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The Good Samaritan Window, Chartres Cathedral, France, 13th century. God warning Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. (Art Media/Print Collector/Getty Images)

A Political Reawakening?

A mass emergence from the woke slumber.

Call it a realignment, call it a political awakening, call it a vibe shift. Something has changed since the attacks on Israel. 

Here’s an example of what we mean: a friend, appalled at the equivocation and apologia in the West after the brutal Hamas killings, told one of us that he used to consider himself a “conscientious objector” in the culture wars. “Not anymore,” he said. October 7 changed that.

Liberal friends were suddenly talking about buying guns. Progressive friends were texting about topics like border security and immigration. In a whisper, one even admitted to watching Fox News.

For a sense of what this real-time political transformation can look like, watch this clip of venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya on the podcast he co-hosts, All In. Palihapitiya, who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Joe Biden in 2020, explains that he is rapidly revising his view of Trump’s time in office: “As a Democrat who has been left homeless, who is now definitely in the center but probably leaning increasingly right, I am left yet again with an appreciation, despite the messenger, of the message of the Trump administration because what those guys did was pretty incredible in hindsight.” 

Chamath continued: 

So much of the work that happened in that administration turns out to have been right. And that’s what is so frustrating for me. The work on the border wall? We didn’t like the messenger, so we killed the message. Turned out it was right. Issuing long-term debt to refinance when rates were at zero? We didn’t like the messenger, so we killed the message. A structural peace in the Middle East? We didn’t like the messenger, so we killed the message. When are we gonna stop shooting ourselves in the foot? And when are we going to actually see and take the time to look past who is saying things and actually listen to them word for word?

If it’s clear that the last two weeks have been a wake-up call, the next question is: Why? 

Part of the answer is the sheer depravity of Hamas’s terrorism. That depravity has made the justification and celebration of their acts by those who police pronouns that much starker. The contradictions and moral bankruptcy of a worldview that spends years worrying about microaggressions and tone policing, but can’t decide what side it is on after the beheading of babies, aren’t exactly difficult to spot.

To put it another way: when Black Lives Matter organizations are lionizing Islamist terrorists by posting a paraglider logo, you’d be a fool not to reassess things. 

As Konstantin Kisin writes in his powerful essay today in The Free Press: “The events of the last week have shattered the illusion that wokeness is about protecting victims and standing up for persecuted minorities. This ideology is and has always been about the one thing many of us have told you it is about for years: power. And after the last two weeks, there can be no doubt about how these people will use any power they seize: they will seek to destroy, in any way they can, those who disagree.”

The other aspect of it, we think, is the sense of how thin the line is between civilization and barbarism. And how the West, which so many take for granted, is more vulnerable than we ever imagined. 

We’re curious: Have you noticed something similar in conversations with friends in recent days? We love the fact that this community of half a million is so politically diverse. And we wonder, has the war in Israel and the reaction to it caused you to change your mind about anything? Or maybe something else has forced you to reconsider your opinions? If so, tell us about it in the comments.

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