June 11, 2022

Ten years ago, if you leaned right, you could speak up against only socialism (especially universal health care), immigration, or gun control.  On any issue where the left’s philosophy threatened the moral foundation of society, there was no fighting it.  They would ruin your life from top to bottom if you resisted.  And by “they,” I mean not just the left.  I mean everybody with any kind of power, including movement conservatives and certainly Christians.  Everyone was sympathetic to the left (and hostile to critics), working for the left (and protective of leftists’ income), or deathly afraid of the left (and determined to avoid backlash).

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The left controlled education, arts, the news, social media, big business, the legal establishment, government, and most of the professions like health care, therapy, and child services.  The left also had indirect control over the military and the churches.  Military personnel and clergy both led conservative constituencies but answered to elite leaders whom liberals could easily terrify into submission.

Put simply, the world was the left’s to lose.

The left is losing the world anyway

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Disney and Netflix are cratering.  Florida, the state with the third largest population, passed an anti-grooming education law that Texas could not pass only a year earlier because of Republican fears of backlash.  Most of the world, and notably almost all of the developing world, has not followed the left’s directive to antagonize Russia.  It looks likely that Roe v. Wade will get overturned and states will be able to abolish abortion.

Stephen Herreid of CatholicVote is one of the few on the right who didn’t ghost me to please easily embarrassed right-wing grifters in the dark 2010s.  I called Stephen after reading that a pro-family group’s offices got firebombed in his Wisconsin town by people angry about the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade.

“I’m okay,” Stephen told me.  “And by the way, I have been meaning to ask you.  Everything that got you banned eight years ago is now mainstream conservative positioning.  How’s that feel?”

Apologies to us early victims of cancel culture are unlikely.  I won’t hold my breath waiting for conservatives to acknowledge that they once shunned people for saying things that now they say to win elections.

Nonetheless, I can’t congratulate the right for winning.  I was there, on the front lines, and I saw firsthand how it went down.  The right wing sought only the appearance of defending cultural values.  Really, conservatism was defined as free-market capitalism, and everyone wanted to avoid the toxic and unwinnable social issues associated in people’s minds with church ladies, emasculated clergymen, and moral busybodies.  It never dawned on the right that Americans by and large liked traditional social values a lot more than being told they should be happy without health careshown chart after chart about budgets.

Nobody won the culture wars of the last fifteen years.  The right lost every battle it tried to fight.  Things turned around when the left lost even more.