Are We Turning Away from the Craziness?

Are We Turning Away from the Craziness? May 9, 2024

It may seem that our culture has gone insane.  Transgenderism, the authoritative dogma that someone can be born into the wrong body?  Woke progressivism, the conviction that everybody is oppressing everybody else?  The notion that the best response to crime is to get rid of the police?  That the key to happiness and saving the planet is not having children?  To name just a few of our symptoms.

Could it be, though, that the madness has reached its crest and is starting to ebb?  That we are starting to see a turning-away from such hallucinations?

Daniel Henninger thinks so.  He has written a column for the Wall Street Journal entitled The Counter-Revolt Finally Begins (behind a paywall).  He gives the pathologies he is most concerned about:  “A list of the phenomena laying us low includes: wokeness, DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion), defund the police (a depressing subset of wokeness), conspiracy theories, head-in-the-sand isolationism and a self-centered political polarization.”

But, he says, “the American system is self-correcting,” so “that despite recurrent stress, it always rights itself.”  He thinks this is happening.

Henninger gives a long list of blue states, liberal officials, and progressive mayors who once embraced “defund the police” and “stop prosecuting minor crimes” but are now implementing tough new anti-crime measures, including building up their police departments and enforcing the laws against shoplifting and other offenses against civic order.  Oregon, which had decriminalized virtually all drugs only to turn their cities into vast shooting galleries where dying heroin addicts lay in the street, reversed itself.

“In all these places, Henninger comments, “the reversals by elected officials are driven by the prospect of voters’ turning them out of office. That is the U.S. political system trying to right itself.”

Henninger also appreciates how Congress came together in support of House Speaker Mike Johnson to reject the temptation of isolationism by sending military aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.

Many of the corporations that paraded how woke they were are rethinking their DEI initiatives and leaving progressive politics out of their annual reports.  When 26 employees staged an anti-Israel sit-in at Google offices, they were actually fired.

Henninger calls the campus protests in support of Hamas a “lagging indicator,” an exception to the growing sanity he sees elsewhere.  But I think this too may be a turning point away from the leftist ideology that has taken over American higher education.  Now the public is seeing the fruit of that kind of indoctrination.  As we posted earlier, the protesters are simply acting out what they had been learning in their classes.  Administrators, faculty, and students–as well as parents, taxpayers, donors, and lawmakers–may be waking up (a different kind of “woke”) to what this has done to higher education.

I see other returns to sanity in education.  The “science of reading“–also known as “phonics”–is replacing the ludicrous “whole language” approach to teaching reading, which asks children to memorize the shapes of words instead of their sounds and wrongly assumes children can pick up how to read with minimal instruction by just being surrounded by book.   The return of phonics is taking place even in progressive bastions, as black parents ask why the public schools are not teaching their children how to read and as controlled experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of learning how to sound out words.

Also, another scientific investigation has struck a blow for sanity as the Cass Review has shot down the claims of transgenderism that young pre-pubescent children should be given sterilizing hormones and mutilative surgery if they say they want to have a different gender.  Europe is starting to follow the science on this issue, as is much of the rest of the world.  The United States is an outlier, but maybe the American medical establishment will come to its senses.

Yesterday we posted about a seeming insurgence of political moderation against the extremes on both the right and the left.  That would also be an example of what Henninger is writing about.

Can you think of others?


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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