they harbored. However, in the past, this destruction of monuments was roundly condemned. Even Democrats used to pretend, by necessity, to love George Washington and Christopher Columbus.

In the wake of George Floyd's death, however, the mainstream Left has widely accepted the barbarism of the mob, lauding and abetting the spray-painting and toppling of historical monuments. Cultural philistinism has been greenlighted, as long as it's social justice-warrior philistinism.

Calls from the Left to change the names of cities like St. Louis and Columbus because of the ostensible social-justice sins of their namesakes used to be met with mockery and derision; they were the stereotypical fodder of College Republican punch lines nationwide. But, after one isolated killing, a killing completely unrelated to the historical figures in question, many community leaders (not just random loons off the street) in such cities are taking petitions for rebranding seriously.

Manufactured BLM outrage has also been directed toward Western churches' commonplace depiction of Christ and the members of the Holy Family as light-skinned people. Leftists claim that such iconography tends to "deify whiteness," and that it represents the marginalization of people of other races. In response, some religious leaders, including the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, have announced that they will be removing some of the offending statuary from the churches under their dominion.

The medicine for incrementalism is numbered among the cardinal virtues: fortitude.

So because of the scheming of the Left and the pandering of the Right, after one tragedy — a tragedy that, for all we know, has absolutely nothing to do with racism — societal mores have changed so that it's now permissible to:

  • Openly eschew the virtue of patriotism and flaunt disdain for America
  • Hate the Founding Fathers, the honorable military leaders of the Confederacy, and Catholic saints who risked their lives for Christ, evangelizing savages
  • Raze artwork that doesn't conform to the overwrought sensibilities of the modern social justice warrior
  • Dictate to churches the parameters of their iconography and how they may think of God

Obviously, the foregoing gains will not sate the ravenous bloodlust of the Left — far from it. Marxist progressives will not be appeased till they've vanquished from the face of the earth every remnant of constitutionally girded civil society and Christendom. Having made these new conquests — mere milestones on the path to a godless regime of worldwide, collectivist Hell — the Left will use its spoils of war to prepare itself for the next campaign, a campaign that will surely bring it one step closer to decisively breaching the walls of our keep.

So stop trying to "kill 'em with kindness" and all the other nonsense that — for decades, ad nauseam — smug cowards on the Right have been scolding us about. Instead, fight tooth and nail in every battle, for every inch of ground. To be content to yield, even on a "marginal" or "peripheral" issue — even on a rare occasion, "once in a blue moon" as they say — is to doom civil society and Christendom to death, perhaps at some unhappy day far in the future, but doom it to death nevertheless. The medicine for incrementalism is numbered among the cardinal virtues: fortitude. Thus, to channel the timeless sentiments of the dauntless Churchill, "We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."

David Gordon holds university degrees in political science, law and theology. He is co-author (with his brother, Tim) of Rules for Retrogrades: Forty Tactics to Defeat the Radical Left. Dave and Tim also co-host a YouTube show and podcast. Gordon is an associate copy editor at Church Militant.
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