Tag Archive for: WokeTyranny

Weekend Read: The Cunning Tyranny of Abstract Notions of the “Common Good”

Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes

While I come from what might be called the traditional left, or what today can perhaps be called the RFK, Jr left, I have always been very interested in reading thinkers from other schools of political thought, especially libertarians. This, owing to their generalized disdain for war and empire, their fierce belief in the need to protect our constitutional rights, and their marked ability—in comparison to so many people in today’s left and mainstream right —to engage in frank, vigorous, and respectful debate.

That said, I’ve never been a huge fan of the ever-present Tyler Cowen. And even less so since he, a supposed lover of liberty, acquiesced (I’m being kind), during the Covid emergency to what Justice Neil Gorsuch rightfully termed “the greatest intrusions on civil liberties in the peacetime history of this country.”

A few days ago, however, he made himself look good by comparison by debating the high priest of animal rights and hedonistic utilitarianism (his term not mine), Peter Singer. 

Reading and listening to Singer, it is easy to get seduced by the vision of the future he paints, one in which human populations will, little by little, come to embrace the kinder angels of their nature and usher in a world marked by much less cruelty to both human beings and animals.

Who could be against that?

The problem lies in the methods he proposes, or perhaps more accurately, obliquely suggests for getting us from here to there.

He speaks a lot about “happiness” and the “general good” and the essential role that “rationality” plays in achieving them.

But he never, at least in this admittedly relatively brief exchange with Cowen, comes close to admitting the immensely problematic nature of all of these concepts.

Who decides what is “happiness” or the “universal” or “general good” in a society? Is it true that “rationality” is coterminous with knowing, or that rationality is the only true path to happiness and moral improvement? Or, for that matter, who exactly is it that has decided that general happiness, however defined, is the supreme moral good? Billions of Christians and Buddhists around the world, to take just two examples, with their belief in the fundamental value and importance of human suffering, might oppose that notion rather strenuously.

When Cowen rightly tries to gain more clarity on his ideas on happiness—by talking about what one should do in a putative encounter between humans and extraterrestrials supposedly possessed of the ability to generate and spread happiness better than humans—Singer admits the possibility that there may not a common metric for happiness between such groups, and should this be the case, he wouldn’t know what to do in terms ceding to, or fighting against, the alien invaders.

Similarly, when Cowen challenges the difficulties of firmly establishing an idea of the common or general good in society, Singer simply changes the subject and repeats his belief in the concept.

COWEN: How do we know there is a universal good? You’re selling out your fellow humans based on this belief in a universal good, which is quite abstract, right? The other smart humans you know mostly don’t agree with you, I think, I hope.

SINGER: But you’re using the kind of language that Bernard Williams used when he says, “Whose side are you on?” You said, “You’re selling out your fellow humans,” as if I owe loyalty to members of my species above loyalty to good in general, that is, to maximizing happiness and well-being for all of those affected by it. I don’t claim to have any particular loyalty for my species rather than the general good.

Are you catching on to the game?

Singer goes around mouthing immensely problematic concepts like these, and building an edifice of ethical imperatives around them for others to follow. But when challenged on basic aspects of their coherence he is unwilling to provide any answers. 

Let’s be serious.

Do you really think someone, a supposedly really smart someone, who immediately admits, in the example of the extraterrestrials he and Cowen used, the inoperability of his theory of the common good in the absence of a common metric of happiness, is incapable of seeing the enormous question it begs about his vaunted theories about the same thing when applied to the immense cultural, and therefore value diversity of the human species?

I don’t for a moment think he’s incapable of seeing this obvious point. I think he simply does not want to go there.

And why might he not want to go there?

We get the first hint as to why when, in a response to a Cowen query about the existence or not of a “general faculty of reason”—the thing which Singer had just presented as the fundamental source of a more evolved human ethics—he speaks of the possible need of a more rational and therefore presumably more moral elite to effectively impose their superior ways of seeing things on the less enlightened majorities. And again notice the initial hedging when pressed about a fundamental element of the moral edifice he uses to generate very non-ambiguous moral imperatives for others.

Cowen: You’ve written plenty about many, many other examples. Is there really this general faculty of reason that overrides those evolved intuitions?

SINGER: I think there certainly can be, and I think there is for some people some of the time. The question would be, is everybody capable of that? Or even if not everybody, are we capable of getting a dominant group who do follow reason in general, universal directions, who use it to develop a more universal ethic that applies to a wider group of beings than their own kin and family and those that they’re in cooperative relationships with? I think there’s evidence that that is possible, and we don’t yet know to what extent that can spread and start to dominate humans in future generations.

Things become clearer still when we take the time to consult a paper, Secrecy in Consequentialism: a Defense of Esoteric Morality,  mentioned later in the interview, that the Australian philosopher wrote in cooperation with Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek in 2010.

In it, the authors defend Sidgwick’s concept of “esoteric morality,” which Singer and Lazari-Radek sum up in the following way:

Sidgwick famously divided society into ‘enlightened utilitarians’ who may be able to live by ‘refined and complicated’ rules that admit exceptions, and the rest of the community to whom such sophisticated rules ‘would be dangerous.’ Therefore, he concluded: ‘. . . on Utilitarian principles, it may be right to do and privately recommend, under certain circumstances, what it would not be right to advocate openly; it may be right to teach openly to one set of persons what it would be wrong to teach to others; it may be conceivably right to do, if it can be done with comparative secrecy, what it would be wrong to do in the face of the world; and even, if perfect secrecy can be reasonably expected, what it would be wrong to recommend by private advice and example.’ ” 

Maybe I’m being precipitous, but I find it hard to believe that, given his obvious intelligence and renown, Singer does not consider himself to be one of the ‘enlightened utilitarians’ who may be able to live by ‘refined and complicated’ rules that admit exceptions, and the rest of the community to whom such sophisticated rules ‘would be dangerous.’

If this is the case, would it be so wrong to suggest that when Singer blithely and repeatedly uses concepts he is unwilling to minimally subject to the scrutiny they clearly deserve, he might be playing the very game of “esoteric morality” he defends in his article on Sidgwick?

I don’t think so.

If we were to have the ability to eavesdrop on the uncensored internal train of Singerian reason, my guess is we’d find perorations similar to this:

I know most of the boobs out there are a lot less thoughtful than me and, again, unlike me, will probably never transcend their irrationality enough to ascend to see the truths of the new moral universe toward which I am trying to impel them. Therefore it is important for me and others in my enlightened caste to withhold a lot of details which would just get balled up in their convoluted minds, and instead keep the repeated rhetorical emphasis on vague and deeply compelling notions like increased happiness and the general good which will appeal to their less developed brains that will, in time, eventually allow them to be herded into “our” superior castle of ethics. 

I wish I could say Peter Singer is an exception in our current socio-political landscape, but he is not.

Rather, Peter Singer’s peek-a-boo world of vaguely defined, but at the same time supposedly deeply urgent, moral principles is the world toward which many, many very powerful forces are trying to drive us.  

Indeed, these same people just ran a very successful 3-year experiment in conditioning us to accept more debasement of our individual rights in the name of at best unprovable, and at worst, flat-out false ideas of the “common good.”

And given that so few rebelled and spoke out during this experiment in the name of the concrete individual human being with a name, a mortgage, and a pesky sense of his own dignity and destiny before the unfathomable complexity of creation, they’ll be back for more.

Will those who went along with the hustle have by then reconsidered the consequences of their meek acquiescence to these abstract schemas that insouciantly snuffed out so many people’s basic claims to dignity and autonomy?

One can only hope so.

