Andrew Sullivan: The scolds are in retreat

Sullivan’s latest piece on Substack is titled “The Vibes They Are A-Shiftin'” and that actually undersells the case he makes that the woke left (or whatever you prefer to call them) appear to be in retreat. He opens by noting that it was only 2 years ago that the world was figuratively and sometimes literally on fire. Activists were demanding police be defunded and Ibram Kendi and Robin DiAngelo were seemingly anointed as our foremost public intellectuals. Jump forward two years and things look very different.

Last year, Eric Adams became mayor of New York City, propelled by minority voters horrified by surging crime and chaos. This past week, DA Chesa Boudin, scion of leftwing terrorists, was ousted by minority voters in San Francisco…

Elite imposition of the new social justice religion — indoctrinating children in the precepts and premises of critical race and gender theory — has also met ferocious backlash as parents began to absorb what their kids were being taught: that America is a uniquely evil country based forever on white supremacy; that your race is the most important thing about you; that biological sex must be replaced by socially constructed genders of near-infinite number; and that all this needs to be taught in kindergarten. Yes, some of this was politically exploited or hyped by the right. But if you think there is no there there in this concern about schooling, you’re dreaming…

The Washington Post this week was convulsed by public infighting — initiated by a reporter, Felicia Sonmez, whose crusade to dismantle the “oppressive systems” she endures at the WaPo went on for a week of public name-calling, vitriol, and victim-mongering…

And yet even in this wokest of woke newspapers, the editor finally had enough. Sonmez was fired yesterday for “misconduct that includes insubordination, maligning your co-workers online and violating The Post’s standards on workplace collegiality and inclusivity.”…

In the popular culture, the scolds are retreating.

There’s a lot of retreating almost everywhere you look. CNN is reportedly thinking about firing some anchors who can’t keep their leftist partisanship out of their work. Even Netflix told employees, “If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you.” In short, if you feel harmed by our content, there’s the door. Netflix also dropped a bunch of animated shows including one based on Ibram Kendi’s “Anti-racist Baby.”

On top of all of that, the government disinformation board collapsed. And, though many in the media clearly aren’t happy about it, Johnny Depp won his defamation trial.

There’s a whole section of his piece about the evidence the electorate is changing too, partly in response to people getting tired of Democratic scolds. We won’t know the outcome of that story until November but already it appears Hispanic voters and even Black voters are tired of the lectures. I don’t blame them. With inflation and crime what it is, there’s only so much tolerance for social justice scolding that people can be expected to put up with. Many Americans have reached their fill.