The false center is not possible.
France’s President Emmanuel Macron lost his majority at the National Assembly. His party now holds 245 seats, while the Right has 150 and the Left 131. Gustavo Petro, a Marxist and former M-19 guerrilla leader, has been elected president of Colombia. He replaces more Keynesian liberal, establishment-oriented rule. The United States has seen the center of power in both the US and the United Kingdom replaced by anti-establishment groups on both sides.
Given the loss of trust in institutions across the West, none of this should surprise you. The destruction of this institutional trust was well earned. It is the result of policy elites lying about those they claim to serve. They claim that they support free markets, but fight against them for a world-changing ideology. They say they are religious and they defend traditional religions. However, they deny that international politics is possible.
Klaus Schwab, who is the head of the World Economic Forum, claims that it is a repository for free-market thinking. He and his friends then declare that they will serve “not only self-interest but the community”. Then he leverages economic power to support their preferred ideologies. It is both an economic and ideological disaster. Consider, for instance, the Biden administration’s demand that oil companies increase production simultaneously and that we totally undermine oil and gas development in the next few years to combat global warming. You can also look at the German efforts to “green” the economy and quietly outsource energy production to Russia. This policy is so stupid that Germany has started to fire up its coal plants again after Russia cut off oil supplies.
Our institutional elite on the social front declares their loyalty to traditional institutions such as a church, family, and localism, while simultaneously insisting that society be remade in the most radical image possible. Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, declares her loyalty to Catholicism in the exact same sentence that she militantly supports abortion on demand. President Joe Biden proclaims himself religious while simultaneously using his Department of Justice against states seeking to prevent confusion and mutilation of children based on nonsensical Gender Theory.
Our institutional leaders insist that we uphold the international order and then refuse to take responsibility for the actions of our foreign policy leaders. They complain about the Saudi Arabian regime’s evils, while at the same time insisting that the West must make a deal to end the Iranian terror regime. Then they visit the Saudis to ask for more oil production. They pledge their support for Ukraine’s government but then get cocky about offering support or an exit strategy if victory is not achieved. They are astonished at Taiwan’s Chinese threat and then instruct Navy members how to use transgender pronouns correctly.
Our institutional elites depend on the power of civilizational foundations long before them — free markets and religious values, military strength — in order to support failing ideas that threaten those foundations. It is a failure. The Left views the current elite consensus as dishonest and says that it is dishonest. If elites’ principles were important, they would fight for free markets, religious values, and military power. The Right views the prevailing elite consensus in the same way. If they let go of their ideological commitments toward leftism, it would cement our civilizational foundations instead of continuing to erode them.
The center may not be holding, but that’s because it shouldn’t. This center sought to consolidate its power by taking from the Left and Right. It has no coherent ideology. This false center is being torn apart by centrifugal force. It is divided between those who believe the West’s fundamental institutions and those who want them to be supplanted.