For their sake as much as anyone else’s.


Because power has no loyalty.

For while this time around the conformists may have gained a sense of energy and virtue from being on the “right,” majoritarian side of the supposed campaign to enforce the abstract, and as it turned out, the completely lie-ridden notion of the common good—with all that this implied in terms of the ephemeral joy of demonizing others —there is no guarantee that the same rules and alignments will apply the next time around.

Indeed, one of the cardinal precepts of today’s Machiavellians and their esoteric court philosophers is the imperative of rewriting the operative rules early and often to the point where only the most stubborn and mindful among the rubes have the will to object to their carefully planned campaigns of moral disorientation.

Eventually, however, the campaign to change society in the name of abstract notions of the common good engineered by those avid for power will touch on something that the one-time cheerleaders for the Covid mob and now the Trans and Climate mobs deeply cherish as part of their essential humanity (that is if they haven’t yet abandoned that concept under the weight of external pressures) and they will once again have the choice of fighting or acquiescing.

Maybe then those suggestions they made about cries for bodily sovereignty and informed consent being mere fig leaves for justifying puerile Oedipal intransigence or flat-out scientific illiteracy, will look a little different to them.

Then again maybe they won’t.

Maybe they’ll simply go along with the stealthy extirpation of that thing they once cherished about their individual humanity without a fight and, after ceding to the messaging of self-anointed rational and moral clairvoyants like Peter Singer, convince themselves it was all necessary for guaranteeing the “march of progress” that will end in more happiness for all.


This article was published by the Brownstone Institute and is reproduced with permission.

The New Ugly Americans

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

The old cultural imperialism was supposedly greedy corporatism like Disneyland, McDonald’s, and Starbucks sprouting up worldwide to supplant local competitors.

But these businesses spread because they appealed to free-will consumer demand abroad. They were not imposed top down.

The U.S. presence in Afghanistan collapsed in August 2021 amid the greatest American military humiliation in modern history. A billion-dollar new embassy was abandoned. Hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of new infrastructure at the huge Bagram Airbase was dumped.

We still do not know how many billions of dollars of sophisticated new weapons were left to the Taliban and now are making their way through global terrorists’ marts.

Yet, in our skedaddle, the LGBTQ flag still flew high from our new Kabul embassy. A George Floyd mural was prominent on city streets.

And gender studies programs – to the tune of $787 million in American subsidies – were showcased at Kabul University, in one of the most conservative Islamic countries in the world.

Rainbow flags and Black Lives Matter banners have hung from our embassy in South Korea.

Such partisan cultural activism is a diplomatic first.

The woke Left has now weaponized the country’s diplomatic missions abroad to advance highly partisan and controversial agendas that can offend their hosts, and do not represent the majority of American voters at home.

American foreign policy toward other nations seems now to hinge on their positions on transgender people, LGBTQ promotion, abortion, climate change, and an array of woke issues from using multiple pronouns on passports to showcasing transgender ambassadors.

The Biden Administration in January 2022 stopped the EastMed pipeline. That joint effort of our allies Cyprus, Greece, and Israel sought to bring much needed clean-burning Mediterranean natural gas to southern Europe.

Apparently, our diplomats felt it violated our own New Green Deal orthodoxies. So we imperialists interfered to destroy a vital project of our closest allies.

The White House manifesto called the “National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality” offers a blueprint for how to massage nations abroad to accept our values that are increasingly at odds with much of the world’s.

Do Americans really believe that embracing drag-queen shows at military bases, abortion to the moment of birth, transgender men competing in women’s sports, and the promised effort to ban the internal combustion engine are effective ways to ensure good relations with the United States?

No wonder the Biden Administration’s new cultural imperialism is proving disastrous for a variety of reasons.

One, these imperialistic and chauvinistic agendas are pushed abroad at the very time the respect for the U.S. military is at an all-time low. It was humiliated in Afghanistan. It is now unable to recruit sufficient qualified soldiers. Its stocks of critical weapons are depleted.

The Pentagon leadership of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley, along with Joe Biden, do not radiate competence.

But they do exude woke pieties.

While we offend Middle East oil exporters and Central Europeans, China allies with Russia and Iran. India and Turkey triangulate away from the United States. Sanctimonious hectoring while appearing weak is a bad combination.

Two, these warped standards are incoherent. Is an abortion-on-demand, totalitarian China therefore an ally? How could we damn supposedly non-woke Saudi Arabia as we begged it to pump more of its non-green oil before the 2022 midterms?

Some of our most loyal allies are in Eastern Europe – Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Romania. These countries have experienced traumatic histories on the front lines against Islamic Ottoman expansionism, czarist and Soviet aggression, and German Nazi bullying and invasion.

They are democratic and pro-American. Yet they are now targeted by our woke imperialists because they remain steadfast as the most religious and traditional of our European allies.

Yet these nations would be more likely to dispatch credible forces for NATO’s defense than many of our left-wing, woke, and militarily less capable Western European nations.

Three, most of the 7.9 billion people in the world are not woke. They are aspiring to obtain a modicum of the luxury and affluence taken for granted in America.

The rest of the planet worries whether it will have enough food, energy, security, and shelter to live one more day. For most, the incessant, woke virtue-signaling from affluent Americans comes across as the whiny bullying of pampered, self-righteous – and increasingly neurotic – imperialists.

Four, traditionally the party that controls the State Department does not politically weaponize its embassies with wedge issues that have not won majority support among Americans.

Such abject politicalization rattles and alienates foreign nations. They do not want to be drawn into the American Left’s internal propaganda efforts that they know are bitterly controversial inside the United States.

How odd that those on the Left who in the past decried “American imperialism” are now proving the greatest imperialists of all.

This article was published by The Daily Caller and is reproduced with permission.

Universities are Losing the Battle on Free Speech

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Is the era of woke censorship coming to an end on campus? The New York Times, Washington Post and CNN, among others, are heralding a new epoch in which university leaders stand up to snowflake students. While it’s encouraging that progressive legacy media outlets are nailing their free speech colours to the mast, these are counter-wavelets on the surface of a rising swell. Progressive illiberalism is not going anywhere because it is baked into the demography of tomorrow’s professors.

The Post cites a number of examples of institutional pushback, including Cornell’s refusal to implement a mandatory trigger warnings policy on academic freedom grounds. The paper and others note the encouraging defence of liberalism at Penn and Vanderbilt, along with Harvard’s new Steven Pinker-fronted Council on Academic Freedom, a group of over 50 faculty members who have robustly lined up against the culture of progressive conformity on campus.

The sceptic in me says it’s one thing to strike down a trigger warning for an innocuous book which doesn’t touch sacred progressive beliefs. Penn’s current trial of controversial law professor Amy Wax for legal speech will be a far more important barometer of the new administrative liberalism.

Still, the gradual emergence of a liberal centre willing to speak its name is cause for optimism. This came to broader attention with the Harper’s Letter in July 2020, continued with an Economist editorial in April 2021, and was followed by the first New York Times editorial in March 2022. Since then, the NYT has run a series of articles challenging campus conformity and has even been willing to court protests by running pieces sceptical of gender reassignment surgery. WaPo is late to the game, but confirms the trend.

Why the turnaround? Incentives explain a lot here. First, some of the energy in cancel culture has ebbed post-George Floyd, with the number of cancellation attempts dropping back to the (still high) levels of the mid-2010s (Figure 1). Second, the attacks on universities from the Right, encapsulated in Ron DeSantis’s campaigns against critical race theory and gender theory, permit liberals to use a “both sides” defence of liberalism. Conservative media attention also focuses centrist liberals on the need for internal reform rather than the prospect of further embarrassment. The Right has been a vital ingredient in the new liberalism…..


