Regular Folks Are Pushing Back Against ‘Illiberal Liberalism’

Relationships between “the few and the many” have seldom been more fraught with resentment and distrust. Common men and women are being pushed around by self-centered liberal patricians who are […]
Published on October 20, 2023

Relationships between “the few and the many” have seldom been more fraught with resentment and distrust. Common men and women are being pushed around by self-centered liberal patricians who are wilfully indifferent to traditional customs and values.

According to University of Notre Dame professor Patrick Deneen, our liberal foundations are coming apart at the seams. From his publication of “Why Liberalism Failed” in 2018 to his latest book, “Regime Change: Toward a Postliberal Future,” the author gives a shocking account of cultural disorder. “Liberalism,” he writes, “has generated its own undoing.”

Mr. Deneen acknowledges that liberals once sought to promote human well-being by overcoming a feudal system in which a person’s station in life depended entirely on birthright. Classical liberals proposed property rights to unseat aristocrats, unlock human potential, and advance productivity.

Free market economies, tethered to religious charity, human empathy, the rule of law, and national safety nets, produced societies in which the powerful few left considerable room for the many to flourish.

Ordinary people advanced their prospects in life with the support of strong families, neighborhoods, communities, churches, guilds, labor unions, citizen organizations, populist political parties, and other institutions that benefited the average citizen and restrained the greed of established elites.

Throughout the 19th and much of the 20th century, classical liberal economics tempered by commonly shared moral values created wealthy nations and rising levels of human prosperity.

Today, scholars such as Mr. Deneen contend that the economic and social conditions of “the many” are in decline while “the few” have “garnered a monopoly both on economic and social advantages.”

Corrupted Ideologies

Classical liberals eventually became indifferent to the plight of fellow citizens who were left behind by global market forces and the development of a borderless meritocracy.

Progressive-liberals developed a “welfare state” substitute for Christian charity. They empowered technocratic experts to diminish the democratic influence of lower-income people and control their lives from “cradle to grave.”

Marxists tried to seize political power from the corporate establishment and develop a “dictatorship of the proletariat.” After the Bolshevik and Maoist revolutions exposed the tyranny of communism, Marxism lost its appeal for ordinary men and women.

Neo-Marxist culture warriors pivoted to a long march through the West’s formative institutions. To divide and confuse opponents they introduced the present-day curse of “identity politics.”

For more than half a century, this corrupt ideological mixture has turned left-liberal intellectuals against common people, whom they constantly accuse of resisting change and getting in the way of “progress.”

Conservatives who seek to avoid cultural chaos are regarded as backward rubes and domestic terrorists.

Liberalism Unmasked

According to Mr. Deneen, “Liberalism has unmasked itself.” Western society is dominated by an increasingly “illiberal liberalism” that seeks to force all opposition into submission.

It’s conceivable that, like bankruptcy, liberal lunacy comes on gradually and then all of a sudden. Such has been the case with the pandemic-level onset of gender dysphoria in public schools. Once a fringe idea in postmodern philosophy, “gender identity” is now an obsessive preoccupation of K-12 educators.

The present focus on liberal passions such as transgender ideology, critical race theory, and climate change activism coincides with a steep decline in academic progress and student achievement.

“Gender-affirming” teaching methods and psychological interventions are routinely carried on without the knowledge or approval of a child’s parents. Teaching materials, books, videos, and school activities promote transgenderism among students as young as age 5.

Teenagers designated as “non-binary” by “expert” professionals are considered candidates for life-altering gender transformation surgery. School-induced gender confusion is causing considerable harm to children and families.

Regular Folks Are Resisting Radical Liberals

On Sept. 20, scores of Canadians in cities across the country participated in a “1 Million March 4 Children.” Organizers called upon “Brothers and Sisters of Humanity” to unite against the “indoctrination and sexualization” of children.

Reaction by Canada’s liberal elites was swift and intimidating. From where I reside in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Mount Saint Vincent University President Joël Dickinson denounced what he referred to as “the hatred that is being rallied at the anti-LGBTQ protests that are expected across Canada.”

Mr. Dickinson went on to contend that “incidents of anti-2SLGBTQIA+ hate” are on the rise around the world. We have to “rise up more loudly and take up more space,” he wrote.

The university president called upon his colleagues to post similar messages. “Let’s flood all feeds,” he said. For activist academics, revolutionary political literacy is the cornerstone of a progressive education—actual literacy, not so much.

Canadian parents told multiple press outlets that they were protesting the premature sexualization of children, the erosion of parental rights, and the indoctrination of impressionable children.

The “1 Million March 4 Children” website clearly asserted that “Our movement is inclusive and diverse. We’re proud to have supporters from all walks of life, including those who identify as liberal-minded, gay, lesbian, and gender nonconforming.”

While event organizers expressed no malice toward LGBT people, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rushed to join with those who sought to brand concerned parents as hateful and unwelcome. “Let me make one thing very clear: Transphobia, homophobia, and biphobia have no place in this country,” the PM said.

It’s clear that regular folks, who used to be indifferent to what schools teach, will not stand for the hyper-sexualization of their children by intolerant liberals.

Since no one will do it for them, parents are taking it upon themselves to demand that kids are allowed to be kids. According to the Post Millennial, event organizer Kamel El-Cheikh told a crowd that gathered in Ottawa that Sept. 20 will be known as “Families and Kids Liberation Day.”

Some of us are predicting that dazzling woke liberal elitists in Rainbow Reichs such as the Dominion of Canada are destined to become political portraits of Dorian Gray.

For the sake of our grandchildren and the survival of Western civilization, let’s hope we’re right!


William Brooks is a Senior Fellow at Frontier Centre for Public Policy.  Originally appeared here.

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