America needs to dismantle its power structures, say woke activists, repeating a theme that has become ubiquitous across American identity politics. So-called anti-racists seek to upend so-called systemic racism. Those promoting radical sexual confusion aim to subvert heteronormativity and the patriarchy. Some revolutionaries deride the nuclear family as “Western-prescribed.”
All of these institutions, these activists assert, must be deconstructed and rebuilt according to the tenets of woke leftism. Yet these same people seem curiously oblivious to other power structures — namely, those that serve to promote their ideology.
If there are power structures that need dismantling, perhaps we should take a page from the ideologue playbook and target the very institutions that inculcate and advance their causes. Peter W. Wood highlights many of them in his new book, “Wrath: American Enraged.”
Public Schools and Academia
One such target would be our nation’s secular academic institutions, including both public schools and academia. The former, as parents increasingly realize, have become hotbeds of racial and sexual ideology where even elementary-aged children are exposed to radical and destructive conceptions of the human person, and encouraged to accept a form of self-hatred and hatred of one’s country.
Many of these ideas trickled down from the latter, which brainwashes students into abandoning common sense in favor of absurd concepts like microaggressions, safe spaces, and “days of absence” during which only persons of color are allowed on campus. “Almost all the really terrible ideas that blight contemporary America started on campus,” notes Wood.
There’s the obvious parental frustration that, after 18 years of carefully protecting and guiding our children, much of our hard work could be undone by some deceptive and manipulative academic. There is also the justified anger at throwing thousands of dollars at institutions that teach students to despise and distrust their parents, their nation, and even their religion. Colleges and universities that peddle radical Marxist ideology — on the taxpayers’ dime, no less — should be reined in or dismantled, and conservative legislators who control the purse strings (especially at the state level) can do it.
Another target worthy of dismantling is corporate media, which has long abdicated its role as an objective source of news. One recent poll found that 56 percent of Americans agreed with this statement: “Journalists and reporters are purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations.”
Why would Americans not think this, when it is so obvious that outlets like the Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN, and MSNBC operate as extensions of the Democrat Party? Moreover, in the case of The New York Times’ 1619 Project, journalists with obvious ideological biases and uncorrected inaccuracies are partnering with schools to bring their anti-American ideas into our public school classrooms.
Dismantling corporate media is a tougher nut to crack, given America’s praiseworthy history as a promoter of freedom of speech. Of course, one can simply not watch certain propagandist programming. But that is not enough if the goal is to weaken the legacy outlets’ ideological stranglehold.
Perhaps, as some have suggested, we should strengthen libel laws so it is easier to punish those who use their power and influence to destroy their opponents. And perhaps antitrust laws can be revised and leveraged to undermine the power of not only corporate media, but their social media enablers.
Speaking of major corporations like Facebook and Twitter, woke capitalism is yet another aggressive power structure. Corporations made North Carolina feel the heat over its 2016 bathroom bill that challenged transgender ideology. Hollywood and other corporations have similarly chastised and threatened Georgia over abortion and voting laws. State legislatures, acting on behalf of the voters they represent, are aggressively attacked by woke capitalists who possess the economic prowess to hurt the same Americans they’ve dispossessed by moving millions of jobs overseas.
Blunting the power of woke capitalism is also tricky, but possible. Conservatives can boycott corporations that use their economic power to trample on American voters.
Voters can also urge their representatives to reverse the disastrous consequences of outsourcing and offshoring by taking legislative action to lure American companies to bring important industries — especially those tied to national security interests — back to our shores. And citizens can creatively start new companies that serve their communities and offer attractive, local, “Made in America” options to American consumers.
“The popular will of Americans has been thwarted by a combination of careerist elites, progressive ideologues, an unprincipled press, and a business class more attuned to global opportunities than to domestic flourishing,” observes Wood. Yet, as he notes, getting angry is not enough.
The first step in countermanding these disastrous trends is to expose how these actors, far from representing the average American, actually represent some of the most politically powerful, well-funded power structures radically changing our nation. The left keeps playing the activist card as if its members are the outsiders, when in reality it controls most of the commanding institutions of our culture: education, media, and corporations, among other elite cohorts.
Once we’ve exposed the hypocrisy of technocratic activists, the next step is generating enough cultural and political will to do something about it. That means personal sacrifices by everyday citizens regarding where they send their kids to school, where they get their news, and what they purchase.
It also means communicating to their representatives that they will no longer sit idly by while leftist power structures undermine traditional American conceptions of family, community, and country. Americans must demand action against the institutions that threaten their freedoms and those of their children.
“Take it to the punks, or stay committed to higher ideals?” asks Wood. The answer is both. While not succumbing to the emotivist, performative anger of activist culture, we must creatively and shrewdly use their same language and rhetorical weapons against them.
Woke activists are right — there are power structures threatening America and the common good. As Wood urges in his last chapter, it’s up to God-fearing, conservative Americans to do something about them.