Continue reading this article at Unherd/ThePost.

The Impending Thermidor Reaction in Jacobin America

Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes

At peak woke, our reign of terror is beginning to lose momentum because its continuation would destroy all the work of 247 years of American progress and sacrifice.


The decade-long French Revolution that broke out in 1789 soon devolved into far more than removing the monarchy, as it became antithetical to the earlier American precedent. American notions of liberty and freedom were seen as far too narrow, given the state, if only all-powerful and all-wise, could mandate “equality” and force “fraternity” among its subjects.

Each cycle of French revolutionary fervor soon became more radicalized and cannibalistic—until it reached its logical ends of violent absurdity.

Originally, the idea of curbing the power of a Bourbon king through a parliamentary republic became lethally counter-revolutionary.

Soon even attacks on the Catholic Church and the abolition of the monarchy entirely were deemed insufficient. The king himself and his consorts had to be beheaded. Monasteries and churches were to be ransacked, and priests exiled or lynched.

The sometimes moderate Girondins, who favored constitutional government, were mostly executed by their former friends among the Montagnards. In turn, the latter were soon deemed too conservative for the emerging crazy Jacobins. So they, too, had to be decapitated. The ensuing year-long reign of terror guillotined thousands of innocents, deemed guilty of being guilty of something.

By 1793, the revolution had turned nihilist and suicidal. The foundational date of France was recalibrated (not as 1619 but) as 1789—or “year one.”

Jacobins sought to wipe out religion, both materially and spiritually. They replaced God, first, with the atheistic “Cult of Reason” and then a stranger still “Cult of the Supreme Being”—a dreamed-up, living, humanistic god that only the murderous Robespierre could fully envision, but eerily similar to our own Green New Deal deity.

The months of the year themselves were renamed, the days of the week renumbered and relabeled. Statues were toppled, first at night, later in shameless daylight. Place names were erased and renamed. The original revolutionary heroes were not to be mentioned; their uncouth successors deified. Money was printed to “spread the wealth”—until it was worthless.

Murderous cancel culture ran unchecked. Yesterday’s French revolutionary became today’s counterrevolutionary—and tomorrow’s decapitated.

Almost everyone who originally had opposed the absolute monarchy, and, like the Americans, wished for a constitutional replacement, was eventually executed by revolutionaries who were then executed by more radical revolutionaries. The longer and more radical the revolution ran, the meaner, dumber, and more deadly the revolutionaries who emerged from the woodwork.

Finally, what could not go on, did not go on, as French society unraveled. Then the so-called Thermidors put an end to the madness of the Robespierre brothers and their sidekick, the 26-year-old Saint-Just, and did to them what they had done to thousands.

The final revolutionary correction saw a Directory, then a Consulate, and finally the dictator Napoleon—the self-described emperor who claimed he was the final absolutist manifestation of the “Revolution.”

A Revolution of the Disingenuous

We are swept up in similarly scary revolutionary times, after the perfect storm of the 2020 rioting, the COVID destructive lockdowns, and a radical socialist takeover of the old Democratic Party.

Decades of successful and legitimate efforts to ensure equality of opportunity, a safety net for the poor, and increased civil liberties have transmogrified into an “equity” agenda, or state-mandated equality of result—or else!

“Diversity” is now an Orwellian word for racial essentialism to the one-drop degree. Jim Crow racism was not eliminated permanently. It now has resurfaced as woke or “good” segregation. Racially separate facilities and events are apparent “reparatory justice.” Black activists are calling for $800 billion in reparations from San Francisco, a city that is melting down as we speak.

The old precivilizational tribalism and monotony of thought are now deemed “diverse.” “Inclusion” means replacing one racial hierarchy of the 1950s with a newer one of the 2020s. Woke leftists prove “inclusive” by excluding as “haters” and “denialists” any who disagree and cannot be easily refuted.

Opportunists Abound

The Nike admen Colin Kaepernick and LeBron James ended up with millions of dollars in endorsements ultimately derived from Communist Chinese exploiters of servile labor—a fact that all their pseudo-revolutionary performance art cannot mask.

Like the rich and elite Montagnards and Jacobins, well-off, degreed suburban grifters suddenly became “woke” arbiters of the “correct.” Thousands of diversity, equity, and inclusion czars bloated administrations, broke university budgets, and terrified faculty and employees with their panopticon surveillance. And yet did any of them result in a single better student reader, or at least one more accomplished university math major? Have K-12 scores soared with DEI monitors on hand?

We have not descended to the guillotine yet, but we are getting there with online cancel culture, doxxing, deplatforming, boycotts, mandatory diversity statements, indoctrination training, ostracism for an incorrect word, and violence redefined as activism.

Black Lives Matter ended when its supposedly Marxist architects all vanished into comfortable bourgeoise estates and cushy retirements—along with the millions of dollars they shook down from guilt-ridden corporations.

#MeToo sputtered out once the mantra of “believe women” turned its attention to candidate Joe Biden and Tara Reade. It turned out that she most certainly must not be believed when she swore the Delaware Democrat had sexually assaulted her.

Supposed transgendered heroes vie for profitable TV endorsement commercials that are as lucrative to them as they are ruinous to their employers.

In our revolutionary times, mediocre biological male athletes “transition” into female sports and suddenly become rich and famous. Women who transition to males, for some reason, find no such profits from male competitions.

A black transient with 42 arrests and three assault convictions is accidentally killed by a would-be Samaritan bystander who takes action to stop his threats on the subway. The tragedy becomes a rallying cry for “activist” leaders, eager for continuous notoriety and profits, while 10,000 black people murdered per year, mostly by other black people, do not earn a snore from these same “civil rights” leaders.

The World Upside Down

Like Revolutionary France, our woke revolution was contrary to human nature and therefore had to be imposed by force or coercion.

Merit is the great enemy of wokeness. One day SAT tests were blind mechanisms to allow the less privileged to compete on the basis of talent rather than parentage. The next day such tests were deemed counterrevolutionary, racist enemies of the people. Universities boast of rejecting 60-70 percent of those who scored perfect on SATs, as if their excellence was proof of their “privilege.”

Jurisprudence was tarred as racist, as if laws against shoplifting, looting, smash-and-grab, car-jacking, and arson were created only by elite white men who never had the need to steal or loot and who therefore made silly, arbitrary laws against them.

Like the Jacobins, our woke elite deem prisons arbitrary detention centers. So thousands of those arrested for committing violent crimes have either never been charged, never convicted, never sentenced, or never incarcerated. These exemptions rest on the principle that the revolutionaries who destroyed the enforcement of law have the wherewithal to protect themselves from the dystopia they created.

Borders disappeared, apparently on grounds they were 19th-century racist relics. Yet sanctuary cities prove the least welcoming of the tens of thousands they all but invited into distant other towns and counties.

The homeless were no longer deemed vagrants, or selfish in their take-over of public spaces, but the victims of an oppressive society.

So public defecation, urination, fornication, and injection were rebranded as mere lifestyle choices of the unfortunate, not to be judged wrong or unlawful by the victimizers who supposedly made thousands homeless. Ancient laws of hygiene and municipal cleanliness were thrown out as bourgeois, as cities reverted to the protocols of their medieval forebears.

Leftists who created these Frankenstein-like monsters, like the fictive Dr. Frankenstein himself, became targets of their own experiments. It was no longer enough to support civil rights for the transgendered. Suddenly any questioning of the wisdom of biologically born males competing in women’s sports or of teenagers with penises undressing among teenage girls in locker rooms, or of state-sponsored drag-queen shows with children in attendance condemned one as transphobic and worse.

