Ron DeSantis teaches Texas how to fight a culture war
The Florida Governor is blazing a path for other states to follow
The 88th Texas legislative session has begun and, if history is to be any guide, the Republican-controlled Congress is positioned to pass laws that will make progressive heads explode. When it comes to the culture war, however, the Lone Star State has lost its place at the vanguard of the American Right to Florida, which wasn’t even considered a red state until Ron DeSantis turned it into one.
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Nowhere is this more true than in education. The 87th session coincided with the outbreak of controversy over critical race theory in schools. Texas duly passed a law banning it, but only after Florida had already done so. Meanwhile, laws such as the Stop W.O.K.E. Act — designed to rein in CRT in schools and corporations — and the Parental Rights in Education Act, which prohibits instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity through third grade, also came from Florida. So did the idea of conducting yearly surveys to identify political bias on campus.
In fact, as recent reporting from John Sailer of the National Association of Scholars shows, the ideological monoculture in Texas universities has only grown more entrenched since the last time the legislature gathered in Austin. Mandatory “diversity statements” are commonplace, even if all you want to do is teach the flute. Instruction in the catechisms of intersectionality is similarly widespread, while acolytes of Ibram X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo lead the faithful in the study of their scriptures; the School of Information at UT Austin has called for mandatory training in “anti-racist pedagogy”.
All of this, meanwhile, has happened under the nose of boards whose every member was appointed by governor Greg Abbott. Texas Republicans, it seems, are remarkably laissez faire when it comes to what the taxpayer is funding in public universities. If they are not swayed by eloquent arguments from liberals such as Jonathan Haidt, who has stressed the importance of intellectual and political diversity to the health of the academy, you might think that the desire to perpetuate their own species would cause them to pay more attention.
Exactly how Republicans expect to produce conservative judges once everyone working in higher education has pledged obeisance to doctrines created by people who are actively hostile to them is a mystery. Dan Patrick, the Lieutenant Governor, has signalled a desire to end tenure as a way to fight critical race theory, but it seems more likely that this could make life for the handful of remaining dissenters even more precarious.
The contrast with Florida is striking. DeSantis has already limited tenure and this month demanded that universities report their spending on DEI programmes, while appointing a majority of conservatives to the board of a hitherto very progressive New College of Florida. One of those conservatives was Chris Rufo, who recently unveiled pre-baked legislation for the abolition of DEI bureaucracies and “political coercion” that he developed with colleagues at the Manhattan Institute think tank.
It will be interesting to see if the Texas legislature reacts to some of DeSantis’s more aggressive stances on higher education, and how it responds to the possible introduction of an anti-woke liberal arts college in the state.
Sometimes it seems that a rivalry is opening up between the two states: first Abbott sent buses of migrants to sanctuary cities, then DeSantis upped the stakes and flew them to Martha’s Vineyard. The Florida governor proposed taking action against TikTok in September, but Abbott actually banned it from government devices in December.
But when it comes to the culture war Texas Republicans seem stuck in the ‘90s, focused on God, guns, abortion and free markets. DeSantis, however, is a 21st century man who appears to genuinely despise the ideas he rails against, and that gives him the edge.
‘Cometh the hour, cometh the man”
I am reminded of 1938 and the Munich Agreement where British PM Chamberlain and French Prime Minister Daladier gave Hit *er Czechoslovakia for an agreement to not take more lands in Europe.
“Peace in our time’ Chamberlain cried as he waved the paper with Hit *er’s signature – the French and British, by the policy of Appeasement, had guaranteed the coming of WWII, and that also they would be totally unprepared when it did hit a year later.
In the Darkest Hour Churchill, the man who had warned of this for a decade, was elected as the last chance to stop the whole world from being sunk in permanent evil – and rallied the good people, and saved the world.
Trump set the stage, and now De Santis stars on it – and is the world’s last chance to stop evil from taking the planet.
I very much hope DeSantis is our next president and that more states follow his lead in vigorously fighting the woke religion, but I still have doubts.
There was supposed to be a red wave in the US midterms. Didn’t happen. I suspected it wouldn’t materialize because, nationally, the Dems seemed much more organized and passionate about their beliefs running up to the elections. I received all kinds of alarmist flyers from left-leaning groups in my mail box. Nada from the Republicans.
There’s a long way to go before the 2024 election and DeSantis is untested at the national level. He is one of the very few actively anti-woke governors in the US. So many nominally Red states are just sitting on their hands in the face of the culture wars. The Republicans have to unite and galvanize themselves before they can expect the country to follow them.
Much respect to DeSantis for his courage in this area, but so far he’s a lone beacon in the cultural wasteland.
I’m (genuinely) curious, would you vote for Trump or DeSantis if they were two contenders for the primaries – if you don’t mind answering of course.
