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Conservatives on Verge of Victory in Culture War

Posted on Friday, February 17, 2023
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by Daniel Berman
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AMAC Exclusive – By Daniel Berman

Conservatives

In 2023, something that has not happened for decades is occurring: Conservatives are on the verge of victory in the “culture wars.”

One of the most common questions posed to students is whether history is driven by great men or wider social forces. It is hard to watch coverage of so-called “woke” issues in 2023 without reaching the conclusion that some greater social shift is at work. Something has changed.

It is no longer just conservative outlets shouting about “CRT” or “men in women’s bathrooms.” The New York Times, a bastion of liberal respectability, is running weekly articles questioning schools hiding student transitioning from parents. Left-wing, African American professors are telling tales of being canceled by students. Five Democrat State Representatives in Connecticut have proposed banning the use of the word “Latinx” by the state.

The idea that wokeness has gone too far is not just a conservative view. Increasingly it is becoming a mainstream one among many moderate liberals. The question is whether conservatives, who are used to losing, can adapt to the unexpected vindication and consolidate their victory, or will instead alienate those who are rapidly moving toward their side.

It is important to put what is happening in context. The backlash against excessive identity politics in general, and the “purity” approach the left adopted in the 2010s is real and broad. It can be seen in the failure to boycott the newest Harry Potter game over charges of “transphobia” by its creator, J. K. Rowling, and the backlash against the bullying tactics online against anyone who did not join. It is evident in the almost universal revulsion with which HBO’s woke Scooby Doo remake “Velma” has been met, with even left-wing outlets suggesting the show is anti-white, a charge which was considered a “racist dog-whistle” a few years before.

Perhaps more stunningly, the New York Times recently published an op-ed entitled “What Liberals can Learn from Ron DeSantis” suggesting that the Florida governor’s attacks on politicalized curriculum might have a point. The pivot by the Times is particularly notable. When its coverage of trans issues was condemned in an open letter by a collection of contributors and advocacy groups who questioned not its accuracy but its political impact, the Times not only refused to bend but shot back. “We do not welcome, and will not tolerate, participation by Times journalists in protests organized by advocacy groups or attacks on colleagues on social media and other public forums,” declared executive editor Joe Kahn. To ensure the point could not be missed, on the day following the release of the letter, the Op-Ed page featured an article entitled, “In Defense of J.K. Rowling.”

These seemingly isolated incidents reflect a broader pattern of liberals and left-wingers themselves turning against and even laughing at the positions and attitudes they promoted for years.

Watching these second thoughts, there is a strong temptation among conservatives to gloat, mocking these liberals and leftists who never considered that the excesses of wokism would turn against them. This reaction would be justified and understandable, as would scorning these late converts who have only seen the light when the darkness smacked them in the face. These arguments have been made on the right about Harry Potter’s J.K. Rowling who, though a committed liberal, has clashed with the trans movement and Labour’s far-left former leader Jeremy Corbyn. She is not a conservative, but has shown the fractures within the liberal establishment.

While understandable, gloating is a foolish approach for conservatives. To quote an old saying, “a conservative is a liberal mugged by reality.” To put that in a more realistic setting, imagine telling New York Democrat voters that they deserved high crime rates or to be mugged because of the candidates they voted for. That is only slightly less offensive than the left-wing suggestion that the crime they suffered is atonement for their privilege built on the backs of white supremacy and capitalist exploitation. Both suggestions are unproductive.

This is not to say that the connections should be ignored or denied. But the election results in New York this year, where Republican Lee Zeldin won 47%, and Republicans gained enough U.S. House seats in the state to win a majority nationally, demonstrated that many voters are aware of the causal relationship between their votes and public policy.

The key point is to avoid the moral charge that a person’s voting behavior or beliefs mean they deserved outcomes like violent crime. No one deserves to be a victim of crime, which is why conservatives oppose policies which promote crime. In a similar vein, no one deserves to be canceled for their beliefs, which is why conservatives oppose cancel culture.

