Everyone agrees that systemic issues exist. Just like everyone agrees that representation matters. And everyone agrees that identities are important. None of these things would be in any way, shape or form controversial if people spent any time thinking about it.
But wait! Don’t conservatives dismiss that kind of thinking as “Woke” Yes, they do. Conservatives do not disagree with the basic tenets of “woke“. They simply object to anyone ever being concerned about anything other than how they feel.
In 1951 William F. Buckley Jr. wrote a book called God and Man at Yale.
Buckley, then aged 25, criticized Yale for forcing collectivist, Keynesian, and secularist ideology on students, criticizing several professors by name, arguing that they tried to break down students’ religious beliefs through their hostility to religion and that Yale was denying its students any sense of individualism by making them embrace the ideas of liberalism.
Conservatives have been claiming that higher education is biased against conservatives for nearly three quarters of a century. But academia isn’t the only place they see systemic bias against conservatism. The “Media” is biased they say, pointing to movies they call “Woke” coming from Hollywood and news reports that refuse to incredulously echo right wing talking points.
Conservatives frequently claim they are silenced or oppressed for their options. Being religious does not get you silenced. Wanting lower taxes doesn’t get silenced. Calls for deregulation do not get silenced. What does get silenced? This is brilliantly skewered by Julias Goat.
The conservative demand for conservative media exists because conservatives want to see their opinions echoed back at them and the well funded conservative media knows this. The recent FOX text message scandal proves this. Heck, the decades old movie OutFoxed showed this.
I often joke that conservatives demand a quota system for conservative ideas because conservative ideas can not compete on merits. There is a whole wing nut welfare ecosystem to make sure conservatives can echo conservatism to conservatives and profit from it.
A typical cable TV package will have three full time conservative news channels and two mainstream ones that have conservatives on them all the time. The top social media news platforms lean conservative. Every major newspaper news paper has multiple conservative columnists. This isn’t random. This is the results of a massive effort to make sure conservative representation happens.
There is no group of people more in love with hyphenated identities than conservatives. From “pro life” to “pro 2nd amendment” to “Christian” to “traditional” to “constitutional conservative” they link together identities like masters of intersectionality.
Where conservative identity politics becomes an issue is where conservatives, being both hungry for representation of their identities and also intolerant of others identities invariably default to the reaction that any views other than theirs are “shoving it down our throats”.
You see this in conservative media criticism. Successful Hollywood movies that contradict conservative representation are described as “shoving it down our throats” while failed Hollywood movies that contradict conservative values are described “proof people are sick of wokeness”. They do this to avoid having to admit the world has changed around them and they are getting old and out of touch.
And this is getting more and more unhinged as time goes by. A few years ago anything not conservative was dismissed as biased. Now, anything not reflecting their identity back to them is demonic or groomer or CRT.
When conservatism becomes entirely about grievances about perceived bias, perceived lack of representation and perceived suppression of their identities, you end up with Wokeservatism. And this is the dominant version of conservatism in the US today.