Posted on December 17, 2020

Found: White America’s Lost Moral Authority.

Bradford H.B., Human Events, December 14, 2020

Speaking on a podcast last month, English commentator Douglas Murray expressed exasperation with the conservative establishment for how it treats the moral claims of the left. “The left is running rampant with resentment and the right is not playing something back with equal depth,” Murray told his interviewer. When the left exploits inequality to win popular support, Murray argues, conservatives leaders think “they can respond by talking about zoning regulations or a specific tax issue.” This hasn’t worked and will continue to fail, he said. Many, including myself, agree.

Calls for a re-orientation of how leading conservative thinkers respond to America’s alienated millennials and the Marxist left who exploit them have been bubbling up following the May/June riots. Conservative scholar and commentator Paul Gottfried, for instance, recently penned a piece lamenting the right’s long-time failure in realizing that leftists do indeed see themselves as fighting a moral fight, and are anything but nihilistic relativists. “It is unimaginable that the more fervent and more activist side in our culture wars is not driven by its own morality, which expresses itself in rage,” Gottfried writes.

Similarly, in a recent and widely shared essay, Yoram Hazony wrote that the Marxist left sees itself involved in a moral battle against oppression and injustice, one that’s quite literally between good and evil. {snip} With that kind of dichotomous worldview, Hazony argues, appeals to abstract ideas like “equality before the law” or “freedom from coercion” (that ‘chilliest of virtues,’ as Isaiah Berlin wrote) simply won’t cut it.

The same can be said for using practical arguments against the moralizing left. For instance, using the rule of law as an argument against illegal immigration just won’t budge a progressive who sees all illegal aliens essentially as refugees done wrong by their governments (and ours). The same goes for proposing economic solutions to BLM’s list of oppression-based grievances, as Murray alluded to above. {snip}

Unfortunately, none of these commentators have offered much in the way of how to fight back “with equal depth,” as Murray says. Hazony and Gottfried were more or less silent on how to respond against the left, while Murray, for his part, argued that conservatives “should respond to [left-wing] resentment with aspiration, among other things, doing better for yourself, your loved ones and your family.”


Moral positions can only really be combated with competing moral positions. For instance, advocating explicitly against the left’s intolerance of white America is something that Murray and Hazony could have raised in their complaint about the GOP’s ineptitude—but didn’t. Today, it’s not hyperbole to say that the rhetoric directed towards whites, from sources both top-down and ground-up, is beginning to resemble what French and German Jews endured at the turn of the last century. Without question, it’s something establishment conservatives can and should get much louder about.


One can now witness express “Europhobia,” anti-white animus, or “whitenessphobia” (as Daniel Greenberg calls it) pouring from nearly every major U.S. institution on a regular basis): major media outlets, places of work, governing bodies (federal and local), and schools at all levels. It would seem hard to argue that there’s little cause for alarm when professors at prestigious universities are sharing white-shaming memes or declaring things like “white lives don’t matter.” Or, when posters mocking white racial stereotypes are appearing in residential neighborhoods and storefronts have to advertise their non-white ownership in order to stave off arson attacks.

The toxic ideas borne out of Whiteness Studies and CRT programs have been shown to reduce the level of sympathy that white liberals have for the white working-class. Perhaps unsurprisingly then, increasing rates of white suicide (of both men and women) and drug abuse is being ignored. {snip}


Most disturbingly, these same toxic ideas have even been used to excuse the most heinous of crimes, including rape (as payback for historical black slavery) and murder (as payback for structural racism). Simply calling the ideas “un-American propaganda” then, as the White House did in its recent anti-CRT directive, is too vague and indirect. They, and the people who espouse them, are bigoted, full stop. It’s not only honest and accurate to call them out as such—it’s strategic, too. Louder voices and far better coordination on the conservative establishment’s part would have much effect in blunting the left’s stridency when it comes to race-baiting.


Largely because of the left’s decades-long project of putting racism at the center of every arena of U.S. policy and culture, to be racist today (or deemed as such), as political scientist Eric Kaufmann has put it, is to “transgress the social norms which define good and evil.” When the charge is levied against the left (including self-loathing whites), they can be forced onto the defensive, just as conservatives so routinely are.

Failing to call out expressions of anti-white bigotry in conservative media or in Congress, however, signals that the left is off the hook for their own racism. They’re not, and nor should they be. Demanding an end to the left’s bigotry will also go far in energizing the conservative rank-and-file—a cohort long targeted by the hard-left’s moral intimidation and long denied by their Beltway leaders an effective vocabulary to counter them.

If faced with a strong groundswell of coordinated voices, many among the woke left will suffer a deflated sense of moral righteousness. Conservative tactics may include: boycotts of companies that finance BLM extremism or engage in woke advertising, demands to universities to defund CRT/Whiteness-Studies courses, or open letters from top conservative and liberal voices condemning the more influential Europhobic speakers.

As for the more strident and dismissive among the left, they’ll be forced to proclaim, even louder, that ‘racism against whites is not a thing’—a position that’s far more alienating to the mass public than it is defensible.

In some ways, the conservative establishment has already shown itself willing to use the charge of racism against the left, just in a misdirected way. For years, establishment conservatives have tried to divert Democrats’ routine accusations of Republican racism by pinning it on Democrats themselves. This includes attacking Democrats’ historical connections to the Confederacy and the fact that liberal-led issues like abortion, welfare, unions, and minimum wages arguably hurt blacks. While Democrats and many among the left exploit black Americans, it’s simply not accurate to say they have animus towards them. Who they do have animus towards, however, is whites. And calling that out in the loudest and clearest terms possible would be much more honest, accurate, and effective in terms of advocating against the left.