In a polarized country, when one side enthusiastically supports an issue, the rule of thumb for the other side is to take the opposite position. However, when two enemies suddenly find themselves in the same foxhole, it naturally raises the question: Is something wrong?
This is the case regarding Ukraine. Conservatives who wholeheartedly support the invaded country suddenly find themselves with strange bedfellows. Liberals, behaving contrary to their typical ways, are rallying to the correct side in this crisis, that of unjustly attacked Ukraine.
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Indeed, the same “woke” corporations that light up buildings with rainbow colors and decry American “nationalism” now display Ukraine’s national colors. Pacifist green new dealers demand the sending of carbon-heavy munitions to Ukraine en masse. Vaccine zealots welcome millions of unvaccinated refugees into Europe and 100,000 into the U.S. The same Critical Race Theory fanatics that defined everything by race are now defending blue-eyed blond white Europeans they once scorned as “white privilege.” Notorious liberals like billionaire George Soros, Sean Penn, Lady Gaga and Rep. Nancy Pelosi toe the pro-Ukraine line.
Thus, liberals, who automatically disagree with conservatives on everything, join them for this just cause. No wonder many conservatives ask, “Why are all the ‘wrong people’ supporting Ukraine?”
An Illusionary Unity
Of course, all people should sympathize with Ukraine and help it in any measure they can since it is a nation suffering an unjust attack. Indeed, Americans, including most liberals, see a country brutally invaded. The savage cruelty is piped into every home via the Internet. The humanitarian side of the tragedy appeals to America’s generous desire to relieve suffering. There are no “wrong people” who cannot share this compassion.
However, many liberals are enthusiastic supporters of Ukraine not only because of the attack but the framing of the debate. Tragically, they use the Ukraine crisis to support their narrative and construct a pseudo-conservative counter-narrative. In this case, the “wrong people” support the right cause for the wrong reason. The Ukrainian conflict becomes another way of fighting against all things conservative.
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Liberal Democracy v. Autocratic Regime
The liberal media have framed the Ukrainian crisis as a conflict between two political systems: liberal democracy and autocratic regimes. This framing is repeated so often that few dispute it.
However, both these grossly simplified false alternatives support the liberal narrative. On one side, Ukraine is made to represent liberal values (even though Ukraine, like all Slavic nations, preserves many conservative and religious customs—perhaps even more than Russia). Liberal media highlight the indisputable fact that Ukraine’s liberal President Zelenskyy holds views regarding procured abortion and homosexual sin that rightly anger conservatives everywhere. However, like President Biden in America, his personal views do not reflect Ukrainians as a whole.
Casting Ukraine as a liberal cause buttresses the crumbling ramparts of liberalism everywhere. It becomes a rallying point into which brave liberals can pour vast resources and impose massive sanctions while trying to avoid a war at all costs. It remains to be seen if liberal zeal will continue when the situation escalates.
A Pseudo-Conservative Narrative
The conflict also provides an opportunity to associate conservative values with Putin’s rigid, autocratic rule (although the association is gratuitous). Russia’s remaining traditional values are turned into the loudspeaker for all such mores everywhere. Thus, conservatives find themselves classified with Putin, who does not represent them. Seeking greater credibility, the media make every effort to highlight and excoriate the handful of conservative figures who show sympathies for Vladimir Putin, despite his avowedly pro-abortion and pro-socialist positions.
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Such associations with Russia fit well with accusations that American conservatives are endangering democracy by their opposition to the liberal agenda. By associating the conservative cause with tyranny, liberals would like nothing better than to force them to defend positions they do not hold. This spotlight could easily be transferred to all conservatives wherever they may be.
For liberals, this is a win-win situation. By supporting the just cause of the Ukrainians, they are on the winning side of public opinion and the right side of their narrative. On the other hand, by labeling all conservatives as fans of Putin’s totalitarianism, liberals divide the right into factions where no conservative is comfortable, placing all on the defensive.
Rejecting the False Choices
The correct solution to this false dilemma framed by the left is to reject it with disdain. Neither Ukrainians nor Americans should be forced to defend liberal democracy or autocracy. This is a false choice that does not correspond to the reality of a nation and Church under siege. The left often presents the public with false alternatives to avoid the real issues, usually moral ones. Liberals avoid moral issues because they cannot argue against them.
Thus, the present war must be considered independently from the left’s narrative. Ukraine is a nation unjustly invaded by another. Period. First Point. Should despotic Putin prevail, he will upset the whole post-World War II order. Period. Second Point. And that’s it. Defending Ukraine is not a validation of the liberal agenda nor a condemnation of a falsely labeled conservative pro-Putin perspective.
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Ukraine must not become a tool to be manipulated by the left or the right. Ukraine is not a pawn to be played in the imaginary fancies of conspiracy theorists or the Machiavellian framings of liberal media commentators. The poor, suffering people of Ukraine deserve to be judged on the merits of their natural right of self-defense and their legitimate desire to remain a free nation with a free Catholic Church.
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