Complain all you want that the covid-19 relief bill has been packed with all sorts of unrelated stuff from the Democratic wish list — at least the Democrats have a wish list. What’s the Republican equivalent? Often it seems to be literally a bunch of wishes — that the media wouldn’t be so liberal or so mean, that corporations wouldn’t go Full Woke in their diversity trainings, that social media platforms would stop wielding the ban-hammer so enthusiastically against conservatives. The closest thing this has produced to a real, live governing agenda is “Repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act,” which wouldn’t really fix the problems with social media that Republicans want to address and might do a bunch of things they don’t want, and at any rate is not, by itself, enough to run a country.
But I can’t entirely blame them, because this is how the party’s activists and even its intellectuals are thinking. As I wrote recently, I’ve been spending some time on Clubhouse, a new audio app that has attracted a lot of think-tank and political folks. No matter what the ostensible topic, the conversations most conservatives are having there almost always seem to end up in complaints about wokeism and cancel culture.
Heck, I share many of their complaints, and their fears about where all this is heading. I talk about it a lot, too. But that can’t be all we talk about. There’s a lot of important stuff going on in the world, and I’m worried we’re missing it by becoming literally reactionary — not so much for anything as against whatever the left is doing. A once-proud movement risks turning into one perpetual, primal scream: “I’m not gonna, and you can’t make me.”