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Nothing Is Ever Going Back to Normal
National Review — after previously offering that Drag Queen Story Hour was a “blessing of liberty” and railing against Florida Governor Ron de Santis for modest efforts at pushing back against the left — finds itself shocked… shocked … at the metastasizing phenomenon of leftists foisting drag shows (featuring men strutting pretending to be women as if women were clown-prostitutes) on children. “Oh, my heck!” they proclaim. “Who could have foreseen that if we indulged the left in their depravity they would push it even further?“
It’s understandable why (Bush) Republicans and (Atlantic) Conservatives would prefer not to fight the culture wars. It’s just not gentlemanly/ladylike to make a big fuss about leftists sexualizing children. It’s icky and Trumpy to confront the left about their cultural ambitions and their use of every lever of Government to promote them. And because they don’t want to fight, it’s very easy to succumb to denialism. “Yes, sure, there are a few crazies on the fringe of the left, but most of them don’t want to get gay with kids. And if we just calmed down and found some common ground we could get back to normal. Hey, why are those people over there making those kids shove cash in that transvestite’s thong?”
“In Defense of Political Escalation,” Abigail Shrier makes the eminently logical point that the left has no intention of ending the culture wars, or even a ceasefire.
Those waiting on the mythical pendulum to “swing back,” should stop holding their breath. The gender activists are True Believers, akin to jihadists: no amount of reasoning diminishes their resolve, no appeal to data brings them pause, no urge to consider the sanctity of American liberties will convince them to cool it.
While conservatives have been waiting for things to calm down and get back to normal, and fretting that “we oughtn’t do things that are at odds with our precious principles,” the left have seized not just Government power, but also academic power, media power, and even corporate power which they eagerly wield against anyone who dissents from Woke ideology.
If the woke continue to gain ground, where will we skeptics go to educate our children, transact commerce, find fair adjudication of our custody disputes? Where will we publish when not only the New York Times has a “gender director”—when every publication does?
That is the worry that likely motivates DeSantis, the first politician to “weaponize” the Florida tax code. He brought its hammer down on Disney to punish that one company for using its immense corporate coffers to lobby against parents’ rights in Florida. In principle, it’s a move I’m leery of. (And in the case of sending CPS after moms and dads who take their kids to drag shows, it’s a move I would oppose.)
But the gist of this stratagem—escalation—may be necessary. Indeed, it already seems to be working. Playing offense, even raising the stakes, may be the only means of achieving a much-needed truce. I’m out of better ideas. How about you?
Yeah, if there is another way to bring the culture back to plumb, I would be interested to hear it. But pundits writing hand-wringing articles in magazines that are only read by other pundits doesn’t seem like an effective solution to me.
And it’s not just the gender bending. The left will never give up on CRT. They will never give up on Climate Totalitarianism. They will never, despite John Cornyn’s delusions, give up on zero-tolerance gun control.
They don’t want to make a deal; they want our complete submission.Published in Culture
I suspect that will happen. Just like currently most students have to volunteer to work on Democrat campaigns to graduate.
CPS is part of the problem They have inserted themselves between the parent child relationship with CPS pushing Left wing agenda and harassing parents that do not comply.
Nope. Read what I wrote again:
In the case of Derb, I believe they did not agree with his essay, “The Talk.” I also believe that they felt that advertisers and enough subscribers to matter would flee the magazine, threatening its survival. That’s why I call it a business decision, though I know of no serious publication that give its writers infinite latitude. Certainly they can’t publish anything libelous, for example.
And that brings us to Steyn. In this case, remember that they are defending a libel suit. If both Steyn and NR are in sync on the defense and how to address it, no problem. But Steyn did not agree with how NR was defending its part of the suit. And though I can’t say with certainty, I believe NR’s insurers gave an ultimatum: Steyn has to go for the duration of the suit. Insurance against libel is essential to any publication. If insurers won’t write a policy for your publication (at rates you can afford), you’re pretty much rolling the dice with each article you publish that you won’t face a judgement that puts you out of business. Again, a business decision.
Anyway, let’s not pretend (and I can’t believe I have to say this) that there are any serious publications that just allow its writers to write whatever they want with no oversight. Furthermore, every journal has an overarching editorial view and policy. That doesn’t mean they approve of everything they publish. I recall NR published essays and reviews by John Kenneth Galbraith, whose economic theories and policies bear no relation to what NR advocates.
Better idea: if the books available and programs sponsored by public libraries in a community can’t reflect the values of said community nor be subject to oversight by said communities, let’s get rid of public libraries.
But where will the homeless go to Toobin? CNN can’t hire all of them.
Good point. Belay that idea of mine.
Consult John Derbyshire, the late Joe Sobran, and others about the “great latitude” NR allows. NR has plenty of latitude for writers who find excuses for the left, but has a history of purging writers whose “conservatism” hasn’t kept up with allowable opinion – as largely defined by the left, of course.
I think Joe Sobran was removed from National Review due to anti-Semitism.
Of course. No one is saying that NR doesn’t have a right to set the bounds of the opinions published in its pages (or what those writers have written in other pages). The point is what the type of people purged from its ranks vs retained says about the character of those limits. There are plenty of instances of individuals, like Derbyshire, who have been purged for having views too far to the right (even if those views were common on the right 40 or 50 years ago). I don’t know of any instances of individuals being purged for being too soft on the left or for having out-of-control TDS. The dynamic seems to be that NR accepts the mainstream culture’s definition of what is allowable opinion, and policies its ranks in those terms. Since the mainstream culture is largely a captive of the left, in effect this allows the left to set the terms of the discussion. So we have the history of writers dropped from the NR “family” as their once mainstream conservative views become too out-of-step with the contemporary mainstream (which has moved left), and they refuse to “update” them.