One reason there is a tendency to relapse in schadenfreuden when ex-liberals become victims of their own policies is that the political stakes are often so low. While liberals have been being mugged by reality for decades, the number has generally been too low to swing the electoral tide. Misery loves company, and so does political impotence, so there is a strong temptation to respond to their realization with “join the club.”

Occasionally, something different happens and a critical mass has second thoughts sufficient to change the course of politics. America and Britain saw that in the 1970s. The excesses of the 1960s when it came to unrest in cities, protest movements, and attacks on all forms of authority and values provoked a backlash. While this backlash involved a genuinely socially conservative element, especially with an engaged evangelical community in the U.S., that was itself powered by converts. The Reagan and Thatcher Revolutions would not have been possible without discontented liberals who staffed those movements, right up to the candidates themselves, including the former Democrat Reagan.

Those conservative revolutions were also defined, like most politics in Western societies, by majority culture. The Reagan Revolution of the 1980s may have represented a restoration of American greatness and values, but it did not represent a reversal of the changes of the 1950s. It was led by people who recognized that there had been a reason why the 1960s had happened. It had not been a conspiracy by Communists or Marxists which had triggered the existence of a civil rights movement, or allowed women into the workplace, but actual injustices which ideological opportunists hijacked. The conservative movement of the 1970s-90s featured Thomas Sowell and Clarence Thomas, which would have been unthinkable in the 1950s.

If the 2020s are to represent a similar conservative revolution, then there needs to be a reckoning with what that should look like. It will involve keeping the changes to what didn’t work in 1992, while rejecting the excesses which allowed for the restoration. The degradation of social and gender norms has created a lost generation, where teenage boys feel isolated, and men feel they are not valued, and where an increasing number of Americans resent the role they are ascribed in racial grievance politics. This drives insularity, and a desperate search for identity or escape, whether in gender or ideology.

But at the same time, we do not want merely to restore the norms of the 1990s. The world has changed.

Conservatives are in a unique position in 2023. After decades of society silencing and dismissing social conservatism, suddenly large segments of the population are willing to concede that conservatives may have had a point about a few things. They are willing to listen. That provides a chance not just to win an election or two, but to forge a new national consensus which the Democrat Party will be forced to abide by while in office, because it will be unable to win office without doing so. Ronald Reagan won 49 states, and while Bill Clinton won, he was forced to accept the Reagan Revolution as legitimate in order to do so. That meant that even when he won, the changes Reagan instituted were not undone.

Changing culture cannot be done with one election or laws. It requires changing the center of gravity of both parties so that it does not matter which wins a specific election. Toward that end, social conservatives need to recognize that while these issues can be used to help Republicans win, and perhaps should be, there is a bigger prize at stake: the culture itself. And specifically, converting the Democrat Party. It will not change America if a Republican defeats a Democrat for state senate in Texas running on the banning of “Latinx.” It will change the country if Democrat legislators in a blue state like Connecticut call for the term to be banned.

Daniel Berman is a frequent commentator and lecturer on foreign policy and political affairs, both nationally and internationally. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics. He also writes as Daniel Roman.

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sdgorton
sdgorton
1 year ago

Wokeness is a tool of the devil “without HONOR America is nothing” which is exactly what this presidency wants and with control over the judiciary & the FBI they have declared that they are above the Law. Our only recourse then is to (as they are doing) enforce the laws of the land by FORCE!!!! All law-abiding citizens must STOP WORKING, bring the economy to a stand still and millions of us go and physically put Biden & more importantly his lackeys that prop him up, the heads of the FBI and judiciary into a concentration camp permanently and take back our Country based on the Constitution period!!!

Pastor Eric Hanson
Pastor Eric Hanson
1 year ago

Fine, well thought out writing. Important big picture insights.

mtice
mtice
1 year ago

A well presented article. We have been admonished to love our enemies. Better to welcome the converts than condemn their failures.

