Is There a Woke Right?

On the realization that the Right isn’t liberal

As the New Christian Right continues to blossom and absorb the literature and philosophy of Right-wing thought from over the centuries, they are taking on a much more self-consciously anti-liberal framework. While the postwar liberal consensus would emphasize things like individualism, ethnic neutrality when it comes to culture, and America as a nation of universal propositions, the true Right has long opposed all these things.

This was actually one of the key objectives of the liberal consensus in the first place: to counter fascism on the extreme Right and Communism on the revolutionary Left in the aftermath of the Second World War. It needed to adopt for itself an alternative mythos of the political state in the West that might serve as a unifying framework for the objectives of the new US-led Western world order. America as a propositional nation made up of individuals from any background who believed in American ideals… is the framework that served that role. The Conservative Movement—as an actual movement—served to cover the right flank of this new consensus. This is why Bill Buckley had to purge the Old Right.

In any case, what is happening now is that the true Right is emerging, coming forth to take up its eternal function in the dynamics of political discourse: which has always been, in every political epoch, to confront the Left. The Left does not believe in the Liberal consensus. The Left is an anti-Liberal political force. Sometimes the Left appears in the form of Jacobinism (French Revolution), sometimes in the form of Marxism, sometimes in the form Bolshevism and then Stalinism. And in our context it has appeared in the form of first the Frankfurt School, and now a descendent of that in the present Woke Left, which emphasizes race, sexuality, and other so called “identities”.

It is this last category that animates present discussions. The Liberal view of the political society in America is that there are no hierarchies, everyone should be treated as individuals in accordance with the content of their character (not the color of their skin), every person has the right to determine his own goals in life and employ his resources in a way that he determines fit (unless it breaches the rights of others to do the same), and also that American socio-political structures and institutions are neutral as to the beneficiaries of this system (it doesn’t play institutional favoritism).

The Left has countered this model of society by observing that, in reality if not in the political myth, American society actually does play favorites, it does reinforce cultural classes, it does deny such rights as individual self-determination to certain groups, it is not neutral at all in regard to beneficiaries. For instance, American society has until the 21st century operated on a definition of marriage that excluded every arrangement except the traditional Christian one. It was hegemonically biased against homosexual marriage and denied to those who believe in such a possibility the institutional means of actuating it. Thus, heterosexual advocates of a basically Christian understanding of marriage and sexuality were given favor, upheld as normative, publicly praised, exhibited as healthy and foundational for the integrity of Western society. On the flip side, homosexuals were pushed to the margins, made to feel shame, castigated as queer, and described as practitioners of subversive and immoral behavior.

Likewise on things like ethnicity: American society was biased toward the customs, norms, mannerisms, arts, religious expressions, institutional mechanisms of Anglo-America at its core, greater Western Europe secondarily, and Europeanism in general going out from there. American society, its institutions, and its political instincts—despite universalist rhetorical framing to the contrary—was Euro-centric. It’s entire immigration policy norms until the 60s catered to Western European immigrants (with heavy restrictions from time to time) and was systemically uninterested in immigration from the Third World. That is to say, American immigration history was constructed on ethno-cultural distinctions, not colorblind individualism.

The Left recognized that the Liberals in America were actually operating on hegemonic assumptions about their society without actually admitting it. The Liberals sought to combat the Left by actuating its myths and slowly opening up society on things like race, sexuality, class, religion, etc… and all the cultural and sociological manifestations stemming from them. The Left’s strategy consisted of pushing Liberalism to its logical conclusion, and then taking advantage of the political weakness that ensued.

Now, we live in a world that has been created by this Left-Liberal dialectic. In a sense, the Bill Buckley conservative faction of the Postwar Liberal Consensus did better in shoring up the Right and purging it from polite society than did the liberal faction of the Postwar Liberal Consensus, who fell early on to the New Left. Thus, we find ourselves in a world where the Right has no power, and the Left has nearly completely reached par with the power of the Liberal Establishment.

Enter into this moment one Neil Shenvi, who recently reviewed Andrew Isker’s Boniface Option book. Therein, Shenvi seeks to grapple with what he considers the curious case of a new “Woke Right.” He says:

Finally, several conservative evangelical commentators have noticed the emergence of a “woke right” with a belief structure that’s eerily similar to that of the “woke left.” 

He continues to say:

For example, in 2020, I succinctly defined wokeness as:

1) society is divided into oppressed/oppressor groups along lines of race, class, gender, sexuality, etc via 2) hegemonic power. But privileged people are blind so 3) we need to defer to the lived experience of the marginalized to 4) dismantle unjust systems.

From here, he seeks to define the Woke Right in “precisely analogous terms.”

1) society is divided into straight White men and their enemies via 2) hegemonic norms (“the Longhouse,” “postwar consensus,” “Judeo-Christianity”) but normies are blind so 3) we need to redpill them to 4) retake the West.

On this definition, it’s easy to just dismiss it as applicable to us. He is using the word “Woke” obviously for polemical reasons—after all, Woke has a deep history in association with the Left seeking to undermine, subvert, and, especially, deconstruct the West. The attempt to apply this word to those on the Right who understand that absolutizing of Liberalism is a fool’s errand is an attempt to obfuscate the reality: the Left wants to deconstruct the West, the Liberal center wants to deny to the state the ability to defend the West, and the Right wants to employ institutional and political resources to reassert the hegemonic character of the pre-World War II socio-political order.

