We live in a great country that has a noble history. The strengths of our nation have always outweighed our weaknesses. We have met threats from within and from without. With extraordinary determination, courage, and sacrifice, we have defended the very best things: our families, our children, our neighborhoods, our main streets, our land, our history, and our sacred bond to those unchanging truths that built Western civilization. These are now everywhere under attack from the rapid spread of a radical ideology.
This emergent ideology is a diabolic development which has few comparable analogies in history, for it reflects an anti-culture — a culture of death. Many of the particulars from this oft-called “woke” anti-culture are hard to miss, but through them all, a perverted and lethal spirit informs America that its very being is evil.
Hostile accusations of systemic discrimination, prejudice, misogyny, and countless “phobias” indicts the whole of American society for unforgivable atrocities, damning its history and its origins. In fact, America’s very founders are no longer viewed as heroes but as villains. Its adherents insist that within every nook and cranny of our civilization lurks the specter of racism, which is said to be unwittingly lodged into the structure of its institutions — even hiding within the psyche of our people, however unconscious this may be.
According to this fanatical ideology, mankind is also wreaking havoc upon the climate, as humanity itself assumes the degrading role of parasite, posing an existential threat to the earth. Even the practice of abortion is no longer justified by this ideology merely as a liberating rejection of the unborn’s membership in the human race, but as murder in the name of mercy — to deny a child’s suffering from its inclusion in it. In this regard, the awful spread of euthanasia has taken aim at the equal opportunity to bring an end to it all.
This hyper-liberal poison invading the Midwest produces a population ever in despair. Too many have turned to rabid drug use — ranging from antidepressants to opioid narcotics — just to numb their misery. Alternatively, the frenzy of transgenderism gives the illusory promise of a new reality, and not only in name and pronoun, but one complete with biological and physical mutilation. Through it all, birthrates are dropping to an unsustainable rate, giving credence to the proposition that much of American society is not simply unhappy, but that it also no longer wishes to live.
To appreciate the magnitude this menace of anti-culture poses to West Virginia, it is important to first understand its nature and source, for this political crisis is not due to a departure from the tenets of liberalism, but rather a fulfillment of them. To realize the roots of “wokeness” then is to grasp that this degenerate ideology is fundamentally interwoven with liberal politics itself.
With its focus on the total autonomy of the individual and freedom from all external constraints, liberalism posits that humans are disposed to design their own destinies, unhampered by tradition, pre-existing conditions, or a telos — an objectively good end, right for all men and women, which ought to be the ultimate aim, since only with its proper realization can genuine human flourishing be attained. Liberalism’s vision, however, dispenses with any notion of this objective “Good Life,” replacing it with a radical subjectivity which can be sensed in the euphemisms of the new order like “your truth” and “my truth.” Under liberal thought — in either its classical or progressive flavor — what really becomes “good” then is merely the act of liberation itself, whereby individuals are severed from traditional norms and the bonds of family and community, in favor of the separate and detached “autonomous individual.” Over time, this drive towards individual liberation erodes longstanding communal ties and shared moral frameworks.
Liberalism’s emancipating promise from the traditional norms of our ancestors leads to a new form of tyranny. As societal values become less anchored in tradition and objective truths are no longer recognized, a vacuum emerges, leading to a bleak occupation by the homogenizing powers of the state and the market. This results in a paradox where, in the quest for unbridled individual freedom, people end up far more alike, no longer organized by self-government fostered through virtue, but controlled by the inflated forces of consumerism and state-driven mandates. Despite its cries for diversity, the woke movement — in its zealous drive for devotion and recognition — only advances this homogenization, ironically imposing a rigid totalitarian regime marked by uniform opinions and attitudes.
All is not lost. West Virginia is a critical part of the heartland of America, steeped in faith and family with principles that are oriented around local community, shared norms, and interdependence. These traditional values that serve the Good Life stand in stark contrast to the detached individualism of the hyper-liberal ideology which threatens the cohesive fabric of our heartland communities. Driven by liberalism’s obsession with unfettered individual autonomy, it attacks the time-honored values of West Virginia as oppressive dogma standing in the way of “progress.”
However, we are at a critical juncture and the choices the legislature makes now as a governing body will determine the future of our great state. West Virginia has a tremendous opportunity at hand to lead the nation by example in the fight to preserve and protect our families, our children, and our work from destructive ideologies. Prudent decisions can still be made that keep our streets safe, that bring economic abundance without strings attached, that root education in eternal truths, and that help families to form, educate, and raise the next generation of West Virginians. To this end, the legislature must endeavor to focus on the promotion and the protection of the family, since what is truly good for the family is what’s truly good for West Virginia.
At the nexus of a transformative period in our history, we are unmistakably in the throes of a post-liberal era — one where the values and aspirations of our state find themselves at odds with the militant ethos dominating the nation’s most influential institutions, both private and public. While this disconnect has long been present, one of the largest changes is the level of intense hostility from these powerful institutions and the rapidly growing animosity for our way of life by the intolerant ranks of those who will continue to rule them in the years to come.
To ensure that West Virginia remains a family home, faithful to its traditions and values, legislative action must be taken to effectively repel the efforts of this anti-culture currently underway that would — however intentionally or inadvertently — disfigure our state’s society into that which ultimately loathes and despises the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.
In doing so, this new approach must include shielding our state from importing corporate institutions infected with this pathological ideology. Perhaps most important, however, is a reorientation of how the concept of law is viewed. Beyond its practical and regulatory functions, the law serves to educate and instruct. It is a direct reflection of our society’s values. Perhaps its most profound impact lies not just in its specific enforcement, but in its inherent capacity to coach and inform the general public at large. The law is not merely a boundary, under which individual rights are circumscribed, but a guidepost, illustrating our shared social values and principles. While the law’s direct aim is to set parameters, part of its true essence is found in its aptitude to shape the moral compass of a community. By tailoring laws that champion our state’s core principles and ethos, West Virginia can send a clear message to the rest of the country about what it stands for and who it seeks to embrace.
When a state’s legal framework and societal values synchronize in harmony, it helps to create an environment ripe for healthy community growth and shared prosperity. In this uncertain climate, West Virginia can thus become a stable haven for many families who seek a place where the law does not simply govern, but also resonates deeply with their own principles.
West Virginia’s strength lies in its people, in its shared history, and in its collective values. By standing firm against radical ideologies that seek to tear us apart, and by taking proactive legislative action, we can lead our state in the right direction so that it remains a place where our people can truly flourish with their families, grounded in the traditions and community values that have always made us proud.
(Pat McGeehan is a six-term state delegate in the West Virginia Legislature. He resides in Chester)