PaulE
PaulE
1 year ago

The left never surrenders, nor do they ever accept defeat. They just change strategies and tactics to try and accomplish their desired goals another way. Don’t mistake certain recent articles in the NY Times and the Washington Post as the left abandoning their stated objectives. They are just realizing that they have encountered an obstruction that can’t be overcome using the current tactics. So, they will devise an alternative strategy and come at America again by some other means and message.

There is no “winning” in the classical sense, since that implies the other side has either lost the will to fight for their socialist ideology (they have most certainly NOT) or they have had a complete change of beliefs (that is also NEVER going to occur). There should have been a concerted effort decades ago to purge this poisonous ideology from our country, when the threat was on a much smaller and confined scale than what we have allowed it to grow into today. However, there is no purpose in dwelling in the past on this, because that opportunity is long gone. We now have to live in the country as it is, not as how we would like it to be. That means being permanently on alert for when the left opens up new fronts on attacking American society from within and then pushing back hard.

Short of completely eliminating the threat by means other countries have employed, which I don’t think is a realistic approach that will ever be considered here in the United States, the reality is that this struggle will remain a permanent threat to our country.

Rik
Rik
1 year ago

A phony victory, Conservatives will NEVER WIN the Culture War! . . . You can’t win what you don’t understand! . . . The “young” will finally learn when they’ve experienced life. You mature by living and learning from your experiences! It’s the dumb who never seem to learn so they repeat some of those same experiences over and over again! Oh well, that’s life and one has to just experience lessons and mainly learn from them!

CoNMTX
CoNMTX
1 year ago

Baloney. The conservatives will never win again. We may win a battle here and there but we will lose the war. That is, until Christ comes and straightens things out. The leftist Globalists are 100% backed and led by Satan and will not give up their goal of a one-world government by 2030. If we win a battle occasionally, the globalists will only fight harder and cheat and lie more strenuously. They will stop at nothing to achieve their goals since they have no scruples or conscience.

Ed
Ed
1 year ago

AMEN!! BRING THEM IN, LOVE THEM, FEED THEM FULL OF TRUTH (GOD’S TRUTH), BUT KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON THEM! THEY COULD BE WOLF IN SHEEP CLOTHING!

John A Bird
John A Bird
1 year ago

What patriotic Americans can do to resist the destruction of our constitutional republic.

First, recognize that the United States is not a functioning constitutional republic, but a government being deliberately transformed into a one-party totalitarian state.

The federal government, as an institution, is hopelessly corrupt and, although we have elections, we do not have a representative government. It cannot be reformed. It can only be ripped out and replaced.

Do not expect any top-down solutions for America’s problems to miraculously emerge from Washington D.C. The U.S. government has seceded from the people. Most members of Congress act more like foreign occupiers than executors of the views and needs of their constituents.

Angelo Codevilla noted that the United States already has a bona fide ruling class, which transcends government, a political aristocracy that sees itself as distinct from the rest of society and as the only element that may act on its behalf. The ruling class considers those who resist it as having no moral or intellectual right, and, now, any civil right as well.Republican Party leaders neither contest that view nor vilify their Democrat counterparts becausethey do not want to challenge the ruling class, they want to be part of it.

The Republican leadership has solidified its choice to no longer represent what had been its constituency, but to adopt the identity of junior partners in the ruling class. By repeatedly passing bills that contradict the views of its voters, the Republican Party has made political orphans of tens of millions of Americans.

The only remaining course of action for patriotic American, who want to restore our constitutional republic, is a bottom-up political insurgency based on the Constitution and the Founding documents.

Foremost among them are the Second and Tenth Amendments.

The Second Amendment, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,” is now the only obstacle standing between freedom and the absolute tyranny the federal government now wishes to impose.

Buy firearms and lots of ammunition.

