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The Rule of Midwits

A set of decentralized, ideologically driven selection mechanisms is propelling the decay and collapse of American institutions

While Republican intellectuals are finally facing the problems created by the Democratic Party’s institutional capture of colleges, the HR bureaucracy, and public education, the Democratic campaign to defend these redoubts is proving remarkably unpopular with the electorate. Take the recent Virginia governor’s race between Republican Glenn Youngkin and Democrat Terry McAuliffe. The Youngkin campaign could be summed up by an attack ad that simply quoted McAuliffe: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what to teach.” Consequent polls found overwhelming support for Youngkin among parents of K-12 students, up to an estimated 17-point gap. Youngkin won. With administrators seemingly so unpopular with the public, one might wonder why Democrats are so eager to defend them. The reason appears to be little more than a dogma, a crude mimicry of the Reagan Republican emphasis on free markets. Instead of the free-marketeer, the Democrats’ figure of affection is the bureaucrat, the middle manager, the good-old insider who knows how an institution works and is tied everlastingly to it. The threat of greater democratic participation in setting school curricula or determining COVID measures leads Democrats to cry “authoritarianism,” “fascism,” and “coup,” just as reflexively as Reaganites once called the public provision of services “socialist.” The New York Times captured this well when it portrayed laws establishing some degree of parental control over public school curricula as “a War on Democracy.”...

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Also by Michael Lind

The Scroll

Dear Scroll readers: Please bear with us while we update our archives and prepare for a relaunch. As ever, we will remain Tablet’s daily afternoon news digest, but in what we hope will be an improved format. Expect more details by the end of this week…

Jacob Siegel

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