The professional right is often referred to as the controlled opposition, because they have the habit of throwing the match whenever they have a chance to win. This is happening with the Rep.Ilhan Omar (D-Somalia) controversy and will no doubt happen with the scandal around Rep. Ocasio-Cortez (D-Puerto Rico). Rather than take the opportunity to twist the knife, the professional conservatives will jump to the defense of their friends on the Left and attack those on the Right trying to exploit the situation.
The term “controlled opposition” is a handy bit of rhetoric on social media to help red-pill people, but it misses some important points. The most obvious being these are not men thinking “Hey, I better find a way to lose, so my real friends on the Left can win.” None of these guys are that smart. On the other hand, the Left is not cultivating these guys like the KGB cultivated traitors during the Cold War. There’s no control center in Arlington tracking the conservatives, instructing them in what to write and say.
Such a formal set of arrangements would require a sense of awareness on both sides that is simply not in evidence. There’s skulduggery, for sure, as we have seen with the neocons, all of whom are coded to be subversive. Even there, it’s biology at work, not agency. They can’t help themselves. For the rest of the so-called conservatives, it is a lifetime of conditioning by a political culture that has created two main roles. One is the priest and the other is the supplicant. The latter is reserved for conservatives.
You see it in this Washington Post opinion piece about Ilhan Oman, by someone calling himself Henry Olsen. He is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a think tank in Washington. In his post, he unfavorably compares Omar to Steve King, who he just assumes everyone knows is the worst person on earth. He thinks he is a cheeky fellow by creating this parallel between someone the Left has put on the proscribed list and this Somali woman. You see? The Dem are still the real racists!
It’s not all that clear whether Olsen is trying to condemn Rep. Omar or forgive the Left for tolerating her. On the other hand, he seems to saying to his exclusively Progressive readers, this is the Washington Post after all, that his side has learned their lesson and will have zero tolerance for blasphemers in the future. In other words, in what is supposed to be a post lampooning the Left for their hypocrisy with regards to blasphemers, he spends a lot of time groveling to the Left and offering them support.
Republicans learned the hard way with King that where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire. His repeatedly bigoted statements about immigrants were condemned but otherwise ignored by House Republican leadership. Clearly, they hoped that they were aberrations, or that the congressman would come to his senses and keep whatever bigotry he harbored in his heart to himself.
But that approach proved too lenient. Earlier this year, King finally made indisputably clear what many had long suspected during an interview with the New York Times, in which he said: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” He had finally crossed the line, and Republicans — who could not expel him from their caucus under party rules — removed him from all committee assignments. (King has argued that the quote was mischaracterized.)
The trouble here is that the Progressive media smeared King, claiming he said things he never actually said. It was then a pile on by so-called conservatives that turned a cheap political hit job into the crime of the century. There’s also the fact that King was more than happy to play along and go through the required struggle session. Omar actually said the things that have Mr. Olsen upset and she is not backing down from them. The only similarity to King here is they are both correct about the topic at hand.
Mr. Olsen is a man whose morality is entirely defined for him by the Left. They have declared it immoral for whites to cheer for their own team, so he is enthusiastic to enforce that morality in his sphere of influence. Similarly, any questioning of Israel is strictly forbidden, so Mr. Olsen is physically incapable of even contemplating the subject. It’s not that he is sitting there, pecking out these sorts of posts, thinking about how he can turn this problem for the Left into an own goal. He sincerely believes this stuff.
Now, to be fair to those who are sure money is changing hands, there is a financial incentive built into the supplicant’s life. Mr. Olsen gets to write for the Washington Post, which is a nice paying gig. He also gets $130,000 per year from think tank work, which amounts to showing up at receptions and luncheons. He gets other writing jobs because of his association with these well-known operations. Then there are the books that no one reads and speeches at tax payer funded operations. It’s a nice life.
To be even fairer, Mr. Olsen is probably a great guy. That’s something you can’t help but notice with Conservative Inc. Other than the neocons and libertarians, everyone is super nice and very friendly. That’s part of what makes them great supplicants though. They are so willing to please, so easy going in the face of humiliation and torment, there is just about nothing the Left can do to them to make them angry. The Left selects for submissiveness in its loyal opposition and they are good at it.
That’s the problem. It has always been the problem with the Professional Right. A genuine alternative to the prevailing orthodoxy is never generous with the other side. The point of being in opposition is to turn everything against the other side, to advance your agenda and to sweep the other side from the field. There can be no mercy, as the other side will never return the favor. The Left gets this. That’s why they feel no compunction about attacking school children for the crime of rooting for their own team.
This is why people like Mr. Olsen are much less generous with people on our side than with his alleged opponents on the Left. Because his role is defined by the Left and his morality is defined by the Left, he has no choice but to defend the Left. An attack on the Left is felt as an attack on him. If the Left is ever forced into retreat, Mr. Olsen will be there with the other camp followers, padding along behind them. Without the Left, he and the other toadies of Conservative Inc. are nothing. They no longer exist.
It’s why the so-called Right, despite the facts on the ground, cannot stop themselves from stabbing the people to their right. It’s not professional jealously or a fear of their donors getting vexed with them. Sure, there is some of that, but those excuses always come after the knee-jerk reaction against dissidents. Guys like Mr. Olsen are entirely dependent on the Left to define their lives and give meaning to their efforts. They are as much a part of the Left as the house slave is a part of the master’s household.