Home/Rod Dreher/The Battle Of Virginia In The Wokeness War

The Battle Of Virginia In The Wokeness War

I spent the weekend in the Sacramento area, leading a retreat about The Benedict Option and Live Not By Lies. I heard lots of stories from people talking about what wokeness has done to their workplaces, their universities, their kids’ schools, and so forth. As crazy as you think it is, there is always something even more insane. Several people mentioned to me that they wouldn’t risk going into San Francisco anymore. Too dangerous, with “smash and grab” robberies overwhelming the city, and an idiotic progressive DA allowing criminals to overrun the place. One person at the event told me that her kid’s elementary school held a formal ceremony marking the transition of a female child, now called “Charlie” — and no parents had been warned or consulted. An active-duty military person told me that wokeness forced on everyone by the all-woke officer corps is destroying the military. “It’s not the same force it was even two years ago,” the person said.

On that point, I related the quote to two friends I know who are — how to put this? — close to the military. Both emphatically agreed. One of them, someone with a lot of experience, said that it is a scandal that none of the military brass are being held to account by Congress for losing Afghanistan. His view is that commanders are going all-out for wokeness because they are looking forward to going to work for woke defense contractors and other Woke Capitalists. In California, my military interlocutor bitterly complained that the senior officer class doesn’t care about winning wars, only beating down the enlisted ranks with wokeness. Another source told me that his family is filled with men who served in the armed forces across the generations, but now none of them want their kids going anywhere near the military as it is today.

It was that kind of weekend. There were some Silicon Valley folks there, who assured me that everything I said in Live Not By Lies about surveillance capabilities was true, but outdated. One man said, “Basically, you should assume that privacy anywhere is impossible.” Another techie listening in nodded his head. I said to him, “You’re not surprised by that?”

“Nope,” he said. He went on to say that he is deeply closeted as a Christian in his major Silicon Valley firm (a name you would certainly know), and that one of the most important things to understand about the tech industry is that it is an ideological monoculture. “They all think alike, and they are all totally, 100 percent certain that the way they see the world is correct, and that everybody should agree with them,” he said, adding that they are willing to coerce people into living virtuously (by their standards).

On and on like this it went. Yet it was an encouraging event, because it’s so good to be around people who understand how insane the world has gone. You know that you’re not crazy, that other people — good people, normal people — see it too. But boy, what a corrupt country we have become. Decline is inevitable. We talked a bit about how in the USSR, one was not able to tell the truth about things out of fear. Consequently, things quit working. It’s going to happen here too.

I keep wondering when the backlash is going to come, and hoping that it will. Maybe it will start on Tuesday, in the Virginia governor’s race. Virginia is a blue state, but if Republican Glenn Youngkin beats Terry McAuliffe, it will be because normies — including liberal voters — are sick and tired of the woke crap that the Democrats and their allies keep forcing on people. Look at this:

How clear does it have to be to you? What needs to happen to make you see how the woke totalitarians are busy destroying this country, and turning its people against each other?

It is getting more and more absurd. Look at this insanity from the pampered puss Colin Kaepernick, who really believes that NFL training camps is the equivalent of slavery. Watch this clip:

And here is the nitwit chief woke commissar Ibram X. Kendi, who is not smart enough to realize that here he denies that systemic racism is a thing:

This ought to discredit him permanently, but of course it won’t. As Arendt said in The Origins of Totalitarianism, facts don’t matter to a pre-totalitarian polity.

Every institution the woke control, they poison — and they lie about it. Look:

It is impossible to overstate how significant it is that the woke totalitarians control institutions. Take a look at this new document from the American Medical Association, advising doctors and health care personnel on how to speak. Excerpt:

Do you see what’s happening here? They are jamming up plain language with ideological concepts. They are trying to make clear thinking impossible. This is not the Gender Studies department at NYU. This is the American Medical Association! One of the most fundamental concepts to grasp with totalitarianism is that the control of language is vital to the achievement and maintenance of power. The woke totalitarians keep going from strength to strength because having achieved the high ground of institutional authority, they make everyone else fear for their livelihood if they speak out.

The problem is, if we don’t speak out, we will lose our freedom, and we will deserve to. I am hoping that a Youngkin victory tomorrow will be the start of backlash. It won’t be nearly enough, but it would be a sign of hope. If McAuliffe loses a blue state like Virginia, it will be over education, and over parents — including liberal parents — getting sick and tired of the lies, the race-hatred, the manipulation, and the abuse of institutional power to propagandize and indoctrinate the next generation. It will show the way for Republicans to run in 2022 against wokeness.

But — and this is a big “but” — it will do no good if conservatives are given political power by voters and fail to use it to dismantle soft totalitarianism. The Right needs to use the power of government — the only institution we might control — to fight back, and fight back hard. Rhetoric is not enough. Look around you: our military is in decline because of ideologization; our universities have been captured by bigots and fanatics; Big Business is taking advantage of the liberties that our capitalist nation grants them to politicize the culture and institutionalize racism and mediocrity within corporate culture — and so on. We can no longer simply denounce this stuff. We are in a fight for the soul of our nation. To have been with the crowds out in northern California, and to have heard testimonies from flesh-and-blood people about the things they are seeing with their own eyes, and suffering — it all becomes very real then. It’s not just something you read about on the Internet.

Let’s hope and pray that tomorrow’s vote in Virginia will be the beginning of the turning point in this war. We don’t have forever, you know. I’m at the National Conservatism conference in Orlando now, and will be giving a talk in the morning about what American conservatives can learn from Viktor Orban in Hungary. I’ll post that talk here tomorrow after I deliver it.


about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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