In an age of political correctness, signaling virtue and enlightenment, wisdom is so rare that when discovered it stands out like a beacon in a storm.
Wisdom should not be equated with information, of which we have a lot, although information is less informative than it guides the preferred outcomes of its providers. The scriptures are full of wisdom, but as church attendance declines and denominations across the theological spectrum lose members, while gaining fewer new ones, this source of ancient wisdom is not a source. primary for many Americans.
What is wisdom? Dictionary.com includes among its definitions: “knowledge of what is true or right coupled with correct judgment as to action …”
What defines true and right in 2021 when just about everything that was considered true and right for millennia is now considered outdated by cultural bandits? How are their replacements going?
A small publication did not abandon wisdom or objective truth to the crowd. It’s called “Modern Age,” published by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, a self-identified “conservative journal,” but don’t put them in a locker in case that label doesn’t define you.
In his spring issue, editor Daniel McCarthy makes a bold prediction. McCarthy believes that “progressivism is a dying ideology” despite its “hegemonic position in the media nationwide and most college campuses.”
While some on the left see the Democrats’ slim national victories in the 2020 election as evidence of progressivism’s advance, McCarthy sees the opposite. He writes that the Democratic Party “has no more attractive leaders than a 78-year-old Joe Biden. Who will replace him? There is no second Obama.
Biden has said he wants to run for a second term. He would be 82 in 2024. Are voters ready to re-elect someone this old?
Who on the left has broad public support? Most of the nationally known progressives have strong voices, but virtually no legislative record. Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is the most familiar of this small group, but some believe she and the others are largely media creations with few accomplishments.
Before the pandemic, a Republican president and Republicans in general were on a roll. In virtually every category that matters – from economics to immigration to foreign policy – Republicans won. Without the virus and the caustic personality of Donald Trump, Republicans would almost certainly still be in power.
Even so, McCarthy notes, Democrats have lost seats in the House and are tied in the Senate. In a nod to the imminent future, he adds: “The clearest lesson of all was that without President Trump’s demonic caricature to boost Democratic participation in 2018 and last year, Democrats wouldn’t have no magnetic attraction at all. The fateful question for Republicans, of course, is whether they can continue to attract the Trump coalition without Trump himself on the ballot. “
What if Trump showed up again, as he claimed he could in some kind of revenge campaign? The field is currently frozen as potential GOP candidates await Trump’s decision.
An even bigger question is: Can the Republican candidates not only keep the Trump coalition intact, but also win over suburban women who voted heavily for Biden because Trump’s language and behavior discouraged them? And will Democrats be as energetic in 2024 as they were last year, not because they loved Biden, but because they couldn’t stand Trump?
McCarthy is on to something, but can Republicans capitalize on progressive overbreadth, including cultural issues like Critical Race Theory? With the pandemic likely to have subsided as an issue in next year’s Congressional races and likely not a concern in the 2024 presidential election, it will take wisdom for Republicans to regain what they had so recently.
Readers can email Cal Thomas at email@example.com. Look for Cal Thomas’ latest book “America’s Expiration Date: The Fall of Empires and Superpowers and the Future of the United States” (HarperCollins / Zondervan).