Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

The Generation That Hates George Washington

If you aren't willing to fight the culture war, your culture will be taken from you
Screen Shot 2022-05-11 at 11.04.19 AM

Today the Washington Post publishes this essay by George Washington University senior Caleb Francois, who seems to hate his university as a cesspit of vice. Excerpts:

These problems are rooted in systemic racism, institutional inequality and white supremacy. There are at least four ways the university could achieve progress: Decolonized university curriculum, increased Black enrollment, the renaming of the university and the selection of an African American President.

Yes, young Caleb, that would fix everything. But wait, what’s this about renaming the university?

But it’s not just the university’s name that’s a problem. Just blocks from the main campus is the Mount Vernon Campus, named for George Washington’s former slave plantation. Every day, hundreds of Black students walk on a campus named after an enslaver of men and study at a site named after dark parts of history. Such sites, among other locations and buildings, are touted as glorified mementos here at GW. The indignity and injustice of such sites remain overlooked. The racist visions of James MadisonWinston Churchill and others are glorified through building names, programs, statues and libraries that honor their memory.

The controversial Winston Churchill Library must go. The university’s contentious colonial moniker must go. Even the university’s name, mascot and motto — “Hail Thee George Washington”— must be replaced. The hypocrisy of GW in not addressing these issues is an example of how Black voices and Black grievances go ignored and highlights the importance of strong Black leadership.

This privileged twerp — where do you even start? Remember how we were all told that it was just the Confederate statues they were after, not the Founding Fathers, for heaven’s sake? It will never happen, and when it does, you bigots will deserve it. Wakanda forever!

My challenge to you is to find a single prominent liberal commentator who forthrightly denounces this repugnant crap. They can’t do it, even if they think it, because they are terrified of the radicals in their midst.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Washington Post today, a reporter observes Republicans preparing to pounce. Excerpts:

Republicans believe they’ve found an edge in the culture wars.

On the campaign trail, they’re railing against critical race theory and gender identity discussions in schools. In state legislatures and via executive fiat, they are trying to limit medical procedures for transgender children and punishing large companies they view as overly politically correct. They’ve found success by weaponizing the left’s “defund the police” movement, which advocates for reallocating resources to limit police power.

And they’re already accusing President Biden of catering to college-educated elites as he considers forgiving student loan debt.

In primary races ahead of November’s midterm elections, Republican candidates are embracing contentious battles over gender, sexual orientation and race rather than sticking to tried-and-true attacks on inflation or Biden’s low approval ratings.

I mean … how dare they?! Liberals love to blame conservatives for fighting the culture war, which usually means resisting whatever radical aggression the liberals have tried next. More from the story:

Some Democrats, meanwhile, are explicitly backing away from those battles.

“You want culture wars? I’m not your guy,” Rep. Tim Ryan said in a video released just before he won Ohio’s Democratic primary for U.S. Senate — a video in which he also denounced the idea of defunding the police. “You want a fighter for Ohio? I’m all in.”

J.D. Vance, the Republican who will face Ryan in November, offered a heavy dose of culturally fueled grievance during his victory speech last week. Minutes after capturing the GOP nomination, he complained that the Democratic Party “bends the knee to major American corporations and their ‘woke’ values,” and he predicted that Ohioans feel alienated by the left.

In a brief interview while he was campaigning in West Chester Township, Ohio, Vance offered a critique of the identity politics he said Democratic politicians are embracing. The emphasis on race, gender and sexual orientation by the left is a distraction, dividing voters who should be united against powerful interests intent on preventing prosperity in the lower classes, Vance said.

“Very often what is framed as diversity, equity and inclusion is actually an excuse to make the American people poor,” Vance told The Washington Post. He noted that Democrats celebrate Janet L. Yellen as the first female treasury secretary, rather than debating whether her ideas have led to inflation.

Damn straight. J.D. Vance understands that often, culture war is class war. Tim Ryan is not going to fight the culture wars because he knows his party holds contemptible, losing positions. One more quote:

Overall, Fratto described a dynamic that many Democratic lawmakers have noted privately: that ideological purity tests on issues such as trans rights in schools or other LGBTQ rights have not left room for argument.

“The problem with a lot of these issues is, if you don’t adhere to the views of the ideological poles, then you’re not pure enough, and so you’re going to be in disfavor,” Fratto said. “So there’s a sense that you need to go further to the point where you find yourself where the middle of America looks at you, frankly, like you’re weird.”

Read it all. 

I remind you that the political scientist Eric Kaufmann earlier this year warned that conservatives had better make fighting the culture war their most important priority. He says that most people over age 30 favor what he idiosyncratically describes as “cultural liberalism” — meaning tolerance for liberty and diversity. But those under 30 favor what he calls “cultural socialism” — no tolerance at all for anything opposed to wokeness.

Caleb Francois is our future, unless we fight back. No Democrat at the national level has the guts to say a word of criticism of him and his ideological confreres. In all of our normative institutions, the leaders grovel in front of the Caleb Francoises. Find politicians prepared to push back hard against these radicals, and not just rhetorically, and they will win power. When they win power, they’d better use it, too.