Conservatives Are Taking Scalps, But The DEI Threat Isn’t Going Away Anytime Soon

[Screenshot/YouTube/Daily Caller]

Gage Klipper Commentary & Analysis Writer
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No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, it can sound like a cliche to say that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is the greatest threat to American constitutionalism and limited government today. But that doesn’t make it any less true. 

To the Left, the threat of DEI is nothing but a far-right fever dream, a dog whistle for bigoted whites to seethe at and oppress minorities. Even the most milquetoast, center-left establishmentarian will say, “What’s the big deal? Diversity Is Our Strength, and besides, it’s just the nice thing to do. Don’t be an asshole.”  

Alternatively, to the Right, the term is quickly reaching its saturation point. After decades of blaring Fox News chyrons on the “socialist left,” the implication of the term no longer registers. Similarly, DEI has become a catch all for woke politics, explaining anything and everything that goes wrong in America. “We get it, things are really bad,” the average conservative must think as they scroll through more ominous headlines on a vaguely defined threat of DEI. They lose interest in the culture war, as the corporate media smugly loves to point out

Perhaps worse is the tempting sense of complacency setting in as the Right begins to take scalps in the war on DEI. The twin scandals of antisemitism and plagiarism shone an embarrassing spotlight on the hypocrisy of elite universities, and forced the resignations of some of the most prominent priestesses of DEI, most notably former Harvard President Claudine Gay. “Something this crazy can’t go on forever,” many think, “so it won’t.” But as The Daily Caller’s latest documentary, “Poisoned Ivies,” shows, this ideology is deeply entrenched and won’t go down without a fight. (RELATED: NEW RELEASE: ‘Poisoned Ivies’ | WATCH NOW)

Yet we cannot afford to fall into complacency. Conservative elites often believe it’s not worth explaining the theories of DEI to their grassroots allies in any but the most rudimentary ways, and progressive leaders are all too happy to use it to their advantage. As the Right loses its grip on what makes DEI a concrete threat, progressives play on the ambiguity to gaslight their way into power. 

In reality, DEI is a very concrete phenomenon, with a distinct history of scholarship and activism specifically calibrated to attack the foundation of American constitutionalism and limited government. And despite critical theorists’ own arrogance and dense jargon, it’s not all that complicated. 

At its core, DEI is a war on our natural equality that the Constitution serves to protect, and which is rooted in the inherent worth of the individual. DEI rejects this, subordinating man’s inherent worth on the altar of utopianism: to build heaven on earth, and a new, radical, and supposedly true equality. That is the equality of outcome regardless of work, talent, or ability. So “equity” becomes the true goal, while “diversity” and “inclusion” are merely means to this end.

But this too is still somewhat of a smokescreen. The Left may speak with high-minded rhetoric, but its ultimate goal is the eradication of traditional hierarchy — the central push of the equity agenda. It appropriates the veneer of our Founding principles to appear non-threatening: all must be equal if we are to be free. For the Founders, this meant equal treatment under the law, unaffected by circumstances of birth like the old aristocracies. Classical liberals expanded legal equality throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. Yet for the radical outgrowth today, freedom and equality now mean leveling all aspects of genuine human diversity in the name of equal outcomes — the radical redefinition of equality. Equity, understood by the Left, is the antithesis of equality as the Founders understood. 

Yet these radicals do not truly seek the egalitarian reforms they claim. Rather, they seek to rejigger any form of perceived traditional hierarchy, (much of which has already been dismantled by their forebears), said to be upheld by the traditional understanding of equality, and instead place themselves at the top. So the equity push, the high-minded assault on hierarchy, really amounts to a spiteful attack on equality, legal or otherwise, that keeps them from exacting revenge — from the “privilege” they feel they deserve. 

As the Founders would have understood it, they seek to institutionalize tyranny with the heavy hand of the federal government. And with the twin lances of “diversity” and “inclusion” they have made great headway. Both necessarily require increasing the size and scope of government to achieve the outcomes that otherwise would not have materialized. Since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 opened the floodgates against freedom of association, we have seen the power of government steadily grow, intruding more and more into the most intimate aspect of our lives to achieve “equity.” 

We now approach a breaking point. The strength of American society historically came from our creedal nationalism — that various ethnicities and cultures could all put aside their differences and assimilate under the banner of a higher American patriotism. Yet the success of the DEI agenda has torn apart the bands of our always tenuous social solidarity. With the notion of traditional equality excised, delegitimized culturally as a smoke screen of white supremacy and increasingly dismantled in positive law, we revert to humanity’s natural state: a collection of irreconcilable, warring tribes all fighting over the choice cut of meat. A house divided cannot stand for long. 

The answer is not backing away from the culture war, capitulating to our own sins in the hopes that we can once again reconcile. No, the culture war is the issue of our time, and the only solution is to lean into it  — and win. And that is precisely what the dedicated documentary filmmakers behind The Daily Caller’s “Poisoned Ivies” aim to do. 

It is here that it’s vital to take a leaf out of the Left’s playbook — to convincingly explain why not just conservatives, but everyone of good faith should care more about the war on DEI. Outrage porn and kitchen table issues are the low-hanging fruit of electoral politics that reliably get people to the ballot box in predictably tight margins. But they do not carry the existential weight of the West’s greatest questions — freedom, equality, justice — by which civilizations rise and fall. As with all great questions, they are much harder to answer, let alone communicate to a mass audience, but they offer the only way out of the polarization and stasis we find ourselves in today. (RELATED: Yes, DEI Will Make More Planes Fall Out Of The Sky)

Tax policy and bureaucratic tinkering do not stir the passions, they do not change hearts and minds. Without breaking through on the cultural front, we will remain in gridlock, with narrowly won elections unable to move the needle in any significant way. For meaningful change to occur, many Americans must rediscover the good and the true nature of our Founding beyond empty platitudes that the left can easily weaponize. We have taken a detour, but conservative leaders must have faith that we will come back home. 

Yes, Joe Biden is a decrepit old fool, the economy is bad, the border is in crisis, and the world is becoming a much more dangerous place. But none of that matters if we cannot restore the principles that made us great in the first place.