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Ron DeSantis’s final solution to the (((woke))) question


A variety of liberal and centrist critics have been pointing out that Ron DeSantis’s use of the power of the state to force a private corporation to utter what he considers more ideologically congenial messages is extremely authoritarian. (Not professional dum dum Damon Linker though. He thinks DeSantis would make a fine president, at least in comparison to Donald Trump).

For example:

It is worth pausing a moment to grasp the full breadth of what is going on here. First, DeSantis established the principle that he can and will use the power of the state to punish private firms that exercise their First Amendment right to criticize his positions. Now he is promising to continue exerting state power to pressure the firm to produce content that comports with his own ideological agenda.

Whether he is successful remains to be seen. But a few things ought to be clear. First, DeSantis’s treatment of Disney is not a one-off but a centerpiece of his legacy in Florida. He has repeatedly invoked the episode in his speeches, and his allies have held it up as evidence of his strength and dominance. The Murdoch media empire, which is functionally an arm of the DeSantis campaign, highlighted the Disney conquest in a New York Post front page and a Fox & Friends segment and DeSantis touted his move in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

Second, DeSantis’s authoritarian methods have met with vanishingly little resistance within his party. The only detectable Republican pushback has come from New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu, who warned, “Look, Ron’s a very good governor. But I’m just trying to remind folks what we are at our core. And if we’re trying to beat the Democrats at being big-government authoritarians, remember what’s going to happen. Eventually, they’ll have power … and then they’ll start penalizing conservative businesses and conservative nonprofits and conservative ideas.” (Of course, this warning holds only if Republicans believe they will have to relinquish power. If DeSantis can truly follow the example of Viktor Orbán, losing power becomes only a theoretical risk.)

And third, DeSantis has been very explicit about his belief that he sees his methods in Florida as a blueprint for a national agenda. So there is every reason to believe that, if elected president, DeSantis would use government power to force both public and private institutions to toe his line. Speaking out against him, or even producing content he disapproves of, would become a financially risky proposition.

Sounds troubling!

It’s important to recognize that a huge aspect of what makes the whole right wing world view go is that right wing ideology remains a completely unmarked category within the ideology itself. Right wingers are against indoctrinating children, but they are very much in favor of forcing schools to teach children that America is God’s extra special favorite country, because that’s not indoctrination, that’s just a plain Biblical truth. (If you think I’m exaggerating you need to get out more).

A more general point here is that anybody who complains about indoctrinating children is talking nonsense, because up to a certain age educating children and indoctrinating them is simply the same thing. So arguing, for example, that schools shouldn’t indoctrinate children is oxymoronic. The question is always and everywhere which doctrines they will be taught, and again the key right wing belief is that authoritarian ethno-nationalism, with an infusion of balsamic Christianity, isn’t a set of doctrines, but rather an unquestionable collection of shared truths, that together make America the Greatest Country in the World.

Relatedly, I’m not inclined to give a charitable reading to the peroration of DeSantis’s WSJ editorial, linked above:

The regrettable upshot of the woke ascendancy is that publicly traded corporations have become combatants in battles over American politics and culture, almost invariably siding with leftist causes. It is unthinkable that large companies would side with conservative Americans on the Second Amendment, the right to life, election integrity or religious liberty.

In this environment, old-guard corporate Republicanism isn’t up to the task at hand. For decades, GOP elected officials have campaigned on free-market principles but governed as corporatists—supporting subsidies, tax breaks and legislative carve-outs to confer special benefits on entrenched corporate interests. But policies that benefit corporate America don’t necessarily serve the interests of America’s people and economy.

When corporations try to use their economic power to advance a woke agenda, they become political, and not merely economic, actors. In such an environment, reflexively deferring to big business effectively surrenders the political battlefield to the militant left. Having private companies wield de facto public power isn’t in the best interests of most Americans.

Woke ideology is a form of cultural Marxism. Leaders must stand up and fight back when big corporations make the mistake, as Disney did, of using their economic might to advance a political agenda. We are making Florida the state where the economy flourishes because we are the state where woke goes to die.

.I thought Florida was the state where (((New York))) (((liberal))) (((elites))) went to die, so this rhetorical flourish, in which Florida becomes the General Government of Ron DeSantis’s New Order, seems just a bit tactless.

But I’m probably just being “woke.”

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