Advocating a secure border and strictly legal immigration was proof of nativism. Equal opportunity for all races was racism. Advocacy for the use of natural gas as a needed transitional fuel indicted one as a climate “denialist.”

As our woke version of the Jacobin revolution accelerated, society itself began to unwind—as expected given America relied on meritocracy, free expression dissent, the rule of law, forbearance, and tolerance.

In less than three years, our major cities became filthy to the point of unhealthiness. Violent crime and thievery drove businesses and commuters away. Subways at night became the domain of the homeless and criminal. Vacancy rates in San Francisco or downtown Portland shot up to 25 percent or more. Millions began leaving Jacobin blue cities and states, and headed for sanctuaries in more suburban and rural red states.

Once-trusted and familiar government agencies became weaponized—and inevitably incompetent. The FBI was not interested in the organizers of 120 days of violent looting, arson, murder, and rioting in summer 2020, or the threatening mobs who showed up at the homes of Supreme Court Justices. Instead, it fixated on parents at school board meetings, Latin Mass Catholics, former Trump Administration officials, and anyone daring to question the Russian collusion or Russian disinformation laptop hoaxes.

The Pentagon brass oversaw a flight from Afghanistan, in the greatest military humiliation in modern American history. Yet at the same time, it focused on rooting out white rage and white privilege despite presenting no data to substantiate its accusations. Former intelligence officers and “authorities” misled the country and warped an election, to ensure Americans did not take seriously the incriminating evidence in Hunter Biden’s laptop of the Biden family’s widespread corruption.

So, the world became topsy-turvy. Throwing a firebomb into a police-occupied patrol car earned a light sentence, while protesting illegally at the Capitol won a decade in prison.

An American who did not get vaccinated was to be thrown out of the U.S. military; an illegal alien crossing the border unlawfully without a vaccination might earn a free phone and free lodging in a big-city hotel.

The more the government printed money it did not have, the more the country was slandered as cruel and mean to its underclass. The more standards were dropped for admission, hiring, promotion, and retention, the more employers were deemed unfair and bigoted.

As the American Jacobin phase accelerated, the more it, too, seemed to pursue its own destruction. Few now trust that the graduates of the Ivy League and marquee universities know what they once did. And why not, when students are admitted without test scores, but are assured passing grades, watered-down classes, and graduation to be synonymous with admission?

The U.S. military fell short by thousands of recruits. And why not, when it advertised for manpower with invitations from drag queens, and hounded those as racists who had died at twice their numbers in the population in Afghanistan and Iraq?

A Counterrevolution Is Coming

At peak woke, our reign of terror is beginning to lose momentum because its continuation would erode all the work of 247 years of American progress and sacrifice.

Former and current liberals—an Elon Musk, Bill Maher, Matt Taibbi, Bari Weiss, Glen Greenwald, Naomi Wolf, or a Richard Dreyfuss—are deemed counterrevolutionaries for questioning the excesses of wokeism, and so began questioning the premises of wokeism itself.

New polls showed scant public support for open borders, for multiple sexual identities, and for biological men competing in women’s sports. Reparations from an insolvent government to black Americans—on the principle that those whose ancestors might have been enslaved eight generations ago were owed money from those whose ancestors might have owned slaves eight generations ago—is widely rejected by the general population.

When corporations like Anheuser-Busch or Disney tried to ingratiate themselves to the woke Jacobins, they lost billions in revenue—just as the woke Pentagon has lost thousands of recruits.

Woke networks like CNN have smaller audiences than some one-person podcasts.

A desperate and woke NBA now brags that its recent playoff televised audience reached over 4 million viewers. A quarter-century ago, when the U.S. population was nearly 60 million smaller, the pre-Jacobin NBA won over 70 million viewers who watched the 1998 finals.

Joe Biden, the thin veneer of the woke revolution, polls below 40 percent. Even that favorability is propped up by the consensus that he has no idea where he is or what he is saying—and thus at least is deserving of 40 percent support for not being responsible for what he has empowered.

A counterrevolution is building, not just because people are angry at what has become of their country, but because they now are learning that if they do nothing, they will have no country—and soon.


This article was published at American Greatness and is reproduced with permission.

Woke Revolutionaries Versus Americanists

Estimated Reading Time: 11 minutes

Some words of advice for Jim Banks’s new anti-woke caucus.

Indiana congressman Jim Banks recently announced the formation of an anti-woke caucus. Good. Banks is acknowledging, for the first time at a congressional level, the danger of woke tyranny. National Socialism (Nazism) and Communism were the challenges for prior generations of Americans. “Wokeism” is the challenge of our generation. We have reason to believe that Banks intends to put anti-wokeism at the center of Republican politics, which today has no center.

America is in the middle of a Cold Civil War between woke revolutionaries—who believe America is and has always been systemically racist (evil), so that it must be deconstructed, de-legitimized (i.e., destroyed)—and those who believe that America is good, that its principles are the greatest antidote to racism ever created, and that preserving America and its principles is the highest and most urgent political calling. Let’s call these patriots “Americanists.”

The Need for a Rhetorical Strategy

What should the anti-woke caucus do? Banks rightly says that the first order of business is for the caucus to learn in detail about the woke regime and how it has taken control of major American institutions at every level. And next? The temptation will be to draw up a policy agenda. But before devising a policy strategy, we think it is necessary to provide the moral justification for one.

In any political conflict, the side that seizes the moral high ground is the ultimate victor. The art of seizing the moral high ground—i.e., of persuasion—belongs to the discipline of rhetorical strategy. If there is one thing we hope caucus members will take away from this essay, it is the importance of moral argument and rhetoric.

Often a politician responds to existing “public sentiment,” as Lincoln called it. But when politics becomes especially confusing, when the public is not thinking as clearly as it might, the statesman must give shape to public sentiment. He must sculpt unformed opinions and refine inchoate ones.

Glenn Ellmers, in a recent essay, made this point well. He was writing about Governor Ron DeSantis, but he just as well could have been writing about all Republicans, virtually all of whom fail to appreciate the importance of providing a moral justification for their actions through effective rhetoric. Ellmers writes:

DeSantis’s other problem—to exaggerate for the sake of argument—is that he’s all action and no talk. (This is not necessarily worse than Trump’s opposite vice.) That might sound like another strange criticism, but this is something that has always been true in politics: rhetoric matters. After all, to the degree that elections still have some efficacy, voters have to be persuaded, and that means words are as important as deeds. You can’t merely do the right thing, you have to explain it. DeSantis gives speeches, of course, and they are good as far as they go. But they need to be great. He needs to appreciate that even the most momentous results sometimes don’t speak for themselves. Consider Lincoln at Gettysburg.

Indeed, Lincoln, in large part, won the Civil War by the power of his rhetoric. The kind of speeches Ellmers calls for are inspirational and eternal. We need a rhetoric that rises to the level of our crisis. It needs to be Lincolnian, Churchillian—a powerful strategic weapon in the immediate war, and an inspiration for times to come.

The public is increasingly aware of the horrors of woke tyranny; it sees, and is repelled by, many pieces of the woke regime. But it is very hard to see the entire puzzle. A successful rhetoric will put the pieces together and build the public sentiment necessary to fuel a victorious counter-revolution. It will give a reasoned account of the woke regime—its principles, tactics, adherents, and aims. And it will give a reasoned account of the American regime, why it is worthy of the last full measure of devotion, and what must be done to save it.

