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What we are seeing around the nation today is the opportunistic exploitation, by Black Lives Matter and Antifa, of a specific tragedy in order to push a radical agenda. The specific tragedy is an act of criminal police misconduct (alleged, but almost universally assumed, and for good reason) that led to the death of George Floyd. The radical agenda includes calls for an end to capitalism, an end to policing, an end to incarceration, and various other similarly preposterous “woke” nostrums.
What makes this situation unusual is the efficiency with which these radical organizations have leveraged a single outrage into a semi-coordinated national campaign. What makes this situation depressing and somewhat terrifying is the degree to which otherwise sensible-seeming people have rushed to embrace the self-destructive idiocy of these radical movements.
It is hard to look at the nation and not conclude that we are in a precarious place from which a return to normalcy is essential but by no means assured. We’ve experienced similar social convulsions before, most recently in the late 1960s. We survived that in part because the electorate chose to reject the more radical path in favor of what was perceived as a conservative administration. This prevented at least the worst of the progressive agenda from gaining a foothold in law.
If Democrats win the White House and both houses of the Congress in November, it is entirely believable that they will enact portions of the radical agenda that is currently animating the left and capturing surprising popular support. This would include novel assaults on the free market and law enforcement, as well as a renewed emphasis on gender identity radicalism. In the current climate it could also include steps toward imposing reparations for past racism, a national guaranteed minimum income, nationally mandated voting reforms that make elections wildly unreliable, and further regulation of health care. All of these are things that would flow naturally from the current virus and race relations crises.
What stands in the way of that? Realistically, only one thing: control of the House, the Senate, or the executive branch by the Republican Party. In this extremely volatile and deeply irrational moment — which blue state governors may yet be able to prolong for several months through misuse of their currently exaggerated powers — it is essential that the unchecked ability to implement federal law not be handed over to a Democratic Party unwilling or unable to resist its most radical factions.
I think the Republican Party, as imperfect and often frustrating as it is, is the bulwark, the wall, between the civil society we still enjoy and a swelling tide of increasingly unhinged radicalism. We must hold on to something, anything, in November.Published in