ROME — The Guardian newspaper has denounced the rise of what it calls an “anti-woke backlash,” warning liberals they are losing the battle for society’s soul to conservatives.
“Progressives need to wise up to the fact that they are losing this argument and decide what they are going to do in response,” writes Ellie Mae O’Hagan Thursday. “If they don’t, they may soon find that the future they always assumed was theirs is being made without them.”
As attentive Breitbart readers are well aware, the Guardian has been on the cutting edge of the progressive march as champions of liberal “newspeak,” which makes the acknowledgment of its eroding hegemony all the more remarkable.
The left-wing British news outlet has not been shy in its crusade to root out unacceptable language and replace it with politically correct substitutes.
Last May, for example, the daily did something similar in the area of climate change, announcing its editorial decision never to speak of climate change “skeptics” but only of “deniers,” while adopting the terms “climate emergency, crisis or breakdown” over the more neutral “climate change” and “global heating” in place of “global warming.”
The following month, the paper released a new pro-abortion lexicon as an antidote to important strides made by the pro-life movement. “We want to avoid medically inaccurate, misleading language when covering women’s reproductive rights,” the Guardian’s US editor-in-chief, John Mulholland, said at the time. “These are arbitrary bans that don’t reflect fetal development – and the language around them is often motivated by politics, not science.”
Yet many liberals have been living in a bubble, assuming that the consensus they seemed to have garnered in the 1990s was still in force, Ms. O’Hagan suggests in her article. For many, the idea that conservative ideas would reemerge seemed utterly inconceivable.
“The reason liberals still believe this consensus holds is that the politics New Labour ushered in was so dominant and all-encompassing that almost every opinion that existed outside of it was dismissed as the view of cranks,” she writes.
For many on the left, social liberalism became the new normal, she suggests, leaving behind once and for all antiquated ideas of faith, family, society, and sex. This explains in part the blindness of progressives toward the tectonic shifts that were taking place in front of them.
The rise of a “new, young left that is more radical on issues of social liberalism” has met with more than a little resistance, O’Hagan warns, and the movement away from wokeness grows more powerful by the day.
Its members are “the people that have enabled Brexit and Donald Trump to succeed, and have since transformed themselves into the base of a potent political movement,” she acknowledges.
While scorning the idea that conservatives could possibly have been victims of politically correct overlords who sought to supervise their ideas and their speech, she suggests that the new right has nonetheless rediscovered its societal and political potential, which for years had seemed all but lost.
In order to justify its backlash against wokeness, people on the right put forward “outlandish examples of identity politics,” O’Hagan notes while still clinging to the notion that, in essence, such resistance is motivated principally by whites who fear losing their privilege.
It is, however, unlikely that the response of liberals will be able to stem the growing tide of populism, nationalism, and conservatism more broadly, since they have embraced a formula that is ultimately self-defeating.
If contemporary history is any guide, liberals who realize how society is changing will not try to adopt a mode of discourse that is more rational, conciliatory, or temperate. Instead, they will insist in ever shriller tones that those who oppose them are ignorant cave trolls who have no right to an opinion.
And yet, as Hillary Clinton found out in 2016, the “basket of deplorables” is now overflowing and threatens to bring down the entire house of cards that liberals had painstakingly erected over a generation.