We Are in a War

First and foremost, the public must understand that America is at war. It must be made clear that the woke revolutionaries wish not to reform America along the lines of, say, the New Deal or Great Society but ultimately want to destroy the American way of life. The woke revolutionaries do not hide their objective; indeed they flaunt it. They keep telling us their actions are designed to “fundamentally transform” the American way of life.

Citizens desperately need to hear their elected leaders saying in public that the American way of life, the American regime, cannot possibly coexist with the woke regime, because the two regimes have utterly irreconcilable understandings of what constitutes a just society. This is what makes it a war.

For the American regime, a just society is one in which free men and women pursue happiness according to their abilities and according to nature. Such a society is one where merit is central—where the society recognizes the natural differences in the interests and abilities among various groups. In such a society, groups—men and women and subcultures—will be represented differently in various areas of American life.

For the woke regime, on the other hand, a just society is one where the regime imposes identity group quotas based on victimhood rankings. Such a regime makes war on nature and merit, and thus on America. The goal of the woke regime is what the woke revolutionaries perversely call “equity,” by which they mean statistical equality of result for all preferred ethnic and gender groups in all aspects of life. Thus, if black Americans represent 13% of the population, then, as a historically marginalized group, they should constitute 13% of all surgeons, lawyers, airline pilots, elected officials, military officers, and, for that matter, incarcerated prisoners. The same logic of ethnic-gender group representation applies to other, continuously expanding, “marginalized” groups such as women, Latinos, LGBTQ + persons and the like.

The American regime (or the merit regime) and the woke group-quota regime are mutually exclusive. You can’t offer admission to college, medical school, law school, flight training, combat arms (or anything else) according to racial and gender group quotas, while at the same time making decisions according to merit. With one voice, caucus members should consistently frame the debate this way: “the merit regime vs. the group quota regime” (or simply, merit vs. group quotas).

A free society will never furnish equality of results. An attempt to produce them requires coercion. Since nature can never be vanquished, coercion must continually be ramped up. We can already observe this coercion (e.g., censorship, canceling, employment discrimination, and partisan double standards in law) where the woke regime is most entrenched—in the universities, Big Tech, the media, and government at all levels.

Explaining to Americans what exactly the woke regime is can be a challenge; the regime is slippery and amorphous. Normally, a totalitarian regime means the government controls all aspects of public and private life. The 20th century witnessed the hard totalitarian regimes of Nazism and Communism. Today, the woke regime can best be understood as a soft totalitarianism that seeks to marginalize, intimidate, and silence its opponents through censorship, coercion, media propaganda, intelligence agency operations, rigged elections, and the declarations of unelected bureaucrats and judges.

The 21st century woke regime consists of a loose confederation of institutions: education, media, entertainment, businesses, Democratic politicians, the criminal justice system, and more. There is no overarching organization. But understanding and explaining, as well as possible, how that regime operates will be necessary to winning the war.

The Big Lie

Having identified the composition of the regime and its goal (equality of result for racial, ethnic, and gender groups), the caucus must explain how the woke revolutionaries are going about reaching that goal. Their first critical step is making Americans deeply ashamed of themselves and their past, thereby making them inclined to trade in the merit regime for the group quota regime. This requires a big lie. Every totalitarian regime, hard or soft, has one. The woke regime’s big lie is that America is systemically racist and about to be overrun by racists, a.k.a. Republican voters.

Caucus members and other Americanists should call this the “Big Lie.” When addressing the woke revolutionaries, they should dismiss it without apology or qualification. But the Americanists should forget about trying to convince the woke revolutionaries. It cannot be done, and that is because the entire woke project is built on supposed racism. Take that away and the project collapses. Woke revolutionaries will therefore insist on the existence of this racism in the teeth of all evidence and argument, transposing it to unseen and unconscious regions when it is proven not to exist elsewhere.

Yet although it is fruitless, and ultimately self-defeating, to try to convince the woke revolutionaries, it is necessary to stiffen the spines of those on the Right. One reason the race card has such a powerful effect is that many on the Right think the woke revolutionaries have a point. This uncertain Right, like the entire Left, suffers from white guilt. We must get over it.

Caucus members must explain to the Right, and to the open-minded middle, that the phony white guilt of the elite is destroying the rest of us, whatever our color. Further, the false charge of “systemic racism” is not presented by woke revolutionaries in good faith but used as a weapon to de-legitimize America’s principles, history, culture, and way of life.

The caucus needs to make the case strongly that America is not systemically racist—except to the extent that wokeism has succeeded in establishing its racist program as a system—and second, that traditional “red neck” racism is low on the list of what should concern black Americans. That said, humans being what they are, it seems highly unlikely we shall ever eliminate racism altogether. So there will always be racial incidents, real or imagined, that the woke revolutionaries can exploit. The Americanists must not rise to the bait. In a war you concede nothing.

Americanists need to explain that the central problem facing the nation is not racism but the trumped-up charges of racism that hound us from morning to night. The goal of the Americanists should be, as David Azerrad has pointed out, “not to solve the race problem but to prevent it from crushing the country.”

But nothing can replace a powerful, credible, passionate leader. Perhaps Banks himself is that man. At present, there is no one—political or otherwise—who is leading the anti-woke movement, though Governor Ron DeSantis has indicated a predilection. Among non-politicians, Tucker Carlson is unrivalled in speaking truth to woke power. Someone must create a movement.

A Defense of the Nation State

Caucus members also need to make a spirited defense of the nation-state (a sovereign political community in which citizens share traditions, customs, language, and values such as patriotism). The woke revolutionaries must destroy the nation-state if they are to destroy the American way of life and replace it with the woke way of life. Reliance on transnational institutions, climate change, open borders, and energy dependence are among the ways the woke revolutionaries seek to destroy the American nation-state.

The woke revolutionaries tell us that the Right’s commitment to the nation-state, like any policy of the Right, is racist and tyrannical. They identify anything that strengthens the nation-state—for example, patriotism, closed boarders, or assimilation—as akin to “nationalism” or even “fascism.”

Caucus members must explain that without the nation, and the homogeneity it requires, people will be unable to govern themselves. Without the nation-state there will be no democracy, no “We the People.” There will be only “us” and “them.” And people do not sacrifice for “them.”

Outside of a nation there can also be no agreement on the rules for living together (laws and customs). One side will break the rules because it does not believe in them, and then the other side will break them in self-defense. Neither side will accept election losses. When trust has broken down, so does the rule of law. We see plenty of this already. The anti-woke caucus must explain, again and again, that there can be no democracy and no freedom without the shared culture of the American nation-state.

Donald Trump, unlike any other Republican, embraced the term “nationalist” at a rally: “You know, they have a word, it sort of became old-fashioned. It’s called a ‘nationalist’…. And I say, ‘Really? We’re not supposed to use that word,’” Trump continued. “You know what I am? I’m a nationalist. OK? I’m a nationalist.” Trump did not care about being called a “racist” any more than he cared about being called a “nationalist.” In this respect, caucus members should take their lead from Trump.

Attacking the nation-state means attacking the very idea of citizenship. The woke revolutionaries tell us that “illegal” immigration is justified because all people are, in effect, already American citizens. “Don’t worry about too many immigrants,” say the woke revolutionaries; after all, “diversity is our greatest strength.” This is nonsense. No nation, not even America, can withstand unlimited diversity. Every nation requires a certain degree of homogeneity if it is to be free. And second, although our universal creed makes anyone a potential citizen, it is only those who are committed to assimilating into our culture and our understanding of right and wrong (including our laws) who can be citizens.

