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The ‘Woke’ Onslaught – How Should Conservatives Respond?


This week, it emerged that the newly appointed head of America’s NPR (National   Public Radio) hates the US Constitution.  Speaking in 2021, she described the First Amendment which safeguards free speech as “a challenge.”

How could it be that the head of America’s public broadcasting service, established by an act of Congress, has such contempt for the US Constitution?

In her previous role running Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia, Katherine Maher rejected a “free and open internet” as a guiding principle.  Such principles are, in her words, a “white male Westernized construct,” according to reports.

Katherine Maher, reports say, support efforts to censor opinions that do not conform with her leftist world view.  She spoke of the truth as being “a distraction”.

Sadly, Katherine Maher is not a one off.  She is fairly typical of the sort of people now running many of America’s institutions, HR departments, government agencies and universities. 

Ms Maher’s social media posts might read like parody.  There is nothing funny about the way that people with Ms Maher’s outlook and opinions are subverting America’s Founding principles, and replacing them with a grim leftist dogma that risks destroying American and the West.

Conservatives need to push back, but how?

Until now, many conservatives have been better at identifying the problem than at tackling it.

To defeat DEI, we need to pass laws, reform institutions, appoint the right people and set the right incentives.  Most of all, however, we need to counter bad ideas with good ideas.

States can take a lead in the fight back.  Here in Mississippi, for example, there was a successful campaign two years ago for a bill to combat Critical Race Theory.  The new law goes some way to addressing the issue, but not far enough. 

If we are serious about restricting DEI dogma, we need to ensure that your tax dollars cannot be spent promoting this divisive ideology.

Florida’s Governor, Ron DeSantis, has shown that states can take the lead against DEI, signing an Executive Order, restricting the use of public money for DEI programs.  State leaders in Oklahoma, Utah and Texas have also done something similar.  We need to see similar action here in Mississippi.

Did you know that many public universities use your tax dollars to promote Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) programs?

One of our leading public universities here in Mississippi has an “institutional diversity, equity, and inclusion plan” governing every aspect of campus life.  DEI shapes not only university admissions, administration and faculty hiring, but what young people are taught, with the development of an academic equity scorecard. 

Sunlight is the best disinfectant.  That is why conservatives need to expose how many of your tax dollars are being spent to DEI programs. 

Instead of more DEI hires, the University of Florida recently decided to eliminate all DEI employee positions.  Last month, the University of Texas at Austin fired dozens of employees who used to work in diversity, equity and inclusion programs.  Every state should aim for something similar.

The best way to defeat bad ideas is with good ideas.  Teaching young people the following truths about America will give them immunity against the ‘woke’ mind virus. 

  • America is built on liberty.  This country got started because people living in 13 former British colonies had had enough of being bossed about by a British king.
  • The US Constitution is the best system of government in the world. America might only be 240-something years old, but the US Constitution is now the oldest written Constitution in the world.
  • America is a force for good.  On three occasions – World War I, World War II and the Cold War – the United States intervened to save the free world. 
  • Americans are inventive. From the first flight to the advent of the iphone, there is one country that has proved extraordinarily inventive: the USA.
  • Judeo-Christian ideals have shaped America. 
  • A generation ago, the conservative movement focused on things like tax cuts and red tape reduction.  Those things remain essential, but we also need to ensure that we are promoting America’s Founding principles.

This is a fight that we can win.  One day we will look back and think it absurd that someone with Katherine Maher’s outlook could be put in charge of producing public service broadcasting content.  But there is a great deal that we need to do right now in order to get there!

Douglas Carswell is the President & CEO of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy.

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