Progressives at the zenith of privilege and power have steered US civil rights, education, and welfare policies almost exclusively for fifty years. What does the nation have to show for it?

Recent answers include federalized transgender protections, academic collapse, and the expansion of a dependent, often disreputable underclass for whom permanent government-based custodial care is the only feasible option. Food Stamps, Medicaid, Section Eight, and other public income support evidently sap incentive and enterprise, but what’s the alternative now for the structurally unemployable?

Anti-white indoctrination is rife in tax-funded schools. Price inflation and declining social mobility haunt...

Progressives at the zenith of privilege and power have steered US civil rights, education, and welfare policies almost exclusively for fifty years. What does the nation have to show for it?

Recent answers include federalized transgender protections, academic collapse, and the expansion of a dependent, often disreputable underclass for whom permanent government-based custodial care is the only feasible option. Food Stamps, Medicaid, Section Eight, and other public income support evidently sap incentive and enterprise, but what’s the alternative now for the structurally unemployable?

Anti-white indoctrination is rife in tax-funded schools. Price inflation and declining social mobility haunt the millennial generation’s future. The promotion of sexual curiosities, unpoliced urban crime, a porous southern border, and rampant hard-drug addiction cum homelessness seem inescapable and expected. Is this progress?

In next month’s elections, the Democratic Party is asking younger voters and everyone else to validate the nation’s wretched state of affairs. It asks all Americans to “do more” to affirm the impossible and shore up failed theories of social justice. But the midterms can only begin to bust the voracious administrative state. The nation’s interlocking ideological directorate has such a grip on minds and hearts that the demos might not possess the legal machinery or even desire to dismantle its project.

In many cases, voters have no good candidate choices. Brands AOC and Dr. Oz — how many voters even know their full names? — make a pair for the times. Los Angeles’s would-be mayor Karen Bass and Washington senator Patty Murray are not offering fresh ideas to halt anti-white defamation or curb the power of public employee unions. David McCormick is not on the Pennsylvania ballot, a leading indicator of electoral quality-fail. The Republicans go rough-tuff down-market. The beau monde clings to Pelosi-inspired designer masks and perpetual rainbow theater.

The status quo party is Democratic, and look what’s happened over the last three years. Defunding the police. Releasing dangerous prisoners. District attorneys greenlighting crime. Gathering votes from government clients and public employee unions to keep Leviathan gassed up. Downtowns buzzing with zombies and speed freaks amid “for lease” signs.

The opposition, Joe Biden’s speechwriters declare, represents “an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.” Trump and the GOP, why I’d rather die, Ladies Bountiful in Lululemon exclaim merrily over drinks at the beach club, smiling to the south-of-the-border staff as if to say somos camaradas.

The author Mario Vargas Llosa once labeled our times the “civilization of the spectacle,” describing once solemn guardians and public figures abandoning time-honored duties to work their own media platforms and Q scores. “Hollywood values,” the New York Times’s columnist Maureen Dowd labeled this state of political affairs: “out-of-control egos, blatant materialism, a dog-eat-dog ethos, and a devotion to pretense.”

America’s progressive overclass is saturated in Goodthink. It shivers at right-wing domestic terrorism, pursues climate justice and mindfulness religiously, and insists that gender-affirming medicine is a long overdue public good. The overclass loves Black and Green with all its heart, almost as much as it loves running the show.

Confident and schooled in self-esteem, this overclass intends to redeem the unredeemable. It stands ready to redistribute moral value. It affects woke-light righteousness, making a fashion statement. Bright-eyed game changers have much work to do — and, ideally, lucrative careers — making over the nation’s churches, foundations, museums, and colleges for the yet to be converted and obstructive.

Long ago, headmasters, bishops, professors and literati advised today’s best and brightest — or their parents — to abandon tradition and rethink their privilege. Today’s elites largely lack the conceptual tools and institutional memory to recognize the consequences of their loss. With multi-billion-dollar endowments to play with, excellent sheep use “allyship” and intramural diversity machines to get ahead and win the game.

Mighty citizens of the world, the fabled masters of the universe, truth to tell, are highly provincial. The Bangkok Thai Cuisine in Oak Bluffs or Siam Orchid in Bar Harbor are as gritty and far-out as they want to go. The overclass is as compassionate and empathetic a people as you’ve ever met. Yet it firmly insists those experiencing food insecurity and anyone with heebie-jeebies and hallucinations steer clear of their own Pad Thai experience.

Legal and social barriers to bad behavior and exhibitionism no longer hold. Widely respected, firm perimeters of privacy vanish — or worse, are ridiculed — and the power to police demotic vice decays because the cretins want it, however dreadful it might be. Meanwhile, the crotch-sellers over at Endeavor and Disney demand First Amendment absolutism in matters of subversion, shutting down “hate speech” that could blow their moral putsch.

As the nation’s moral realm shifts from the scriptural and classical to the ascriptive, capitalist fun suppliers are freed to exploit former depravity. Big money in New York wants to dance with the stars cheek-to-cheek in Malibu. There’s status and wealth in financing dreck — and public taste allows it, in fact, craves more of it. Thought control through social media and an irresistible electronic kaleidoscope prove more powerful than what could be foreseen a generation ago. But reality is compelling. Nature is insistent.

The nation’s civic future lies in operational states and localities that actively choose to protect quality of life, property and children. Civic-minded and self-interested asset holders are setting their sights on well-managed, pleasant zones as far from the scaries, lawbreakers and tax parasites as possible. Welfare capitalism’s behavioral sinks are not going to disappear. But sooner or later, some jurisdictions will unapologetically sequester crazies in asylums, put criminals in penal institutions, and say no to troublemakers, freeloaders and drifters.

If Americans are lucky, such states, counties and towns will unfold and grow, albeit slowly and unevenly, through federalism, individual choice, secure elections and the rule of law. If they are not, a state of pandemonium will compel order through surveillance, fiat and force. Whatever the case, today’s woke-driven follies cannot stand the test of time.