The ideological origins of what we now call wokeness are a common topic for conservative authors. Pat Buchanan’s The Death of the West is probably the most important for an entire generation, and I credit it with starting my political career. However, Richard Hanania’s book is valuable because it attacks the problem from a different angle—that of policy. He argues that power and law set up rules and an ideology (notably surrounding the supposed value of diversity) was essentially invented to justify it.
The value of the book is not just in its strategic perspective, but also in its detail. Hanania goes into the specific regulations and court decisions that subvert our entire way of life. “Way of life” is no exaggeration; he argues that essentially all conduct is illegal under civil rights laws, leading to a complete abandonment of limited government and self-rule. Americans really are not free to discuss political issues outside the private home. More than this, any business faces an existential threat from civil rights legislation that can be used whenever the government wants to destroy a rival or political figure. Certainly, this is what Elon Musk is facing, with sudden civil rights lawsuits against several of his companies.
Hanania also gives us a guide for practical action, naming specific policies that conservatives could target. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has already blown it when it comes to affirmative action, which somewhat undermines his argument. However, the point is that it is possible and realistic. It can also be done without simply repealing the Civil Rights Act, which is probably politically unfeasible.
Paul Kersey and I discuss this important book, as well as Hanania’s idiosyncrasies. Our advice—don’t take the insults against conservatives or immigration patriots too seriously. The issue is too important, the book is too valuable, and we have work to do. To quote Ronald Reagan, it’s amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t care who gets the credit.
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