Identify constitutional sheriffs or law enforcement officers in your community and coordinate with them to form a “well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State.” That is, a militia capable of being deputized to fight against, not just criminality, but incursions by a tyrannical government.

Above all others, preserving the Second Amendment is the hill to die on.

The Second Amendment is not just the basis for the right of self-defense, but it is also the defense against tyranny and the guarantor of all other rights as the Founding Fathers recognized.

“The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”

– Thomas Jefferson, Commonplace Book (quoting 18th-century criminologist Cesare Beccaria), 1774-1776

“To disarm the people…[i]s the most effective way to enslave them.”

– George Mason, referencing advice given to the British Parliament by Pennsylvania governor Sir William Keith, The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, June 14, 1788.

The Tenth Amendment states:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Refuse to comply with and actively resist unlawful and unconstitutional edicts from the federal government.

Remove and replace any local official acting contrary to the interests of the people. Take control of the local government, prosecutors, and school boards. Coordinate your activities with other similarly-acting communities in your region. Create Democrat Party- and Establishment Republican-free zones.

Give Democrats a taste of their own medicine. As much as local law will permit, arrest and prosecute or organize civil lawsuits against individuals or organizations engaged in the destruction of our constitutional republic.

Identify by name, address and photograph all illegal aliens in your community, which will facilitate their later deportation. Challenge all local employers who hire illegal aliens and any non-governmental organization facilitating the transport or support of illegal aliens in your community. Launch lawsuits when appropriate.

Strictly enforce Equal Opportunity. Expose and eliminate programs promoting grooming and sexualization of children, Critical Race Theory, and all similar forms of anti-American indoctrination.

Immediately, state out loud and often that Joe Biden is not a legitimate President of the United States, but a usurper, who was installed in office through an election stolen by organized voter fraud.Until the November 3, 2020 election is satisfactorily addressed, there can be no election integrity and the United States will remain a banana, not a constitutional republic.

Admittedly, my list of actions by patriotic Americans to restore our constitutional republic is not exhaustive. Add your own ideas in the comments section.

In any case, the time for action is now. The collective effect of even the smallest acts of non-compliance can have an impact.

Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired U.S. Army Reserve colonel and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq. He had a civilian career in international business and medical research. Dr. Sellin is the author of Restoring the Republic: Arguments for a Second American Revolution.

joe mchugh
joe mchugh
1 year ago

The author of this article calls for understanding that there is a culture change occurring, but not to
celebrate it as being long overdue. “Don’t gloat”, because that might put off some of the moderates.
What about the reverse when wokism was all the rage, and the liberals not only reveled in their culture but they condemned any who objected to it.

As a conservative, I will not hide my satisfaction that wokism is now being questioned by some liberal organizations such as the New York Times. Instead I will confront the liberals with these embarrassing situations and watch them squirm.
When your political opponent stumbles, push him to further destabilize him. When your enemy is down step on his neck, (figuratively speaking of course).

if this behavior upsets the moderates, maybe they will engage in a bit of circumspection and finally consider the benefits of conservatism verses Marxism. One cannot compromise his or her inherent rights in order to accept the false promises of socialism. A little socialism is akin to a little cyanide, both are toxic to life.

Myrna Wade
Myrna Wade
1 year ago

That much of the heart of “wokeness” is no good for either political party or any of us is OBVIOUS.
This piece points out that this is an issue that will eventually bring agreement and bring us together.
I hope so.

Philip Hammersley
Philip Hammersley
1 year ago

I don’t know how to achieve it, but the NEA and AFT need to be put out of business. They don’t give a **** about kids; they only want to push the Marxist agenda! It’s not ALL teachers that are bad; just the ones in the thrall of the unions!

