Defend the Line

Conservatives still have much more to lose

There’s a tendency on the right to assume that we have basically lost. The left controls the media, the universities, and the pulpit. They even managed to turn public health—previously the most boring and staid element of state power—into an ideological instrument.  

They hold the Megaphone. Their civil rights-based approach to power does an end run around democratic institutions by bringing an ever-expanding circle of behaviors and identities under the shield of protected classes. The seemingly preposterous Kendian principle that we must impose new racial discrimination to cure past racial discrimination is gradually becoming the new common sense.  

It is necessary however to consider what the left has still not succeeded in seizing or destroying, not so much because we have been so resolute in defending it but because they are still getting around to it. “Look what they are doing to us this time!” has been the lame rallying cry of the Right since the 1950s or so. We need to ringfence our existing territory so we aren’t taken by surprise in the next five years when we get outflanked.  

For instance, though it sounds picayune, the left is actively seeking to override the ancient principle that local communities ought to have some say over what goes on there. Zoning laws are notorious eye-glazers, but leftists are using them as a lever and cudgel. Arguing that restrictions on what can be built are a vestige of redlining, Jim Crow, and ultimately slave-catching, and asserting that “ZIP code is destiny,” leftists in states like Minnesota, Washington, and California either have or are desperately trying to establish state laws that override local zoning. Getting rid of single-family only zoning restrictions in the name of affordability, racial justice, and environmental sustainability is in fact an effort to impose density on local communities, and urbanify the political complexion of suburbs and exurbs.  

This effort will raise the costs of the classic American dream of having a private house with a yard and a two-car garage. It will encourage everyone to live near mass transit, in quadruplex apartments, and discourage large families. It is a backdoor strategy to end what leftists call American apartheid, the supposed legacy of racial segregation that persists in residential demographics. 

Along with the removal of zoning from local control, the left would like to decouple the funding of public schools from local property taxes. Expect to start hearing more about this in the next few years. Linking school funding to the prosperity of local communities forces black children to receive subpar education, and reinforces socio-economic disparities on a generational basis. Never mind that places like New York City, where all schools are lavishly funded on a per-capita basis, have terrible outcomes for black and Latino kids despite the equitability of school funding sources—the goal is ultimately the federalization of school funding. When this is achieved, the American Federation of Teachers will have total control over curriculum, staffing, discipline, and evaluation.  

Finally, local control of policing is a major problem for the left’s agenda. This is the real meaning of “Defund the Police.” Leftists don’t really want to eliminate the police; they just want them funded and controlled from above. Letting local communities hire police and retain local governance over public safety is a major problem, because it is hard to impose woke policies on obstreperous, independent communities, especially the types of counties or municipalities that ring major metropolitan areas, but which have not yet succumbed to big-city style Democratic rule. The goal of the “Defund” movement is simply to redirect local spending on public safety to welfare programs and the schools—not to eliminate the spending, notice—while gradually taking the responsibility for policing away from communities and raising it to the state or federal level. This is what is known paradoxically as “community-based policing.” 

We have a lot more to lose, and need to start getting ready to defend what we don’t even realize we still have.