As I noted on Twitter, the Right Wing is being called the “woke right” because its detractors cannot think outside the hegemonic presumptions of liberalism, which is grounded in individualism. Whenever you look beyond the veneer of modernity and recognize politics as the clash of elites or emphasize systemic dynamics, you are engaging in “Critical” analysis. This has been a methodology of political science for hundreds of years.

There is indeed a war on Whites. Jeremy Carl has moved that discussion outside the possibility of debate. To say that “society is divided into straight White men and their enemies” is obviously a false characterization of our understanding of elite dynamics given that a major faction of the power elite is made up of straight White men. However, since the old cultural hegemony of Heritage America was centered around straight White men, it is clear that any revolution against that way of life would need to be directed against the hegemonic cultural base made up of these types of people. It is not woke to recognize this, but it is, in fact, truly anti-liberal.

And that’s what these Shenvi type “conservatives” are having a hard time with: liberalism does not truly exist. The mythos of liberalism was employed so as to counter the political extremities at the height of American victory in World War II. The consequences of such an ideology has made the political leadership in this country blind to the actual Leftist revolution in our midst. American conservatives were pigeon-holed by an ideology that left them defenseless—indeed, without any moral justification to act at all—against a Left that brilliantly pushed the self-acceptance of liberalism onto the American people.

Liberalism is absolutely a hegemonic norm—what else would be America’s hegemonic norm? It is the standard by which political activity is declared acceptable or “dangerous.” Liberalism contains with in it the body of rhetoric that shapes our institutional acceptance of mass immigration, homosexual activism, and cultural universalism… as well as our institutional refusal to politically support our churches, our customs, and our People as a unique and constituted People. Liberalism defines what James Burnham called the “emotional gestalt” of our political society, emphasizing “godterms” like “tolerance,” “pluralism,” “freedom”,” “democracy,” “human rights,” and so forth. All political priorities, concerns about custom and norms, concerns about our people and the continuity of their modes of living, struggles that Heritage America specifically faces—all these are made to be subservient to the priorities and ideological precedence of Liberalism.

But Liberalism is not in reality the way our institutions function. The fact of the matter is that they now serve the overall leftist agenda. The Right can see this very clearly and understands that power is needed to confront new this Leftist hegemony. Liberalism cannot be defended because liberalism itself was always just a veil—all political societies have their hegemonic aspects.

Liberalism is the Emperor with No Clothes.

The Right Wing is not Woke. It’s also just not Liberal.

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C. Jay Engel

C. Jay Engel lives in the Sierra Nevada in Northern California with his wife and four homeschooled children. He runs a small manufacturing business, hosts the Chronicles Magazine podcast, and co-hosts the Contra Mundum podcast. You can find him on X @contramordor or on Substack at

7 thoughts on “Is There a Woke Right?

  1. It isn’t the case that Liberalism is not a reality at all. What is the case here is to what degree is Liberalism a reality. And that distinction marks the difference between reality and how the writer of the above article sees reality. For Engel seems to take an all-or-nothing approach in parts of the above article.

    And so what is the Woke Right? Is it those who realize that we need to purge ourselves from the past because of past atrocities? Unfortunately, the answer is no. For what seems to mark is a sense of entitlement to impose the religion, morals, and values from those parts from the past on others. It is the Woke Right’s sense of entitlement to impose their morals and values on others that enables the Woke Right to describe resistance to the imposition of their values on others as a war against them. In addition, it is that sense of entitlement is where the Woke Right breaks with what is taught in the New Testament and where Christians must break away from the Woke Right while we can certain share the morals and values learned from the past.

    Describing that group in terms of skin color and race is tragically wrong. First, White males cannot be ideologically categorized by race. Second, the root of the norms pushed by the Right or even true right are not found in skin color but from multiple sources.

    Here we should note that the real contention is not the faith, values, and morals followed in the past, it is the sense of entitlement to rule over others in order to impose one’s values, morals, and religion on others. Now Right’s desire to impose their own personal religion, values, and morals comparable with Liberalism’s imposition of values? After all, doesn’t Liberalism allow such people to practice their own faith, morals, and values without having to impose their beliefs on others? What Liberalism takes exception to here is when one group imposes their faith, values, and morals on others. And so why should we call resistance to the imposition of religious, values, and morals of a certain group of White males on others a war against White men?

      1. Andrew,
        Why would my criticisms of the Woke Right make you doubt that I want the Great Commission to be carried out?

        In other discussions, I have mentioned how Christian Nationalism runs counter to and can even sabotage the carrying out of the Great Commission.

        Again, why the doubts?

  2. What the fuck does “white” even mean? Racial categories like “white” or “black” have no scientific basis at all. You’re either too dumb to realize that or you’re dishonestly ignoring that fact. If you want to make the case for the “Scientific Racism” of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries (an ideology that Hitler admired and expanded upon) than go right ahead. Your handful of followers might be dumb enough to believe it. What a pathetic loser you are.

    1. Tony,
      Actually, words do have working definitions. These definitions are understood to be in play when people correspond with each other, even in articles where there is a communication between the writer and the intended audience.

      Though the working definition of white has been fluid over the years, the present working definition includes an accepted group of people who have European origins. And since it revolves around skin color, that means white has a biological component in its working definition.

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