Conservative Backlash Against Woke: Fascist Family Values
I've noticed a coalescing of "conservative" voices around a notion of shared tradition, patriotism, family and respect for Western Enlightenment values. These have always been cultural talking points for the right. Before the current culture war, the right-wing would cry traditional family values as a smokescreen for prejudice against minorities (racial, ethnic, gender, sexuality, ideological), an excuse for aggressive censorship of anything counter-cultural - including the assumption culture itself was defined by the conservative guardians of good propriety. Against this monolith, the many minority interests fought their separate battles for rights and recognition, mostly courted by - and seeking refuge in - parties of the liberal left-wing. During the nineties and noughties the cultural polarization reached its natural zenith: right-wing conservative representing reactionary traditional nuclear family values, old-fashioned gender roles, suburban white flight, free market rhetoric and loyalty pledged proudly to flag and country; left-wing liberal a broad church of minorities, urban working class and middle class progressives, educated professionals, cosmopolitan city elites, nascent collective activism and loyalty to the vision of a more equal society for all.
From the financial crisis in 2008 everything changed. Under Obama a neoliberal vision overtook the mainstream of left-wing politics
Trump broke liberal brains. Shattering remaining faith in uneducated uplift, corporate takeover of ideological marketing.
Conservative individualists including tolerant more libertarian types marginalized, mocked, censured and censored. Forced to bend the knee to bullshit identarian antiracism, antihistory, untradition. Refusal to do so is pushing that cohort to band together for survival; and by necessity find (or declare) common cause. This common cause is forced to compete against an all-or-nothing neoliberal doctrine that lumps together all dissent as one dissent; which dissenters must accept as reality even if it's a gross reductive misrepresentation of their specific beliefs.
So on the one hand you have the identity politics of liberal left-wing antiracist antihistory prosecuted through credentials, corporate censorship and a critical race confederacy of cunts. And on the other, the conservative traditionalists, the reactionaries, the libertarians, and everyone else: far left socialists to far right ethnonationalists. Conservative traditionalism is the lodestone of the dissenters, whatever the reason for their disloyalty; and as a consequence these traditions - unreasonably attacked, worthy of defenders - draw in the diverse spectrum of non-neoliberals, turning them into (in effect) social conservatives; because where else can they go?
What's the point of all this? Perversion of good (human justice instinct) in service of evil (profit) bolstered by clever manipulation of weakness (jealousy, outrage, divisive point scoring, career self-interest, political expediency) kept on track perpetual by capture and consolidation of power by the plutocrat class promising inclusion to the professional class; and innumerable filters, loyalty tests, know your place hurdles to overcome, finite lifespan time devoted to the "cathedral" each year in strengthening the arsenal of policing loyalty and obedience. Against this, atomized opponents must group together to resist, loathe the degraded identarian verities so naturally oppose, find some common cause with other dissenters - set aside aspects of ideology that don't fit - alloying together ultimately as a reactionary conservative counter movement. End result is culture wars equals zero sum. For society that's a disaster, whoever wins; or none. For corporate state it's a recipe for not being accountable while plundering the world.
Culture Wars as Ersatz Politics
The culture wars unfold in precisely the same way as the liberal virtue-quest: they are an exciting ersatz politics that seem to be really important but at the conclusion of which voters discover they’ve got little to show for it all besides more free-trade agreements, more bank/finance deregulation, more corporate-government nepotism, and a different prison (or social-apartheid) crackdowns.