Salvo 04.06.2023 5 minutes

Is This Your Radicalization Moment?

House Dems Shooting Conference

The latest atrocity in American public life could serve as a turning point.

“What woke you up?” Since early 2016, I’ve heard family, friends, group chat acquaintances, and perpetually online Twitter users describe what led to their political second sailing.

In nearly everyone’s story, the ruling class’s revealing actions and rhetoric during events of national significance caused them to jettison their former normie views. For some, the turning point was seeing Catholic high school student Nicholas Sandmann slandered as a racist MAGA troll by a coterie of mainstream media stenographers and a bipartisan commentariat class. Others recoiled in disgust as they watched the campaign to destroy then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh with fabricated claims of sexual assault. The 2020 riots, when armed mobs burned down entire city blocks while the media downplayed events happening in the backgrounds of their own live reports, was another possible flash point. Whatever else the current American regime may lack, it certainly offers ample opportunities for political awakening.

Once they wake up, these formerly respectable citizens suddenly see the tidal wave of subliminal anti-life (in the widest possible sense) propaganda that emanates daily from nearly every public institution. They begin to understand that our governing class, under the guise of equality and justice, had foisted deathstyles upon citizens, calling good evil and evil good. They are shocked at the speed with which radical propaganda becomes holy writ, violations of which occasion ritual public humiliations, cancellations, imprisonment, or worse.

The next hinge point for some could very well be the fallout from the horrific murders of six students and staff members at The Covenant School in Nashville. The uni-reaction from the disparate coalition of the regime-connected is too obvious to ignore: the media, the political class, and even Christian elites showed where their allegiances lie for those with eyes to see.

Victim Blaming

In an early breaking report, ABC News’s Terry Moran implied that shooting up a Christian school was in some way understandable, because Tennessee had recently passed laws protecting minors from trans surgeries and prohibiting drag shows in public. Countless Washington Post articles have used those murdered as cardboard props, with a recent piece asking the question of supposed paramount importance: “What’s the Christian thing to do about guns?” And an NBC report features the unironic subhead that “some conservatives have seized on a shooting by a transgender person to further their agenda.” The media seemed to issue more retractions and editor’s notes due to misgendering the shooter than in all their reporting of the fake Russiagate conspiracy combined.

President Biden did no better. At a media gaggle the day after the shooting, he guffawed when told of Senator Josh Hawley’s strange notion that Christians were specifically targeted in the attack. And that was followed up by a full-scale celebration of Transgender Visibility Day, capped off by a tweet from Biden’s POTUS account noting that his administration will “never stop working to create a world where [a trans individual] won’t have to be brave just to be yourself.” Imagine the families of the six Covenant School victims seeing this emphasis just days after a trans person fired off 152 rounds, killing their loved ones.

Though Biden called and thanked Rex Englebert and Michael Collazo, the two police officers who courageously stopped the shooter from carrying out a far more devastating attack, that was quickly subsumed by the administration’s other strategy of yet more feckless calls for gun control and banning “assault weapons.” Exactly how passing laws restricting magazine sizes or the type of guns citizens can legally own would have stopped the Covenant shootings is beside the point: ensuring that aligned groups are accorded their special rights and privileges is the purpose of government in our age.

Sadly, some Christians performed just as woefully as the MSM and Biden. In his piece reflecting on Audrey Hale’s murderous rampage, Editor-in-Chief of Christianity Today Russell Moore never once wrote the word “transgender.” Not one time. (In fact, he seemed to write the piece in such a way that he wouldn’t have to select which pronouns to use when referring to Hale.) Instead, he lectured Christians in winsome tones not to hold too rigidly to the Second Amendment and displayed a morally appalling both-sidism that trafficked in false equivalencies between the Left and Right, all typical rhetorical tropes from Evangelical elites.

Unwoke Awakening

As tempting as it may be, the foregoing shouldn’t be taken as a strategy for the newly-awakened to stand athwart history yelling “Hypocrisy!” The Left, as Raw Egg Nationalist recently argued at The American Mind, is ultimately not concerned about their consistency in holding to specific principles. Instead, they are working to secure a permanent political victory through acquiring and exercising power to punish their enemies and reward their friends.

If there’s anything good that can come from the heinous actions the nation witnessed last week, let this be a time when increasing numbers of Americans wake from their slumbers and see the country as it is, not as they wish it to be.

It might be hard to admit, but the America we once knew and loved is quickly fading. At the regime level, an intersectional hierarchy of identities and the politically connected determine which groups are protected and which ones are mercilessly condemned. Our two-tiered system of justice; endless infringements of free speech, along with many other civic and natural rights of the disfavored; the proliferation of innumerable vices on a mass scale; declines in birth rates and overall life expectancy; sky-high levels of children born out of wedlock; increasing rates of cohabitation absent marriage; disastrous attempts to export democracy abroad—all of these truths and more need to be confronted by those who wish to save the nation. Fantasies about the good old days where both parties duked it out in debates but, supposedly following the example of Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan, drank together after work are pure wishcasting. These myths today function psychologically to neuter any credible opposition to the Left’s ceaseless march.

A country hewing even somewhat closely to the political morality of the founders’ regime would be aghast at what’s taking place in contemporary society. After an event like the one that just transpired in Nashville, celebrities in a decent and just society would not be having fundraisers and benefit concerts to support…trans rights. (Some C-list types, as usual, did the right thing and commemorated the six Christians who died.)

We must get our friends, families, and neighbors to confront the mental illness that’s seeding the landscape through social media and regime enforcement. We must realize that a robust and brave use of political power is essential to rebuild our country and thereby our future as a people. And Christians must realize that love rightly understood means helping sinners confront and mortify the sins of the flesh, not sanctifying them through the use of modern liberal nostrums.

May God comfort the families of those killed and also the congregants of Covenant Presbyterian Church, which occupies the same grounds as Covenant School. And may increasing numbers of patriotic, well-meaning Americans who want to see their children grow up in a healthy country see the reality that is whizzing by them every hour of every day.

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.

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