Is the Sleeping Conservative Dragon Finally Waking Up?

Victor Davis Hanson
American Greatness

Conservatives and traditionalists are often exasperated at the ongoing woke cultural revolution in their midst.

How can America be turned upside down, as it is, when there is little public support for the things happening around us?

They don’t see much backing for the current wide-open borders and unchecked illegal immigration, yet it continues.

Conservatives feel that most Americans reject the trend of biological men dominating female sporting events.

They fear American jurisprudence has become now vastly weaponized and warped.

Certainly, Donald Trump will be more likely indicted by a politicized New York City prosecutor for supposedly overvaluing his net worth over a decade ago than would be a current violent street criminal clubbing a subway commuter.

In 2020 torching a federal courthouse or massing at the White House grounds, in efforts to get at the president, earned either few arrests and little or no jail time. In 2021, if one entered the Capitol and illegally paraded around like a buffoon, he could get a five-year prison sentence.

Traditionalists feel that sky-high energy prices, out-of-control urban crime, a depressed economy, high interest rates, and a politicized FBI, CIA, Justice Department, and Pentagon are all needlessly self-created messes.

How then did these extremist policies that have little popular support become institutionalized?

Conservatives, by their nature and unlike the Left, are more inclined to accept existing institutions rather than to radically alter or destroy them.

They were asleep at the wheel in 2020, when left-wing-funded lawsuits radically transformed Election Day in many states into a mere construct. Some 70 percent of the electorate in key precincts voted by mail or early, with far fewer ballot audits or authentication.

They focus on nominating more conservative judges, not packing the court itself. They work to take back the Senate, not to end the filibuster or bring in two new states with four new senators.

Traditionalists often feel they have no time for politics. They prefer to focus on their families, jobs, communities, and churches. Until recently they shunned organized boycotts. They abhor massing outside the homes of left-wing politicians and judges.

They shrug and concede that universities, teachers, government unions, the corporate boardroom, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, the media, entertainment, and professional sports are hopelessly activist and left-wing.

The environmental, social, governance (ESG), diversity, equity, and inclusion, and LGBQT+ agendas were unfathomable acronyms to Middle America and thus mostly ignored.

So conservatives often slept through the woke revolution.

Yet suddenly they realize their apathy allowed the country to descend into something the nation’s founders never imagined or intended, and antithetical to what most knew as America just a couple of decades ago.

So conservatives are awakening from their slumber. And they are discovering that they too can boycott, agitate—and roar.

The woke Target corporation in just a few days has suffered a more than $10 billion loss in its stock value. Millions of shoppers shunned its 2,000 stores after the chain showcased its “pride” apparel. The displays featured “tuck pieces”—veritable cod pieces– that are intended to facilitate “women’s” male genitalia.

Anheuser-Busch came up with the bright idea that it would highlight Dylan Mulvaney, a transgender performance activist, to hawk its Bud Light brand. But beer seemed incidental to the self-absorbed Mulvaney’s fixation on promoting transgenderism.

So Bud Light-drinking, red-state America got turned off by Mulvaney’s in-your-face-advocacy.

An ensuing informal boycott cost the company nearly $16 billion in lost stock value. Hundreds of millions of dollars of unsellable light beer stagnated. Stores can’t even give it away. Meanwhile, Bud Light’s competitors coped with meeting record Memorial Day consumer demand.

Ditto the defiantly woke Disney Corporation.

The now politically activist entertainment corporation insisted on pushing woke agendas down the throats of its family-centered audience.

The result? Its online entertainment services are bleeding millions of subscribers. Disney stock has lost $16 billion in value. Its overpriced theme parks no longer count on continual increased attendance.

Sometimes traditionalists prefer simply to drop out rather than boycott wokeism. One result is that the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards now have a fraction of their previous televised audience.

In 1998—when the United States had a population of 275 million—the NBA finals earned on average 29 million television viewers. This year the NBA bragged its finals averaged a pathetic 4 million viewers in a contemporary America of 335 million.

The Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team reinvited the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence—a self-identified performance art “queer” group—to headline the team’s “pride night.”

The all-male “Sisters” usually put on anti-Catholic pornographic skits that mock Jesus Christ and sexualize Christian rituals.

That Dodger indulgence is not going over well with its fan base, especially the city’s millions of Catholic Latinos.

The woke Left still enjoys enormous advantages over the Right. The bicoastal elite has far more money, controls all the major American institutions, and dominates the dissemination of knowledge through the media and Silicon Valley.

But the Left does not enjoy majority public support. And now it has managed the impossible—to goad the normally comatose conservative dragon to awaken.

And it is just starting to breathe fire.


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35 thoughts on “Is the Sleeping Conservative Dragon Finally Waking Up?”

  1. Dr. Hansen,
    I have wondered over the years about PTSD in the ancient warriors. Seems like they fought up close and personal. The results were pretty bloody. However they always seemed like they were ready for another battle. Could you address this in one of your historical podcasts that you do with Sami?

