Are we ready for woke neoconservatism?

Dear Rebecca:

Bet you can’t figure out in a million years who wrote the following words.

Not all the victims of police misconduct are minorities — witness a blonde Australian woman shot to death by a Minneapolis police officer after she called 911, or an unarmed white man shot to death by a Mesa, Arizona, officer while crawling down a hotel hallway — but a disproportionate share are.

The videos do not lie. One after another, we have seen the horrifying evidence on film of cops arresting, beating, even shooting black people who were doing absolutely nothing wrong or were stopped for trivial misconduct. For African-Americans, and in particular African-American men, infractions like jaywalking or speeding or selling cigarettes without tax stamps can incite corporal, or even capital, punishment without benefit of judge or jury. African-Americans have long talked about being stopped for “driving while black.”

Gotta guess? Ta-Nehisi Coates, maybe? Somebody from The Nation? Shaun King?

Try Max Boot. That Max Boot, a longtime neoconservative who never met a warmongering opportunity he didn’t like. Something’s happened, but what?

Well, Trump, probably. We’re seeing our politics realigned a bit as some conservatives — Jennifer Rubin is another prominent name —wake up to discover that the movement has left them. Even Bill Kristol is trying to figure out what it all means.

It doesn’t mean, for Boot anyway, that he’s suddenly a leftist:

This doesn’t mean that I am about to join the academic political correctness brigade in protesting “microaggressions” and agitating against free speech. I remain a classical liberal, and I am disturbed by attempts to infringe on freedom of speech in the name in fighting racism, sexism, or other ills.

And though he doesn’t say so, I’m guessing his outlook will remain as militaristic as ever.

This isn’t a total makeover: Neoconservatism had its roots among disgruntled old liberals who decided to fuse lefty tendencies toward government intervention with righty militarism and culture war-ism. (This is where the old aphorism “A conservative is a liberal mugged by reality” comes from.) I am curious, however, what a “woke neoconservatism” might look like in 2018. And for those of us who want no part of the neoconservative part, how are we going to welcome our putative ally? Demand total allegiance, or work where we can?

I’d like to do that latter. We’ll see if it’s possible.


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