The Way Forward

by Matthew J. Peterson

Americans must forge a path ahead.

America is locked into an escalating cycle of political and cultural turmoil. Our cold civil war is heating up and has spilled over into nearly every aspect of life. A momentous commercial-cultural shift is now underway that will force us to reexamine our fundamental assumptions.

This shift will soon become the most significant change in America in living memory. The geographic, digital, and financial movement of millions of people and billions of dollars out from under the control of woke states, woke digital technology, and woke corporations and capital has begun.

And it is now the duty of all those who wish to stop the decline of our nation to join it.

Bulldozed

The American cultural and political landscape has been bulldozed and fundamentally reshaped over the last half century. A one-party oligarchy tied to the radical ideology of identity politics controls our major institutions as populist resistance rises. Digital technology continues to reshape human behavior and institutions, causing an escalating war over its control.

The views of roughly half the population of America are increasingly suppressed and delegitimized by most major institutions and media outlets. This difference in opinion is not a mere matter of policy preferences. Americans are divided about what men and women, the family, citizenship, and nation-states are and ought to be, as well as when human life begins.

Few want to admit the reality of the situation, but Americans are now divided over the building blocks and the purpose of human civilization. Many do not consider what underlies all the factionalism amidst the noise, but this does not change the sordid reality. There is no possibility of reconciling this fundamental opposition unless one side or the other wins.

The nature of this conflict is purposely obscured by many of its participants and the rest of our leadership class is often too blind or frightened to describe it. It’s not only hard to come to grips with the depth of our division: it’s difficult for those formed in a very different America to see it. The gap between the experience of older and younger generations of Americans has created dangerously disparate visions of the reality in which we are all operating.

But this reality is clear to those of us who have recognized it for what it is all along. And those of us, like myself, who are already “pre-canceled” because we have been in the trenches publicly for years, are not afraid. In the aftermath of the 2020 election, a quiet burst of energy was unleashed across the nation. We stopped asking for permission or seeking anyone’s approval and began to act.

It’s over

I grew up conservative.

My parents became a part of the “religious right” after a conversion shortly before I was born. I was homeschooled for much of my youth, read widely, and daily analyzed the bias of the mainstream media. I devoured every major conservative publication in high school.

I attended my alma mater after reading about it in National Review’s Guide to Colleges because I wanted to read original texts and great works. I went to graduate school to study political philosophy and the American founding to try to figure out what, exactly, we ought to be trying to conserve, and how we ought to best go about it.

I reveal all this to make clear that what I have to say comes from a friend, not an outsider, to the American Right. I have willingly shaped myself to engage in the fight to renew America and western civilization and this has driven nearly every major decision in my life.

Like many in my generation, however, I drifted from the movement and despaired of the Right and the anemic Republican Party due to its own incompetence and corruption. The aftermath of the Iraq War, the financial crisis and ensuing bailout, and my own experience in politics and media revealed not only the lack of talent and seriousness on the right, but the corruption of our system.

I tested thousands of students and teachers about American history and civics and saw how our educational system had already failed us—with disastrous consequences to our civic and cultural life still to come. I analyzed and interacted with the flow of power in American politics and saw the depth of its corruption. I learned through experience how central media is to the molding of the public mind—and how blind the Right is about this fact even as the cultural dominance of the Left has hardened.

It became obvious to me that in education and media—both of which shape the minds and opinions of the citizenry—the alternative structures that many of us kept suggesting, which were consistently downplayed as impractical, were, in fact, necessary. But time and time again, those of us who complained and wanted to adapt and address our changing circumstances were pushed away and prevented from action.

The Right didn’t want to hear what it needed to do or to listen to or elevate younger leaders. Many who were merely repeating the “right” words and phrases chased those we needed away. But the Left’s increasing control of our institutions meant that climbing the ladder in any mainstream sector of the economy while not going along politically and culturally was increasingly impossible.

Whatever you think of him, the rise of Donald Trump changed all this. His election was a rejection of the status quo, including both political parties. He revealed the possibility that our cold civil war was not over, its result not inevitable. He revealed the possibility of a renewed Republican party that would not merely manage decline.

And decline we have—to the point where most of the younger generation who rejects the Left justifiably sees America as a dystopic political and cultural wasteland.

Read the full article on The American Mind here.