We live in a great country that has a noble history. The strengths of our nation have always outweighed our weaknesses. We have met threats from within and from without. With extraordinary determination, courage, and sacrifice, we have defended the very best things: our families, our children, our neighborhoods, our main streets, our land, our history, and our sacred bond to those unchanging truths that built Western civilization. These are now everywhere under attack from the rapid spread of a radical ideology.
This emergent ideology is a diabolic development which has few comparable analogies in history, for it reflects an anti-culture—a culture of death. Many of the particulars from this oft-called “woke” anti-culture are hard to miss, but through them all, a perverted and lethal spirit informs America that its very being is evil.
Hostile accusations of systemic discrimination, prejudice, misogyny, and countless “phobias” indicts the whole of American society for unforgivable atrocities, damning its history and its origins. In fact, America’s very founders are no longer viewed as heroes but as villains. Its adherents insist that within every nook and cranny of our civilization lurks the specter of racism, which is said to be unwittingly lodged into the structure of its institutions—even hiding within the psyche of our people, however unconscious this may be. According to this fanatical ideology, mankind is also wreaking havoc upon the climate, as humanity itself assumes the degrading role of parasite, posing an existential threat to the earth. Even the practice of abortion is no longer justified by this ideology merely as a liberating rejection of the unborn’s membership in the human race, but as murder in the name of mercy—to deny a child’s suffering from its inclusion in it. In this regard, the awful spread of euthanasia has taken aim at the equal opportunity to bring an end to it all.
This hyper-liberal poison invading the Midwest from the east and west coasts produces a population ever in despair. To escape this vile scourge, too many have turned to rabid drug use—ranging from antidepressants to opioid narcotics—just to numb their misery. In the latter case, a feverish consumption often reaches the point of an indifference to fatal overdose—even the intention of it. Alternatively, the frenzy of transgenderism gives the illusory promise of a new reality, and not only in name and pronoun, but one complete with biological mutilation. Meanwhile, aging American statesmen, who are hardly worthy of the title, cannot be bothered with such trivial prospects like the dire decline of the state, since their self-interested lot are too busy avoiding thoughts of their own mortality by filling their minds with luxuries of country club life. Through it all, birthrates are dropping to an unsustainable rate, giving credence to the proposition that American society is not simply unhappy, but that it also no longer wishes to live. What, then, is the root of this hopeless rot?
To appreciate the magnitude this menace of anti-culture poses to West Virginia, it is important to first understand its nature and source, for this political crisis is not due to a departure from the tenets of liberalism, but rather a fulfillment of them. To realize the roots of “wokeness” then is to grasp that this degenerate ideology is fundamentally interwoven with liberal politics itself.
With its focus on the total autonomy of the individual and freedom from all external constraints, liberalism posits that humans are disposed to design their own destinies, unhampered by tradition, pre-existing conditions, or a telos—an objectively good end, right for all men and women, which ought to be the ultimate aim, since only with its proper realization can genuine flourishment be attained. Liberalism’s vision, however, dispenses with any notion of this objective “Good Life,” replacing it with a radical subjectivity which can be sensed in the euphemisms of the new order like “your truth” and “my truth.” Under liberal thought—in either its classical or progressive flavor—what really becomes “good” then is merely the act of liberation itself, whereby individuals are severed from traditional norms and the bonds of family and community, in favor of the separate and detached “autonomous individual.” Over time, this drive towards individual liberation erodes longstanding communal ties and shared moral frameworks.
Liberalism’s emancipating promise from the traditional norms of our ancestors leads to a new form of tyranny. As societal values become less anchored in tradition and objective truths are no longer recognized, a vacuum emerges, leading to a bleak occupation by the homogenizing powers of the state and the market. This results in a paradox where, in the quest for unbridled individual freedom, people end up far more alike, no longer organized by self-government fostered through virtue, but controlled by the inflated forces of consumerism and state-driven mandates. Despite its cries for diversity, the woke movement—in its zealous drive for devotion and recognition—only advances this homogenization, ironically imposing a rigid totalitarian regime marked by uniform opinions and attitudes.
In essence, the woke anti-culture that we can observe quickly disseminating throughout the country today is an extension of the liberal project. Relying on the hollow promises of ambiguous platitudes like “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion,” it stands as a sinister force against the traditions and values passed down by our ancestors that our people hold dear. If left unchecked, our own state will lose any remaining semblance of healthy, community-centric well-being.
