Parts of the movement started by widespread revulsion at the murder of George Floyd have metastasized into a power grab by hard leftists.
Their aim goes beyond dismantling the police—likely to have an early sell-by date—but targets the suppression of such tenets of liberalism as speech and property rights.
Conservatives who want to conserve the republic as it is need to gird up for this battle.
For a brief, ephemeral moment, the country came together in condemnation of Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis. But a crisis is a terrible thing to waste, so those who want to change America root and branch, because they see it as an experiment not worth preserving, sensed an opportunity for their agenda.
Have no illusion: They are seizing the moment.
“These protesters have begun to create a new movement—one that aims to rework society,” wrote Sean Collins in Vox on June 4. The protests are a reminder, he went on, that “there is something very wrong with American society, all of it, everywhere, and that people across the nation want something new.”
You should believe people when they are this direct.
Yes, years of being told by their teachers and professors that America was a hideous creature, an indoctrination that kicked into high gear with the pseudo-historian Howard Zinn and followed by his many copycats, including the current 1619 curriculum by The New York Times, has not stayed behind ivied walls or state campuses.
They were never meant to. The leftist ideologues indoctrinated youth because they knew they would get compliant adults. Think Napoleon’s kidnapping the puppies at the start of “Animal Farm” and then, unexpectedly later on in the book, unleashing them on Snowy once they were grown up.
George Orwell, the author of “Animal Farm,” also wrote “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” in which he said: “The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect.”
Orwell was warning us of this totalitarian attempt to control the meaning of words. But 1960s radical organizer Saul Alinsky embraced this tactic. To win the cultural battles, you must take control of the language. That is why we should not be surprised that the first victories of the new power grab have come in newsrooms.
Two editors at large city newspapers, The New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer, have been fired. In the case of the first, it was because he ran an op-ed by a sitting U.S. senator, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, advocating a view endorsed by almost 60% of Americans. In the case of the second, the editor ran a headline that read, “Buildings Matter, Too.”
These firings, mind you, came at the instigation of the news-side staff, who told editors and owners cowed by the riots that such views no longer were permitted in the new America.
Katie Kingsbury, the new acting op-ed editor at the Times, told staff: “Anyone who sees any piece of Opinion journalism, headlines, social posts, photos—you name it—that gives you the slightest pause, please call or text me immediately.”
Writing in the opinion pages of The Wall Street Journal, a paper where the news side still isn’t allowed to dictate terms of surrender to the editorial side, Dan Henninger says:
It is impossible not to recognize the irony of these events. The silencers aren’t campus protesters but professional journalists, a class of American workers who for nearly 250 years have had a constitutionally protected and court-enforced ability to say just about anything they want.
This renunciation of journalistic objectivity has been openly embraced by reporters, editors, and deans of journalism schools.
Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of the Times’ mendacious 1619 Project—another Zinnian-styled effort meant to make Americans dislike the Founding—went on NPR and denounced the very possibility of objectivity. “All journalism is activism,” she proclaimed.
She’s not alone. That vile view is now what is acceptable at The New York Times and throughout American journalism. The Times is Hannah-Jones’ paper now.
One of the aims of the language power grab is to make it impossible for conservatives to openly discuss their policy remedies to the ills besetting society, such as emphasizing civic equality, equal protection under the law, economic growth, and education equality through choice.
Take for example having public and private schools teach what is known as the success sequence—the idea that if someone graduates high school, gets a job, marries, and then has kids, they are highly unlikely to become poor.
But to say this now falls under the heading of “blaming the victim,” a form of racism, according to the “Pyramid of White Supremacy” taught to our children.
Many conservatives, and even non-conservatives such as law professor Jonathan Turley, are coming round to the view that this is a moment not unlike those we saw in the French terror of 1793-94, or the Maoist Cultural Revolution of 1966-76.
“The atmosphere is strikingly similar for those familiar with history and specifically the course of the French Revolution,” Turley writes. “Welcome to the French Revolution 2.0.”
Perhaps because of my years in Asia as an American journalist, I see Maoism in today’s ritualized self-criticisms, struggle sessions, and modern-day Red Guards.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees had to offer an abject apology, complete with “I statements” such as “I am an ally,” for having the temerity to say he would not stand for disrespecting Old Glory.
Cotton said on the floor of the Senate this week that “the cancel culture, whether in its Maoist or Jacobin forms, ultimately is animated by a single idea: that America, at its core, is fundamentally irredeemable and wicked.”
Either way, conservatives better be prepared for much worse.
The writer Rod Dreher warns: “We are going to come out of this long, hot, miserable summer with the progressive ruling class with much more confidence in its own righteousness, and much more willing to clamp down on dissent from its ‘social justice’ gospel. We have to get ready for it. We have no time to lose.”
This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal