Individual liberty can’t stand on its own.
To Win Politically, Reject Multiculturalism
It’s time for conservatives to get real.
During the first half of 2020, Americans experienced three revolutionary acts against the United States.
The first was Obamagate. Documents were declassified early this year that definitively established what has long been rumored: former President Barack Obama, along with senior officials in the intelligence community and at the Department of Justice, weaponized government agencies against the incoming administration in an effort to delegitimize Donald Trump’s election and cripple his agenda.
This effort to subvert the peaceful transfer of power is unprecedented in American history. Every passing day it becomes clearer that the former administration knowingly used fraudulent evidence to carry out its plan.
The second act was the shutdown of the American economy and curtailment of basic civil rights based on the disputed scientific opinions and projections of a narrow group of government scientists.
Progressive governors and local officials used the opportunity to adopt policies such as decarceration, releasing prisoners under the guise of protecting their health while at the same time forcing COVID patients into woefully unprepared nursing homes by government order (to preserve hospital beds for younger, “more productive” members of society). Churches were prosecuted for attempting to hold services. Liquor stores, marijuana dispensaries, and abortion facilities were allowed to remain open.
Third, American cities exploded in riots after the horrific murder of an unarmed Minneapolis man in police custody. Mayors across the country stood aside as legitimate protests quickly turned to violent insurrection. Their arguments were first that the violent acts were prompted by white supremacist agitators, then that widespread looting and violence were understandable responses to America’s systematic racism.
No symbol of American civilization was immune from destruction and defacement—from the third precinct police station in Minneapolis to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Some of the most heartbreaking scenes were of minority business owners defending their own small pieces of the American dream only to see them destroyed.
Conservative leaders have been utterly incapable of making an adequate response to any of these revolutionary spasms. Why?
Tom Klingenstein, in his essay “Preserving the American Way of Life,” provides both an explanation and a road map forward.
Multiculturalism is the name he gives to all the elements of progressive ideology that are incompatible with American ideals and institutions. In his telling, we are engaged in a civilizational battle to determine which set of ideas prevails, as neither can coexist with the other.
The multicultural framework defines justice as the equality of results for discrete groups, including racial minorities, the LGBTQ community, and women. Multiculturalists believe this equality of outcomes has been blocked by institutions—such as the free market, the church, the traditional family, and even the “social construct” of gender—that have been established for and dominated by white men. Therefore, each of these institutions must be destroyed and replaced.
To multiculturalists, American history is not a story of noble striving to uphold the ideals of the Declaration of Independence, but rather one of systematic repression and subjugation. Multiculturalism is a complete rejection of nature and the Judeo-Christian values upon which America and indeed Western civilization are based.
Klingenstein argues that conservative political leaders, faced with this multiculturalist challenge, must make it their central purpose to explicitly defend and preserve the American way of life. Their arguments must hinge upon the justice of the ideals that the Declaration enumerates and upon the reality of the natural order.
The free market, the family, and religious liberty are the surest foundations of a just society for all people regardless of individual characteristics. An America built on these institutions has been the greatest force for prosperity, liberty, and human rights the world has ever known.
Perhaps Klingenstein’s most important observation is that this challenge to America’s founding can only be defeated in politics, as all other avenues of cultural communication have been captured by multicultural elites.
We can leave aside for another day an analysis of the abject failure of conservatives to successfully defend any significant part of the academy, elementary and secondary education, journalism, the entertainment industry, and big business. It’s enough to say that it’s practically impossible for Americans to work in any of these elite institutions without bending a knee to the multicultural agenda.
Despite this, the majority of the American people oppose multiculturalism even if they must swear fealty to it. At this late date, it is only in politics that they have any opportunity to make their voices heard. Conservative politicians have, with the notable exception of President Trump, refused to be their champion.
If we are to succeed in preserving the American way of life, we will need political leaders who purport to believe in America’s founding ideals to overcome their elite pretensions and squeamish sensibilities.
These leaders must pass laws which block chemical and surgical interventions that indulge the transgender delusions of some parents.
They must prevent big tech from pushing pornography onto children.
They must protect ordinary citizens who express points of view contrary to the multicultural commissariat.
They must root out bad actors who cling to racial animus while still affirming the progress that has been made in leaving bigotry behind.
They must confront the race hustlers and poverty pimps who defend failing schools in lower-income neighborhoods, blocking young people from accessing the American dream.
They must pass laws to prevent the wholesale destruction of the next generation through surgical and chemical abortion, which disproportionately targets lower-income, minority communities
These issues will be at the heart of the 2020 election and beyond, whether conservatives take them on or not. The great irony is that championing them is a winning strategy for Republicans. If they fail, the revolutionary forces that are threatening the American way of life today will quickly gain momentum. The cataclysms of the first half of 2020 give us a clear picture of the transformations we can expect.
The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.
The politics of nostalgia can’t meet the moment.