    1. Frank Garnick

      “…; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed.”

    2. See Caroline Alexander’s handling of this question in “The War That Killed Achilles”. The brief answer is “yes, there is some litterary evidence of PTSD”.

  2. It would be nice if Conservatism were just asleep at the wheel these last few decades.

    The continued existence of the Never-Trump movement and the fact that Repub;ican leaders are often never-Trumpers, and that Never Trumpers have for two Presidential electon cycles supported a Democrat over their own standard-bearer, suggests collusion, or the sort of shared interests with Democrat leaders that make formal colllusion unnessary.

    Trump for his part is doing his best to split what’s left into two warring factions: Trump and Desantis loyalists. And I’ve seen moments of rancor among everyday conservatives who would otherwise be on the same page politically.

    1. I worry about the split being created in the pre-convention posturing too. WE MUST all come otgether and vote in 2024.

  3. Fredrick A Engelke

    I welcome an awakening, but it might be too late. If the Red States do not do something about voter integrity, medical freedom, and illegal immigration we will be doomed after 2024. I for one have been telling anyone that opens the door to the conversation that the time to wake up was 2016.

    Thanks again Victor for what you do.


  4. Hope the awakening is actually happening! The examples you highlighted show that it really hurts the left if you hit them in the pocketbook. Nancy Reagan was right, “just say no!” has much power in even this different context. It does not have to be an organized boycott, just say no, just change brands, just change channels, etc… It really does not have to be all that hard! Keep sounding the alarm Dr. Hanson!

  5. What is the sleeping dragon prepared to do to restore sanity? I, for one, do not expect the left to accept any roll back of their agenda peacefully. What is the dragon prepared to do? Build (at least) 3 walls? 1 on the southern boarder, 1 each around Los Angeles & Chicago? What about NYC, Portland, Minneapolis, Philadelphia……….Baltimore…….

  6. Carl Anthony Palminteri

    I do believe we have, in fact, passed the tipping point and while there may be sporadic, unorganized and short-lived resistance made manifest it will prove to be too little, too late. WE have let them so infect so many institutions that while the end may not be nigh, it is in sight of our kids and certainly our grandkids.
    I feel I am being optimistic.

    1. They do have massive momentum. The recent “negotiation” of budget suggests more decline is needed. 2024 is going to be the crystal ball.

    2. Sadly, I agree. Control of the schools turns out largely compliant and indoctrinated young adults who vote accordingly. Control over the media means that a significant percentage of the population never even hear or read about many of shocking and criminal actions committed by elected officials and law enforcement agencies. Wormer dropped the big one. It’s over.

  7. This country was touched by God’s hand to get it started. Saved it again in 1812, 1865, 1945, and in the 1960’s. We have come back from many dark moments. Revival is possible if not certain.

    1. Dieter Schultz

      Sorry, that seems a bit glib to me.

      We won’t survive this challenge because we survived the previous challenges. We will survive this challenge because, like the previous challenges, we know how to fight the fight in front of us and we have the resolve to fight and, then, win the fight.

      Fighting wars, or surviving the after-war years, is radically different than the fifth column that we are currently doing battle with.

  8. There is no hiding place from whatever father
    of creation we claim. Don’t question your understanding of history and how many people today attempt to re-write it. Perception will always be fact. It’s unfortunate so many people today are swayed by the bombardment of what some to believe to be facts. More education less indoctrination. I pray we are not too late!

  9. While the fans are not watching on the major channels, they are getting their ‘fix’ via other means, streamlining the games and such. Small arenas of NBA games are packed with the woke wealthy who are paying exhorbitant prices even for nose bleed seats.
    That even average NBA athletes are now multimillionaires based on product endorsements tells us nothing will change due to low TV viewership here in the US.
    Viewers from other nations are wild about the NBA making US support irrelevant.

  10. Great article Professor. I think the dragon is on the move too. Most of the people exiting blue states like NY, NY, Illinois and California are conservatives. This helps conservatives two fold. First, the population of these red states goes down and the population of blue states goes up. Second, the corresponding drop and growth of electoral votes favors conservatives. Every conservative vote in California and NY are wasted. The Federal vote always goes in favor of the Left and the State legislatures are all blue. They are essentially one party states. If conservatives move to blue states it weakens the tax base and electoral votes of blue states – and does the opposite for red states. I just wish we didn’t have to wait until 2030 to get the shift in electoral votes.

    1. An exodus from CA in the late 1990s to early 2000s toppled the once red-tinged NV suggesting, those at least, had not learned why or how their previous state became less than golden. Put there by my employer temporarily (2-years) as a cm, there were plenty in Carson City complaining about the change and voicing anger over what brought it. Apparently though not enough to correct it.

  11. And yet the insanity continues to grow and infect our culture.

    Mao’s Cultural Revolution in China didn’t begin as a popular movement.

