Politics & Policy

Conquest of the Oligarchs

The Left loses its marbles as the post-McCutcheon Gilded Age begins.

Just when it seemed Senator Harry Reid (D., Nev.) might run out of material about the Koch brothers for his rants, along came McCutcheon v. FEC, the Supreme Court ruling Wednesday that lifted some limits on campaign contributions — and gave Democrats even more ammunition to inveigh against the American “oligarchy.”

From left-wing commentators to members of Congress to Democratic candidates, here are some of the best outbursts:

1. Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) took to the Senate floor on Wednesday to warn that “we have got to be very, very careful that we do not allow this great country where people fought and died to protect American democracy become a plutocracy or oligarchy.”

What the heck is an oligarch anyway? The Oxford English Dictionary defines an oligarch as “one of a few holding power in a state,” while Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary says oligarchy is “a form of government which places the supreme power in a small group; an aristocracy.” Random House Dictionary calls oligarchy “a form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; government by the few.”

According to Google Ngram, the rate of appearances of the term “oligarch” reached its lowest point since the 1850s in 1996, but it’s been shooting up since then, probably on the strength of many stories about “Russian oligarchs.” By 2008, the rate of “oligarch” mentions had nearly tripled from the rate during Boris Yeltsin’s presidency.

— Andrew Johnson is an editorial associate at National Review Online.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More