During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s “radical chic” was all the rage among the upper middle class. In today’s parlance, it was a cultural appropriation in the service of virtue signaling by the upper middle class, especially their children, to show solidarity with the hardships faced by America’s lower socio-economic and minority communities. Contempt of the United States – and in many instances, the embrace of our communist Cold War adversaries, the Soviet Union and Mao’s China – was en vogue. This was not surprising, as much of the accepted critiques of the United States, in particular, and the “decadent West,” in general, were based and abetted by Soviet propaganda, which was aimed at exacerbating existing economic and class tensions to divide and weaken our country and allies.
Not that the radical chic elitists were going to do anything constructive to ameliorate the divisions and inequality in our country. That was the point of their virtue signaling: to look as if they were in “solidarity” with the oppressed without really having to do anything about – certainly not to give up all their cushy, credentialed power and perks to consort with the objects of their abstract adoration. As a former practitioner of radical chic, John Lennon, later satirized it in his song, “I Don’t Wanna Face It”:
Say you’re looking for some peace and love
Leader of a big old band
You want to save humanity
But it’s people that you just can’t stand
Recognizing class warfare would never spur the revolt of Americans, especially the middle-class, into a transformational socialist revolution, the Left began to emphasize race as the fault line for shaking the foundations of American society. Sadly, this cynical strategy has proven wildly successful in shaking the foundations of American society. Throughout the ensuing decades, radical chic has metastasized throughout American institutions, including the government, academia, and multinational corporations, into the DIE cult* of “diversity, inclusion, and equity.”
Further, in a cruel slap in the face, much of the DIE cult’s spread has been underwritten by hardworking Americans’ tax dollars, who are subject to “cancellation” for dissenting from the practitioners of this virulent and spreading strain of radical chic. For, ultimately, the root concept of the DIE cult and radical chic remains a deep-seated loathing of America and its foundational principles.
Recently, I had the occasion to discuss the causes of and correctives for radical chic with the Hon. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (M.C., Ret.), a champion of human freedom and dignity, who as a youth was chased with his family under the threat of death from Castro’s Cuba. On the question of the DIE cult’s proselytization of anti-Americanism, Lincoln posed the question succinctly: “The one question that should be pondered in context and asked of all students is, if you were in a Nazi death camp or other totalitarian dungeon, what country’s army would you wish would come to liberate you?”
Sadly, too many of our fellow citizens don’t realize Lincoln is asking a rhetorical question. Nor would such individuals likely engage in the brutal self-introspection of Lennon:
Well, now you’re looking for a world of truth
Trying to find a better way
The time has come to see yourself
You always look the other way
While Lennon didn’t wanna face it, he had the courage to do so. Will the radical chic poseurs and the DIE cult?
Yes, it’s another pesky rhetorical question.
[*Note: the acronym should be DIE, because that is the chronological order in which the Left unilaterally foisted these abjectly partisan, weaponized political concepts upon society. Of course, one can see why the Left chose DEI, instead; and, by the way, “Dei” is Latin for “of God.” Who says the Left doesn’t have a sense of humor – albeit a perverse one?]