We’re Losing the Culture Wars Because Majorities Don’t Matter

We’re Losing the Culture Wars Because Majorities Don’t Matter

I applaud the parents seeking to fix their public schools, but they should do that while also pulling their kids out. Progressive educators cannot be trusted. Mobilizing is important, but we must also recognize that we need volume, staying power, and strategy before we can even hope to halt the woke advance, much less turn the tide.

Over the past few months, we have been treated to a torrent of encouraging think-pieces declaring that wokeism has peaked and that the progressive vandals demolishing Western civilization are on the run. With a growing backlash from parents against the ideologies being taught in public schools and a handful of electoral races (most notably in Virginia) swinging to the GOP over CRT and gender ideology, it does appear that people are finally getting fed up. The Daily Wire grandly called it the “Turning of the Tide.” Old school liberals such as Andrew Sullivan hastened to declare that the insanity on their far-Left flank was dying down.

I’ve certainly been encouraged by some developments—especially the pushback against gender ideology in Europe, where many intellectuals are getting restive over the deleterious effects of ideologies imported from the U.S. (America returning the favor for the Frankfurt School.) But over at his essential Substack The Upheaval, N.S. Lyons has a grim but fascinating piece titled “No, the Revolution Isn’t Over.” Lyons says that wokeism may have faced setbacks, but these are skirmishes rather than conflict-defining events—and supplies a devastating list of reasons that he believes this is the case, noting that progressives still own the institutions, that public schools will continue to promote the same ideologies under different names and—most importantly—that people don’t change their religion over setbacks.

It’s an important essay, and everyone should read it. For the moment, I wanted to single out one particular observation that stood out to me:

Majorities don’t matter. Unfortunately for those dreaming of harnessing a majority anti-woke popular will, the truth is that, as statistician and philosopher Nassim Taleb has explained in detail, it’s typically not the majority that sets new societal rules, but the most intolerant minority. If the vast majority generally prefers to eat Food A instead of Food B, but a small minority is absolutely insistent on eating Food B and is willing to start chopping the heads off of anyone who disagrees and serves Food A – and the majority doesn’t care enough to get all bloody dying on this particular culinary hill – all restaurants will soon be serving only Food B, the new national cuisine. This is especially true if the intolerant minority already holds a disproportionate position of influence within the system.

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