Salvo 08.03.2021 15 minutes

The End of the Long March


The army and the police have not capitulated to Wokeism—yet.

Remember those halcyon days when our biggest concerns were Howard Zinn textbooks and mainstream media bias? The left is long past that. Victory begets victory, and they feel no pressing need to shore up their wins. Now they’re gunning to control the guns—and not necessarily in the way you think.

There are only two institutions left for the left to conquer—institutions filled with the backward, white supremacist, irredeemable troglodytes that liberal arts undergraduates must be psychologically and emotionally strengthened to confront when they go home every year to trample on the formerly apolitical joys of Thanksgiving. I’m talking about the military and the police.

At first these would appear inauspicious targets to assault. Largely multi-ethnic, working class, high-school graduate, gun-toting uniform wearers aren’t ripe converts to sponsor a local drag queen story hour or host a Robin DiAngelo book club.

The only reason the police and the military are in the crosshairs is because the barbarians at the gate have already won everywhere else. They’ve reached the citadel. They’re on the last stop in their long march through the institutions.

Unlike the media, the education system, business, and the like, conservatives can’t merely toil away creating alternatives to the police or the military. If Starbucks is woke, brew your own coffee. The Army, on the other hand? Ora pro nobis.

The police are a tougher nut to crack. Decentralized. Localist by nature. Honorable—or at least hardy—enough to do a dangerous as well as physically and psychologically taxing job with little thanks and low pay.

As the saying now goes: If you can’t beat them, destroy them. Personally.

A movement that makes martyrs of criminals was never going to win the hearts and minds of the boys in blue. But they can make their individual lives such a walking hell that they would be insane to stay on the force.

Police have been spit on, attacked from behind, and run over. They’ve been assaulted by mobs, faced racial slurs, and been hit with bricks, rocks, full metal cans, frozen water bottles, and Molotov cocktails.

In cities across America, the police are leaving or retiring in droves. In New York City alone, 2020 saw a 75 percent increase from the year before of uniformed officers filing paperwork to retire or leave. It’s so bad that even the New York Times acknowledged the problem and President Biden took a break from his anti-police rhetoric to call for boosting police funding. Apparently the massive spike in homicides was just too much to ignore.

But it’s all too little too late. For many officers, you can’t pay them enough to endure again what they went through last year.

In the military, it took segregated critical race theory training and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley’s proud announcement of his desire to understand “white rage” for the American people to finally wake up to the fact that their most trusted institution has been infiltrated at the top with wokeism.

But we shouldn’t be surprised. Anti-white, anti-heterosexual, anti-Christian military training allegedly began under the Obama administration. When a drill sergeant pointed out that his recruits were a bunch of softies (isn’t that his job?), it was the drill sergeant who got punished.

So when the Biden administration allegedly plans to force Covid vaccines on the Army—despite active duty service members having a better than a 99.987% survival rate after contracting disease—it doesn’t really seem like this decision is rooted in concern for public health or improving the strength of our armed forces at all. It’s a purge.

Everyone knows that Republicans are more skeptical of the vaccine than Democrats. Perhaps right wingers and other nonconformists would rather leave the military than be forced to take the vaccine. You can guess that those who rather would leave than get the jab won’t exactly be the types who look forward to diversity training or champion the 1619 Project. The appointment of a Pentagon anti-extremism (read: anti-MAGA) czar, Bishop Garrison—a man with a documented hatred of President Trump and his supporters—is yet another front in the purge.

Though by all accounts the woke control the military leadership, they recognize that, just as with the police, it’s a lot easier to get people to leave than to fire or convert them. The average soldier has to be wondering how much more he can take. Unisex changing rooms and showers in the name of gender inclusivity? Dishonorable discharge for failing to use someone’s preferred pronouns? Monthly white rage guilt sessions?

After all of this, what does that young Jacksonian man get in return? Often enough only the opportunity to get shot at in a forever war in a Middle East desert your fellow citizens have largely forgotten about, representing a nation ruled by elites who detest American history, reject the flag, and will be embarrassed by you and everything you believe in the very moment you take off your uniform.

Eventually, the makeup of the military ranks will begin to change at the same time the population of police officers declines.

So what happens when an administration decides that terrorism from white supremacists (meaning anyone who doesn’t support BLM) is the “most lethal threat to the homeland today”? It is no wonder that one of the left’s primary goals is to confiscate rifles from law abiding citizens despite the fact that rifles are hardly the source of gun violence in America. I’m starting to get a strange feeling about why the founders were adamant that America never have a standing army.

As has been said, we must dispel with this fiction that the left doesn’t know what they are doing. They know exactly what they are doing.

The traditional Republican response guarantees failure. Party leaders retreat safely to rhetoric about “military readiness” where they can avoid directly confronting the evil within. They send a message to the journalist class: “We’re not really against all these changes being made in the military in principle. It’s just that this ‘social engineering’ detracts from military readiness, see.”

The debate ensues. Studies are cited. Personnel are interviewed. Woke military leaders will testify knowing where their guns, butter, and plum post-discharge jobs with defense contractors come from. And the left’s foothold in another institution that they can use for civilization-transforming ends becomes firmer and firmer.

A (Long) Series of Unfortunate Events

The political takeover of the military and takedown of the police was not foreordained, but it’s hardly unexpected. The right has faced a long series of defeats for decades at this point. It’s like we don’t know how to win anymore, or never did in the first place.

Of course, there are manifold goats and scapegoats in our defeatist fold: feckless leaders, inadequate or counterproductive policy, the administrative state, the deep state, the media, our messaging, corporations… It’s easy to blame everything because nothing seems to be working.