I’d vote for DeSantis. Trump shook up the political establishment in 2016. Despite his bluster and rudeness, he brought many good ideas to government, but he proved incapable of effectively governing. His time has passed, imo. We need someone who stands for conservative (or just common sense) principles and who knows how to get things done.
I agree with you on DeSantis, to me he feels like fresh breath of air in American politics, and may be important to extend the Republicans’ viability as a political party much further than Democrats ever imagined.
Does he have a British cousin?
DeSantis. Hands down.
Trump broke the rules and demonstrated what was possible. Now we need someone competent who can form new rules. I would vote for Don (possibly) but would prefer Ron.
DeSantis, of course!
“There was supposed to be a red wave in the US midterms. Didn’t happen. I suspected it wouldn’t materialize because, nationally, the Dems seemed much more organized and passionate about their beliefs running up to the elections.”
How much of the result can be attributed to the Republican stacked Supreme Court getting rid of the right to abortion? Polls show most Americans support legal abortion, so you would expect some Republicans withheld support because of the SCOTUS decision.
Or more likely to infuriate women who may not have voted so they went out and voted Democrat .
What “right to abortion”? There’s no such thing.
Anyway now the states decide access to abortion.
Yes polls suggest a majority of Americans would accept abortion access–but you forgot to add, within certain limits. Most Americans disapprove of late-term abortions.
Late term abortions rarely if ever actually happen. It’s a wedge issue to push an anti-abortion agenda, plain and siimple.
There was a huge red wave in Florida,led by DeSantis’s 19 point demolition of Charlie (Can’t Decide Who I Want To Be When I Grow Up) Crist. All Republicans in state wide races won, the legislature is firmly in Republican hands, and the state Democratic Party is in such disarray that it’s chairman resigned and there is no one in sight to take his place.
Florida elections are more controlled with no ballot harvesting and ID required etc. this is why we had the red wave here.
Is it the Hispanic vote there that’s providing the common sense?
Election denialism played a significant role, as evidenced by the failure of Trump-supported candidates to win their respective races.
I wish DeSantis to remain one of the “few actively anti-woke governors in the country” for the next four years. Florida is such an inspiration and land of promise for those of us languishing in Rhino or Democrat states. I’d like to see more of what can be accomplished at the state level to combat leftism. In four years he will be a powerhouse Presidential candidate.
“There was supposed to be a red wave in the US midterms. Didn’t happen”
Because of Trump resurrecting his profile. He’s an electoral liability for the Rebublicans now.
Yeah, if he was offstage the red wave would have happened but his lingering presence put people off. Even Trump just running for candidacy is going to poison the Republican primary debate so much that it’ll lose them votes.
Our election process has been bastardized. Until that is fixed, no republican can win. That is what primarily happened to the red wave.
That’s the popularized version of history but its actually quite wrong. The allies were not ready to go to war with Germany in 1938 and desperately needed time to prepare. Germany knew this and hence wanted war sooner – thinking they could quickly humiliate the British and force them to make peace. Chamberlain arrived in Munich publicly seeking peace and the papers praised him and the war weary Germans lined the streets to meet him. This made H. furious and ultimately forced his hand to make a deal he did not want to make. Up to and after the treaty, Chamberlain led a massive increase in military spending. To his dying day, H. is known to have blamed Chamberlain for outmaneuvering him and buying the allies more time to prepare for the coming war.
I am afraid your history is lacking.
I suggest ‘The Last Lion’ Trilogy on Winston Churchill.
First Germany illegally sent 22,000 to occupy the Rhineland, and France and Britain let it go, I think 1936 – although they could have easily chased him out and enforced the Versailles treaty stopping re-armament and quit the WWII then.
Then the Annexing of Austria in 1938 and getting their industry and military and manpower – allowed by the France and UK. Then the biggie, the Treaty of Munich where Cz was ‘Given’ to Hit *er.
”The Munich Agreement was an agreement concluded at Munich on 30 September 1938, by Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy. It provided “cession to Germany of the Sudeten German territory” of Czechoslovakia, despite the existence of a 1924 alliance agreement and 1925 military pact between France and the Czechoslovak Republic, for which it is also known as the Munich Betrayal.”
And then the actual invasion and occupying of All Czechoslovakia, again uncontested by Fr and UK.
Cz had a vast army – I think 3 or 4 th biggest, but did not fight the German invasion because France and UK had handed them over to Germany in the 1938 Munich agreement. If France and UK (Chamberlain) had gone to war Germany would have been surrounded. Checzeslavacia was More than ready to fight if the Allies – who had treaties requiring they fight with CZ had backed them – Russia could have been brought in too, as well as Turkey, and likely Italy.
But no – they appeased. Then Germany got the very good Cz army, industry, resources, and manpower. 1939 and Poland invaded – then the 6 months Phony War – when UK did finally rearm.