  12. I alternate between tempered optimism and despair. Despair when we do “stupid” . Despair when we insist on eating our young. Bashing the SPOTH of your own party over a debt deal that certainly isn’t perfect but can’t be perfect! We don’t have the luxury of majority in three branches of this government. We have the barest majority in ONE. Remember anyone on the left bashing Nancy Pelosi? Hellooooo?
    We do “stupid” when we refuse to acknowledge that we’re being clobbered over the head by the meanest kids, in the nastiest clique.
    Wake up, stand up, put the gloves on and fight back. This really IS our last chance. Don’t do stupid. Whoever it shall be in ’24, the “whoever” is better.

    1. Ditto, Jan. The black pill is sitting there by my coffee when I read anything about our sickening culture and politics. There latest outrage is reading Massie defend McCarthy’s cowardly capitulation on the debt ceiling as if it is something other.

  13. It is encouraging that the boycotts are impactful and so far, persistent. Longevity is key in this culture war and endurance brings satisfaction in knowing that one is not supporting a business or organization that seeks to dominate society with its distorted version of reality.

    I haven’t shopped at Target for about five years and haven’t bought Kellogg’s cereal for the past two years because the company issued a limited edition cereal box that broadcasted the LBGTQ message and supported it with a $3.00 donation from every box sold. Professional sports have been replaced with rooting for my family’s recreational teams and for the local high school. Not keeping up with popular culture makes life simpler and affords more time for other things.

    The cumulative effect of individuals does make a difference and will buy us some time to become more educated and persuasive in our everyday lives.

  14. Janice Kilpatrick

    Tom McKinley, thank you. “Revival is possible, if not certain”. That statement describes our current situation in six simple words. It is a magnificent synopsis of VHD’s well written commentary. From every 85 year old conservative lady to every 21 year old young male we need a leader. A leader to guide us in everything it will take to bring America back and give us more tools. Frustration in conservatives and traditionalists is at a breaking point because we don’t know how to speed up the cause before it dies at the side of a dirty road.

  15. Dr. Hanson, another brilliant summary. I too believe the comatose dragon may be awakening but like some of your other commentators, it may be too late. In fact, it will be if the dems take control in 2024. Unless we establish a verifiable, enforceable voter ID system, (the dems argue effectively in big city precincts that this is voter suppression) they only need to manipulate voting in about six key states. Look at what AG Paxton had to fight in Housten and Austin. And of course the dems have other tricks, look at how the voting machines were reprogrammed in Republican Districts in Maricopa County. I could go on but this is an urgent subject that needs a VDH investigation and analysis.

  16. Aside from Franklin, the men who founded the US were relatively young.

    It would take a concerted effort by people in this younger age group to make a difference today, as well.

    I don’t see that happening. Probably not many under 50 years engaged with this site.

    Though many acted on principle, others were driven by monetary concerns. They did not want to be taxed unfairly by the King. Many were successful businessmen who wanted to continue to prosper, unhindered by a faraway monarch.

    Gaining independence was more than just an opportunity to start up a new nation. These energetic men understood what hard work was and were willing to sacrifice all to fulfill their national independence dreams.

    The top 15 founders of America were a mix of ages when the Declaration of Independence was written. Here are their ages at the time:
    George Washington – 44
    Benjamin Franklin – 70
    John Adams – 41
    Thomas Jefferson – 33
    Alexander Hamilton – 18
    James Madison – 25
    Samuel Adams – 55
    John Jay – 31
    Patrick Henry – 46
    John Hancock – 39
    Richard Henry Lee – 42
    Robert Morris – 42
    Benjamin Rush – 31
    Charles Carroll – 48
    Thomas Paine – 47

  17. Perfect summary of where we are, including the final ”just starting” to breathe fire. But virtually all of the moral majority still say we should get off social media, stop paying attention to the lunatic left, and be happy, which cedes control of public policy and national institutions to the lunatic left.

    We need more people to engage and we don’t need fiery breath – we need fires. And pitch forks.

  18. I do not see how the woke establishment can become anything but bereft of ideas, ossified and facing a dead end. After all, there is only so far you can go as you labor daily to out-crazy the craziest thing today. The Soviet regime stagnated and fell apart. The Chinese Cultural revolution could not go on, so it stopped and was more than reversed. All this happened in societies with little to no political freedom.

    Political conservatism is split and disorganized. And yes, the former president is doing all he can to destroy it from within and to keep it from regaining political power. And yet, the sane majority can prevail in this country simply by withholding its support from all manifestations of insanity. Do not buy products with woke messaging on the packaging. Do not patronize woke establishments. Keep your savings away from ESG-promoting funds. Advise your children against applying for admission to the wokest of colleges and from choosing “studies” for a major. Spare a few minutes a year to vote in local elections and do not cede them to extremists. These small steps can, and will, do miracles.

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