Our wins are inevitably ephemeral, our losses sustained, and each year brings new “progress” unthinkable the year before. The road to social credit scores, gun confiscations, pogroms, and pederasty is feeling awfully short indeed.

Perhaps this is because the right is operationally outflanked before any battle has actually begun. One of our primary errors is conceptual.

Time and time and time again, we try to win on the issues. If only another study, historical correction, constitutional appeal, or Ben Shapiro carpet bomb of facts could win the debate and chart a path toward our restoration!

Imagine we do “win on the issues.” We get the Department of Defense to stop diversity training or state legislatures in half the states representing a third of the population to ban Critical Race Theory. Does that matter, if the teachers are still spewing racism under a different title? If uniformed officers still think America is systemically racist and that homegrown white supremacy is a bigger threat than Chinese hegemony? If the entire textbook, curriculum formation industry, and education bureaucracy are staffed by leftwing ideologues?

So we’ve broken up Big Tech or reformed Section 230. Does it matter, if every graduate with a tech degree believes all conservatives are white nationalists? That manipulating users on their platforms to conform to their divisive philosophy is not only just but necessary? Five Googles would be run and staffed by five groups of people who think and act like the old-fashioned unitary Google we know and serve today.

President Biden has already appointed multiple advisors and regulators who want to break up Big Tech. The greatest guarantee that anti-trust is not a silver bullet is the fact that Democrats, unlike Republicans, never act against their own interests.

When we single-mindedly focus on the issues, every stroke of victory is painted on a wide and dark canvas of decline. Why? It’s not just that personnel is policy—however important that oft-repeated adage is. Electing and appointing the right people sure does help. But that alone won’t change the fundamentals, at least not when those personnel succeed only in instituting policies that adjust some small aspect of the federal bureaucracy.

No, something more radical is needed. What matters most is not who shapes policy, but what shapes people. If we’ve learned anything this past half decade, it’s that issues—and policies that focus on the issues—matter less than institutions because institutions make people who they are. And it is people that determine what is possible.

Does anyone think the founding generation would have allowed the imprisonment without trial of unarmed protestors (if admittedly stupid, overzealous, and still condemnable) who were redressing grievances to their government? Does anyone think a society that produces men-children singing Broadway-style songs counting down the days to his vaccination (and his trip to Disney World!!) can produce the type of men who would take Iwo Jima or endure Valley Forge, much less set straight the whiners marching through our streets demanding America’s downfall?

So the question is, what makes paratroopers, and what produces pajama boys? Where do rabid looting mobs come from, and how can we make well-adjusted, happy men and women again?

Traditional policymaking may nip around at the edges. But most are shaped not by reading their way to the truth or through the distant and dispersed sticks and carrots of Congressional legislation. Rather, people reflect their surroundings.

Ideas have consequences, we are constantly reminded. But power has consequences too. And institutions have the power to shape humanity.

Institutional Policy

The left purposefully set out to dominate the culture, and now they own nearly every institution in America, control all levers of government, and exercise outsized impact even when they aren’t in complete control.  They set the debate, manage the information flow, censor online speech, and shape our society with every pop music video posted online and pride-themed display at the local PetSmart.

The whole time, Republicans and Democrats continue their dance in and out of power. Clearly, politics is about a lot more than winning elections, and we would do well to learn that people in power matter little unless they use their power to change the institutions that influence their fellow citizens.

Nor is the fight over big-name issues like global warming, section 230, Critical Race Theory, or the coronavirus. Isolated wins are good, but they won’t arrest the decline.

What matters most is who and what influence the hearts, minds, and actions of the hundreds of millions of people in America who have the power to either enrich our lives, or consent—publicly or silently—to that vicious and committed minority that wants to make our lives hell. It’s long past time we forget griping about process and trying to “win on the issues” while ceding the public square and everyone in it to the wolves. Live and let live was dead the moment the left just wouldn’t let us live in peace.

Our daily actions must be driven by the question: Will this empower people and institutions who hate me and want to destroy my way of life? Our responses individually and collectively should range from small to drastic, because we’re running out of time.

So move out of California. Buy more guns and learn how to use them. Cancel Netflix. Fire the generals. Defund the universities. Stop buying Coke and turn off the NFL. Say something true like “pregnant women” and “all lives matter.” Don’t waste your time sighing about the news and forget ineffective Facebook posting about leftwing hypocrisy.

Demand that our leaders use every power at their disposal to retake or take down institutions, not just tinker with the tax code or. Refuse to attend workplace diversity training—or better yet go find a job that won’t make you do it in the first place.

Don’t let your school teach sex-ed to third graders. Stop hiring Ivy league grads. Raise strong, faithful, courageous, and intelligent kids. Stay married—and go to church.

The left succeeds because it demands that every institution it touches conforms to its way of seeing the world. It will never be enough to respond by merely going to vote, arraying the facts, winning a debate, or calling for mutual respect.

It’s time we retake the institutions and corporations that shape our lives or if we can’t, do everything we can to found, find, and patronize an alternative. Even if it’s not as prestigious. Even if it costs more. Even if it doesn’t have two-day delivery.

Silence is not violence. But silence and inaction do allow the arsonists of our civilization to win. So if we really think America is on the line, it’s time to start acting like it. We don’t have time to cultivate our cultural counterattack over the course of generations—at least not when the left is moments away from claiming their last-needed victories over the two primary institutions in America trained and sanctioned to use force.

One way or another, the left’s long march through the institutions is almost over. The question remains: Is this where it ends?

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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