The only re-arming Chamberlain did before was Battleships and the design and some production of the Hurricane and Spitfire, but on a very tight budget. The entire land army till Dunkirk was the BEF, and after Dunkirk was nonexistent! No real re-arming as Churchill urged endlessly. That some people managed to get the RAF arming going was all which saved the world, and Chamberlain allowed it – but was not the one doing it.
Just as the West has appeased the Left-Liberal post-modernist sickness, allowing it to use ‘Entryism’ to capture the media, education, Justice system, and Social Media (and Silicon and Corporate) Their Mission Creep is brought us now to where they are ‘The Enemy Within The Gates’.
Then the WEF, Globalist Elites, CCP infiltration of all the West intellectual and corporate money institutions, Corporatocracy Oligarchy, the taking of the Deep State by the Left Globalists….
it is 1938 all over again. Biden is not only Chamberlain, but also Mussolini – up to his neck in corruption and betraying the West.
De Santis and Trump stand in all the Free World (excepting some East Europeans) as the only force which may resist the coming darkness.
Awaiting for approval!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Shadow banning – This site is no different to the other Social Media. I paid the $ to join – but it does not matter – 1/3 of everything I post is removed.
They may appear back. They disappear during moderation, and I suspect it takes longer during the weekends.
I feel your pain. They REALLY need to get their act together!
Try to be more concise.
Eh? The Germans weren’t ready at all, and formulated plans to go scuttling back to Germany if Britain or France had intervened in 1938 with even nominal forces.
Utter rubbish. Hitler disdained Chamberlain and only mockingly said he had deprived him of the opportunity of a war against the Czechs. Hitler never said ANYTHING about Chamberlain outmaneuvering him, because he didn’t.
I am not qualified to comment upon the subtleties and complexities of American politics, with apologies, I do not pay enough attention. Similarly with regards to the British situation leading up to the 2nd world war, the common understanding (both in the U.K. and further afield) neglect the subtleties and complexities in favour of the simplistic newspaper “headline” understanding. There is no need to laboriously re-iterate them here (there are hundreds of history books that explore them). But there is a drearily repetitive theme within the common perception of history with regard to what people “know” they know about the facts, and the actual facts.
Complete nonsense. I expect your opinions to be ridiculous but you could at least try to get the facts right.
For once McNeil I have to agree with you.
Oh look everyone. Graeme says Elliot’s comment is nonsense, so it must be really top class.
Edit: this was intended in reply to Elliot Bjorn.
An interesting, if overblown analogy. Of course, Churchill’s leadership couldn’t have succeeded without the support of Allies and not least, the sheer grit and determination of the general population, initially here in the UK, not to succumb to the dark forces.
I’d adapt your analogy along similar lines. Ultimately, it’ll be down to those amongst the general populations in the West who recognise the dangers and are prepared to stand up, be counted and fight back, and not just through the ballot box, although that’s important. Leadership is needed, but it’ll take more than just that.
I wrote a long post refining my example but it is blocked. Not a single thing wrong – I have posted here since the beginning of Unherd – but they always censor me… Not like early when they banned me – but shadow banning…. what is the difference. I think it is to stop long posts – why do long and thought out posts when they will just delete them? I guess they want short and tame…..
Sophie and Merve – what about figuring out your deleting policy? Ask Freddy if you care about BTL posting – and just tell us if we are shadow-banned by banning us – I have seen a very great deal of life and the world and come here as sort of my duty to argue the position I believe in – civic duty as it were – Good Men Doing Nothing’ and all….
I bet they love you and your lizard theory in the office, bloody hell.
His vilification of Chamberlain is quite ridiculous.
He obviously believes that poisonous little polemic “The Guilty Men” is the gospel truth!
We could do with a de Santis in New Zealand. There are no genuine conservatives in our parliament.
I really hope DeSantis gets the Republican nomination in 2024.
So do I!!!
The GOP primary season should be fun! An completely unhinged Trump against a charmless thug like DeSantis and god only knows what other criminals and cartoon villains – pass the popcorn!
Standard American politics isn’t it? Criminals and cartoon villains?
Oh dear! Swivel-eyed Graeme is now foaming at the mouth with indignation. This won’t end well for you kid – Your head will explode.
I would feel sorry for him, but I just can’t empathise with a stupid woke munter.
DeSantis is a small time bully whose only achievements are making meaningless attempts to “own the libs” by picking on the most vulnerable members of society. He’s Trump without the obesity and bad taste.
In normal times he could be safely ignored. Unfortunately it seems that a large proportion of US voters have completely lost their minds to the extent that they thought voting for a clown like Trump was a good idea and that Tucker Carlson is telling them the truth. Hopefully they will snap out of it but I’m not holding my breath.
The fact that you disapprove of him shows that he’s first rate.
Your bar for “first rate” is remarkably low.
Why am I not surprised?
Because you’re clueless.
Whatever first year comp sci student who wrote the algorithm for this bot is going to fail the class
Graeme. You are a richard
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