The Quiet Radicalization of the Professional Middle Class

The Quiet Radicalization of the Professional Middle Class. By Rod Dreher.

It was fun to bump into people [at CPAC in Dallas] I had not seen in many years …

But what hit me hard was hearing over and over how radical people so many had become. I heard stories about woke adult children, and how politics had poisoned the relationship between them and their parents, no matter how hard the parents tried to make it work. …

There are so many normie conservatives — normie from when I used to hang with them ages ago — who have been totally radicalized to the far right. Crucially, none of these people are involved in politics. … These are stories told about middle-aged white collar radicals who are now driven by conspiracy theories. …

In Live Not By Lies, I drew from Arendt to identify how the Left in America is showing the hallmarks of a pre-totalitarian society. After what I heard in Dallas conversations about good people I used to know, I see the same things are happening to the Right. The disdain for truth-seeking, and the concomitant eagerness to believe anything that seems internally consistent and ratifies what ideological points the person already believes. The radical atomization. The total distrust in institutional authority. And so on.

I have focused professionally on the Left running amok with wokeness, because the woke Left controls all the institutions of power in this country. Ibram X. Kendi is as lunatic as a certain far-right racist academic I heard talked about in one conversation as having influenced an old friend, but that far-right academic is obscure and powerless. Kendi is on national TV all the time, writes for The Atlantic, and runs a Boston academic center funded in part by generous corporate donations. Kendi’s malignant anti-white racism is thoroughly mainstream and celebrated by elites. The far-right guy’s racism against non-whites and Jews is, for now, totally marginalized. But the fact that a middle-class normie corporate executive who has moved to the suburbs since we knew each other is now reading and absorbing the work of a radical racist writer shocks me more than I can say. …


We used to all go out drinking beer with Bob. When I was part of Bob’s life, he had a solid career track doing an intellectually demanding job in a good company. He wasn’t a journalist, but was part of our group. Really smart guy, very sensible, usually the one to call out whatever b.s. theory one of us floated. Well, Bob is now radicalized, and burning with anger. According to my source, Bob thinks the Left is totally evil, and he wants nothing at all to do with anyone on the political or cultural Left. What happened to Bob?

In short, he lost all his economic security in a series of corporate restructurings that left him jobless for long stretches. One of the companies he worked for had gone all in on wokeness. When it came time to downsize, out the door went Bob, a white guy, though the company retained younger employees with fewer skills, because they wanted to embrace diversity. Bob has had to try to keep his family from going hungry in part because he was let go (or rather, not retained) because he’s a white male. I heard that Bob and his wife and kids have been struggling for years. …

Like many universities, UC Berkeley now requires DEI statements for hiring:

You’ve got to read the fine print. How is this not a political loyalty test?



This is exactly the kind of mindset that cost Bob his job, and his family its financial security! It had nothing to do with Bob’s competence to do his work. It was 100 percent about ideology, and racial identity. Here is a major university saying openly that it discriminates against potential employees who don’t share an ideology only tangential to their work — and this is considered by the American ruling class to be a sign of virtue.

Hell yeah, I would be radicalized too if this kind of thing cost me my job. I keep telling my Bernie Bro son that the day you are denied a job or advancement because of the color of your skin or your sex, you will put aside that leftist ardor.

Medical world:

A commenter left this under Heather Mac Donald’s stunning recent piece about how racial wokeness is destroying medicine:

Public Health has been gone for at least the last 10 years. After I retired from clinical practice I spent the last 25 years of my career in public health. About a dozen years ago we started having seminars in “Woke Public Health” — that is the exact terminology, long before “woke” came into the common parlance. At my Big State R01 Flagship uni, the leadership at my school of public health starting purging white males from the administration about 10 years ago and the faculty soon followed. There is now not a single white male in the administration or research staff, and the only white males left on the faculty are old and getting pressured to retire. It’s an open secret that “white males need not apply” for faculty positions. Literally every department is chaired by a woman, most of them white women, but a significant number are minority. Our dean is, of course, black.

The notion of “replacement theory” gets poo-pooed by the left, however, those of us living in the academic world see it with our own eyes, every single day.

It’s happening in many different fields. The Left is blind to it, of course. … I have never been able to figure out why they can’t see this. Maybe they think that all white people will be as compliant and as self-hating as the kind of white people they associate with in the academic and journalism worlds. …

We’re quietly radicalizing under the left’s assault:

I didn’t know this was going on to this extent because in all my moving around, I had lost touch with these folks and my old social circles in New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Dallas, and Florida. But you, reader, wouldn’t hear about this stuff either unless you were close to people like this, because all the people I’m talking about here are middle-class professionals, and that means they know better than to talk to anybody outside their trusted circles about it.

I was talking to a fellow conservative this weekend about how shocked I was to discover how far the radicalism had gone among middle-class, middle-aged people I used to know. He told me that he has seen the same thing emerge in his broad circles. Both the Summer of Floyd and Covid did a number on a lot of people. They saw just what the ruling class’s priorities were, and how privilege works in this country now. They felt threatened, and lost all faith in authorities, and in Authority. And so forth. Now many of them will believe anything. …

These same radicalized conservatives are now watching the spread of a horrible disease called monkeypox, which for now is almost 100 percent spread among gay and bisexual men. But the public health authorities — the same ones who shut down schools, churches, and public life for Covid — cannot bring themselves to say that gay men should knock off the orgies, and that gay sex festivals should be cancelled right now for public health reasons. They are, according to the Washington Post, “wary of further stigmatizing same-sex intimacy.”

Further stigmatizing?! It’s not stigmatized at all! We have an entire month set aside to celebrate same-sex intimacy, and people fear being fired if they don’t! This is not at all about “stigma”; it’s about gay men and their allies believing that gay men should be able to have as much sex as they want, whenever they want, and suffer no consequences. To hell with the common good. Ordinary people see this, and they remember how medical authorities suspended the rules of public health to permit George Floyd protests, because reasons. Same thing is happening here. …

A lot of people — a lot more than we know, or care to think about — are probably feeling that way right now. … We are very much on the verge of a pre-totalitarian society (I believe that the State is going to cooperate with Corporations to institute a social credit system to keep the proles in line), or perhaps a pre-civil war one.

The virtue signalers are noisily moving left. The healthy types who believed in modernity and western civ are quietly moving in the other direction.

It’s not sustainable. In some years nothing much of note happens, but a lot of history is fast approaching.