Yes, just as Derb was removed for racism. The interested reader can read for themselves what Derb and Sobran actually wrote and decide whether the condemnations were justified. But it’s not really about whether they were justified or not, or whether one agrees with Derb or Sobran or not. It’s that NR finds Drag Queen Story hour a cultural activity about which reasonable people can disagree, while Derb’s “The Talk” column is so outrageous that he can never be allowed to write for NR again. Personally, I find Drag Queen Story hour a cultural activity that should be rejected out of hand, and any writer who treats it as something about which reasonable people can disagree should be purged from the roles.
Good article, good comments. I’m not sure what we do about any of it, other than be prepared to just leave and defend ourselves. Washington, New York huge chunks of California, folks who dominate media and increasing chunks our economy may understand what they’re doing, but don’t know where it ends up. All we can know is that they do not know or care about folks at the bottom, which will be some 80% of us heading toward 90+%. All we know from looking across history is that the top will narrow, centralize and rot but not before it has destroyed the nation. Can anyone name an exception? Maybe we’ll be the first, but we have one election to reverse it.
I don’t disagree with anything you say here, so how am I daft?
I wish it could be that simple. Frankly, I think that so much of this stems from the schools and universities who fill young minds full of mush with progressive garbage – and then these young minds go out and get jobs in government, incuding social services. And some of these young minds go on to have kids, and they take their kids, willingly, to Drag Queen Story Hours and Pride parades. I think that’s wicked and stupid, but good luck trying to effect change by attempting to shame child protective services about this.
I take your point, but that approach – labeling parents right-wing terrorists – has backfired and actually has helped those who are trying to challenge this.
I would hardly call Kevin Williamson “flaccid”……
Yeah, that’s going to go over with the voters really splendidly…..what could possibly go wrong, eh??
You’re right; I’d use the term aggressively obnoxious.
I guess my question would be, if National Review isn’t a good conservative media outlet, what should conservatives read instead?
It seems like whenever I go to the National Review website, they have several columns advocating for the right to life for the unborn, gun rights, school choice and so on. If you are going to persuade someone that National Review is actually a squishy-moderate media outlet, what media outlet exists that is better?
When’s the last time you read National Review? This doesn’t seem like an accurate picture of them at all. Madeleine Kearns writes forcefully about the transgender ideology, Charles Cooke is as pro-Second Amendment as you can get (and extraorinarily well-informed as to legal and constitutional dimensions of the 2nd Amendment), just to name two writers on two topics that are not in sync with mainstream culture. I could easily name more.
Nah, what’s really going on here is Trump disciples still ticked off that National Review wasn’t behind their Messiah (though there’s variation in that….) and their writers haven’t jumped on the “stolen election” bandwagon.
I fill my RSS reader with lots of different sources. I’m my own curator/editor.
The American Mind (https://americanmind.org/)
American Greatness (https://amgreatness.com/)
The Federalist (https://thefederalist.com/)
Daily Signal (https://www.dailysignal.com/)
. . .
Doesn’t contradict the point. And you, Gary, and DA are examples of people whose allowable opinions are dictated by the left.
Then what IS your disagreement? That we poo poo on your favorite rag? Your favorite writer?
David French wrote an entire piece attacking a very new and undeveloped idea by a someone on the New Right. Like, he raked it over the coals and would have nothing to do with it. His objections weren’t constructive that attempted to bound Ahmari. They were intended to say these ideas of “common good” conservatism are off limits.
If you don’t disagree with my ideas on localities, then you have more in common with me and Ahmari than you do French. So why do you defend him so vociferously?
Agressive, certainly. Witty, always.
There are other things out there to read. If you don’t know about them, then you are very limited in what ideas exist on the right. I wouldn’t necessarily put bank on all of them, but there’s ideas coming from other places than just NR.
VDH has his own place, American Greatness, The Federalist (which is very true to its name, where NR is more about central government)… there’s more that others read. My point is, don’t limit yourself to NR.
So… do nothing?
Kevin Williamson is brilliant, in my opinion. I don’t always agree with him. But he’s a very good writer.
I enjoyed his book, “What doomed Detroit?” It is a short history of how the city that once had the highest per capita income in the United States became a hell-hole.
I’m not buying this idea that National Review doesn’t have some great writers, writers that disagree with each other occasionally.
Um. Maybe stop taking your kids to the Drag Queen story hour?
That’s just a suggestion.
I see how well doing that has worked out. Now I’m not watching Disney. Actually, not watching any tv. Not participating in hardly anything. I see that retreat is the only proscription you have. I think that’s unacceptable.
Because you don’t seem to understand his position. He’s not against local movements. His argument was clear: the First Amendment protects speech, including speech we don’t like. Being pro-First Amendment does not mean that one endorses the distasteful expresssions of those freedoms. He argues against federal restrictions because that can come back to bite conservatives and especially religious freedoms. It’s not rocket science. To pretend that National Review has been soft and squishy on Drag Queen Story Hour, as the OP suggests, is just not a good-faith reading of the arguments in question. And I merely pointed out that Drag Queen Story Hours wouldn’t exist if parents weren’t willingly bringing their kids to those events, and that parents were willingly bringing their kids to Pride parades. I don’t think there’s any quick and easy solution to the problem of woke parents, and dumping on NR seems particularly stupid and pointless.