Conservatives Need to Stop Indulging Leftist Narratives

The Daily Wire recently posted a short, satirical video (since removed) mocking those who gleefully take offense at the most imperceptible of slights. In this case, that we celebrate Columbus Day (and not, as they would prefer, “Indigenous Peoples Day”).

The video depicted Native Americans savagely killing one another and cannibalizing the dead. Columbus then arrives and brings enlightenment, peace, and material progress. It closes with two columns which list achievements: one for the natives up until the arrival of Columbus and one for the continent following the introduction of Western civilization by Columbus and those who followed him. The natives’ list is quite short and comprised mainly of some trivialities (and some horrors), while the post-Columbus list is quite lengthy and boasts much more impressive civilizational content.

The video is meant to be inflammatory. It is, after all, responding in kind to those who are inflammatory themselves. Those who seek continuously to divide us along racial, ethnic, class, and gender lines—those who desire the obliteration of our collective historical memory and to replace it with politically correct fictions—deserve to be called out for their subversive activity and bizarre worldview.

Is the video reductive? Of course! But so is the Left’s preferred approach to race (i.e., all white people are a plague, and all non-whites are their sainted victims). Did Columbus’ arrival result in some serious evils? Sure (even if many of them were unforeseeable and unintentional tragedies, such as the spreading of disease and misunderstandings resulting from cultural barriers). Can any serious person contend, however, that, on balance, the arrival of Columbus on this continent was a bad thing?

Doubtful, and I think that’s a project doomed to failure. Just look around.

So why did the video evince such panicky, overwrought denunciations from some corners of the Right—and even a groveling apology from Mr. Ben “facts don’t care about your feelings” Shapiro himself?

Because the only thing that a “mainstream conservative” enjoys more than fulminating impotently after losing an election to a Democrat is trying desperately to win the approval of those same Democrats after losing to them. Conservatives love being cheap dates for Democrats.

The “mainstream conservative,” therefore, gets an unalloyed thrill—not unlike the thrill that once ran up Chris Matthews’ leg—from viciously attacking alleged “bigots” on his own side. Why does he do this?

Because he has bought into the Left’s game. He has accepted their warped, destructive, and cynical way of thinking about race, and he is eager to demonstrate his own personal separation from it and, thus, to signal his virtue. He believes that he has a duty to atone for the supposed racial sins of his tribe, announced infallibly by the Left’s religion: Social Justice. How to atone? By screaming, like a dutiful drone, “Racist!” whenever a progressive would.

Our “mainstream conservative” is a pathetic hostage to the Left. He somehow hasn’t yet realized that the Left is hell-bent on branding everything “racist” regardless of whether the label has any basis whatsoever in either reason or reality. Things are so bad that a progressive merely has to threaten to play the “you’re a racist” card, and our “mainstream conservative” will do anything, including betray his own staff, to save face with a crowd that has already decided that he is irredeemable: nothing more than the political and moral equivalent of white supremacists and neo-Nazi fascists. He hasn’t developed sufficient contempt for this judgment, I suppose, or perhaps he really believes that he can change it by engaging with them in good faith. He cannot.

But surely he must gain something for submitting to such regular and savage public square beatings? But, no. He gains absolutely nothing. Not a treat thrown lazily over his master’s shoulder. Not a pat on the head. Not even a kind word or two. Our “mainstream conservative” is repeatedly used like a cad uses a woman at the end of a crappy date. And like that woman, he seriously believes that next time will be different, with precisely zero evidence to support that belief.

I’d compare him to Charlie Brown, but that’d be an unjustified slander of Charlie Brown. At least his regular humiliation comes from a genuine bait and switch. Our “mainstream conservative,” on the other hand, subjects himself to regular humiliation and vitriolic scorn without even the illusion that there’s a football he can kick. The Left doesn’t even pretend to have a football—only more unwarranted demonization, which it bears openly. There are no surprises.

For the Left, the definition of  “being a racist” amounts to nothing more than “disagreeing with the Left on race.” It is not possible in their world to hold a different opinion out of genuine intellectual disagreement. All disagreement amounts to racism, secret or not. The mainstream conservative who appears to want to accept this abusive treatment has accepted this definition as true and, stunningly, feels shame when he transgresses it. (How strange that there is no similar taken-on-faith shame from a progressive regarding Christian sexual morality.)

Moreover, the truth is that the Left doesn’t actually want racial healing or reconciliation. Nor does it want a “post-racial society.” The Left wants power, and it uses race as a wedge for attaining, maintaining, and expanding that power. This is obvious even to a casual observer of contemporary American politics and yet, our “mainstream conservative,” fool that he is, remains blind to it after decades of abuse. He insists that he can win this rigged game. He thinks he has a real chance of making a persuasive argument to people who operate in this irrational and disingenuous manner. He believes his righteousness is what matters. It doesn’t. The double standard is not something lost on them. It is precisely the point. (Remember, only white people can be racist! Oh, does that sound insane? Racist!)

So, in the end, our groveling, “mainstream conservative” is nothing more than a tool, a useful idiot, working diligently, if unwittingly, in service of the Left’s broader project: the demonization of the West, broadly, and the American idea, particularly.

Screen shot from the Daily Wire’s Columbus Day cartoon.

It’s actually embarrassing and cringe-inducing how gutless conservatives are in this regard. The Right will never be in serious competition for the votes of minorities if it continues to play by the rules of this twisted game invented by the Left for its own benefit. Even worse, it is patronizing to minorities because it operates on the assumption that minorities are unable to see through this façade. Conservatives will always be at a structural disadvantage if all of their arguments are susceptible to a rhetorical kill shot like “that’s racist.” Those who adhere to the American idea will never be successful if they believe they must apologize for the West’s—and America’s—soaring successes just because, in the course of human events, some injustices have occurred. Injustices don’t have to be denied to deny that they’re dispositive or wholly constitutive of the American character. Americans should be capable of more intellectual subtlety than that.

It’s time the Right starts taking the fight to the Left. The only way forward is through the fire, something President Trump is repeatedly demonstrating by example. (Commissioner Goodell’s recent attempt to staunch the NFL’s ratings hemorrhage is clear evidence that this strategy is effective.) You will be called racist no matter what. Praying for the salvation of your nation? Advocating for free speech in academic spaces? Desiring sensible immigration policies? Protecting the fundamental, constitutional right to keep and bear arms? We already know that all of these things and more will be deemed racist in the absence of any evidence, so why should we indulge it when it happens?

The GOP is the party of Lincoln, the man who freed the slaves and saved the Union. Lincoln was a man of great courage.

It’s time we start acting like we remember that.


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About Deion A. Kathawa

Deion A. Kathawa is an attorney who hails from America’s heartland. He holds a J.D. from the University of Notre Dame and a B.A. from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. He is a 2021 alumnus of the Claremont Institute’s John Marshall Fellowship. Subscribe to his “Sed Kontra” newsletter.