Boiling in the Culture Wars pot
22 June 2022
In recent decades, the West – like the proverbial frog – has been blasé toward the rising temperature of the cultural waters.
Short-handed by the neologism ‘Woke’, the central idea that immutable characteristics like skin pigmentation should define character and control thought has minted a new social hierarchy. Woke culture stands contrary to Dr Martin Luther King Jr. with its rigid adherence to victimhood, yet is found thriving in preeminent universities, politics, major corporations, medicine, entertainment, and even sports.
This pathetic identitarianism has been allowed to hijack institutions, one after another, because it has become profitable. Its acceleration into every facet of life was ratcheted up by both the Covid pandemic and Marxist race riots. Were burning streets and ruined historic items enough to jolt the average person out of their insouciance? Encouraging signs are appearing in America (despite being the source of most of these bad ideas).
In the media, CNN has gotten itself a new CEO after the ignominious resignation of Jeff Zucker. In light of its tumbling ratings, the new CEO has made reevaluating partisan talents and programs his first priority. That almost sounds like merit creeping into the room…
The equally left-leaning Washington Post, owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos, recently suffered the embarrassment of having one of its reporters, Felicia Sonmez, publicly criticise her colleagues and the institution because another reporter, David Weigel, retweeted a mildly sexist joke. Not satisfied with Weigel’s apology and suspension, Sonmez continued her public and relentless attack on her employer and colleagues. Despite the strength of #Metoo and her victim category of ‘womanhood’, Sonmez was fired.
The specious ‘believe all women’ narrative took another hit with Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit win over Amber Heard. In addition to underlining that men can be the victims in relationships and that women lie, it may also make Hollywood pause before cancelling people based on allegations alone.
In the realm of politics, the election win for the Republican Glenn Youngkin in Virginian, a usually heavily Democratic state, was largely a referendum on the public school system. Parents who protested against Critical Race Theory being taught to their kids were treated as potential domestic terrorists by the Democratic Attorney General Merrick Garland at the behest of the National School Board Association. They offered their reply at the ballot box.
In extremely liberal San Francisco, District Attorney Chesa Boudin was recalled in a decisive fashion. His ultra-progressive policies, including reducing the prison population by 50 per cent during the height of the pandemic, has seen crime in San Francisco skyrocket.
California’s progressive Governor Gavin Newsom survived a recall election in 2021, but will face the November election with a track record of losing Californians to other states for two years in a row. It will be the first time in the state’s history that its population has shrunk with many of those who left, including podcaster Joe Rogan, moving to red states like Texas and Florida, forcing California to prohibit state employees from moving to 17 red states. Businesses, likewise have been leaving. Apple moved its headquarters to Austin, Texas, as did Elon Musk’s Tesla.
One interesting challenger for the Governorship is Michael Shellenberger, a disillusioned former Democrat running as an independent. He may be representing a large sector of the centre-left in America who find themselves marooned by the radicalisation of their party. He has clear and well-thought-out ideas about tackling widespread drug-fuelled homeless encampments and the energy crisis – two major issues plaguing California.
The shift in politics is also apparent in the recent win by Mayra Flores, a Mexican immigrant who is the first Republican elected to a Rio Grande Valley congressional seat in over a century. Indeed, Biden’s approval rating among Hispanics is only 24 per cent, according to a recent Quinnipiac Poll. An Emerson poll in 2021 saw that Biden approval among Black voters dropped from 72 per cent in February to 52 per cent in November.
Notwithstanding the traditional support from minority groups enjoyed by the Democratic Party, it seems apparent that radical policies, such as the growing southern border crisis that affects many predominantly Hispanic communities, and anti-police policies that damage largely minority inner-city residents, have turned them away. This is before we get to Biden’s record inflation and gas prices.
These represent some small but significant signs of pushback. The American mid-term elections later this year are expected to bring the House and the Senate back to Republican hands. While the Republican Party is not without its problems, compared to the radicalism of the Democrats, it is, to borrow Shakespeare’s phrase, Hyperion to a satyr.
The important lesson is this that vigilance at all times is the price society must pay for not only liberty, but even common sense. It is somewhat lucky that the Woke have shown their hand to be awash with false self-assurance and extremist policies. There may still be time to hop safely out of the bubbling pot.