West Virginia is a critical part of the heartland of America, steeped in faith and family with principles that are oriented around local community, shared norms, and interdependence. These traditional values that serve the Good Life stand in stark contrast to the detached individualism of the hyper-liberal ideology which threatens the cohesive fabric of our heartland communities. Driven by liberalism’s obsession with unfettered individual autonomy, it attacks the time-honored values of West Virginia as oppressive dogma standing in the way of “progress.”
All is not lost. However, we are at a critical juncture and the choices the legislature makes now as a governing body will determine the future of our great state. West Virginia has a tremendous opportunity at hand to lead the nation by example in the fight to preserve and protect our families, our children, and our work from destructive ideologies. Prudent decisions can still be made that keep our streets safe, that bring economic abundance without strings attached, that roots education in eternal truths, and that help families to form, educate, and raise the next generation of West Virginians. To this end, the legislature must endeavor to focus on the promotion and the protection of the family, since what is truly good for the family is what’s truly good for West Virginia.
Make no mistake, courage will be required, for this is no easy task. At the nexus of a transformative period in our history, we are unmistakably in the throes of a post-liberal era—one where the values and aspirations of our state find themselves at odds with the dominating revolutionary ethos held by the nation’s most influential institutions, both private and public, all of which are generally situated along the east and west coasts. While this disconnect has long been present, one of the largest changes is the level of intense hostility from these powerful institutions and the rapidly growing animosity for our way of life by the intolerant ranks of those who will continue to rule them in the years to come. This new post-liberal order necessitates a shift in our political orientation. Rather than striving to align ourselves with an unstable and ever-changing national narrative—which, regardless of how it’s told, will spell an unhappy ending for our people’s story—it is imperative we forge our own path forward, one that upholds the unique community-centered heritage of West Virginia and the unchanging truths that built her.
To ensure that West Virginia remains a family home, faithful to its traditions and values, legislative action must be taken to effectively repel the efforts of this anti-culture currently underway that would—however intentionally or inadvertently—disfigure our state’s society into that which ultimately loathes and despises the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.
In doing so, this new approach must include shielding our state from importing corporate and federal institutions infected with this pathological ideology. Perhaps most important, however, is a reorientation of how the concept of law is viewed. Beyond its practical and regulatory functions, the law serves to educate and instruct. It is a direct reflection of our society’s values. Perhaps its most profound impact lies not just in its particular enforcement, but in its inherent capacity to coach and inform the general public at large. The law is not merely a boundary then, under which individual rights are circumscribed, but a guidepost, illustrating our shared social values and principles. While the law’s direct aim is to set parameters, part of its true essence is found in its aptitude to shape the moral compass of a community.
To the detriment of our people, this double effect has been largely neglected, for many of our leaders in the statehouse have mistaken the law solely as a tool for punishment or reward. However, irrespective of any ignorance to this feature, the law always contains within it an informative, pedagogical aspect that not only guides behavior, but aids in the development of society’s character. By tailoring laws that champion our state’s core principles and ethos, West Virginia can send a clear message to the rest of the country about what it stands for and who it seeks to embrace.
In the present moment, it is important to recognize this dual function of the law, as its educational component can serve to attract families whose beliefs align with our West Virginia home, while also signaling to those individuals who renounce and reject our core values that they are better suited elsewhere. When a state’s legal framework and societal values synchronize in harmony, it helps to create an environment ripe for healthy community growth and shared prosperity. In this uncertain climate, West Virginia can thus become a stable haven for many families who seek a place where the law does not simply govern, but also resonates deeply with their own principles.
West Virginia’s strength lies in its people, in our shared history, and in our collective values. By standing firm against radical ideologies that seek to tear us apart, and by taking proactive legislative action, we can lead our state in the right direction so that it remains a place where our people can truly flourish with their families, grounded in the traditions and community values that have always made us proud.
Pat McGeehan is a six-term state delegate in the West Virginia Legislature. A graduate of the US Air Force Academy, he holds a master’s degree in philosophy from Franciscan University and is finishing a PhD in philosophy from Duquesne University. Pat resides in Chester, WV.