by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Since the NBA-China affair blew up last weekend, a number of commentators have lambasted the NBA for its craven response to China, noting the hypocrisy of a league that publicly prides itself on being on the social vanguard in America but has no problem kowtowing to Chinese autocrats to maintain access to their lucrative markets. …
… [I]s there really such a conflict between progressive values and authoritarianism? Arguably, wokeness is itself fundamentally authoritarian. How many of the most politically correct people on the left in America would be happy to use government power to compel speech, silence those with opposing views, or ruin the lives and livelihoods of ordinary people who don’t share their political values?
We all know the answer because it’s been playing out before our eyes. We all know what happened to Jack Phillips, the Christian baker who declined to make custom wedding cake for a gay couple and, having been vindicated before the U.S. Supreme Court, still faces ongoing persecution and legal battles. We know what happens to wedding florists, photographers, even the owners of a small-town pizza shop who refused to toe the left’s line.
So far from being in conflict with progressive values, coercion is native to them. China has reeducation camps for Muslims who don’t embrace communism. It’s not hard to imagine leftists in America supporting reeducation camps for Christians who don’t embrace gay marriage or transgenderism. Coercive force, even government force, is perfectly fine to them if it’s used in service of the left’s agenda.