To the extent we do allow immigrants, “[We] must,” as Theodore Roosevelt said, “Americanize them in every way.” The progressive Louis Brandeis was more specific: “the adoption of our language, manners and customs is only a small part of the process. To become Americanized the change wrought must be fundamental.” The immigrant “must possess the national consciousness of an American.” In contrast to earlier progressives, in 2021 the Biden Administration officially denounced the principle of assimilating immigrants.

“Americanization” has a bad name. But like the word “nationalism,” anti-woke caucus members should resurrect it and embrace it with pride.

Seeing Soft Totalitarianism

Woke revolutionaries believe America should be rebuilt from the ground up, whatever the cost. The anti-woke caucus members must repeatedly point out that it is just this—attempts to build from the ground up—that has brought us the most horrific, blood-letting regimes of the 20th century. It is a virtual truism that the road to utopia terminates in Hell.

Caucus members need to bone up on totalitarian regimes and be able to describe the characteristics of such a regime, drawing parallels to the current, woke regime which, while softer, shares many characteristics with the harder variety. They must help citizens see things through the lens of soft totalitarianism. For example, they must help citizens see that open borders are intended, at least in part, to destroy the American way of life.

One aspect of all totalitarian regimes is, as we all know by now, censorship and media propaganda. Citizens must not be able to hear what the regime does not want them to hear, and that, of course, is anything that challenges their lies. Censorship and propaganda take many forms: humiliation, intimidation, de-platforming, firing, blacklisting, gaslighting, and so on. A personal example: A teleprompter operator for a speech one of us was giving did not show up to work on the second day because he thought that working for a conservative outfit would make it difficult for him to get work elsewhere. Thousands and thousands of these freedom-crushing instances of censorship occur every day, undetectable by the general public.

Name and Nomenclature

There is one last but very important bit of advice. Come up with a name for the enemy and an associated nomenclature. We don’t see how you can beat an enemy you cannot name.

We offer the following for the caucus’s consideration, most of which we have already introduced. The enemy is the “woke regime.” The word “regime” is important, because it suggests an all-out, comprehensive assault on the American way of life. The ideology of the woke regime is “wokeism,” which is a totalizing ideology like National Socialism or Communism. Card-carrying members of the woke regime are “woke revolutionaries” while go-along Democrats, which is most of them, are “collaborationists.” Those on the Right who do not actively resist the woke regime are “accommodationists.” Those who do actively resist are “Americanists.”

Why “Americanists” vs. “woke revolutionaries” and not, say, “conservatives” vs. “progressives”? These latter names suggest we are in a normal policy dispute within the traditional context of American politics, in which both sides accept the legitimacy of the American regime. We are not in such a context. We are not living in the bygone world of Reagan vs. Mondale. We are in a war.

Defenders of the American regime include many people who are not political conservatives: people who simply love America, are patriotic, and reject the woke agenda. Since wokeism is an attempt to destroy the American way of life, the most logical term for those who wish to save it is “Americanists.”

Unified Theory

An objection might be raised: there is more than wokeism that ails the country today. Consider radical feminism, socialism, climate change, transgenderism: these, say the skeptics, are independent of wokeism. One can certainly think about things this way, but we would consider this a strategic error. To the extent we can, we need a unified theory that captures as much of the war effort against our regime as possible. The attack on America should be understood within a single, coherent conceptual framework. We believe wokeism serves this purpose.

Thus, for example:

The rewriting of American history as the story of oppression; a Ford Foundation grant to promote DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion);

a Washington Post article complaining that too many statues in our Capitol commemorate “enslavers,” including Washington, Jefferson, and Madison;

the deliberate weakening of the American oil and gas industry, and, hence, the end of our energy independence in the name of climate change;

promoting the intrusion of men into women’s sports, and teaching our children that there are many “genders” rather than two sexes;

the deliberate refusal to protect America’s southern border while at the same time enabling millions of illegal aliens to enter and remain in our country;

the refusal of woke prosecutors to enforce long-standing laws against criminals;

universal child care to facilitate the utopian final goal of absolute gender group outcome equality in every institution in society;

rigging elections so as to keep the woke elite in power;

socialism which seeks income equality;

the attacks on values like excellence and merit as a supposed stalking horse of white supremacy:

All these phenomena and more are of a piece. They work in one way or another to promote equality of results for groups. They either are aimed at securing the power necessary to promote the woke agenda, destroying the American way of life, or directly implementing group quotas.

We pray for the success of the anti-woke caucus. Its task is daunting, but all noble things are. And what could be more noble than, as a friend of ours is fond of saying, “to save the nation that has brought more freedom and more prosperity to more people than any other country in the history of mankind.” As in times before, the future of freedom everywhere depends on our example.

This article was published by The American Mind and is reproduced with permission.

How Individuals Enable Tyranny

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

It is easy to think the roots of tyranny lie outside of ourselves, but perhaps we are looking too far away.

In Milan Kundera’s novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being, a Czech refugee living in Paris joins a protest march against the 1968 Soviet invasion of her homeland. To her surprise, the refugee could not bring herself to shout with the other protesters and soon left the rally. Her French friends didn’t understand her reluctance. The refugee silently mused that her friends could never understand that “behind Communism, Fascism, behind all occupations and invasions lurks a more basic, pervasive evil and that the image of that evil was a parade of people marching by with raised fists and shouting identical syllables in unison.”

Beware of groups marching in lockstep, even for a seemingly good cause, Kundera warns.

In On Liberty, John Stuart Mill pointed us in a similar direction when he observed a tyranny as terrible as any imposed by “public authorities.” Mill called it the “tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling.”

Mill described “the tendency of society to impose, by other means than civil penalties, its own ideas and practices as rules of conduct on those who dissent from them.” Mill counseled, “individual independence” protected from “encroachment” from the tyranny of the majority “is as indispensable to a good condition of human affairs, as protection against political despotism.”

The tyranny of societal mandates, Mill warned, can be “more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, … it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself.”

On Liberty was published in 1859. Sadly, the tendency Mill described is all-too-common among individuals living in 2023 who believe “their feelings… are better than reasons, and render reasons unnecessary.”

Often such “feelings” are based on the prevailing orthodoxy disseminated by The New York Times, NPR, and other such media outlets.

Worse, feelings-driven individuals up the ante and demand others conform. Mill explained, “The practical principle which guides them to their opinions on the regulation of human conduct, is the feeling in each person’s mind that everybody should be required to act as he, and those with whom he sympathises, would like them to act.”

Others may share your feelings and preferences. Yet, Mill reasoned, even when shared, individual preferences are not elevated to a guide for living for others:

No one, indeed, acknowledges to himself that his standard of judgment is his own liking; but an opinion on a point of conduct, not supported by reasons, can only count as one person’s preference; and if the reasons, when given, are a mere appeal to a similar preference felt by other people, it is still only many people’s liking instead of one.

Here is Mill’s bottom line: “[T]he only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.” Your feelings, your opinions, your sense of what is good for you, your sense of what will make you happier “is not a sufficient warrant” to interfere with the individual sovereignty of any one else.

Mill was unequivocal about the wrongness of silencing dissenting voices: “If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.”

There has never been a dystopian novel, nor a totalitarian society, where freedom of speech was not suppressed.

The haunting question is why do so many enable totalitarians by demanding others conform to their personal feelings?

Mill taught us how to resign as an enabler of tyranny. Our feelings about an issue, no matter how widely shared, are never justification for coercing others or censoring competing views. Mill wrote, “All silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility.” He argued that suppressors of other views “have no authority to decide the question for all mankind, and exclude every other person from the means of judging. To refuse a hearing to an opinion, because they are sure that it is false, is to assume that their certainty is the same thing as absolute certainty.”

