For many of us who operate in the intellectual and philosophical realms of the conservative movement, it can be easy to fall into the trap of spending so much time defending the conservative tradition that we forget about the real issues facing America. Those issues primarily come from the progressive left, and we ought not to forget it.
Indeed, we have considerable issues on the American right. My colleagues and I who are engaged in the conservative movement spend countless hours pushing back against the anti-constitutionalists, also known as the NatCons, and the anti-American exceptionalists, also known as the post-liberals and integralists. All of whom despise the principles of the American Founding and indoctrinate college-aged aspiring conservatives and those in the gullible grassroots of the populist right into their misguided, revisionist views of “conservatism.”
It is a noble effort to save our side. However, if one spends so much time “punching right,” one can give ground to the progressive left and the woke ideology it has adopted.
Since terms do matter, let me briefly define what I mean by woke. Woke is an ideology found within the progressive left that promotes an illiberal view of the world. Among other things, its disciples seek to erode free speech, break apart traditional and institutional norms to unrecognizable degrees, use state power to promote its vision, and adopts a temperament that is revolutionary and, at times, anarchical. Its modus operandi is to identify itself against normalcy and to constantly seek or fabricate new battlegrounds to remain contrarian.
In reality, most reasonable minds who are politically aware know what one means when one says “woke.” We can reasonably infer the difference between a man of the left in a classical sense and a progressive woke leftist. Pretending otherwise is mere linguistic theater (some may say gaslighting) to bog down debate and distract from very real points.
Progressivism and woke ideology are largely fused today. This brand of “liberalism” is unrecognizable to the actual tradition, of which both political liberals and political conservatives in America belong. Most mainstream Democrats have formed an unhealthy alignment with them, much like many Republicans have with the populists on our side.
While reactionaries exist on both sides of the aisle, the progressive left is our primary battlefront in the political and cultural sphere. We are up against a movement that does not settle for equality under the law, but rather forcefully demands a rejection of true equality in the name of social justice equity; it is a movement that demands a rejection of basic human biology; it is a movement which views the American Founding as inherently rotten and thus willing to throw out the Constitution; it is an ideology that rejects the value and merits of the individual in favor of an elevated primacy of immutable characteristics to divide society into a new social caste system and economic collectivism; it is an ideology that views children not only as pawns of their movement but as property of the state, rather than as members of a nuclear family; it seeks to break down the fabric of our political and cultural institutions and socially engineer a coerced “woke virtue.”
All of this stands in opposition to the classical liberalism of the Founding and to the political order of the Constitution, which should be the primary bulwarks American conservatives seek to conserve. Likewise, it is a non-prudential and revolutionary method of progress often seeking extreme ends. While this should yield obvious pushback from political conservatives, I submit that political liberals should likewise stand in opposition to this progressive woke movement.
A coalition, left and right, must be formed if we are to defeat the illiberal anti-Americanisms from the left attempting to radically alter our nation and society. Pretending that one side can fully do it alone is folly. Bipartisanship is actually good, and what better reason to form an alliance than to save the political order of the nation and protect the normalcies of a healthy liberal democracy in our society?
Most conservative readers of this piece will no doubt recognize the similarities between the progressive left and the populist right. Horseshoe theory is becoming a reality. However, while we should in no way downplay the issues of our side, we cannot forget about the left. The world of politics exists outside of the ivory towers of think-tank row and outside of Twitter. We cannot solely have an intellectual movement on the right. We must also have political victories.
The on-the-ground issues for America today are real. Those issues are coming from an increasingly woke progressive left. The right’s political agenda should be focused on stopping it.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.