Lieutenant Beale
Lieutenant Beale
1 year ago

To put it in the vernacular, the short response is:
”We ain’t winning jack squat”
(See PaulE’s much more articulate & eloquent response below)

Ann S
Ann S
1 year ago

I question the motives of the New York Times. Why would we gloat if finely the liberal dems awake. It takes more than a few op-ed pieces to see a real change.
Till they start treating all people the same and not being political I don’t believe any of it.
They are seeing those not going along with Brandon’s destruction of American culture as an enemy.
This is nothing more as an appeasement. Don’t fall for it.
It’s all part of a plan. History repeating itself. Remember Chamberlain saying after a meeting with Hitler, peace in our time, and a month later Hitler invaded Poland.

anna hubert
anna hubert
1 year ago

This is a fight between some semblance of law and order and decency and total ruthlessness and savagery

DenvilleSr
DenvilleSr
1 year ago

Until or unless we get rid of public education indoctrination, we cannot win this war. Young people are taught that getting rid of drilling and refining will save the environment. Well it might be true if there were viable alternatives. Electric cars powered by batteries using rare mineral elements mined by African children is not a great solution. Using solar panels produced by Chinese companies linked to the CCP is not a great solution. We have no plan to enhance the electric grid to power up all these EVs. Building wind powered turbines in the ocean is now believed to be killing whales. I remember years ago when we needed to save the whales and wore T-shirts with that message. We have a Supreme Court Justice who can’t define what a woman is. Most of us learned about X & Y chromosomes in high school, but now we are told the difference between men and women can’t be defined by physical characteristics or genetic reality. Our political leaders are selected because they fit on some check list: They are women, people of color, they are homosexuals, they are binary, they are trans women or men. Competence is not on the check list.

Once we create a generation of people educated with fake facts and endowed with the glories of bogus rationales, it is difficult to expect them to suddenly wake up to reality.

mary
mary
1 year ago

Good article. But what about our Colorado Governor Polis who wants to be President is saying very smoothly -we need to control crime. yes, of course. But he got us in this mess. dont we need to hold these people accountable before they persuade the national population that they are the good guy?

1971Titan
1971Titan
1 year ago

Beware of Trojan horses. You can tell the character of a politician not by what they say, but by what they do!

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
1 year ago

Sometimes I find it difficult to follow the rational of posted articles. Some indicate that the problem is Democrats, some indicate that the problem is liberals, some say it’s the left. Might I interject another possible reason? We have witnessed 3 generations of American children, who have suffered “growing up” rather than being raised. There is a very big difference. Growing up has involved mom and dad working to keep up with inflation while kids are getting their values from Tik Tok, day care, computer games, etc. Raising a family involves being present to teach your children the value of a dollar by learning how to work for that PC game. Earn an allowance by keeping your room clean. Extra cash for bringing home an A. Or heaven forbid that you would dare to introduce your child to Jesus Christ. If parents aren’t present in a child’s life, then school can teach them anything they want and that has resulted in many of the adults we see today.

Rob citizenship
Rob citizenship
1 year ago

Very good, important article Daniel Berman , encouraging too. I believe that the next to the last paragraph puts the matter in perspective , how Bill Clinton needed to accept the reality of the accomplishments made by President Ronald Reagan, and what was planted during the Reagan administration took root and grew to be something significant . So , that being a fact what Conservatives at this time should do is to build on the ideas that strengthen the spirit of the American ideals that are respected , because those ideals are right and honorable . Victory for those of us who believe in the spirit of what the Declaration of Independence was all about, those of us who recognize that the Constitution is a source of great strength and that there is responsibility to defend all that is good when under attack by evil . Courage, and respect for the will of God, being resourceful and thinking in a highly intelligent way will make it possible to prevail . In the spirit of respect for truth, courage, Liberty.

Casey C Matt
Casey C Matt
1 year ago

When, and they wont, the Republicans ban together and call for an end to “nation building wars”, then and only then will I believe there even are two distinct political parties. I honestly believe there is one party and it is run by giant corporations that always massively profit from war and then from funds provided to supposedly clean up after said wars.
The United States has allowed itself to be the biggest slave of these corporations and both party members get kick backs from the corporations to maintain their fealty to the corporate ideal…..meaning profit by any and all means.

