An Untimely Review of Joker.
It’s Not Just Going to End
Liberalism will not go quietly.
Near-constant predictions of liberalism’s impending demise over the past few decades have been greatly exaggerated. From looking at the latest flash points in the culture wars, liberals keep racking up wins. Even their apparent local defeats are usually strategic retreats after sounding their enemies’ soft spots.
Take the LA Dodgers’ decision to feature the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a self-described “leading-edge Order of queer and trans nuns,” as part of the team’s “LGBTQ+ Pride Night.” The team offered their “sincerest apologies” for previously rescinding the Sisters’ invitation and announced they will be giving them a community hero award “for the lifesaving work that they have done tirelessly for decades”—“lifesaving work” like performing a pole dance during a sacrilegious mock crucifixion of Christ during an “Easter” event in San Francisco.
Target flooded its stores with merchandise created by Abprallen, which separately produces lines of Satanist-inspired clothing and “cheeky” apparel including a “Homophobe Headrest” shirt featuring a pink guillotine adorned with skulls and a pin with the words “Heteronormativity Is A Plague.” For Target customers, Abprallen created a sweater emblazoned with the words “cure transphobia not trans people” and a t-shirt featuring drag queen Trixie Mattel, among other apparel. In reaction to the backlash, Abprallen quadrupled down, posting on Instagram: “Satan loves you and respects who you are; you’re important and valuable in this world and you deserve to treat yourself with love and respect. LGBT+ people are so often referred to as being a product of Satan or going against God’s will, so fine. We’ll hang with Satan instead.”
Though Target has removed all Abprallen items from its website, the long-time retailer of radical Pride dogmas will surely come up with new channels to push depravity on its customers.
You might have missed the commercial released last Christmas season for J&B Scotch, which is produced by a parent company of Guinness. It depicts a closeted, trans grandpa secretly putting on makeup in front of a bathroom mirror late at night. He eventually shows his grandson how to apply it during a family get-together. The commercial ends as the two emerge triumphant from the bathroom, with the grandson in a full face of makeup as tears stream down the faces of various family members while they affirm “her.”
Ford. Bud Light. Miller Lite. Disney. All these corporations and many more are fully invested in terraforming our nation, replacing any vestige of the old morality that used to undergird our way of life with one that is hostile to the very idea of civil society. Repeating “Go woke, go broke” is merely cope as the nation slides toward the abyss. Conserving the Democratic Party platform of 2008 won’t get the job done.
But wasn’t liberalism supposed to be in a state of exhaustion? Haven’t conservatives been telling themselves, at least since FDR won his fourth consecutive term, that even if they lose skirmishes here and there—and even major battles—they should nevertheless feel confident because liberalism will ultimately crumble due to its internal contradictions?
In 2011 R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., the founder and editor-in-chief of The American Spectator, argued in his book The Death of Liberalism that liberalism was “going the way of the American Prohibition Party or the Know-Nothing Party.” He advised liberals who were beginning to wake up to tell their out-of-touch compadres, “‘Rigor mortis has set in, comrades.’” And in the months before Democrats nominated Joe Biden for president, Wall Street Journal editorial page writer Barton Swaim wrote that “liberalism in America achieved the last of its great aims a half-century ago. Since then, liberal successes have steadily diminished in importance.”
This optimistic eschatology of liberalism’s passing is deeply flawed. There’s far more ruin in liberalism than these various predications suggest.
Swaim’s analysis assumes that liberalism is strictly a political program rather than a totalizing way of life, complete with its own set of metaphysical assumptions and an anthropology that is at war with the natural world. Even when Democrats lose elections, the hegemony of liberalism goes virtually unchallenged.
In truth, even in the political realm, liberalism has racked up victory after victory. With Obamacare’s passage, endless debt ceiling raises, open borders, and Democratic dominance in the White House with a brief four-year hiatus during Trump’s presidency (nevertheless the bureaucracy remained populated by true believers, and attacks by the permanent government greatly limited his effectiveness), liberalism’s triumphal status is impossible to deny. Outside of a few setbacks—and even then, it’s only a matter of years until its most fanatical objectives are achieved—without any coordinated effort, liberalism will continue its supremacy over American life for the foreseeable future.
The overconfidence from conservatives considering an almost endless string of defeats is strange. But, oddly, it’s also one shared by the left-wing.
With a record of nearly non-stop success, why would some liberals fret about liberalism’s impending doom? Another entry in that seemingly strange genre came last month at Jacobin. Staff writer Luke Savage worried that the liberal political project has produced “a constellation of institutions too enervated to transform themselves and too fixed in their patterns to be forced into a meaningful realignment.” Yet while not yet achieving Savage’s dream policies, the current alignment still produces liberalism at cruising speed.
Trans ideology is being taught to kindergarteners; a parasitic, deeply embedded wokeness is flowering in our institutions; and public trust is in free fall as the media push breathtaking propaganda that must be admired for its audacity. Liberalism can tout cultural conquests on virtually every front except guns. Yet, apparently near-complete domination isn’t enough—or at least the wins aren’t coming at the pace liberals desire.
As our institutions continue to shove deviancy and degeneracy into our faces, the meaningful question is: Will the Right pledge to fundamentally transform the country? Unless a dramatic realignment takes place—unless Americans as a people reassert their sovereignty and discover the morality that must be present for republican government to have success—the sinews of civil society will snap.
Stunts like what the Dodgers pulled off (and Target tried to do) will continue save for the Right offering a long-term, systematic plan of resistance that changes the behavior of those sitting atop the state-corporatist power structures.
Now is the time for building coalitions, getting like-minded Americans to participate in targeted boycotts of a few large companies that are the most egregious offenders. A parallel polis must be built that can effectively counter the Borg cubes that sit in every major city, only having the appearance of bland skyscrapers of glass and steel. And these efforts must be accompanied by political actors who take full advantage of the power inherent in public offices.
Don’t be taken in by a groveling, non-apology from a slick CEO and short-term stock losses. The Dodgers’ announcement of “Christian Faith And Family Day” is nothing but a cynical attempt to make us forget what they did. The pressure must be kept up. A true victory is when Bud Light’s stock price remains in perpetual decline for the next ten years—or when it puts out a can featuring a rainbow that honors the Noahic Covenant. The Right knows it has won when Target’s senior management grovels on their hands and knees to obtain its approval before rolling out the next in-store campaign.
As Michael Walsh is fond of saying of the Left, “They never stop. They never sleep. They never quit.” Without becoming a mirror image of the Left, the Right will nevertheless need to counter it effectively, including adopting offensive measures rather than the purely defensive maneuvers they typically deploy. In other words, they will need to act like winners—just as liberals do.
Yes, modern liberalism will eventually exhaust itself naturally—entropy is inevitable, and nature will ultimately triumph—but it will also pull the country down with it in the process. The Right can’t stand back and watch that happen.
The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.
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