Of late, it has often seemed as though rioting militants and statue destroyers have been given the green light by blue state and big city governors, mayors, prosecutors and (shell-shocked) police chiefs to terrorize ordinary Americans, to deface and destroy public property, and to extort public officials into making further concessions to left-wing ideologues.
Recently, though, the Empire struck back. Attorney General Bill Barr announced that 150 extremists were arrested for their roles in the recent unrest. Meanwhile, more than 500 investigations are ongoing that will inevitably produce an even broader crackdown.
Finally, Antifa and other similarly violent and radical organizations are being treated as the font of domestic terrorism that they are.
The problem, however, is that, even if the Trump administration succeeds in stifling the “armed wing” of the Democratic Party — for now — and thus restores order and calm to our streets, left-wing radicals will remain in a dominant position in most of our key institutions. Moreover, the Marxist firebrands who hold sway over many of our corporations, over every level of U.S. education, over our popular culture, over social media, and over the news media, are increasingly taking the gloves off as they sense an opportunity to expunge conservatives and patriots from the public sphere, and even from private sector employment, once and for all.
Progressives have long possessed a louder, more robust voice than conservatives in debates over public policy and social-cultural values. If the proponents of “cancel culture” have their way, however, the now-timid voices of the right might be silenced for good.
Consider the recent firing of a vice president at Michigan State University. His offense? Sharing on his blog an objective, scientific study that found no evidence of a racial disparity in the incidence of police shootings.
The administrator in question is not, in fact, a conservative. He is, more accurately, a liberal who accepts most of the “diversity and inclusion” dogmas of the dominant crypto-Marxist culture of academia.
He failed, however, to understand that, in the fraught context of the George Floyd era, there is only one perspective on police brutality and racism that is welcome among progressives. The propagation of any other narrative, even if it is backed by unimpeachable data, is inadmissible.
As the fired administrator commented, the consequences for “academic freedom and freedom of inquiry” will be dire. In effect, there is now a litmus test for all academic and scientific research: does it advance “the cause” — that is, the agenda of the left? If not, it serves no purpose, at best, and it embodies “white supremacy” at worst.
Speaking of “whiteness,” the City of Seattle recently subjected its white employees to a bizarre form of training designed to help them “examine [their] complicity in the system of white supremacy.” City workers were encouraged to “[undo] your own whiteness” and to accept that social justice requires them to give up “physical safety,” “expectations or presumptions of emotional safety,” “the certainty of your job,” and “control over other people and over the land.” They were further reminded that even seemingly innocuous concepts such as “individualism,” “silence,” “intellectualization,” “comfort” and “objectivity” are pillars of white domination.
Journalist Christopher Rufo, who exposed Seattle's misguided attempt at the racial deprogramming of its white employees, says it best: “... this is exactly the kind of thought-policing they want to implement everywhere ... The new cultural revolution is being fought via corporate HR, city diversity training, and public school curriculums. When you find something like this in your community, expose it, criticize it, mock it, and reject it.”
In Seattle's case, there has been public pushback to the shaming of whites, but in all too many companies and institutions a training session like this would be just another day at the office.
Remember, academics and public employees have far more protection from coercive employers, and from outright dismissal, than do most American workers. If even they feel intimidated in the present climate, therefore, what chance do the rest of us have of preserving our right to free speech and our freedom of conscience?
Conservatives had better wake up soon. They need, in the words of Rufo, to “expose” and “reject” the left's reverse racism and thought control while they still can.
Otherwise, in the near future, the leftists won't need to riot in order to exert control over the American people. They will simply tell us to jump through whatever “anti-racist” hoops they choose, and, if we know what's good for us, we'll ask meekly, “How high?”
Nicholas L. Waddy is an associate professor of History at SUNY Alfred. His essay was originally published by American Greatness.