Jimmy
Jimmy
1 year ago

Never should have let them get as far as they did!

NewDay
NewDay
1 year ago

We need more people to wake up. These woke ideas are destroying lives and livelyhoods. Lots of people rapidly accept change with the assumption that change is good. However many are seeing how things have gone way too far wihtout any positive results, in fact the results have been down right terrifying. Men competing in womens sports, men using womens restrooms and locker rooms, the history of our country being erased, children being coereced into changing their sexual identity, economic turmoil, mob violence that is not addressed, the demoralization of law enforcement and military, suppression of parental involvement in their childrens education, and a lack of freedom in choosing things like housing or automobiles or stoves, or even plastic bags or straws. Change can be good but we should know it when we see it.

David Millikan
David Millikan
1 year ago

Excellent article.
“If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed.”
-THOMAS JEFFERSON
“TRUTH WILL ULTIMATELY PREVAIL WHERE PAINS IS [sic] TAKEN TO BRING IT TO LIGHT.”
-GEORGE WASHINGTON

Neal M Christensen
Neal M Christensen
1 year ago

Moderate liberal seems like an oxymoron to me.

JD
JD
1 year ago

Great article and articulated very well.

Jeff Savlov
Jeff Savlov
1 year ago

This s a concise article and explains what must be done to bring our country back from the brink, but we must not forget that some of the problems that we face today have been fed by those who call themselves Conservatives but in actual fact are survivalists. Those politicians who are more interested in retaining their seats in congress like Mitch McConnell who is not a true Conservative Republican but an individual who is bound to he status quo, a single party government acting under two party names. This is why term limits and cutbacks in congressional incomes and pensions must be shoved firmly down their throats.

Robert Laford
Robert Laford
1 year ago

Lord help us!

Michael Carpenter
Michael Carpenter
1 year ago

Sadly, given the Republicans just reinstalled the same….’leadership'(?) that brought us the debacle that was the ’22’ Mid-Terms, it seems they are still faithful to their longstanding Hallmark of snatching defeat from the very jaws of certain victory!
If DeSantis should enter the race, while Trump is still a candidate, I will be certain of it.

James Aronson
James Aronson
1 year ago

If there is progress on the cultural war by conservatives, my fear is it is too little too late.

tempus
tempus
1 year ago

The cultural war is won when racial preservation becomes the guiding principle instead of today’s guiding principles of racial nihilism of whites and racial supremacy of nonwhites.

Steven Manning
Steven Manning
1 year ago

Wokeness good is revealed as weakness liberalism is not liberal at all but instead result in lost freedom and enslavement to bad ideas propagated by bad actors race baiters propagandists, socialists and globalists bent on expanding control over everything with evil intentions. Now we can see the tragic consequences we will naturally reject the madness or continue suffering the consequences!

Dr. Trent Saxton
Dr. Trent Saxton
1 year ago

Excellent article

mondoc
mondoc
1 year ago

Gawd, this site is terrible.

GTPatriot
GTPatriot
1 year ago

My current bumper states “Fully Awake but Not Woke”.
I love what conservatives are doing to the “woke” word ( ie Desantis)
I want to beat it to death. Soon, however, the libs will come out
with another term to describe their followers. And we must beat that one to
death also.

GTPatriot
GTPatriot
1 year ago

What has wokeness done for blacks. Nothing. Just like every other liberal attempt to
support minorities. The left pretends to protect minorities and has done nothing for them
other than waste trillions of taxpayer dollars. The best thing for minorities is to get rid of
the left and tell them to kiss off. The problem is that minorities don’t have any committment to help
themselves. They only hope for others to take care of them. That attitiude will accomplish
nothing ever. Until they get off their butts, I certainly don’t care what what happens to them.

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