Those who believe they should impose their opinions on others are probably not reading this essay. Among them are people who act as though they are infallible.

Hearing Mill’s arguments, some readers may see they silence themselves, believing their opinions are socially unacceptable. When we remain silent we co-create “collective illusions” which Todd Rose wrote are “social lies” occurring “in situations where a majority of individuals in a group privately reject a particular opinion, but they go along with it because they (incorrectly) assume that most other people accept it.”

Rose explained, “We often conform because we’re afraid of being embarrassed. Our stress levels rise at the thought of being mocked or viewed as incompetent, and when that happens, the fear-based part of the brain takes over.”

The choice to remain silent, to self-censor, is connected to the erroneous belief that by going along with the majority our “personal responsibility for our decisions” is diffused, “making it easier to bear mistakes.”

A person who values liberty understands the high costs of assuaging feelings by eschewing responsibility.

Václav Havel was a Czech playwright, dissident, and the first president of Czechoslovakia after the fall of communism. In his essay “The Power of the Powerless,” Havel explored the dynamics of mindlessly going along with prevailing sentiments. A grocery manager places in his shop window a sign: “Workers of the world, unite!” Havel revealed the manager placed the sign, not out of real support for the slogan, but to avoid “trouble” and “to get along in life.” No big deal, the manager may think: “It is one of the thousands of details that guarantee [me] a relatively tranquil life ‘in harmony with society.’”

Havel’s shop manager hopes his sign signals, “I am obedient and therefore I have the right to be left in peace.”

Havel wrote his essay in 1978. Could Havel have imagined that virtue signaling would be the norm in the West in 2023?

Had the sign read “I am afraid and therefore unquestioningly obedient,” Havel reasoned, the grocer would not eagerly degrade his “dignity” by signaling his fear.

“Ideology,” Havel wrote, “is a specious way of relating to the world. It offers human beings the illusion of an identity, of dignity, and of morality while making it easier for them to part with them.”

Havel revealed a purpose in adopting an ideology you do not believe in: you can live under the “illusion that the system is in harmony with the human order and the order of the universe.”

Havel called this a “post-totalitarian system,” filled with “hypocrisy and lies,” in which “the lack of free expression [is claimed to be] the highest form of freedom.”

Havel was clear: to prop up hypocrisy and lies, we must behave as though we believe the lies. Individuals, he wrote, “confirm the system, fulfill the system, make the system, are the system.”

Havel kindled hope as he ended his essay: “The real question is whether the brighter future is really always so distant. What if, on the contrary, it has been here for a long time already, and only our own blindness and weakness has prevented us from seeing it around us and within us, and kept us from developing it?”

Mill, Havel, and Kundera all point us to a terrible truth: our moral weakness, desire to evade responsibility, and illusion that the majority makes right have led us down the slippery slope of forfeiting our freedom.

How do we respond to those working to undermine human rights? The solution is simple, but not without personal costs. Stop lying, stop degrading yourself, stop pretending to believe what you don’t, and resign from the role as an enabler of tyranny.

This article was published by AIER, American Institute for Economic Research and is reproduced with permission.

DeSantis Goes to War

Estimated Reading Time: 9 minutes

On election night, I was half-watching Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s victory remarks when something quite extraordinary and encouraging caught my attention. DeSantis evoked Churchill’s “fighting on the beaches” speech, in which Churchill stirred the resolve and patriotism of the British people in anticipation of the invasion of their homeland by the Nazis. DeSantis, of course, was not warning against Nazism: he was warning against wokeism, which he was implicitly equating with Nazism. I had never heard a national political figure treat wokeism with such (deserved) gravity.

Before rephrasing Churchill, DeSantis said:

States and cities governed by leftist politicians have seen crime skyrocket. They’ve seen their taxpayers abused, they’ve seen medical authoritarianism imposed, and they’ve seen American principles discarded. The woke agenda has caused millions of Americans to leave these jurisdictions for greener pastures.

People do not uproot themselves and leave the rhythms of home “for light and transient causes.” These people are not coming to Florida just for the weather. They are fleeing the woke regime of blue America—an abusive, lawless, totalitarian regime which is waging war against American principles and the American way of life.

DeSantis continued:

Now, this great exodus of Americans, for those folks, Florida, for so many of them, has served as the promised land. We have embraced freedom. We have maintained law and order. We have protected the rights of parents. We have respected our taxpayers, and we reject woke ideology. We fight the woke in the legislature. We fight the woke in the schools. We fight the woke in the corporations. We will never, ever surrender to the woke mob. Florida is where woke goes to die.

In evoking Churchill’s speech, DeSantis lets us know that the woke regime is bearing down on America. In the urgent cadences of war, DeSantis tells us that America will not survive unless she defeats the woke regime. He believes this regime is so evil and powerful that he can, without bathos, compare it to the Nazi regime.

Some Unsolicited Advice

DeSantis has made a good start. He has told us that we are at war with a deadly regime, the woke regime. You cannot win a war unless you know you are in one.

But at some point soon, he must go further. He must show a voting majority of Americans that wokeism is the challenge of our generation, as Nazism was the challenge of the WWII generation and Communism for two generations thereafter.

And he must back up his claim. He has given us at least one piece of substantial evidence: in large numbers, people are fleeing their homes. Still, we need more. We shall not address the problem with the right strategies and people or the necessary resolve until we believe the country’s life truly is at stake. DeSantis needs to put America on a war footing.

In today’s environment, where there is a keen and deepening generalized awareness of danger, I think there is a hunger for a reasoned account of that danger. DeSantis’s most important role—the role of any statesman who is to rise to the historic challenge of this crisis—is to give such an account, one that calls a morally indifferent nation back to the principles of the founding.

So far as I can tell, there is no national Republican elected official who fully understands the threat except for Trump and DeSantis. The national figure not in politics who best gets it probably is Tucker Carlson. Night after night, in artful, insightful monologues, Carlson flays some aspect of the woke regime. He is the best we have, but he is not going to lead a major political movement. For that we need a statesman. That could well be DeSantis. And so I presume to offer him advice he hasn’t asked for:

He should make defeating wokeism his central purpose, with the goal of making it the central purpose of the Republican Party (which currently has no central purpose). Presumably DeSantis will run for the presidency. But even if he doesn’t, his first goal should be the mobilization of America. He should make anti-wokeism (and its opposite, pro-Americanism) the theme of the next Republican administration, whether it is his administration or not.

To develop an anti-woke (pro-American) agenda, DeSantis must first help us understand the woke regime, the woke way of life. He must explain that this way of life cannot possibly coexist with the American way of life. The two regimes have utterly irreconcilable understandings of a just society.

For the American regime, a just society is one in which free men and women pursue happiness according to their abilities and according to nature. Such a society is one where merit rules. For the woke regime, on the other hand, a just society is one where the regime imposes identity group quotas based on victimhood rankings. Such a regime makes war on merit.

It’s one regime or the other. You can’t offer admission to college (or anything else) according to group quotas and, at the same time, offer admission according to merit. I suggest DeSantis frame the debate accordingly: the merit regime vs. the group quota regime (or simply, merit vs. group quotas).

DeSantis should be very clear: woke revolutionaries attempt not to improve our culture, or remake aspects of it, but to destroy it or lead us to destroy it ourselves—not partially but completely. Like (crazed) revolutionaries everywhere, they believe the world must be purified, no matter the cost.

