A culturally socialist minority is politically ascendant over a culturally liberal majority

A culturally socialist minority is politically ascendant over a culturally liberal majority. By Eric Kaufmann.

Western societies are in the midst of a growing “culture war” between cultural socialism and cultural liberalism. The two sides in this conflict only partly overlap with the country’s partisan political divide: the culture war divides Democrats while largely uniting Republicans and independents. It presents, therefore, a risk for Democrats and an opportunity for Republicans. …

Cultural liberalism is the belief that individuals and groups should have the freedom to express themselves, should not be compelled to endorse beliefs that they oppose, and should be treated equally by social norms and the law.

Cultural socialism is the idea that public policy should be used to redistribute wealth, power, and self-esteem from the privileged groups in society to disadvantaged groups, especially racial and sexual minorities, and women. This justifies restrictions on the freedom and equal treatment of members of advantaged groups.

For some Democratic voters, a commitment to cultural socialism overrides their historical defense of free speech. Most Republicans disagree with that position. They also oppose what they perceive to be the denigration of white Americans and the nation’s past, which underlie their support for a new politics of civil rights in schools and workplaces.

Using the Qualtrics survey of mainly college-educated Americans, along with several other polls, I map public opinion across a wide range of questions pertaining to cancel culture and a set of phenomena often grouped under the label Critical Race Theory.

The main findings include:

  • A majority of Americans oppose cancel culture, but a significant minority — about a third — support it, backing decisions to fire employees for legal speech that they regard as unacceptable. Cancel culture is thus not only about people being afraid to stand up for their rights; it is rooted in genuine philosophical differences in the population between cultural socialism and cultural liberalism.
  • The problem of cancel culture is going to get worse, not better. Younger people are substantially more likely to support cultural socialism than older Americans, even when controlling for ideology and party identification. As today’s college graduates enter large organizations, they will mount an increasing challenge to freedom of expression. …

Example: Sack the truth tellers.

Two-thirds of those aged 18–25 agreed with Google’s decision to fire James Damore for questioning whether discrimination explains the underrepresentation of women in computer programming. By contrast, nearly two-thirds of those over 50 opposed the decision.

Example: Demonstrating political power to silence others.

Diversity training appears to have a chilling effect on employees. About half of those in the Qualtrics survey had taken diversity training, and a quarter had received training that involved concepts such as white privilege and patriarchy, which are linked to Critical Race Theory or Critical Social Justice. …

People who report having attended diversity training are significantly more worried about losing their jobs or reputations for present or past speech than people who have not had this training, even when controlling for partisanship and demographics. They also feel less free to share their political views on questions like immigration or transgenderism. Alongside evidence that diversity training has a negative effect on intergroup relations at work and no impact on discrimination, this heightening of threat perceptions suggests that current forms of diversity training are counterproductive.


Many Republicans are insulated from the culture wars because of where they live and work. Democratic and Republican voters tend to sort into neighborhoods, social groups, and workplaces that reflect their values.

This helps protect conservatives and moderates from progressive illiberalism and political discrimination, forces that would cause them to selfcensor. Conservatives (including conservative Democrats) living and working in left-wing environments bear the brunt of progressive illiberalism. Democrats in Republican workplaces also report less freedom to express their views but not nearly as much as Republicans in Democratic-dominated organizations, where fewer than three in 10 Trump voters would tell a coworker how they voted.

Truth is not important to the cultural Marxists, but power is very important to them.

Society is getting more politicized, so truth is suffering. Empirical facts just don’t matter as much as they did during the Enlightenment, which bodes poorly for our material future.