Phenomenal: A talk between Vivek and James Lindsay

If you listen to nothing else this weekend, listen to a talk between Vivek Ramaswamy and James Lindsay. It will blow your socks off.

We’ve been watching this play out for decades: The left coopts institutions, leaving conservatives with nowhere to go. For leftists, it’s been a never-fail tactic, so they always come back to it. And the reason it never fails is because of us: The left’s greatest advantage is that they’re lucky in their enemy because conservatives never learn. We conservatives are the living embodiment of Einstein’s definition of insanity, repeatedly responding the same way to the leftists’ tactics and hoping against hope for a different outcome.

Vivek invited James Lindsay on his show to discuss leftist strategies. If Lindsay’s name sounds familiar to you, it’s because he was one of the three scholars (Lindsay, Peter Boghossian, and Helen Pluckrose) who highlighted the corruption in academia by submitting 20 manifestly bogus articles for publication. Seven of those articles got accepted, including one about “rape” in dog parks and another that was ostensibly about feminism but was, in fact, a rewrite of portions of Mein Kampf.

The stunt should have destroyed academia. Instead, Lindsay, Boghossian, and Pluckrose, all of whom characterized themselves as coming from the left, found that it made no difference that they had revealed, not only that the emperor was naked, but also that he was riddled with corruption. Academia healed itself and moved on.

Lindsay, who is also a mathematician (meaning that he thinks logically), explains that leftists have mastered certain war tactics, whether you want to view them through the lens of Sun Tzu’s adages or just as the type of thing you learn at your local martial arts dojo. The best way to do battle is to provoke your opponent to react in a predictable way so that you already have a devastating countertactic waiting. Nor is the left secretive about this. You can find the tactics spelled out at Beautiful Trouble. This is second-generation Saul Alinsky stuff…and conservatives still haven’t even figured out how to use Rules for Radicals to their advantage.

Vivek and Lindsay explore Sun Tzu’s insight that, if you surround your enemy, he will fight you to the death, because there is no way out. However, if you surround him on three sides, he will head for the fourth, seeing it either as an opening for escape or an opportunity. He doesn’t realize, of course, that it’s a trap. Think of Boudica’s final battle against the Romans, when the Romans inveigled the Briton army into a canyon where they could be picked off like fish in a barrel.

What fascinated me was how they described the way in which leftists take over institutions — and this is part of that “trapped on three sides” approach. The example Lindsay and Vivek used was school choice. Leftists take over public schools, and conservatives have the answer: school choice!! Leftists fight back, but they know something we don’t know. Once conservatives finally win this battle, which they think is the ultimate battle, they find that they’ve simply been inveigled into a canyon: They’ve got school choice, but leftists control the accreditation institutions.

Listening to Lindsay describe how leftists take over institutions is fascinating. I vividly recall the American Bar Association’s transition from a traditional standards institute into a hard-left organization changing the law in real-time. If you’re wondering how the law switched from “equality” to “equity,” thank the ABA. And I, although I still thought myself a Democrat at the time, had the typical conservative reaction: I threw up my hands in disgust and walked away. I thought that the law itself — the institutions of lawyers and judges — would push back against this nonsense, but that’s not what happened. The ABA set the standards, and they followed them.

I’m not going to say too much more because it’s much more interesting listening to them than reading me trying to write about a sparkling and insightful conversation that helps explain the endless trajectory of leftist victory and conservative rearguard actions that invariably fail. All I can do is recommend that you listen to this yourself. It’s interesting and, I think, very important insofar as it offers insights into the fact that, even as conservatives seem to win battles, they always lose the war:

If you prefer podcasts, as I do, you can also listen to the conversation at every podcast outlet. Just search for “The Vivek Show.”

This post originally appeared at American Thinker. I’d actually written the following for this blog and then decided the video is so darn good that I moved the post to AT first because my writing gets a bigger audience at AT.