Opinion: CJ Opinion

Woke hubris will lead to backlash  

The “woke” movement — phenomenon, ideology, whatever it’s called — has gone too far, taking a hard left and then another sharp turn around the next corner.  

Veering out of control. 

To conservatives, libertarians, and even moderate thinkers, this is obvious. If the most irksome and unpleasant voices on the left — including Democrats at large — have failed to figure this out, they soon will. 

The condescension and pedantic lecturing, apparently intended for our edification, is annoying at the least and infuriating at the worst.  

The predominant idea is those who think or act differently are inherently wrong, that their lives amount to a series of poor choices and repeated mistakes. That can be true, of course, but it’s egregiously insulting to those of us who have tried to live our lives by leaning on faith, family, and what we believe is moral and just. 

When the proverbial pendulum swings too high, its previous momentum falters, powering it down, hard and fast in the opposite direction.  

Even hard-core progressives have taken notice. 

Kevin Drum, a professed liberal who for 12 years wrote for Mother Jones, published a piece on jabberwocking.com, called “If you hate the culture wars, blame liberals.” In it, Drum makes the case that “Democrats have moved significantly to the left on most hot-button social issues while Republicans have moved only slightly right. 

“It is not conservatives who have turned American politics into a culture war battle,” he writes. “It is liberals.” 

This, keep in mind, is from a stalwart liberal.  

Eyebrows raised. 

Peggy Noonan, who wrote speeches for Ronald Reagan and writes a weekly piece for the Wall Street Journal, wasted no time in calling attention to Drum’s work, devoting an entire column to it. She points to Drum’s use of a magazine interview with Daniel Shor, who Drum calls “a data geek who identifies as socialist but is rigorously honest about what the numbers tell us.” 

“Over the last four years,” Shor told New York in 2020, “white liberals have become a larger and larger share of the Democratic Party. … And since white voters are sorting on ideology more than nonwhite voters, we’ve ended up in a situation where white liberals are more left-wing than black and Hispanic Democrats on pretty much every issue: taxes, health care, policing, and even on racial issues or various measures of ‘racial resentment.’ So as white liberals increasingly define the party’s image and messaging, that’s going to turn off nonwhite conservative Democrats and push them against us.” 

Noonan takes it from here. 

“The cultural provocations that are currently tearing us apart do, certainly and obviously, come from progressives. And the left seems to have no prudent fear of backlash. They don’t seem to believe public opinion counts for much anymore.” 

The point resonates loudly with conservatives and moderates in North Carolina. The concept of pushing Critical Race Theory in schools deeply divides not only the political parties but, as CJ’s Ray Nothstine says, also those who want our true history preserved, by teaching “the core basic knowledge that reinforces America’s founding principles and documents.” 

No matter how ugly or perverse.  

Proponents of CRT and similar tenets, as well as those aspiring to be “woke,” would rather twist history in a shape that fits their beliefs, and then castigate those who step outside their convoluted boundaries. Mainstream and left-leaning mainstream media are completely complicit, eschewing common sense and the opportunity for reasonable discussion and debate. 

They’re right, we’re wrong. We should apologize. Again and again. 

The Democrats’ hold on Congress is tenuous at best, and Biden is probably a one-term president. Gov. Roy Cooper’s term is up.  

The Democrats took a small lead and squandered it. The support they received in 2020 from moderates and disenfranchised Republicans led to toxic overconfidence and insufferable hubris.  

Noonan, as she often does, says it best, writing that “the left is overplaying its hand.” 

That pendulum is now swinging hard to the right. The left can maybe slow that momentum, but only if they stop talking for a second and sit down to listen. They’ll keep shouting, of course, until voters remove their podium. 

John Trump is Carolina Journal managing editor. 

This article originally appeared in the August print edition of Carolina Journal.