While politicians rightfully focus on the pressing threat posed by a rising China, intent to reshape the current liberal rules-based order according to her values and interests, they risk ignoring a more pernicious domestic danger.
America’s unique strengths derive from her culture, not simply from abundant natural resources or fortuitous geography. This culture results in the prosperous free market economy, military superiority and functioning democracy that have made her a superpower. This culture is not genetically encoded or automatically passed down but must be renewed with each generation. America’s greatest challenge is not overseas, but comes from liberals at home eroding that cultural heritage.
First, liberals are undermining the rule of law that prevents the arbitrary exercise of power and protects law-abiding citizens. While liberal prosecutors refuse to enforce laws against open-air drug markets, retail theft, semi-permanent homeless encampments on public sidewalks and parks, and illegal immigration, liberal politicians propagate restrictive permitting rules and regulations that render unwitting home and business owners vulnerable to selective enforcement.
Calls to defund the police and catch and release criminals for increasingly serious crimes leave many urban dwellers wondering if the state will fulfill its first responsibility to protect keep them from violent harm.
British General Charles Cornwallis surrenders to General George Washington at Yorktown, Va. Liberals have attacked the Founding Fathers and undermined belief in America’s history.
Second, liberals are undermining the ideal of meritocracy that frees society from inherited privilege and petty corruption. America’s founding rebuke to hereditary aristocratic European powers was its insistence that advancement should be based on accomplishments resulting from striving, talents and good fortune.
While talents are distributed unequally, conservatives work to increase the equality of opportunity through reforms like school choice. Conservatives respect the individual’s right to keep the fruits of his labor, and recognize doing so increases society’s productivity and wealth, producing the surplus that funds a strong national defense and safety net welfare state.
Whereas they once joined conservatives in lauding “Horatio Alger” rags-to-riches stories celebrating the ideal of the self-made man, liberals now denounce achievement as individual accomplishment. Rugged individualism has been replaced by a collectivist “you didn’t build that.”
Liberals have gone beyond critiquing extreme inequality and the lack of social mobility that threaten society’s stability and continued prosperity. They now denounce America’s economy and social institutions as systematically rigged.
Rather than joining conservatives in using courts to correct specific instances of discrimination or target affirmative action assistance to those individuals overcoming genuine hardship, liberals prioritize racial, gender and sexual group membership over individual circumstances.
Disparate group outcomes are cited a priori as evidence requiring sweeping state intervention and redistribution. Liberals reject the ideal of a neutral meritocratic society that rewards individuals for what they do, not who they are.
Third, liberals are undermining pride in American history and her values that has animated unity at home and a generous, confident and inspiring policy abroad. Rather than viewing America as a unique force for good that unleashed more freedom, security, and prosperity for more people than any other society, liberals insist on reducing America to her worst acts and defining her as irredeemably and structurally racist.
Liberals no longer advocate incremental reforms to expand the American Dream to include those left behind, but advocate a complete restructuring of society as the only remedy for past sins. Liberals no longer join conservatives in highlighting the moral contrast between Western liberal democracies and authoritarian communist nations, but embrace extreme multiculturalism and reject the idea of American exceptionalism or even legitimacy.
Stanford Law’s associate dean of diversity, equity and inclusion Tirien Steinbach covers her face during protest. (FOX NEWS DIGITAL)
Fourth, liberals are undermining the marketplace of ideas that has facilitated a better understanding of reality, protected minority viewpoints, and provided outlets for protesting voices. Liberals unilaterally declared the urgency of addressing climate change and COVID-19 trumped the rights of dissenting voices to question the establishment viewpoint, and expanded that precedent to suppress conservative viewpoints and religious liberty rights in the name of inclusion and diversity.
Subordinating the pursuit of truth to liberals’ conception of social justice has corrupted America’s higher education system and increased political polarization. Candidates are less incentivized to persuade, engage with opposing views, or find common ground. Instead, they are rewarded for purity in appealing to their most passionate supporters via partisan distribution channels.
America’s culture endowed her with the optimism and confidence to rescue the world from fascism and communism, and to create a large, vibrant, and diverse middle class at home. America will need those same strengths to confront today’s challenges.
A self-assured nation that continues to believe her best days are ahead will make sacrifices today to benefit future generations, assimilate skilled and hard-working immigrants who come legally helping offset declining fertility rates, reestablish secure supply lines with allied nations and accelerate economic growth while ensuring a wider dispersion of opportunities to reach neglected geographies and populations.
Liberals no longer advocate incremental reforms to expand the American Dream to include those left behind, but advocate a complete restructuring of society as the only remedy for past sins.
A revitalized and unified America will need to assemble and lead a coalition of allied nations with shared values and/or strategic interests to counterbalance a rising China, but can only do so after securing its strength at home.
Many Republican donors and leaders blame recent election losses, including the Wisconsin Supreme Court election, on the party’s focus on cultural issues and prefer to focus on economic issues they see as less likely to divide the party or alienate swing suburban voters.
Liberal donors, activists and operatives have engaged in cultural debates with unmatched funding and intensity, while many of their conservative counterparts seem to simply hope the issues will go away. Conservatives risk missing this moment by failing to take cultural issues seriously or by focusing on extreme positions that alienate persuadable moderates.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s victory in Virginia, San Francisco’s school board and district attorney recall elections, and Mayor Eric Adams’ win in New York show voters across party lines frustrated with rising crime rates and the prioritization of radical liberal ideology over academic achievement will reward those who speak up against the liberal mob.
Stanford Law Dean Martinez’s apology and commitment to free speech, after students heckled a federal judge, show an academic remnant remains committed to traditional values of open debate. Conservatives can focus on cultural issues to build a majority coalition and show that liberals are the out-of-touch extremists threatening America’s heritage and future. Winning the debate on cultural issues is good politics for conservatives and important to keeping America great.