But DeSantis should not overestimate the threat either. The woke regime is a totalitarian regime in the making. Our side is outgunned almost everywhere, but there is still room to maneuver. America is not yet a one-party state; we still have some open communication channels; our intelligence agencies can (conceivably) be reformed; wokeness in the military can probably be reversed by a strong president, and businesses (one must hope!) will come around if they see America gaining the upper hand on woke tyranny. Even in education, where the woke revolutionaries have us tied to a chair, our hands are still free.

In addition to a framing, we need a simple theory or model of the woke regime: its composition, its goals, and the means for achieving those goals. Without a model we cannot anticipate where the woke revolutionaries are going next, and so we are always playing whack-a-mole, each new woke initiative catching us by surprise.

DeSantis might use the 2020 riots as an example of the woke regime in action. Radicals, intellectuals, media, businesses, Democratic politicians, and the criminal justice system conspired to create mayhem. They ignited, justified, hid, funded, fanned the flames of, and freed the rioters. There is no overarching organization. There is some informal coordination among players, but mostly the regime is a revolutionary cabal of the anti-American elite, who want us to believe they are liberating innocent victims.

The objective of the woke regime—group quotas—requires the woke revolutionaries to make Americans deeply ashamed of their past, thereby making them inclined to trade in the merit regime for the group quota regime. This requires a big lie. Every totalitarian regime has one. The woke regime’s big lie is that America is systemically racist and about to be overrun by racists, a.k.a. Trump voters. (That Trump voters are racist is, regrettably, a view also held by many neoconservatives.)

DeSantis should call this the “Big Lie” and, like Trump, dismiss it without apology or qualification. DeSantis should explain that the phony white guilt of the elite is killing the rest of us, black and white, that racism is low on the list of problems confronting black citizens, and, as Frederick Douglass counseled, the way to help blacks is to encourage them to help themselves.

DeSantis must tell Republicans they should forget about defending themselves against charges of “racism” (it cannot be done). Instead Republicans need to explain that the central problem facing the nation is not racism, but the trumped-up charges of racism that hound us from morning to night. The goal of conservatives should be, as David Azerrad has pointed out, “not to solve the race problem but to prevent the race problem from crushing the country.”

DeSantis needs to explain that the doctrinaire egalitarianism of wokesism denies the natural differences in abilities among people and so is evil. DeSantis should say just that: “evil.” Although the elite will cringe, as it did when Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union “evil,” most Americans will find it both bracing and reassuring.

In addition to telling lies, the woke revolutionaries must, as most everyone knows by now, censor anyone who challenges the lies. In a totalitarian regime there can be no space for dissent. This requires, among many other things, erasing from memory totalitarian regimes and their evil. DeSantis gets it. To his great credit, he signed a bill last year that requires the teaching of “communism and totalitarianism.”

Republicans recognize the Big Lie, censorship, and the corruption of education, but like many pieces of the woke regime, these are not usually seen as part of the larger woke strategy. We see the pieces but not always the picture. That’s DeSantis’s role: to put the pieces together.

DeSantis should make us understand all the woke regime’s actions through this totalitarian lens. Take, for example, Biden’s decision to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. The woke revolutionaries tell us this has to do with climate change, but it is difficult to see how destroying American energy independence can be other than part of an attempt to destroy America. Whether done with conscious intent or simply allowed to happen, the result is the same.

Or take open borders. We usher in millions of illegal immigrants, distribute them around the country, encourage them not to assimilate, and sometimes even allow them to vote. This too is an attempt to destroy our country with the additional benefit for the woke revolutionaries of swelling Democratic voting rolls. Another example is the breaking of the country into identity groups (tribes), each competing for the highest ranking in the victimhood sweepstakes. This will almost certainly lead to tribal warfare. When has it not?

Yes, Republican politicians usually object to such policies. But they don’t generally identify and denounce them as parts of the woke strategy for destroying our country. Unless they do, we will lose our country without even a fight.

A Time for Statesmanship

DeSantis should help us follow the logic of wokeism. For example, if we know group quotas for innocent victims is the goal of the woke regime, then we know that the woke revolutionaries need to bring the black prison population (currently about 33 percent of the total prison population) more in line with blacks’ percentage of the overall population (13 percent). That is the purpose of defunding the police and failing to prosecute certain crimes and other criminal justice “reforms.” For the most part, people with common sense—in particular black Americans who must endure the consequences in their own neighborhoods—see these things simply as very stupid ideas. But DeSantis should keep reminding us that wokeism is not a jumble of stupid ideas but a coherent set of stupid ideas in the service of the group quota regime, one that is completely at odds with the merit regime.

And DeSantis should help us anticipate the woke revolutionaries’ next steps. In the case of prison population, the next step might be disparate sentencing, where blacks get lighter sentences than whites for the same offense, or perhaps the elimination of prison altogether. As loopy as these ideas sound, they are logical extensions of woke theory. Moreover, each has been talked about by leading woke revolutionary intellectuals like Ibram X. Kendi. Sometimes all we have to do is listen.

Very importantly, DeSantis must keep reminding us that war requires different strategies than peace time. War is not a time for trying to persuade the independents, reach across the aisle, or even reach out to the Republican accommodationists. DeSantis knows the best way to get these groups on board is not to woo them but to win the war. He knows as well that any concessions made to the woke revolutionaries will be pocketed, not reciprocated—something even Trump may have failed to fully appreciate.

War also requires different personnel. Trump, an almost unthinkable option at any other time in American history, was the right man for these times, and may still be the right man. Trump was a great war time president. DeSantis must help us understand that Trump’s flaws were not—perhaps are still not—disqualifying.

The easy way out for Republicans, and the temptation for DeSantis, will be to say Trump’s policies were good, but not the rest of him. I think this assessment of Trump is wrong. As I have written elsewhere, Trump advanced many important policies, but the “rest of him” is where one finds the virtues that have inspired a movement. His willingness to fight, his abundant courage, strength, independence, optimism, confidence in America, and absence of white guilt are examples of virtues that made him both effective and dear to patriotic Americans. DeSantis should resist his advisors who tell him he should not speak well of Trump. Now is the time for statesmanship.

And when the Republican establishment dismisses the Trump movement as “populist,” DeSantis should demur and explain to that establishment that when the elite undermines the American way of life, and the voices of ordinary people cannot be heard, populism is not only healthy but vital. Trump’s populist base has just what the Republican Party lacks: purpose, the passion that can match the ideological zeal of the woke revolutionaries, optimism, and confidence in itself and the country. And the base doesn’t have what the party has altogether too much of: white guilt. Trump’s base is a fighting force we cannot afford to lose.

In his election night victory speech DeSantis imagined that he, like Churchill, was a great leader fighting the forces of evil. If DeSantis is to actually follow Churchill (and Lincoln), he must be magnanimous, as they were. Voters will rally to magnanimity coupled with courage and resolution.

DeSantis’s immediate goal is to make America vs. the woke regime (merit vs. group quotas) the central theme of American political discourse. Perhaps that begins with a speech. Like Churchill and Lincoln, DeSantis should appeal to our patriotism in order to stir our resolve. We are still a patriotic people. Where patriotism has waned, I suspect its embers would burst into flames. DeSantis must remind us we are part of a noble and honorable tradition. He must call attention to the great successes of our past. In doing so he reminds us that we are still capable of greatness. As in times before, the future of freedom everywhere rests on our shoulders, a fateful burden we carry as the “almost” chosen people. DeSantis must give us hope but not let us forget the possibility of darkness. As a peroration, he cannot improve on Lincoln who faced a crisis not so dissimilar to the one we face today:


This article was published by The American Mind and is reproduced with permission.