The Nazis were unlucky. Had they started the war seven decades later, Germany wouldn’t have suffered its crushing defeat. Media would scream over the Allied body count and call for abandonment of the alliance with the Russians, who routinely perpetrated war crimes. Fans of ancient Japanese culture would rend their T-shirts protesting the strategic bombing of Japan. American pilots would be court-martialed for bombing German civilians. Democrats would declare the war lost at Pearl Harbor and sufficiently won in Sicily, and would call for a peaceful settlement. Pundits would declare a clash of civilizations, New World vs. Aryan, to which there could be no military solution. Guess what? That political, ideological, and civilizational problem did have a military solution.

The fundamental change since the 1940s could be described as a victory of the utopists. That Platonic crowd, reinvigorated by Rousseau, did not die out with the Soviet Union. The plague of rationalism infected free societies. The Enlightenment expanded from an attempt to understand the Universe to the notion that the Universe is entirely comprehensible. If comprehensible, it could be planned and corrected. The information age strengthened the idea of everything’s comprehensibility. Leftists imagined they could be omniscient. Throughout history, people solved conflicts the old-fashioned way: they fought them out. Leftists, taken by their utopian belief in human rationality, imagine that conflicts can be talked out. Thus the UN, the Arab-Israeli peace process, and incessant conferences.

The liberal media, for their part, are neither wicked nor anti-American. Journalists, following the utopian ideal, imagine that they know better than the crowds, especially the lowly soldiers who fight in the dirt and disgusting blood. Journalists feel they must benefit the public with their advice—and valuable advice, by definition, runs against the commonly held (and therefore likely correct) opinion. Initially, the media go ahead of the public mood. At that point, the media are very patriotic. Then the public mood catches up with the flaming headlines, and the media can no longer lead. At that point, the media switch to criticizing whatever decision the government or the army makes.

History doesn’t offer examples of how to deal with the modern problem of media that shape public opinion. The Church held similar sway before, though on a much smaller scale. Just like with the Church, the media’s grip on society cannot be reformed, but will eventually be broken—preferably, through some new technology which offers more diverse sources of information.

In the meantime the media, from Arab-paid BBC to Arab-financed Al-Jazeera, are enemies and legitimate targets.

media are too powerful to survive