The rightward political shift is no accident. Since the end of World War II, far-right conservatives and libertarians have patiently laid the groundwork for a national climate receptive to their ideals of weak government and a strong corporate presence.
In the 1950s, a time when Congress had recently made affordable housing the law of the land, when expansion of Social Security and creation of federally-funded health care were on the table, and when unionized workers made up a third of the U.S. workforce, the conservative agenda appeared moribund.
Yet just beneath the surface of a seemingly ever-expanding social welfare state, far-right conservatives and libertarians were strategizing what some of them called a “50-year project” to take the country back.
Initially coined by conservative intellectual Frank Chodorov in 1950 to describe the effort to uproot “socialism” from college campuses, the “50-year project” moniker became a far-right conservative mantra describing the effort to undo what Chodorov called “the socialization of the American character”—that is, New Deal-era laws and regulations that prioritized the welfare of consumers and workers.
[...] “There is nothing more autocratic than majority rule,” Grede asserted. “There are people in our country who would like to establish a true democracy—where majority rules. But majority rule would destroy our society of personalities and the dynamic spirit that has made us great.”
Grede and others like him sought to create a nation that reflected their beliefs. The tactics they used to do so were a forerunner of those employed today by those like Fred Koch’s sons.
They raised vast amounts of money for extreme conservative causes. They used public forums to win Americans’ hearts and minds. They utilized the media. And they specifically targeted impressionable young people.
[...] These progenitors of today’s far-right had the patience—and the foresight—to undertake the slow process involved in reorienting an American public away from its support of the programs and goals of the New Deal. They sought to create an environment in which a presidential candidate like Ted Cruz became a 2016 frontrunner with a platform promising to eliminate the IRS, the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
A very interesting read.